If you believe that a big part of success is “showing up,” as Woody Allen once wrote, you might believe that another big part of success is preparation. Here at Hike Maui, we live, play and work with people who take vacations seriously. And why wouldn’t people consider adventuring serious business? After the time, money, thought and energy it takes to make it all the way to Maui, a vacation is important business. Here are some tips from the pros at Hike Maui on how you can prepare for your trip and make the most of your visit.
Pro Tip 1: Know Yourself
Are you excited for a full day of activity in unfamiliar surroundings, doing new and different things, using new and different muscles? If you are, great! There are plenty of opportunities for a go-getter like you. Check out the Full Day Hana Hike; Four-Mile Haleakala Crater Tour; Kayak-Snorkel-Hike Adventure.
These are for those who are up for see-it-all, do-it-all, sunup-to-sundown activity punctuated by some rests, lunch and scenic road time. Ready to get to it? Great! Arrive well-rested and hydrated with a good breakfast in your belly. Bring your towel, wear a swimsuit under your clothes and sturdy hiking sandals or sneakers that can get wet and muddy. You’ll get a nice, healthy lunch, snacks and bottled water during the excursion, and a day pack to carry around the right stuff.
If you’re short on time, or if you’re more inclined to stay reclined until well after sunup, with a short duration until you’re back in the umbrella drink zone, the news is equally good. You can still participate in the magic of the Maui wilderness without the physical trials that come with long-lasting, more challenging fare. These trips include the Short Waterfalls Walk and the half-day East Maui Waterfalls and Rainforest Hike. Ask about hotel/resort pickup when making your reservation if you’re in the mood for ditching the driving altogether.
In general, vacations are wrought with big eyes and small stomachs. There’s nothing wrong with deciding against a porterhouse-sized hike if you know you have a filet mignon-sized appetite. If you’re undecided, ask! We’re here to make sure that your experience is memorable in a good way.
Pro Tip 2: Read Up
It stands to reason that an informed traveler is a happy traveler. If you enjoy geeking out on learning all the facts about a place before visiting, then you already know that there are an infinite number of guide books and travel magazine/web sites/materials, all of varying degrees of accuracy and depth, about the islands. But if you’re a “just go and see” kind of person, you might benefit from some of the more enjoyable reading in preparation of your visit. The good news is: Whether you prepare yourself intellectually or not, you’ll learn loads during your hike. That’s because your hiking guide is an expert on Hawaii’s history, culture and plant and animal life. But if you do want to dip your toe in the deep blue water of Hawaii lore, consider these reads.
If you enjoy literary snapshots of a place’s cultural and community leaders, then enrich your experience with Voices of Wisdom: Hawaiian Elders Speak. Written by our own MJ Harden, it’s a collection of unique and intimate narratives by and about people who have helped shaped the modern history of the islands.
Sarah Vowell’s Unfamiliar Fishes is not your mother’s father’s history lesson. Vowell continues the tradition
of doing what she does best in all her work: Showing–not telling–the history of a place in time through story, with vignettes of her own experiences as she’s collecting data and crafting the narrative that add comic relief and authenticity.
For recommendations on children’s books about Hawaii, and books for the older set too, check out the Hawaii Book Blog, a site dedicated to discussing the literature of the islands.
Apart from cultural background reading, reading reviews of restaurants, resorts, activities and attractions is always a good idea. It stands to reason that the more reviews that have been posted the more believable they are. Read a large pool of reviews, both the positive and negative ones, so that you can decide if a certain activity or place is for you. Start with reviews posted to Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google Places or Gogobot, and see where the wisdom of the crowd steers you, along with your own intuition. Remember to post your own reviews, to help others who are in the planning stages or their vacations.
Pro Tip 3: Plan Early, Late and Often. Then, Say Hello
When putting your perfect vacation together in your head, use a few minutes of your idle time to daydream about what would make for a great experience, such as when you’re commuting or doing laundry. Some of your wildest dreams may not be as unreachable as you think, depending on the season in which you’re traveling. (See also: When to visit Maui.) When making reservations before your journey, look for both early bird and last-minute deals. And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and actually speak to someone. You can learn a lot about the kind of service that you’ll receive in person from a phone interaction. Even though you won’t hear the canned “your call may be recorded” message before someone answers your call, the best tour operators on the island pride themselves on personalized service and answering calls with aloha. If you’re more electronically inclined, posting to a Facebook wall or sending an email can work too, but check your intended recipient’s Facebook page or Web site first for signs that someone behind the scenes is listening.
We’ll see you when you get here. And if you see us on the road or the trails, please say aloha!