Guide to Planning a Visit to Maui

Haleakala volcano Sunrise
Sunrise at 10000 feet from the summit of Haleakala volcano on the tropical island of Maui, Hawaii. Pierre Leclerc Photography / Getty Images

Before you visit Maui, it’s helpful to learn a bit about the island itself and the people who live there. You can then begin to research your trip and plan your time on Maui. On which part of the island should you stay? What are the must see attractions and top activities that you won’t want to miss?

Get to Know the Island of Maui

Maui is the second largest and most populous of the Hawaiian Islands and the island consistently voted "Best Island in the World" in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. The best place to start when planning a Maui vacation is with our complete guide to Maui, it will lead you in the right direction on things like when to visit, what to do, where to stay and how to get there. Perhaps most importantly, you'll learn about money saving tips as well. With its many different microclimates and types of terrains, getting to know the specific areas around Maui is a significant step in planning a trip. The most popular area is Lahaina, a vibrant tourist destination with no shortage of things to do or beautiful beaches to enjoy. If you're looking for an area with less crowds, consider Ma'alaea or Upcountry Maui.

Get to Know the People of Maui and Hawaii

It's also really useful to learn a bit about the people and culture of Hawaii before planning a trip to Maui. It's a lot different than you may be used to on the mainland or in other countries. Learning a few key phrases and words before your vacation will come in handy as well (and maybe even impress some residents). For example, "mahalo" means "thank you" in Hawaiian and "ono" means delicious. Also, remember that "wahine" means female and "kane" means male (you'll need to know this one for the restroom). If you find yourself in front of a sign that says "kapu," understand that this means "restricted," "keep-out" or "sacred." A great way to learn more about the people of Maui in a short period of time is by attending a luau.

Planning Your Trip

While you're still at home, there's a lot you can do to help make your trip a success. Careful planning can save you lots of money and aggravation once you reach Hawaii. Check out our guides to the top ten reasons for visiting Hawaii, how to make the most out of a family vacation with children on Maui and how to spend six days on the island.

Maui's World Class Resorts

Maui is known for having some of the top resort areas in the world. The most popular include the Ka'anapali Beach Resort, the Kapalua Resort area and the Wailea Resort area. Most of the top resort hotels on Maui are found in these three resort areas. No matter what type of vacation you're looking for, Maui has an accommodation and neighborhood to fit your needs.

Choosing Things to See and Do on Maui

Once you've booked your airfare, selected your hotel or resort and arranged for your rental car, plan some things to do and see. Start by studying a map of the island and finding out what types of attractions and activities are nearby. If you're sticking to a budget, Maui has plenty of free things to do around the island to help save you money for the unforgettable—and pricey—activities such as zip lining and helicopter tours.

Best Attractions on Maui

There are several places on Maui that you definitely do not want to miss. If you only have time to do a few things, make sure that you make the time for the Haleakala National Park Summit Area, a drive to Upcountry Maui and the North Shore of the island. A drive along the East side of the island on the Hana Highway (known fondly as the Road to Hana) is one of the most popular activities on Maui. Fans of snorkeling won't want to leaving without taking a day tour to the Molokini islet. Or, get truly one with nature on one of Maui's breathtaking hikes. Don't forget to spend some time at the beach!

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