Are you looking to plan the ultimate vacation on Maui, Hawaii?

This post details essential tips and advice for first-time travelers to ensure a perfect Maui vacation. We’ve got you covered, from packing necessities to local resources, dining reservations, and safety precautions.

vacationing in maui - 2TravelingTheWorld Travel Tips Maui

We were so fortunate to have had the incredible opportunity to spend 6 months on Maui, experiencing a unique blend of living, working, and vacationing.

You’ll also love The 67+ Best Things to Do on Maui!

Throughout our time on Maui, we gathered valuable insights and learned numerous Maui Tips that we are excited to share with all of you!

Best Travel Tips For Maui Hawaii

Tip # 1: Join a Maui Facebook Group!

Stay updated with breaking Maui news by joining the best community Facebook news page— Maui 24/7! This page shares breaking island news faster than any other news outlet.

maui Hawaii travel tips by Maui 24_7
Maui Travel - facebook to find interesting attractions and tips

You’ll find helpful news updates – including weather, traffic, beach conditions, and other updates on local events.

Also Read: Maui Hotel Guide

Tip #2 Use Resort Pass To Relax By Hotel Pools

Do you want a relaxing resort day but don’t want to pay a high nightly rate? Check out Maui ResortPass.

Resort Pass is a super cool app that allows you to book a day bed or pool pass to some of the nicest resorts on Maui for as low as 30 dollars a person.

Resort Pass app to book daybed at major resort areas on Maui
Maui travel tip - day bed vacation rentals through Resort pass

The Resort Pass App can be used at many resorts worldwide, providing access to thousands of options.

If the specific hotel you wish to visit for a day is unavailable on ResortPass, we recommend contacting the hotel directly to inquire about day pass options for external guests.

It is worth noting that many Maui hotels are often open to offering day passes, especially during their off-season periods.

Tip #3: Sign Up on Maui Alerts App

Sign up for the Maui Emergency Alerts and weather warnings through the My Alerts App (Formerly MEMA) to stay informed about local weather conditions.

This alert system will update you on extreme weather conditions, road closures, and emergency alerts, ensuring your safety during your stay.

alerts on Maui county Travel- floods and other important safety tips in Hawaii
alerts from maui like big waves on Maui's north shore

Always be aware of local weather conditions on Maui. Weather conditions can change rapidly and without warning. Even the strongest swimmers have had to have water rescue teams out because strong currents rapidly occur.

Be sure to check the local conditions before entering the water. If you are unsure about the conditions, always err on the side of caution and stay out of the water.

Subscribe: Text your Maui Accommodation Zip code to 82376 to sign up for Emergency Alerts.

Tip #4: Pack Necessities In Your Luggage

Maui’s basic necessities can be quite expensive! It makes sense that these items are expensive, as most are not produced on the islands and must be imported. However, we were still surprised at how much basic items cost.

We recommend packing shampoo, conditioner, face wash, toothpaste, nontoxic reef-safe sunscreen, and all the essentials you normally need for a vacation in your checked bag.

According to Michael, you will spend “arm, leg, and 3 big toes for basic items on Maui”!

Tip #5: Pack Warm Clothes for a Sunrise or Sunset on Haleakala Volcano.

People think Maui is all sunshine and warm weather, which is mostly true. But if you want to venture to upcountry Maui for a sunrise or sunset at the world’s largest dormant volcano, you’ll want to pack a super warm jacket!


Above the clouds at 10,000 ft! Haleakala Crater Sunset 🌤 #haleakala #travelhawaii #cloud9 #volcano @drandopt

♬ Fantasy – Alina Baraz / Galimatias

Haleakala, also called the East Maui Volcano, is a dormant volcano on Maui that reaches an impressive altitude of 10,000 feet! Temperatures sit between 40-50 degrees at sunset and sunrise! But you may feel much colder due to unexpected winds.

We recommend packing jackets, blankets, and extra water to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable drive up to Haleakala.

Book Haleakala National Park Excursion!

Haleakala National park up country maui travel tips - warm clothes to be above the clouds
upcountry maui travel tips for haleakala national park - wear warm jackets

You must make reservations in advance to watch the sunrise at Haleakala.

