We are very fortunate to have been to Maui 4 times as a couple, twice with Braden and we just took Ethan for his first time. Maui is quite an expensive trip as you don’t get your “all inclusive” deals, but it is the travel destination for so many people for a reason. It’s tropical with the climate only varying 10º year round, yet it’s also westernized and you don’t have to worry about the food or contracting weird diseases.
We travel to Maui using rewards points, if not we would have to do quite a bit of saving, at the time of writing this post on the cheapest days to travel it would cost our family of four ~$2100 to get there direct. That being said, I highly recommend getting a direct flight if it’s available to you. I hate connecting flights when I’m flying by myself, never mind with two young children! WestJet travels direct during daylight hours, which is awesome. The airplanes they use do not have live TV and movies to watch, but it’s a small sacrifice.
I also spent $160 pre-booking our seats at the recommendation of my sister-in-law who went to Maui with her family of 4 last year. She told me they wouldn’t have been able to sit together if she hadn’t spent the well-worth-it money pre-booking. I figure that makes sense because the two flights I took last year I checked in 24 hours before my flight and there was only about 8 seats to choose from, so a lot of people must pre-book their seats now. Our flight on the way to Maui was full, but our flight on the way home was only about 60% full and we had the back two rows to ourselves which was awesome. You can read my tips for flying with a toddler post too!
Again, you’re going to spend more money on accommodations because there aren’t all-inclusive deals to Maui. My in-laws stay at the same condo every year and book it one year in advance. Most hotels are going to charge a minimum of $150/night (and that is a rare, low price) and more the average of about $250 per night on Maui.
Instead of a hotel, try a condo or even a home! A fully furnished “home away from home” is great (and a must, in my opinion) for a family with young kids. Rather than having 1 or 2 rooms in a hotel, you get a whole condo or house with bathrooms and a kitchen to save on your food budget.
- AirBNB (air bed and breakfast) $150/night to as much as you want
- VRBO (vacation rental by owner) $140/night to as much as you want
The lower costing accommodations at the rental-by-owner sites are usually a 1 bedroom with pull out couch, but there are a LOT of very reasonably priced 2 bedroom condos and even full houses with a lot of choices all over the island to stay.
Baby Equipment Rental
Depending on the age of your baby/toddler/child, you might need to rent some items for your stay on Maui. This is what I rented for our last trip:
- Standard crib
- White noise machine
- Beach toys
- Boogie board
- Life jackets for the kids
- Indoor toys
I have used the company Easy Travel Service on Maui our last two trips and have nothing but good things to say. In all honesty, their website isn’t terribly appealing on the eyes and even looks a bit sketchy, but I can vouch for them! $6/day for a crib with bedding which is so much more comfortable than a pack and play was so worth it, my kids shared a room and need white noise to sleep (the ocean helps too!) and having some indoor toys for when we were at the condo were so nice to have—they played with trucks, that little laptop you see in the picture and loved reading books that came in the toy tub. Our condo has a swimming pool, and of course there’s the ocean, so I got life jackets instead of lugging ours across the ocean and they were used multiple times a day. I didn’t originally order a monitor, but found I needed one as the waves (if you’re staying right by the ocean) were too loud to hear Ethan if he needed us.
You have to rent a vehicle when you’re on Maui, unless you know someone there who will chauffeur you around. Expect to pay approximately $50/day on a standard SUV like a Jeep Grand Cherokee, or if you want to go a bit smaller for a family of 4, you can rent a midsize SUV like a Jeep Cherokee for about $45/day. Keep in mind you have to fit all your luggage in there too. I used Priceline.com and bid on a standard SUV for $38/night and I won (see more on this below).. I’m not sure if it was a fluke, but we rented through National car rental and the service was phenomenal and we had no line ups getting our rental or dropping it off.
We highly recommend choosing one driver so you don’t have to pay extra for insurance; spouses are free to add. Speaking of insurance, give your insurance company a call to make sure your vehicle insurance covers you on rental vehicles. Since you’re traveling with children you will need car seats and/or boosters. For ages 3 and younger I recommend flying with your car seat and for 4 and older I would check your own booster/car seat on the plane. You can rent seats and boosters through rental car companies and travel companies, but I don’t feel safe doing this and prefer to use my own; they also can’t guarantee to have what you need so why take the risk?
This can be as cheap as going to the beach or as luxurious as doing a helicopter tour. Here are some things we’ve enjoyed where we stay in the Lahaina/Ka’anapali area:
- Shopping in Lahaina: great store and restaurants, also visit the Banyan tree
- Boat/ferry ride and tour to the island of Lanai (day trip)
- Whale watching
We found that the thing our boys loved the most was swimming in our condo’s pool, walking around the grounds and short trips to the beach. Sometimes simple is easiest and the most entertaining with young kids; make your entertainment what you will and what works for your family. Our boys absolutely love trains, so the first time we went to Maui with Braden, we did the Maui Sugar Cane Train. Unfortunately it was under new ownership when we went and closed, but it will re-open sometime this year. Is it overpriced? Yes. But for two boys who LOVE trains, it was worth it for me. I do not recommend the Maui aquarium, it’s way too expensive and I feel that luaus are for adults or older kids with attention spans.
The boys really loved the whale tour we did, it ended up being the only tour we did with them and that’s all they needed. I highly encourage and recommend to book your whale tours with the Pacific Whale Foundation. They use your money to go to whale research and their tours are educational and absolutely phenomenal!
Make Money Booking Your Trip
Yes! Before I go on, this is not a sponsored post but I love this service so much I am sharing my referral link because I think everyone should be using it! What am I talking about? Ebates! They have a whole travel and vacation section and anytime I’m spending any money online, I always always ALWAYS see if I can be getting cash back on Ebates. You can get 1% up to 10% cash back on your travel purchases.
Other Words of Wisdom
It’s hard for kids (and adults!) to be away from home, so I did everything I could to make our condo as much like home as possible. That 3 hour time change (for us in Alberta) to Maui was really hard on the kids and my 2 year old really only started adjusting towards the end of our trip.
I brought our Apple TV as it’s really small and as along as you have Wifi where you’re staying (most places should) you can stream your Netflix and Apple iTunes shows that you’re used to at home. You can read more about Apple TV here, and this way you don’t have to lug DVDs with you. Speaking of which, don’t bother with portable DVD players unless your plane has an electrical plugin (ours didn’t) or yours can run off of a battery.
MAKE SURE YOU BUY TRAVEL MEDICAL INSURANCE! Or at the least, make sure that your insurance plan (if you have one) covers travel medical. The last two times we have gone, I needed to go to the clinic for something minor and this last time BOTH of my kids were so sick and needed 3 clinic visits and 4 prescription medications between the two of them. I spent $698.05 USD out of my own pocket to cover my kid’s medical expenses. I will get most, if not all, that money back because I spent $80 on a family travel medical insurance package through AMA.
Best wishes on your travels to Maui!
Disclosure: This blog post is not sponsored, I was not paid to write it and it is based on my own opinion. It does contain affiliate links to help offset the costs of running this blog. Thanks in advance for your support.