My last night on Maui, I slept on a beach. My friends and I arrived after dark, pitched our tents, and fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing just a few feet away. We awoke to this view:
It was the perfect end to two months in Hawai’i, and it’s also the end of my blog posts about that trip.
People think it sounds ridiculous when I tell them I lived on Maui for two months, but I’ve learned that traveling to “dream” destinations doesn’t have to be expensive. I spent less than $1,500 to enjoy two months on Maui, and at least half of that went towards my flights from Boston to Kahului and back.
Now, I took the extreme money-saving route by WWOOFing — working on an organic farm in exchange for room and board. I worked 25 hours a week, but the rest of my time was spent hiking, going to the beach, and hanging out with my fellow WWOOFers. I wrote about the pros and cons of WWOOFing on Maui, and if you don’t think the experience is for you, there are other ways to visit Hawai’i on the cheap.
Lodging: Believe it or not, there are hostels on Maui. Rainbow Surf Hostel in Paia comes recommended by the WWOOFers at Hana Farms, although I’ve never stayed there myself. A bed in a dorm room there will only set you back $30/night.
Food: Buying groceries and cooking some meals for yourself can help you save money. Plus, there are stands selling fresh fruit everywhere. Remember, the smaller the stand, the cheaper the fruit is likely to be. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could forage. One of the WWOOFers consistently went running and came home with beautiful avocados that he found on the side of the road.
Transportation: Hitchhike. Seriously, everybody does it. If you want a vehicle of your own, rent a car with character from a local company like Maui Vans or Maui Cruisers. You’ll need to book a week or two in advance.
And remember, going to the beach is free. This includes resort beaches. If you just walk on, no one is going to know you aren’t staying at the resort.
This USA Today article has some other, less extreme, tips to save money on your Hawai’ian vacation.
But I don’t think it gets any better than pitching a tent on a secluded beach.