Tip #6 Book Your Restaurant Reservations ASAP

If you want to try local cuisine at some of the more popular restaurants on the Island, you may need to book reservations months in advance. We’re talking like… as soon as you know your travel dates, book ’em up!

Popular restaurants like Mama’s Fish House (North Shore) and Star Noodle (West Maui) are typically booked at least 6 weeks in advance, but we have seen bookings up to 3 months.

View from Star Noodle in West Maui Lahaina
lunch at Mama's Fish House on the North Shore of Maui

Tip #7 Grocery Guides Maui

As mentioned earlier, many items sold in Maui must be imported, which drives up costs and reduces the shelf life of perishable foods. Foodland and Tamura’s Market were always our go-to places for fresh produce, meat, and seafood.

fresh seafood counter at Tamuras market in north Kihei. Photo by Tamuras
grocery store in east maui- travel advice on how to plan the perfect trip to Maui

Food: Please donate any unopened leftover food from your trip to a local shelter. 

Maui Grocery Guide:

  • Foodland: Fresh groceries at affordable prices. The Fresh Poke counter is also INCREDIBLE!
  • Safeway: Larger selection, but prices were $$$$ (sometimes double or triple Safeway).
  • Tamuras: Large Alcohol Selection and THE BEST Poke Counter
  • Costco: Affordable prices on bulk goods remain the same nationwide (Fun fact: Cosctos on Maui are some of the top-grossing Costco’s in the world due to their nationwide set prices!)
  • Hawaiian Moons Natural Market: This small market in South Maui carries specialty items that you would find at Whole Foods or other health grocery chains (think brands like Siete and Amys).

Don’t Miss: Favorite Places to See Turtles on Maui

Tip #8: Plan Your Day Around Tradewinds

The tradewinds are a very real thing in Maui! These winds typically pick up in the afternoons and can get gusty, making it difficult to enjoy the beach or pool. The trade winds were consistent for the entire time we lived on Maui.

couple on a Maui Beach near Kihei
valley isle tradewinds in South Maui
South maui beach in Kihei with bad Tradewinds

Check Out: Maui’s Top Things To Do!

Get up early and enjoy the beach in the mornings before the tradewinds start. Save your afternoons for sightseeing, shopping, or exploring other parts of the island.

Tip #9 Learn Basic Hawaiian Words & Phrases

English is the primary language in Maui, but you will hear the native Hawaiian language sometime during your vacation. While you don’t need to learn the language to enjoy your trip, it’s nice to show your respect to the native Hawaiians by learning to say hello, thank you, and other key phrases in the native language.

Check out: Learn 2000+ Native Hawaiian Words & Phrases.

hawaiian phrase Maui nui No Ka'oi and menus that say Keiki options (childrens options)
hawaiian language you should know before you visit Maui

A few of the most common Hawaiian words and phrases:

  • Aloha– hello, goodbye, or simply a word to show affection
  • Mahalo – thank you
  • Pupu (or plural Pupus) – appetizers or small plates
  • Keiki – child (you’ll use this to find the children’s menu at a restaurant)
  • Honu – turtle
  • No Ka’oi – the best or finest (Maui no ka’oi! means that Maui is the best!)
  • Kama’aina– word for a resident of Hawaiian land (you’ll commonly see Kama’aina rates (or local only rates) for many restaurants and excursions.


67+ Best Things to Do on Maui

Incredible Experiences You Can’t Miss

Maui Tip #10: Wear the correct snorkel mask!

Snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Maui. The water is crystal clear, and many beautiful fish can be seen. We recommend renting a snorkel kit or purchasing your own before you arrive on the island.

When we first moved to Maui, we rented snorkel gear but purchased SEADIVE snorkel masks made with reflective film. The colors of fish and coral are 1000 times brighter than those of the standard clear masks that many shops carry.

PSA: DO NOT WEAR A FULL-FACE MASK! We cannot stress this enough. Maui and many other Hawaiian islands have banned full-face snorkel masks over the last few years, but unfortunately, a few places still sell them. These masks have a lot of open-air space that can fill up with CO2 while snorkeling.

