Maui is expensive. But… it doesn’t have to be. It depends on what you do and where you spend, and where you choose to save. Many of the recommendations I’ve made here are for the traveler who likes to have a wonderful time and not break the bank to do it. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you calculate how much money to bring.
- Lodging – $300 per night up to $1200 a night (average) for a typical 4-family accommodation. Plan for resort fees of around $25 per day, housekeeping tips of $5-$20 per day, bellman tips of $1-3 per bag. Bring this down by staying in an AirBnb.
- Airfare – $600 – $1200 each ticket, roundtrip for coach from the mainland USA, typically. Pricing can be less or more depending on demand. Business and first class are 2 – 10 times more. Bring this down by using apps like “Hopper” and cruising for the best deals.
- Transportation – you need a car. Period. Public transportation will not take you where you want to go. It’s for locals, by and large. Car costs range and you can get older cars (like Kimo’s rent a car) for less money, or newer, fancy cars from Alamo and the like for $125/day and more. If you want insurance, add that too. Gas is about 50% higher than the mainland. Bring this down by renting from places you find on Page 2 and 3 of google. Rent an older car that works. Skip the convertible. It’s hot and you’ll get a sunburn anyway (says the woman who had a convertible for 8 years).
- Gratuitites – 20% is expected for all services, with the exception of what’s noted above. Bring this down by not doing tipped things as much – not by being a cheapskate.
- Excursions – plan for $100 per person for each activity you do. Some are less, some are way more, but this is average. Plan for 1 excursion per day for the whole family if you want to do touristy things (budgeting this way allows you to have less excursions but better ones like helicopters). If you hit the trails, many of them are only a park entrance fee that you pay by the car load ($5 to $25). Plan to tip your host or tourguide $5-$20 each. Bring this down by doing self-guided excursions as I mentioned in other sections.
- Food – you’re going to pay a premium on everything you put in your mouth on Maui. Food, drinks, and groceries will be 30% – 100% higher than you’re used to on the mainland, USA. Typically spend $200 for a dinner for four? Plan to spend double that. Plan for three meals per day + 1 snack per person. Bring this down by staying in the AirBnb and making your own breakfast and packing lunches. Use the grocery stores to your advantage.
- Spending Money – I recommend $100 per person per day for fun, doo-dads, luxury goods, souvenirs, and whatnot. Bring this down by making more memories and bringing home less crap you’ll never look at!
A recent full-cost non-budget vacation cost me $1200 for round trip airfare for two (total), 14 days of lodging at $325 per night including taxes + $25 per day resort fee ($4,900 total), car rental ($1,750 total) + gas of about $200 total, excursions of $800 total for both of us, food was $225 per day average for a $3,150 total, and spending money of $1000 each for $2,000 total. The total cost of my two week trip was $14,000 not including gratuities or airport parking or transportation locally.
I’ve also spent half of that on a longer trip (and had a better time!) by taking the “Bring this down by” tips I shared above.
Plan ahead and you’ll have a better trip by knowing exactly what you want, and budgeting accordingly.