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Maui Travel Tips & Suggestions

Twenty years ago I stayed in Lahina. I rented a cheap car and drove the Hana coast, which was really beautiful but all in all I wish I had gone to Europe instead. I wish I could have seen Hawaii in the fifties before all the drugs, when locals were still reasonably civil and before the place went to hell for the budget travelers and the poor locals alike. Western-style colonization of these island paradises always ends up ruining them. The greed of the West has ruined all the Pacific Island nations. — Anonymous
Have a ticket to ride home, as being a resident here is not like being a tourist. It is a horrible economy over here for everyone. So if you don't have any money don't come or you will be in the opposite of paradise. — Pueo
Being a resident here is certainly different than being a tourist. Especially now with the global recession. Better make sure you have that ticket to ride home or you are going to be down in out in Hawaii. — Anonymous
They are sick of the invasion of poor mainlanders, not just whites. Go there only if you have money, and you can stay in a hotel. — JJ maui
The racial tension is also from the white folks too. I did live in Maui, and I am not Caucasian, I am Asian, but raised culturally by Caucasians. I speak perfect English. The first time I lived there, I was constantly being yelled at, called a stupid Hawaiian. I do suggest if you are traveling to Maui, that you do not be a belligerent, obnoxious person, as there is only one road in Maui, and a lot of jungle. Hitchhiking is definitely not even for the boys. The worst thing about Maui is that it has the highest concentration of wealthly drug dealers, and not too many other rich legitimate people live, as it also is an easy escape out of the country. — Ann
It's a wonderful place but in the six months I spent there, I met a lot of crazy people. So keep in mind that people are not all nice and friendly -- and don't believe everything they say, even if they have been staying on the island for a while. — Mana
I was one of many people who visited Maui on vacation and promptly decided I wanted to move there. The reality of living in Hawaii is very different from a vacation experience. Beneath the surface of "aloha -- paradise," Hawaii is a very racially-tense environment with extreme poverty and a lot of social problems. It is not an extension of mainland U.S., but rather, an occupied third-world Polynesian island. Cost of living is extremely high due to the lack of economic development -- many people run away to Hawaii to escape the consumer economy of urban U.S.A. Just be aware that a successful experience in Hawaii depends on you having enough money to sustain yourself comfortably while you're there and a plane ticket home. The worst case scenario is if you arrive there with little resources and then end up stranded. Odds are you will not be able to get employment and will certainly struggle to break into the very tight local community which is extremely resentful of American occupation and tourism. You can learn a lot about sustainable living, organic farming, and living in community if you stay in one of the many communes located in the rainy districts of any of the islands, however, you are likely to be surrounded by hippie drifters who are always stoned and don't have their lives together -- there are unfortunately, a lot of broke, lost people drifting around looking for something in Hawaii. Don't be naive traveling in Hawaii -- it is not what it appears on the surface. Keep smart and stay out of the impoverished areas, and most of all -- make sure you have a plane ticket home. I started in Wailuku on Maui, then Paia, then in Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii for two years, scrambling my way through work-trade, physical labor, and maid jobs -- it was an extremely difficult place to live, the racism against whites was excruciating to cope with, the lack of physical safety as a woman, and the lack of support to be able to have a simple life -- and I have a masters university degree! My advice to everyone is to go to Hawaii and stay in a hotel and enjoy the tourist spots and then go home. Don't move there, don't go naively wandering into impoverished areas, and for heaven's sakes -- don't end up stranded there with no direction! — Jill
Hitchhiking on Maui is the best. You can go from one end to the other with no problem. People are cool. There are some dangerous parts, but that is anywhere you go. Be free and full of aloha and no worries. — Anonymous
Hey. I had a great experience doing "work trade" on Maui. I found it very fair and a great way to stay on the island longer and inexpensively. I would reccomend it to any traveler planning on staying on the island for a month or more. Maui like anywhere has its problems. But never in the 5 months that I was there did I feel unsafe, and I found hitchhiking a great way to get around the island and meet cool people. I definetly recommend MAUI! You will have an excellent time and meet great people. — Tiffany
Beware of "work trade" scams on Maui . A "work trade" on Maui typically is labor, babysitting, housecleaning, or other job (like at a hostel or private residences) in exchange for a room. I was on Maui for 6 months: For 3 months, I babysat at a hostel for the owners' child, gave the child daily art lessons, worked in the garden with the child, and did part-time managing at the hostel. I got ripped off by the hostel's owners for one month's worth of managing work I did at this hostel. They didn't want me to leave (they wanted to keep me as a "serf") so they took 3 days to return to me my passport & car title that they kept for me in their locked safe that they have for their guests' valuables. In 6 months, I met dozens of people who got lied to and/or riped off by various "work trade" employers. If you are a US citizen, demand minimum wage, a work contract in writing, and get a receipt for your rent paid or for the amount of hours you worked when rent is due. Don't rent a room unless the hostel owner or landlord gives receipts. If they don't, it's a clear sign that something is up: and in many situations on Maui something is up with the landlords such as excessive drinking, drugs, and financial problems. Maui can be very dangerous so be sure to come with enough money to get a car and room. Camping on the beaches is not safe. Girls: Don't hitchhike and always believe in your own intutition. Don't let others bully you into staying in unfair worktrade jobs, less than acceptable accommodations, and the like. — Mara

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