This build-up can lead to CO poisoning and shortness of breath and, unfortunately, has taken the lives of many snorkelers.

snorkel equipment to best see the green sea turtles on Maui
graphic showing Maui Travel advice on snorkel masks

Tip #11: Stay 10ft Away From Turtles

Respect the local marine life by keeping a safe distance from Hawaiian Green Sea turtles. Touching or approaching turtles within 10 feet is both illegal and harmful.

turtles on the beach in east Maui
turtle on the beach at Ka'anapali beach

Enjoy observing these magnificent creatures from a distance, but remember that violating this rule can result in fines and potential jail time.

Don’t Miss: Favorite Places to See Turtles on Maui Post

Tip #12 Maui OGG Airport (aka Kahului Airport)

The Maui Kahului airport is very small and easy to navigate. However, only two (sometimes three) security checkpoint lines are open, so it takes a while to get through security!

Arrive at least 2 hours before your flight.

airport when you visit maui- overview fly over
popular hawaiian island airport at the valley isle

Look Out For security lines with the Smith Security Scan machine at Maui OGG Airport. If you don’t have a precheck, get in the line that has the Smith Scanner so you don’t have to remove your electronics and chargers from your bag.

If you have an early flight, stop at a store on your way in to grab breakfast. We once flew at 10 am, and restaurants were still not open. This may have been because of Covid and lack of support staff, but either way, nothing is worse than getting on a 4+ hour flight with a few terrible airline snacks.

Maui Tip #13 Purchase Non-Toxic Reef Safe Sunscreen

When enjoying the pristine waters of Maui, it’s crucial to prioritize the preservation of the delicate coral reefs and marine life. That’s why using reef-safe sunscreen is a must!

Stream2Sea Sunscreen
Favorite Reef Safe Sunscreen
$19.95 ($6.65 / Fl Oz)
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Traditional sunscreens often contain harmful chemicals that can contribute to coral bleaching and harm marine ecosystems.

non toxic sunscreen to protect marine life around the island
Maui Travel sunscreen to protect sea turtles and other marine life

Opting for reef-safe sunscreen ensures that you protect your skin while also safeguarding the vibrant underwater world. Look for sunscreens labeled “reef-safe” or “oxybenzone-free” to ensure they don’t contain harmful ingredients.

Also Read: Our Favorite Non Toxic Sunscreen Brands!

Tip #14 Don’t Rush the Road to Hana

If time permits, do not rush the road to Hana! Some tours claim to cover the attractions in just a few hours(!!), but they often miss out on the true essence of Hana. Any tour that is under 8-10 hours likely only touches the outskirts of Hana.

stunning beaches along the road to hana in our rental car
road to hana waterfall

This winding road offers a plethora of awe-inspiring stops, including magnificent waterfalls, lush rainforests, and breathtaking coastal lookout points. If time permits, we highly recommend allocating a few days to fully explore Hana!

Only have time for 1 day in Hana? We recommend taking this Full Day Road to Hana Tour!

We recommend renting a car or hiring a private driver to spend at least 1 night in Hana! This way, you’ll have time to explore some of our favorite stops in Hana, like the black sand beach and the delicious food trucks.

For a shorter Hana experience, you can opt for a helicopter tour of Hana’s Waterfalls with a plantation or Hana airport landing.

water fall on one of Hana's hiking trails (1)

For a comprehensive list of our favorite things to do along the Road to Hana, check out our detailed 67+ Things To Do On Maui post!

Tip #15 Save Money By Using Maui Public Transportation System

The island’s public bus system is a convenient and cost-effective way to get around. Rental cars on Maui can be very expensive, and Ubers are not always available.

The buses are clean and air-conditioned, providing comfortable rides for locals and tourists alike.

Maui Bus Route

To effortlessly navigate the bus routes, download the Google Maps app on your iPhone, enter your destination, and select the bus icon. This feature allows you to access up-to-date pickup times, making it easy to plan your journey.

$2 will be collected for each one-way commuter route. Be sure to have exact cash on hand to pay the driver, as many drivers did not have change for us.

public transportation bus map from google

We found this method incredibly useful for exploring various parts of the island. So, embrace the convenience of the Maui bus system and enjoy hassle-free transportation during your stay!

This post shows you all the best tips for your next vacation on Maui, Hawaii. 

That wraps up our top Maui Vacation Tips. We hope this list helps you plan the perfect island vacation. If you enjoyed this post, please consider saving this post on Pinterest or sharing our link with a friend.

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