I can’t tell you how many people have traveled to Hawaii with their families slash significant others, super stoked to meet up and have me show them around, only to discover that Waikiki, Kona, or Princeville is not actually on Maui. Not even a little bit. So the first way to fail on Maui is not to be here at all.
But the list doesn’t end there.
How to Fail at Life on Maui
Eat Only at Places You’re Familiar With
The first time I ever traveled to Hawaii was right after high school graduation with my mom and grandparents. And being the habitual eaters they so definitely are, my grandparents could not wait to eat at Tony Roma’s on Oahu. There’s nothing wrong with Tony Roma’s… everyone likes a good rib every now and then, but come on! Traveling several thousand miles away from home to eat the exact same food you eat at home is just plain silliness.
There are several chain restaurants on Maui – Outback Steakhouse, Ruby’s Diner, McDonald’s, Subway, Denny’s, Panda Express, California Pizza Kitchen, etc. – and if you want to eat the same stuff you can find almost anywhere else in the country because you “like what you like”, you can definitely do that. I’m just saying that you’re missing out on tons of amazing local food, and that’s a fail in my book.
Explore Your Resort, and That’s It
I love resorts. They exist for a reason, and that reason is they’re totally awesome. If you say you don’t enjoy sipping alcohol from a coconut whilst dipping your feet in a fancy pool and staring at a white sand beach and turquoise water, you’re lying. The point is, I get it.
Another point, however, is that you’ve come all this way to enjoy yourself, and beyond taking some time to relax on your beautiful resort beach, that should include leaving and enjoying at least some of what Maui has to offer, which is a ton of things! There’s a volcano, a rainforest, 81 beaches, lava tubes, a winery, a brewery, a lavender farm, waterfalls, botanical gardens, historic sites, festivals, hiking trails, cloud forests, and a giant ocean containing millions of things to look at. Check it out. Explore. Otherwise you’d be just as happy in Cancun for a fraction of the price.
Overuse Your Selfie Stick
Believe it or not, selfie sticks aren’t absolutely necessary for travel. In fact, I could make the argument that they’re absolutely necessary never. But if you insist on selfie-ing your way through Maui (or life, for that matter), please do your future self a favor and remember to set down your selfie stick in order to use your eyeballs to capture a ‘reverse selfie’, a term formerly known as looking.
People will still believe you were here even if you aren’t the star of every photo you take. I promise.
Rely Too Heavily on a Guidebook
Guidebooks are a great tool for efficiently discovering some of the best things to do and see in a brand new place, but they aren’t meant to dictate your entire trip. If you only eat, drink, do, go and see the places listed in your guidebook, not only does that require a ton of planning and scheduling (vacation bummer alert), but it also narrows your chances of enjoying spontaneous sights and experiences. Make a note about the things you are most interested in, but leave some of your trip open to chance and local recommendations once you arrive. The scenery outside is much nicer than pages 40 to 47.
Let the Ocean Destroy You
Y’all. The ocean is a powerful place. And just because you’re talented at floating on top of it, scuba diving at the bottom of it, identifying fish in it or sailing atop it does not mean you are prepared to swim in it on Maui. The waves can be huge here, and while the most popular beaches are popular specifically because they’re designed not to destroy the average traveler, there are exceptions. Ahem, Big Beach.
When heading to the nearest beautiful beach on Maui, make sure to ‘reverse selfie’ the shorebreak, wave frequency and intensity for at least a few minutes before going in. The lifeguards will thank you. That being said, don’t be too afraid or embarrassed to ask for help if you’re in danger!
Try to Speak like a Local
Maui is not France. No one is going to get mad at you for not learning how to speak Hawaiian before you arrive. Even worse, some people think it’s necessary to attempt Pidgin, which sounds truly ridiculous unless you know what you’re doing.
If you’d like to add other recommendations for failing on Maui, please feel free to do so in the comments below, and as always, mahalo for reading!