Updated on January 21, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
What should I bring on my Maui trip?
Since my wife and I (pictured) lived there for two years, we often get asked what to wear in Maui, what to pack and what NOT to bring, so we’ve made this page to help you out! We also have a section answering common FAQs at the bottom.
As always, no matter where you’re headed, it’s important to travel with an open mind and a sense of humor and always respect the local Hawaiians.
What to Pack for Maui – 17 Essentials
12) NordVPN Virtual Private Network – VPNs are simply awesome – I won’t use any public WiFi without it, whether I’m in my hometown or traveling to Maui. A VPN adds a secure layer of encryption between you and any potential hackers to prevent the theft of your private and financial information. I learned my lesson in Paris recently – a hacker stole my credit card information and if I’d had a VPN activated it would have prevented it!
Other packing list items for Maui:
Board shorts: Women’s and Men’s
Rain Jacket: Women’s and Men’s
Sun hat: Women’s and Men’s
Sturdy sandals: Women’s and Men’s
Steripod toothbrush cover
Stain remover wipes
Reusable cloth bag
Waterproof phone case
What should I wear in Maui?
In general, the most comfortable clothes in Maui will be breathable and fairly casual. The tropical climate makes lightweight fabrics like linen, rayon, merino wool, and cotton blends ideal. Most people dress casually in Maui, and many visitors live in shorts, tank tops, and sandals, which are usually acceptable.
For going out in the evening, packing a couple of nicer outfits is a good idea, but you don’t need to bring anything overly formal. Of course, for any hiking, you’ll want long pants and sturdy shoes, as well as a jacket if you’re going to higher elevations. And whether or not you’re hiking there, you’ll definitely need warmer clothes for visits to the summit of Haleakala as it can get freezing up there!!
Floral Romper | Flowy Dress by French Connection | Sun Hat | Bikini | Bikini Cover Up | Striped Tank Top | Lace Tank Top | Cotton Shorts | Cut Off Shorts | Lounge Pants | Straw Tote | Strappy Sandals | Mosquito Wristbands | Beach Friendly Flip Flops | Yoga Mat Flip Flops | Kate Spade Sunglasses | Clutch with Purse Strap
What NOT to take to Maui:
2) DON’T BRING heavy books – You’ll probably want to take the chance to catch up on some reading during the flight or while you’re relaxing on the beach in Maui. However, you’ll save a ton of space (and weight) in your luggage by leaving the physical books at home and packing a Kindle instead.
3) DON’T TAKE unnecessary valuables – While there’s not an especially high risk of crime in Maui, there’s always some chance that things could get stolen, damaged, or lost on the road. Unless you know you’re going to truly need certain valuable items, there’s no reason to bring things you’d be upset to lose.
5) DON’T PACK dressy eveningwear – Similarly, most visitors to Maui have no need for formal eveningwear. Depending on your travel style and exact plans on the island, maxi dresses for ladies and polo shirts or button-downs for guys are usually dressy enough.
6) DON’T TAKE lots of cold-weather clothes – Unless you plan to spend all of your time at the summit of Haleakala and none of it at the beach, you won’t have much use for warm clothes. Make sure you do bring a rain jacket, but you probably won’t need any more than that.
FAQs for Traveling to Maui
1) What’s the best way to get around on Maui?
The easiest and most common way to get around on Maui is by renting a car. Not only will that give you the most flexibility, but Maui boasts some legendary drives you won’t want to miss. If renting a car isn’t an option, Uber and Lyft are both available on the island and make getting around convenient.
Maui has a small public bus system and most hotels also have shuttles, though relying on them as your sole source of transportation isn’t recommended since the routes and timetables of both tend to be limited. If cycling appeals to you, rental bikes are widely available and quite affordable.
2) How can I get to Maui?
Maui has three airports, located in Kahului, Kapalua, and Hana. The airport in Kahului is by far the largest, and is the only one of the three with flights beyond Hawaii. If a direct flight is your priority, over a half-dozen airlines operate flights from the western U.S. and Canada to Kahului. Just know the airport is a 45-minute drive from the western side of the island where most of the resorts are located.
Another option is to fly into Kapalua, which means a layover on Oahu or the Big Island and then a 30-minute inter-island flight to Maui. If you’re coming from outside North America, that will be your only choice, as only Oahu and the Big Island serve flights from other countries. Arriving at Kapalua will put you much closer to the island’s main resort area. Flying into the even tinier Hana airport would only make sense if you’re visiting the eastern edge of the island, which very few tourists do.
3) How can I get from Maui to other islands in Hawaii?
