Sunday, January 19, 2014

Packing for Paradise, Maui


As an innkeeper, I've had  lots of opportunity to  interact, advise and share with travelers. Twenty years now of helping folks unload  bleary eyed and weary from their journey, I can spot a seasoned traveler as soon as the trunk pops open.  Out comes  a compact carry- on or a double wide suitcase that barely make it through the front door.

 A seasoned traveler often goes in for the casual look that we in Hawaii have perfected. We are not big on  gaudy resort wear. We like to dress up for dining or the theater, and that means shoes, not  rubber slippers on special occasions.
We always joke that anyone can tell who lives in Hawaii on a chilly day. We are the folks with the Ugg boots, fleece vests and neck scarves on when the temp dips below 70 degrees.
 On winter mornings when I bundle up to walk across the parking lot to make breakfast for guests, only to see the early risers in shorts and t-shirts, I always  chuckle. Honestly though, many folks are happy to have a pair of socks to slip on in the house first thing in the morning. We are Upcountry and having some sort of layer for Upcountry climate is a wise addition to packing.

Haleakala Crater Hiking Needs:
 High top Hiking Boots are recommended. Some like to hike in less rugged footwear, and for these folks, I highly suggest the use of tube socks with the toes cut out to slip over shoes  as a gator to keep out the jagged cinders on the 11 mile trail.
Gortex unlined top layer that repeals rain and blocks wind is very handy as the weather changes all day long while inside the crater.

Haleakala Sunrise visit : I have a few warm jackets of varying sizes for my guests, as well as small fleece blankets for extra wraps. It is very cold at sunrise, bring long pants and layers..but , no need if staying at Hale Ho'okipa Inn to bring a heavy jacket. If you are staying elsewhere, bring a warm outer layer for the mountain peak.

Beach Needs:  Leave the beach towels at home, as they are bulky,  inexpensive and readily available to purchase here. I offer them to my guests, the large hotels also make them available. 
Beach Mats are the best for relaxing on the sand, and can be purchased in variety and grocery stores .  
Sarongs are also great for beach cover ups, work as towels in a pinch, and can be worn in a variety of ways. I must have 20 sarongs and have used them for everything from car seat protectors, to baby blankets and window coverings.
Caps or Visors are really nice to have on the mountain or on the beach, and purchase options are plentiful. The tropical sun is much stronger, so protective head gear is advisable. 
Snorkel Gear is very inexpensive to rent and easily available to purchase.  Plan on getting your gear here to  save lots of packing space and travel lighter.

T-shirts: We wear them anytime and anywhere we can get away with it. No need to bring lots of T-shirts with you, as you can choose from a huge variety of t-shirt purchases on the island. Quality T's are always found in  the many surf shops, as well as  boutiques. 

Camera: No brainer, it's whale season, and in every direction one looks, there is something beautiful to photograph.

Special Food Needs: I can safely say, that  whatever your special food needs may be, you should be able to find it on Maui. Maui is an island where lots of folks who have dietary concerns, live and visit. I have sung the praises of Mana Foods before, and will do so again. Gluten free, Dairy free, Soy free and whatever else is a concern , can be found here. There is also a Costco by the airport for those who want to buy in bulk. I had a guest once who packed a full suitcase of soup cans. I was speechless when I realized that he lugged 25lbs of soup cans across the ocean .

Maui is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We are blessed to live here. 
Visiting our islands is enjoyable and relaxing. Packing for paradise is easy,  and hopefully some of my tips are useful.