I’m one of those people who decided that I wanted my ‘real’ life to be most peoples ‘dream’ life, so I upped and moved to Maui.  Were my friends and family jealous?!? Of course, I live in Hawaii!  That’s why I put together a list of ‘Maui Insider Tips’ to help my friends and family out before they come to visit.

I have an open invitation policy at my house.  Thats right, you can come visit me anytime you want as long as I’m on island.  I had 28 different people come visit me within the first 6 months of living here.  Let me do some math real quick…

6 months = 180 Days

Days ÷ # of people who came to visit = Average time spent on Maui in days

180  ÷  28  =  6.42857143 

Number of People ÷ Number of Months = Average Person Per Month

28  ÷  6  =  4.6666666

In other words each person spent just under a week here on Maui and I had an average of 4.7 people visit a month.  You get what I’m saying, I had someone visiting me everyday for 6 months.

What does it matter about how many people came to visit me you ask?  It means I want my guests to be prepared…i.e. Maui itinerary, packing list, inspiration, hikes, where to stay,  budget…well you get the point.  I just want everyone to have the BEST possible time!  So you can trust me when I give some advice about traveling to Maui.

Planning a trip to multiple islands?  Check out these 21 Hawaii Tips (What Not to do).

Maui travel tips to Know before you go

For full transparency, I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post which gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. As always, I would never recommend a product or service that I didn't truely believe in. If you find this post useful, you can also treat Jess to a cup coffee by clicking the icon on the bottom of the page. This will allow me to continue to create more content for you to enjoy ☕️. 

Jeep on a black rock beach on Maui

1. Rent a Car/Jeep

The first of the Maui travel tips is the best tip you’ll get.  Rent a car!

Maui is one of the few places that I’d recommend renting a car because there are so many beautiful places to explore that you can’t get to by public transportation.

One of the top attractions on Maui is braving the road to Hana.  The 64 mile road connects the town of Kahului to the Hana on the Eastern side of Maui.

There are several places to stop and explore along the Hana Highway.  Waterfalls, fresh fruit smoothie stands, and places to pull off that give you dramatic views of the coastline just to name a few.

Driving around West Maui also requires your own wheels and you won’t want to miss out on this experience.  Highlights include Honolua Bay, the Ohai Trail, Slaughterhouse Beach, Nakalele BlowholeOlivine Pools and the Waihee Ridge.

And if you want to get off-the-beaten path by driving the backside of Haleakala to Hana also requires your own transportation.

These activities are best enjoyed when you have your own form of transportation. This way you can take your time and have more freedom as theres no right or wrong way to drive it.

Of course if you’re not into renting a car public transportation is available.  There is a bus that can take to you the major parts of the island.

It is the most cost effective but is not the most time effective.  I would not recommend it.

Maui also has LYFT and UBER although its not the cheapest.

Black sand beach on Maui

2. Why is Maui so Expensive?

You hear that Hawaii is expensive and it doesn’t truly register until you’re buying a pack of gum that costs $5.  Yes a gallon of milk is $9 but theres an easy way around that…Don’t drink milk.  Now talk about Hawaii travel tip!

Everything, even the local produce is a hefty penny.  It’s a small or should I say large price to pay when you want to vacation to paradise.

Maui is an eden like island that is worth every penny in my book.  As long you mentally prepare for some steep prices you’ll be able to focus on the beauty and adventure that awaits for you on your Maui vacation!

Top of Haleakala National Park

3. It Still Gets Cold on Maui

This past winter it got so cold that it snowed atop Haleakala (the volcano that formed Maui) and you could see the white accumulated snow from on top of the crater for several days after the storm.

So yes depending on where you are on the island, Maui has the potential to get pretty cold.  If you’re visiting Haleakala Crater for sunrise or sunset the temperatures can be in the 30’s so plan accordingly.  Find out exactly what to pack for Maui to ensure yoe’re fully prepared.

Maui Insider Tip:  If you’re in a jam bring your hotel robe if applicable or a beach towel to stay warm. 

The best stop on the road to Hana Hookipa

4. Summer Time Temperatures can be Brutal

On the opposite end of the spectrum parts of Maui can get very, very hot.  Yes you guessed it, I’m talking about West Maui in the town of Lahaina.

Lahaina in Hawaiian when translated means ‘cruel merciless sun’.  I know this to be true because I live in Lahaina.  Temperatures especially in the summer stay in the high 80’s.  

That might not sound that hot, but with no cloud coverage or off shore winds the sun is relentless and won’t give you a break.

Stay hydrated and take cover in the shops and restaurants as you explore Lahaina town and walk up and down Front Street.

