Hawaii on a budget

Lauren has been traveling the world with everything she needs in a backpack since 2013. Her passions are exploring the world, cooking, yoga, night swimming, and hot baths. She writes about budget travel for Indie Travel Guru and leads Women's Adventure Tours.

Kihei is the perfect spot for travelers who want to experience Hawaii on a budget.

This area was once considered “Kamaʻole,” which means “barren.” This area of Southern Maui was hot, dry, and desolate. In the late 1960s, irrigation systems brought water and rapid development, but the growth wasn’t planned. As a result, the town lacks the landscaping and lushness of some of Hawaii’s pricier districts. It feels like exactly what it is — a city cobbled together in the 1970s. But the beaches are wide and sunny, and if you’re willing to sacrifice elegant landscaping, Kihei offers a Hawaiian vacation at a bargain price.

Come During the Off-Season to Discover Hawaii on a Budget

Airfares to Hawaii are often several hundred dollars less during the off-season. Because the climate around Kihei is hot and dry, you can enjoy this area any time of year. The off-peak season in Hawaii is the last two weeks of January and all of February, but the beach in Kihei will still be sunny and dry. September and October are also slower times in Hawaii.

Budget Lodging

The best deals in Kihei are often privately-owned condos, rooms, or apartments.

The Maui Banyan Vacation Club is a condo timeshare arrangement. The rooms with private balconies and beachfront location are comparable to a much more expensive hotel. You’ll give up front desk and maid services in exchange for a more delightful vacation space. You’ll also get kitchen facilities, which bargain-hunting travelers know is pure gold. Paying restaurant prices for every cup of coffee or ham sandwich wreaks havoc on the budget.

If you prefer the service and security of a hotel, you’ll have plenty to choose from. The Days Inn Maui Oceanfront is a fantastic find. It’s priced like a midwestern hotel but located right on the beach on Maui. You can often get a similar price for The Maui Coast Hotel, which has slightly more comfortable rooms, with a location just off the beach.

LGBT travelers will enjoy the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort. Prices are higher, but the service is excellent, and the resort offers spacious suites, a rooftop terrace, a salt-water pool, and world-class service.

Find the Fun in Kihei

The beach is the reason to come to Kihei, and you’ll spend most of your time stretched out on the sand, soaking up the sun and views, or splashing in the surf. Snorkeling, surfing, and building sandcastles are also popular Kihei pastimes.

When you’re ready for a break from the beaches, the area has plenty of other activities on tap. Makena Stables will take you on horseback to see the trails, volcanoes, and lava fields of the island. Riding is a spectacular way to enjoy the rugged natural beauty of Southern Maui.

Windsurfing, kitesurfing, and cycling are available at the beach. Restaurants and shopping are everywhere. The Humpback Whale Sanctuary Visitor’s Center is in Kihei as well.

Want more money-saving travel tips? Visit Indie Travel Guru and learn how to travel the world on a shoestring budget.