Doing Maui cheaply . . . yes, it's possible!
by, 04-02-2012 at 12:36 AM (631 Views)
I just returned from nine days on Maui and I'm happy to report that I still have a bank account. As you probably know, Hawaii is extremely expensive, but there are ways to get around that if you're willing to plan ahead. My wife and I both have Alaska Air credit cards, which entitle each to an annual $99 companion ticket. (It was $50 until a year or two ago.) Since we were bringing our two teenagers, we had to pay full fare for only two of us, meaning that I saved around $400 on each of the kid's tickets (total savings of $800). My wife and I each have a Hyatt Visa card that came with two free nights, so not only did we stay at the Hyatt Kaanapali for free for four nights, but we didn't even have to pay the $25 per night resort fee. With rooms going for around $400 per night, including tax, we saved approximately $1700. Our partial ocean view room was very nice, but the wallpaper started peeling off in a corner of the room so we were upgraded to an ocean view room and given a $50 resort credit. Our room had a small refrigerator, so we stocked up at a local health food store in Kahului and made our own breakfasts and lunches. We splurged on dinners, eating at the Lahaina Grill our first night, at Roy's the second night, and at Hula Grill the third night. Roy's was our favorite restaurant on Maui when we lived there and in a strange coincidence, Alaska Airlines had placed $10 per person coupons on every seat prior to our flight, saving us another $40. The four of us went on a Molokini and Lanai snorkeling and whale watching trip one day. The ocean was too choppy for us to snorkel at Molokini or Lanai, so we snorkeled close to the Maui shoreline. We saw tons (literally) of whales, including a mother and calf twenty feet from our boat, and two whales breaching. At one point, several dolphins swam beside us. As we headed back to the dock, the captain announced on the loudspeaker that, because we weren't able to snorkel at Molokini or Lanai, everybody would get half their money back. We had an awesome trip and weren't expecting that! We spent our last four nights at a friend's house in Hana, so we didn't have any lodging expense there.
All told, we saved around $2700, which is a good start to our next vacation. I have no idea where that will be, but I'm already scouring Luxury Link and looking for some packages to buy.