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    The Best time to Visit Maui

    5. Wear Reef Safe Sunscreen 

    You can also bring your own sunscreen but it has to be reef safe!  Hawaii recently passed a law that bans the sale of sunscreen containing the coral-harming chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.

    These chemicals are said to be contributing to the destruction of the coral reef and causes bleaching of the reefs.  Although the law does not go into effect until January 1, 2021 many locals and tourists are already on board.

    Here is a list of reef safe sunscreens made in Hawaii

    • Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian SPF 50 Natural Zinc Sunscreen
    • Mama Kuleana Waterproof SPF 30 Reef-safe Sunscreen
    • Little Hands Hawaii SPF 35+ All-natural and Organic Sunscreen
    • Red Gecko SPF 30 All-natural Sunscreen

    Other reef safe sunscreens made elsewhere

    • Badger SPF 30 Active Mineral Sunscreen Cream for Face and Body
    • Sun Bum – Vegan SPF 30
    • Beauty by Earth SPF 25
    • Two Peas Organic SPF 30
    • Tropical Sands SPF 30
    • Manda Organic SPF 50 Sun ste
    • *Raw Love SPF 35 All-natural Mineral Sunscreen
    • Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen
    • All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion
    • Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion
    • Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen
    • Raw Elements SPF 30 Certified Natural Sunscreen
    • Stream2Sea SPF 30 Mineral Sunblock
    • Loving Naturals Clear Body SPF 30+ All-natural Sunscreen
    • Reef Safe Oxybenzone Free Biodegradable SPF 50 Sunscreen
    • Banana Boat Simply Protect SPF 50+ Sunscreen (spray, not lotion)

    Reef Safe Sunscreens for your Face

      Lush Maui from above with waves crashing into the shore

      6. Maui is Bigger than you’ll Anticipate

      How big is Maui?  If you’re really gung ho about it, it is possible to drive all the way around Maui in 1 day.  You’ll be exhausted but it is possible.  Maui is diverse and unique.

      If you want to experience all that Maui has to offer then you’ll have to give yourself more time to explore each area of Maui.

      For example if you are staying in West Maui and you wanted to catch sunrise at Haleakala, it will be at least an hour and a half to get to the summit and thats without traffic.  Although you’ll be able to see Haleakala for most of the drive its a lot farther than it looks.

      Plus, the Pali this is only road that connects the West side to the rest of Maui, so plan on traffic. You just never know and fires and accidents aren’t uncommon to hear.

      Take your Time Exploring Maui: 

      Pineapples at a party

      7.  There’s Not a Big Party Scene

      A lot of my friends would come visit me in Maui expecting a spring break in Cancun scene .  Maui is quite the opposite of that.  On Maui shops and restaurants close by 10 pm and the towns get sleepy.

      Bars that do stay open late will do last call around 1:45 as all drinks must be consumed or off the bar by 2 am.  No exceptions.

      If you’re looking for a wild night out and walking home when the sun comes out, then go to Waikiki where you can dance the night away.  Not saying there isn’t any night life at all, its just not as rambunctious as its neighbor and capital island, Oahu.

      A big wave crashing down

      8.  The Ocean is Powerful & Relentless

      I know this may sound like a no brainer but take this Maui vacation tip with a grain of salt…see what I did there.  If you’re taking surf lessons or just taking dips in between your tanning sessions always be aware of what’s going on around you in the ocean especially on the North Shore.

      There’s no time outs or saying ‘uncle’.  You don’t want to get scraped up and pushed around by the waves.  We call them ‘Hawaiian’ tattoos and that’s not a souvenir you want to take home.

      pair of beach chairs

      9.  Come in Pairs or More

      I was hesitant to put this one on the list as I don’t want to deter the single traveler.  I say come in pairs as I when I first moved to Maui, I had a job that I had to show up to!  

      If you are coming to see me its easier on all of us if you come in pairs that way you can spend a day or two exploring and entertaining each other while I am able to carry on and get my normal duties done for the week.

      As much as I’d love to sit poolside and sip pina colada’s with all my friends all day, everyday, unfortunately sometimes I have to adult.

      Airport beach in Kaanapali Maui

      10. Picture Perfect Maui will make you want to Quit your Day Job & Move Here Immediately

      Maui is stunning every way you look.  It’s no wonder people flock to Hawaii for their dream vacation.  Have aloha and everything else will follow. 


      XX Jess

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      10 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Maui with I'm Jess Traveling
      10 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Maui with I'm Jess Traveling
      10 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Maui with I'm Jess Traveling
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