Maui Part 1 – Airline, Hotel, and Car

Hubby and I love Maui. For those who know us well, this is an understatement. We would move to Maui if we could. We have been on Maui every year since our honeymoon and we moved to the West coast to be closer to the island.

It started out as the cliche honeymoon: I had never been to a beach and hubby had never been to Hawaii, we went to Hawaii on our honeymoon. We took two weeks and spent one week on Maui and one week on Oahu. As our Maui friend Lorraine said regarding Oahu when she heard how long we were staying “Too long”. To say the least, we didn’t like Oahu. The Pearl Harbor museum was definitely worth our trip there and we broke that up into 3 separate days. Otherwise, Oahu is too busy. I likened the main thoroughfare to Michigan Avenue in Chicago. :/

We have also been to the islands of Lana’i (day trip) and Hawaii (The Big Island). If you want some chill time, Lana’i seems like the place to go. We liked the vibe we got there during our brief visit.

The Big Island we did not like as much. The one thing on The Big Island that is worth going to see would be the lava flow. Unfortunately, the lava moved right before we visited and we couldn’t see it. :/ If you are a big resort person, The Big Island would probably be a place you would like. We aren’t, so eh.

I think the big reason we like Maui so much is it is very laid back. Plus other than the road going up the middle, the ocean is pretty much always visible while driving. There might be spots where you aren’t as close, but wait 5 minutes and you will see the ocean again. We also like that there is so much to do on Maui. I’ll get into some of those items in future posts, but let’s just say snorkeling is a ton of fun.

So let’s start with the big three things you need to book before heading to Maui:


  1. Hawaiian Airlines is our favorite by far.
    • They do flying right and their stewards/stewardesses earn their money. Unlike other airlines, they are always busy and don’t just sit in the back after serving drinks.
    • Everyone is so friendly. From the check-in, to the boarding, to the stewards/stewardesses, to the pilots, and to the people on the plane. I guess people are going to paradise, so everybody is happy.
    • The stewards/stewardesses are constantly bringing you something be it drinks, snacks, or [gasp] you get dinner in coach. 😀
  2. Alaskan is our second favorite.
  3. Delta
  4. American Airlines

Car Rental:

Yes, you will need a car. We use Dollar rental which is pretty big on Maui. They are ok…it’s a rental company, so whichever you like is probably fine.

Note: Sometimes you can get a deal with the hotel for a reduced rate on a car. So, shop around.

We HIGHLY recommend a Jeep. I mean…seriously…get a Jeep. If you want to get a convertible, go to Oahu. Maui is a place to have fun seeing and doing things. A Jeep puts you up higher than a car and if you need to park on the side of a road, a Jeep is the vehicle to do it. No, I don’t own a Jeep or know anyone who works for them. It’s just a very practical vehicle for Maui.

Hotel/Place to stay:

First time: Stay in or near Lahaina, HI it’s where most people stay. Leave staying in Hana for your next visit. Napili, HI is just down the road from Lahaina, so that would work as well, but stay on the West side of Maui.

A lot of people stay in Kihei, HI. Personally, I don’t like it. I don’t like even just driving through it. Why? Well, the vibe just isn’t right over in Kihei. It’s just not our jam. If it’s yours, bully to you. Note: There is good snorkeling and hiking past Kihei.

  1. Our preferred place to stay is actually a VRBO. I’m not going to give it out because it’s already hard to book as it is. I am self-serving here.
  2. But seriously, if you want to have a more private experience than a hotel, VRBO is the way to go. There are a lot of them out there.

    Things to watch for:

    • Great reviews
    • Pictures of the unit
    • Additional Parking costs
    • Towel service or at least a washer/dryer
    • Other fees added onto the hotel room cost
  3. Our second preferred place to stay is a hotel: Royal Lahaina
    • We stayed here two years in a row when we first started going to Maui. Our first year we stayed in the hotel which was very very nice inside. Our second year we stayed in the cottages. They are not as fancy, but are still nice and perfect for cleaning snorkeling equipment.
    • The best part about Royal Lahaina is that it is near Black Rock and is the side where you enter the water to snorkel around Black Rock.
    • Another cool thing is eating breakfast outside and watching the whales during whale season. There are also lots of Myna birds around and they are smart. We enjoyed watching them.
    • Sometimes there is a special where you can include breakfast and a car rental with your hotel.
    • Note: You will have to pay extra (like most hotels) to park your car.

    We have stayed other places, but I wouldn’t recommend them and I’m not going to mention them here because well you know how lawyers are.

    This ends Part 1 of Maui things to know. Keep an eye out for future episodes.