Inter-island flights are the main way to get from Maui to other parts of Hawaii. Multiple airlines operate flights between Maui and the other islands, sometimes with a stop in Honolulu. All of these flights are under an hour, and many are much shorter. If you’re interested in seeing Hawaii’s lesser-explored islands, there’s also the option of taking the ferries that connect Maui with Molokai and Lanai.
4) What are the best beaches on Maui?
Maui is fringed with stunning beaches, especially on its western coast, and it would be hard to pick the best one. One near the top of any list is Makena Beach, which also holds the title of “most photographed beach in Hawaii”. Alternatively, Kapalua Beach is not only one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii, it’s also regularly listed as one of the best in the U.S.
Baldwin Beach on the North Shore is one of Maui’s most-visited beaches, and it even has a protected salt-water pool for kids. Ka’anapali Beach is another popular one, known for its abundance of available ocean activities, including top-notch snorkeling. For something completely different, Wai’anapanapa Beach near Hana is a black-sand beach, and much less crowded than the beaches on the western side of the island.
5) What is there to do on Maui other than the beach?
While the very mention of the word Maui conjures up images of lazy days spent on the beach, this island has a ton more to offer. Hiking is easily one of the top dry-land things to do on Maui. The most popular hiking destination for visitors is Haleakala National Park, with over 30 miles of trails in the summit area and options ranging from leisurely 10-minute strolls to strenuous treks. ‘Iao Valley State Park also has numerous hiking options, including a short walk to its most famous viewpoint. Even if hiking isn’t your thing, both parks have plenty of other attractions, and seeing the sunrise at Haleakala belongs on any visitor’s itinerary.
Maui is also known for its scenic drives, especially the 52-mile Road to Hana, which passes numerous beaches and waterfalls and offers stunning views. Kahekili Highway is another top route, passing by the Nakalele blowhole and other attractions before giving you a peek into “old Hawaii” in Kahakuloa.
If it’s in your budget, there’s no better way to see Maui than from the air. A helicopter tour will not only showcase jaw-dropping scenery, it’ll also show you parts of the island you’d never be able to see otherwise. Lastly, of course, you can’t visit Maui without attending a luau!
6) What is the weather like on Maui?
Maui’s climate is tropical, with warm and fairly stable temperatures throughout the year. While highs are typically in the mid 80°F range (27°C) year-round, the temperatures do rise a bit from June to October. These are also the driest months on the island.
7) When is the best time of year to visit Maui?
The winter and early spring months bring slightly cooler weather and are high-season for tourism on Maui. During these months, as well as during the second-busiest season from June to August, the island is more crowded and prices are higher. Late spring still offers relatively cooler temperatures, but far fewer crowds, which is especially important if you’re planning to visit the more popular attractions. It’s also worth keeping in mind that surfing conditions are best during the winter, but the waters are calmest and best for swimming – especially for children – in the summer.
8) What are the accommodation options on Maui?
Accommodations available on Maui truly run the gamut from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts, and from quirky guesthouses to corporate chains. The majority of hotels are located on the island’s more developed western side, and most are on or near one of the beaches.
9) Is Maui an expensive place to travel?
Yes, in many ways it is. The fact that the Hawaiian islands are geographically isolated means that many goods have to be brought in from other places, and at considerable cost. You’ll find that many foods (other than those which can be grown locally) are more expensive than on the US mainland. Goods, too, can cost more in Hawaii. Don’t worry, there are certainly ways to save money while traveling to Maui! Below are some Maui budget travel tips.
10) How can I travel on a budget on Maui?
Visiting in low- or shoulder-season will cut down substantially on both airfares and costs on the island. There are a number of budget-friendly hostels on Maui, as well as plenty of home sharing options for less than $80 (although don’t expect these cheaper options to be located on the best beaches). You can also save money on food by forgoing the fine dining options and eating at local diners instead, or just picking up some groceries at the store. While there are plenty of activities to spend money on in Maui, don’t forget that hanging out at the beach or the pool is free.
11) What are the top things to do in Maui?
While the interior of Maui has lots to see and do (see #5), it’s no secret that most people plan their trips around the water. Like other parts of Hawaii, Maui is famous for its surfing. Head to Honolua Bay, Ho’okipa Beach, or Peahi to enjoy watching the pros catch a wave. If you want to try it yourself for the first time, choose a less-intimidating spot like Ka’anapali, Lahaina, or Kihei for a lesson. Maui also offers plenty of options for scuba diving, paddleboarding, jet skiing, kayaking, and more.
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