A New Year, a New Way to Travel

Before you jet off to Maui in the New Year, learn about creative ways to offset the carbon impact of your trip, immerse yourself in local culture, fall in love with the island and give back to the people, Aina (land) and Kai (sea) that make Maui one of the most amazing places to vacation in the world.
Maui County consists of a group of four islands renowned for their picturesque landscapes, surfing opportunities, and distinctive culture. Hawaii also ranks among the most ecologically diverse regions globally.

The state’s economic stability is heavily reliant on tourism. According to data from 2019 provided by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, visitor spending amounted to a substantial $17.75 billion, averaging $48.6 million daily.

Fly Green

Given Hawaii’s dual vulnerability to environmental and economic disturbances, it becomes imperative for visitors to embrace their kuleana (responsibility) and adopt sustainable practices during their travels to the islands. Here are a few ways you can minimize the impact of air travel to Maui:

  • Choose Direct Flights: Non-stop flights are generally more fuel-efficient than connecting flights because takeoffs and landings contribute significantly to carbon emissions.
  • Opt for Economy Class: Business and first-class seats take up more space, resulting in higher carbon emissions per passenger. Choosing economy class can help reduce your individual carbon footprint.
  • Fly on Fuel-Efficient Airlines: Some airlines operate more fuel-efficient aircraft, contributing to lower emissions. Research airlines that prioritize sustainability and fuel efficiency when planning your trip.
  • Offset Your Carbon Emissions: Many airlines and third-party organizations offer carbon offset programs. These programs allow you to invest in projects that reduce or capture an equivalent amount of carbon emissions, such as reforestation or renewable energy initiatives.
  • Pack Light: The weight of the aircraft affects fuel consumption. By packing light and only bringing essentials, you can help reduce the overall weight of the plane and contribute to fuel efficiency.
  • Use Sustainable Airports: Choose airports that are actively working towards sustainability. Some airports have implemented measures to reduce their environmental impact, such as using renewable energy, implementing energy-efficient practices, and reducing waste.
  • Stay Longer at Your Destination: By staying longer at a destination, you can spread the emissions of your travel over a more extended period, making your overall impact per day lower.

Local businesses and the community are actively engaged in concerted efforts to preserve the well-being of the island chain. Authentic, sustainable and eco-friendly tourism involves making choices that not only benefit the environment but also contribute to the social and economic prosperity of the communities you encounter. Pick a few of the following activities to immerse yourself in local culture on Maui:

Connect with Local Culture

Immersing yourself in the local culture of Maui, Hawaii, can enhance your travel experience and provide a deeper understanding of the island’s rich heritage. Here are some tips to help you connect with the local culture:

  • Attend Cultural Events: Check local event calendars for festivals, hula performances, and cultural events happening during your visit. These events often showcase traditional music, dance, and crafts.
  • Explore Local Markets: Visit farmers’ markets and local craft fairs to interact with residents, artisans, and farmers. This is an excellent opportunity to sample local foods, purchase handmade crafts, and engage in conversations with locals.
  • Participate in Workshops: Look for cultural workshops or classes that teach traditional Hawaiian activities, such as hula dancing, lei making, or ukulele playing. This hands-on experience allows you to learn and appreciate the local customs.
  • Visit Cultural Sites: Explore historical and cultural sites, such as the Iao Valley State Park, Haleakalā National Park, or the Bailey House Museum. These locations provide insights into Maui’s history, art, and indigenous practices.
  • Engage with Locals: Strike up conversations with locals at cafes, shops, or community events. Hawaiians are known for their hospitality, and engaging in friendly conversations can provide valuable insights into the local way of life.
  • Attend a Luau: While luaus are tourist-oriented, they often feature traditional Hawaiian food, music, and dance. Look for luaus that incorporate cultural elements and storytelling to gain a better understanding of Hawaiian history and traditions.
  • Support Local Businesses: Choose locally-owned businesses for dining, shopping, and other services. This not only supports the local economy but also allows you to interact with residents and get recommendations for authentic experiences.
  • Learn Basic Hawaiian Phrases: Learning a few basic Hawaiian phrases can go a long way in breaking the ice and showing respect for the local language and culture. Locals appreciate visitors who make an effort to embrace the local language.
  • Explore Hawaiian Cuisine: Sample traditional Hawaiian dishes like poke, poi, and laulau. Visit local eateries and food trucks to experience the diverse flavors of Hawaiian cuisine.
  • Respect Cultural Protocols: Be aware of and respectful towards local customs and protocols. For example, Maui recently experienced devastating fires in Upcountry and Lahaina, Maui. All community members are greatly affected.  We ask that all visitors mālama (care for) Maui by visiting mindfully as we work together to rebuild our island home. Learn more about Maui’s fire disaster recovery HERE.

Help Out

Spending part of your vacation volunteering is a good way to help out and receive a warm feeling in return. One of the most urgent needs is helping out Maui Humane Society by taking a shelter dog to the beach. This relieves stress for animals in an overcrowded shelter, and is joyful for visitors. See this and many other volunteering on vacation ideas here.

By incorporating these suggestions into your itinerary, you’ll have a more immersive, eco-friendly and culturally enriching experience during your visit to Maui.



2023-12-18T09:08:40+00:00December 18th, 2023|Culture|

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