We all want our vacations to be luxurious and fun, however Maui can be expensive and the luxury hotels coupled with airfare from the mainland can put such an event out of reach for a young couple or family. The alternative to staying in an inexpensive hotel is to opt for a luxury condo. Many of the large hotel chains in Maui have built luxurious one and two bedroom condominiums adjacent to their properties. These suites have full kitchens, large lanais and whirlpool baths. The big advantage at staying at one of these properties is that in most cases you share the resort hotel amenities like pools, spas, golf courses etc. There are many other condominiums that are not affiliated with large hotel chains. These also offer outstanding values but will not have all the amenities that a large hotel resort will offer. In many cases, the condos are better furnished than the hotel rooms of the same resort. Vacationing in a condo is a little different then staying in a hotel and in many ways better.
The first difference to come to grips with is that most condos only offer clean up services once a week. You can get daily maid service but the cost is high and if this is important to you may want to stay in a hotel. The condos all come equipped with laundries and cleaning supplies so you can easily maintain your unit if you desire. It is nice to air dry your swimsuit in the dryer between beach excursions. It is also nice to be able to pack light and wash your travel clothes in the washing machine while you soak in the in room Jacuzzi tub.
Outside of airfare and hotel, the next biggest expense is food and drink while you are on vacation. You are on vacation so you don’t want to cook all the time right? However the full kitchen is a great place to make your breakfast and prepare lunches for the excursion, beach or pool. This will save you a lot of money with little work and still allow you to have exquisite dinners at Roy’s, Pacifico or any other fine Maui restaurant. Or if you don’t want eat out every night you can grille and eat dinner on your Lanai.
Traveling to a condo means packing for a condo. Everything is expensive in Maui. We pack coffee, sugar packets and condiments. Little bottles of ketchup and mustard will help you season your condo meals. You will find everything you need in the condo from pots and pans to wine glasses and blenders but NO condiments. Try to plan ahead to the meals you will cook in your condo and bring what you want from home. Also bring a collapsible, packable cooler, which will serve you well during your travels. Don’t forget coffee filters.
When you land in Kahului you will more then likely rent a car to travel to your condo. Stop at the COSCO outside of the airport and stock up. Everything will be cheaper there then it will be on the resort sides of the island. Unpack your foldable cooler and put eggs, veggies,deli and bread in there for the 45 minute drive across the island to the Kihei or Lahaina resort areas. Makes sure you buy plenty of water and also purchase any alcohol before you leave the Kahului area. Also if you have infants either bring diapers with you or buy them at Costco. You will save a lot of money this way. Once you are in your condo remember the one golden rule, never buy anything at the condo store. There are supermarkets throughout the island that will be less expensive although most things cost significantly more then on the mainland. Use the supermarkets to buy produce, fish and meats during your stay. Try to buy things that are produced in Maui. This is also true when dinning out, the Mahi Mahi will be line caught the day you eat it, save the lobster dinner for your trip to Maine. Maui does have farms and raises most of the beef served on the island.
Take advantage of the resort amenities. Some of the pools may only be available to hotel guests but will have incredible pool facilities at their condos. They usually offer discounts on excursions, snorkeling and diving trips and luaus. Some condo resorts even have their own luau. Also visit a snorkel shop like Snorkel Bob’s and rent the equipment for the length of your stay. It is cheaper then renting at the resort and the equipment is better. There is nothing better then getting up early and grabbing your snorkel bag and just walk out to beach to wake up in the water. Most of the resorts will bribe you with free drinks to visit their restaurants and it is usually worth it. The Pan Asian Sushi restaurant in the Hilton is the best in the island. They will also give you discounts coupons for excursions.
Doing your research ahead of time will save you a lot of money and time when you hit the islands. Keeping in mind these folks are experts in marketing. Sure you can rent a snorkel and mask real cheap but it will leak and fog up. You may be able to get one snorkel excursion at half the cost of the other but be on a boast with 100 people rather then on a boat with 20 people. The money you will save by doing your research, packing and shopping properly will allow you enjoy some exquisite dinners and fantastic excursions. Have fun and don’t forget the sun tan lotion.