A vacation to Hawaii can be pricey. We all like to save money, and then splurge where it really counts. Luckily, there are many ways to reduce the cost of a trip to Maui. Here are our top 10 tips for a fun AND inexpensive Maui budget vacation.
They Don’t Call it HAPPY Hour For Nothing!
Most restaurants host a happy hour between 3-5pm daily, some have much longer hours. Ohana Bar & Grill in Kihei offers happy hour from 10am-6pm every day, boasting Maui’s ‘longest happy hour’ with $3 beers and $5 Mai Tais. Tante’s Island Cuisine in the Maui Harbor Shops in Ma’alaea is another extended happy hour spot, from 12pm-6pm daily. Plenty of time to get a good, inexpensive vacation buzz on. Please arrange transportation ahead of time, do not drink and drive.
Always a less expensive dining option, we have a few recommendations for cheap (and decent) meals in each main area of the island.
Moose McGillcuddys– extended happy hour from 4-7pm and a central Kihei location across from the beach
Freds Mexican Cafe– conveniently located below Mooses, this lively cafe is also a great place to catch the nightly sunset and easy to walk home if you’re staying at a Kihei condo
Azeka Food Trucks- located behind Azeka Mauka shopping center, this food truck court is a great place for the entire family. You want a fish burger, the wife would prefer a BBQ dinner and the kids want quesadillas? No problem! Everyone gets what they like and re convenes at the picnic tables for dinner time.
Havens– find out what locally inspired comfort food tastes like! Made to order noodle dishes and ‘smash burgers’ are all the rage in North Kihei.
Beach Bums in Ma’alaea– while not technically located in Kihei, this is a good stop if you’re traveling between West and South Maui. Check out the local fishing boats or arrange a snorkeling tour from the largest harbor on Maui. This burger joint serves mostly pub style food with an open air view and live music from 5-8pm. There is also a second location in the Napili shopping center.
Ka’anapali Food Truck Courtyard- located just north of Whalers Village, this is actually in the area of Honokowai which is also where a lot of Maui budget vacation rentals are located.
Cool Cats– Front Street in historic Lahaina town is not somewhere you miss on a Maui family vacation. The famous banyan tree marks the harbor where dinner cruise, fishing, sailing and snorkeling tours depart and Cool Cats is a great place to grab a cheap bite to fuel your vacation activities.
Captain Jacks– all ages can appreciate this pirate themed open air restaurant on Front Street. Meals are inexpensive and the entertainment value of the swashbuckling atmosphere is high.
Paia Fish Market– a simple menu of what they do best and a Ono burger to write home about, this is a great spot for cheap dine in or take out food. There is also a location across from Kalama Park in Kihei. Order online and you can skip the line 😉
Haiku Food Trucks- ‘downtown’ Haiku is a hidden gem of cheap eats with a variety of worldly cuisines including Mediterranean, Thai and Mexican menus.
Pukalani Food Trucks- yet another cluster of cuisines all in one convenient location, by Long’s Drugs and near the island’s largest weekly farmers market.
Polli’s Mexican Restaurant- authentic mexican decor and music accompanies the inexpensive menu in the cowboy town of Makawao.
Serpico’s– famous for their calzone’s and pizza, this is one of those places you only know about because of a blog like this.
Grammas Coffee House– keep driving, up, up country for incredible bi coastal views and cooler temperatures. This is a great place for a coffee and breakfast, just like Grandma would make.
Food Trucks across from Costco- this food court just keeps growing! A new parcel of land next to the Holiday Inn and very close to both Costco and the airport now offers picnic table seating and a great variety of food trucks to try.
Whole Foods Market- the deli at Whole Foods is surprisingly delicious. The loaded veggie pizza, fresh soups and sushi bar are a great option for healthier cheap meals in Kahului.
Queen Ka’ahumau Center– the food court at the mall is the ultimate stop for cheap take out meals. Catch a film at the movie theater, watch live entertainment on the main stage or shop for Maui budget vacation outfits at this open air mall.
Local Rental Cars and Alternative Transportation
The price and availability of traditional rental cars has recently become a major budget buster and vacation inconvenience for Maui budget vacation visitors. Check out our blog on getting around Maui for some alternative transportation options (have you tried an electric bike?).
Rent A Camper Van
Two Maui budget vacation birds, one stone! Many local residents offer trucks with roof top tents, camper vans and camping gear rentals through Turo.com. Approved camp sites can be found and booked through the Division of State Parks. It is important to note that not all camp spots have facilities so plan accordingly and remember to pack it in, pack it out.
Not only does this option save money, you’ll actually be leaving the island a better place. It is also a great way to have a unique eco friendly experience, learn about the local environment and Hawaiian culture.
Sightseeing Is Free
Maui is an island of endless beauty. It is pretty difficult to get bored, unless that is exactly what you’re looking for. Check out our blog, Best Views on Maui, for some good (free) activities that are sure to impress.
Hit The Beach
With 120 miles of coastline to explore, Maui has a total of 30 miles of breath taking beaches. Choosing one depends on current weather conditions and preferred activities. In general, the wind picks up during the afternoon so it is best to hit the beach and any ocean activities earlier in the day.
Discount Activities Do Exist
Working with an Activities Specialist, you can save many dollar bills for those happy hour mai tai’s instead. Whether you know your Maui budget vacation bucket list or you’re looking for advice on the best activities on Maui, a specialist can set you up with the ideal itinerary to suit your vacation budget and timeline.
Rent Snorkel and Beach Gear
Rather than purchasing beach chairs, masks and snorkels, boogie boards, underwater cameras, umbrellas etc. rent them instead! Boss Frog’s is a great place for cheap snorkel and beach gear rentals on Maui.
Be entertained with local hula performances at the Lahaina Cannery Mall, live music at various local restaurants (see happy hour again) and special events. Check the local event listings prior to your vacation and work some free entertainment into the Maui budget vacation itinerary.
In general, booking a vacation rental with a kitchen will save money during your Maui budget vacation. You can then load up on groceries from the local farmers market or grocery store to cook some of your meals at home. Many condo units offer BBQ’s for guest use. Want dinner with a view? Pick up your meal from a local food truck and enjoy it on a beach blanket at sunset. You’re welcome!