Maui Vacation Tips Waterfall

Top 10 Maui Vacation Travel Tips

There is always a learning curve when visiting a new place- and despite being part of the 50th state, Maui is no different. There are unspoken rules and hidden dangers that some first-time visitors aren’t aware of. Be an informed visitor with these top 10 Maui vacation travel tips.

Maui Vacation Tips Sunset


1. The busiest times of the year include Thanksgiving week, late December to mid-January, mid-March to mid-April, and from mid-June to mid-August. Book outside of high season for fewer crowds and better deals.

September and October are traditionally the slowest months of the year, while early December and May are relatively quiet. As a result, you can usually find better deals on flights, accommodations, and activities during this time. Plus, the island will be much less crowded during these periods.

Maui Vacation Tips Pool Not Busy


2. Book as far in advance as possible if you’re traveling in high season!

As of 2022, Hawaii is on track to outpace 2019 visitor numbers. If you’re traveling during the high season, book in advance if you plan to eat out at particular restaurants, go to a luau, or rent a car at a fair rate. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Maui Vacation Tips Mamas Full


3. Haleakala sunrise and Waiʻanapanapa State Park both require reservations to enter.

Due to overcrowding concerns, both Waiʻanapanapa State Park and Haleakala National Park (between 3 am and 7 am) require reservations to enter. Out-of-state visitors must make reservations for Waiʻanapanapa State Park up to 14 days in advance. If you don’t wait until the last minute, reservations for your desired day and time are pretty easy to come by.

Maui Vacation Tips Haleakala Waianapanapa

Haleakala sunrise reservations, however, are in high demand. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance and sell out virtually the moment they are released. Additional reservations are released 48 hours in advance. Scoring a reservation is like winning the lottery, so consider booking a sunrise tour instead. After 7am, you can enter Haleakala National Park no problem. The views are still phenomenal, maybe even consider going on a guided walk or hike into the crater!


4. Don’t forget a jacket.

Yes, Maui is a tropical island. But high on the Upcountry slopes or on the summit of Haleakala, the warm temperatures that dominate at sea level vanish. The average high at the summit of Haleakala hovers around the mid-60s, with lows dipping into the 40s. At sunrise or sunset, it’s even colder. Additionally, nights on Maui can be relatively chilly in the winter months, even at sea level. It’s also important to note that Maui’s rainy season runs from late November to April.

Maui Vacation Tips Jacket View


5. Don’t underestimate the ocean.

Maui is located in the most isolated archipelago on earth. Beyond the island’s shores, there is nothing but thousands of miles of open ocean in every direction. The ocean’s power and fury in Hawaii are incomparable to vacation destinations like Cancun, Florida, or the Caribbean.

Maui Vacation Tips Rough Water

Always assess ocean conditions before swimming or snorkeling. Learn what a rip current looks like, pay attention to warning signs, and avoid swimming at beaches with a heavy shore break. The ocean is one of the most dangerous forces on Maui, and sadly many visitors lose their life in Hawaii each year at the hands of the ocean. If in doubt, don’t go out.


6. Try not to overload your itinerary.

Many visitors make the mistake of filling every minute on Maui with restaurant reservations, activities, things to do, and places to be- leaving no time to relax. In turn, you wind up feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation! In the spirit of Maui’s laid-back atmosphere, devote a day or several afternoons to lounging at the pool, kicking back on the beach, or just seeing where the day takes you.

Maui Vacation Tips Sitting Tablet


7. Brush up on Hawaiian culture and history before your visit.

Hawaii might be part of the United States, but the islands were once a thriving, prosperous, and self-sufficient kingdom. Take some time to learn about the islands’ rich history, from the resourceful Polynesian voyagers that settled in a strange, new land to the technological advancements of King David Kalakaua. Not only is Hawaiian culture and history fascinating, but it will lead to a richer, more insightful experience in the islands.

Maui Vacation Tips Culture History


8. Tipping is customary in Hawaii.

Tipping tour guides, servers, shuttle drivers, housekeepers, and other service workers is customary in Hawaii- and the other US states, for that matter. In restaurants, 15-20% is standard. Hawaii is the most expensive US state to live in. Many service industry workers work two or more jobs just to make ends meet. Therefore, tipping isn’t just appreciated, it’s relied on.


9. Respect the environment.

Most people know better than to leave their trash on a beach or a hiking trail. But Hawaii is home to a fragile ecosystem, and protecting the environment on Maui goes beyond just not littering. When visiting, be sure only to use reef-safe sunscreen. Reef-safe sunscreen is mineral-based (look for non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in the active ingredients) and void of harsh chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate.

Maui Vacation Tips Sunscreen

Additionally, avoid using/buying copious amounts of plastic while on Maui. The island’s recycling system is subpar, and most plastic ends up in Maui’s only landfill or the ocean. Last but certainly not least, avoid trodding off the trail. Hiking off-trail can damage native plants, insects, and animals, spread diseases like Rapid Ohia Death, or spread invasive species.


10. MOST IMPORTANT: Respect local residents and other visitors.

The golden rule states: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Ideally, the saying should apply everywhere, even on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Respect local residents by driving with Aloha and not trespassing. Show consideration towards sacred and culturally significant sites. Give others personal space when setting up at the beach. Brush up on the etiquette of driving the road to Hana. Fall into step with the relaxed atmosphere of the islands. Also, remember to respect other visitors. Treat others with kindness, and remember they are likely experiencing their once and a lifetime vacation as well.


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Happy Travels!

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