Our initial decision to book our 2002 trip from Philadelphia to Maui, Hawaii for January was due to favorable airfares which were 50% of the pre-September 11, 2001 price. However, one of the side effects of the events of September 11 is the reduction of scheduled flights by most major carriers.
When we initially booked our trip we were scheduled to leave Philadelphia at 9:15 a.m. local time and arrive in Maui around 4:30 p.m. Hawaiian time. When schedules were reduced, our flight from Los Angeles to Maui was canceled and we were re-booked on a flight which was not scheduled to arrive in Maui until 7:30 p.m. We had a four hour lay-over in Los Angeles.
The bottom line is that from the time we awakened at 4:30 a.m. eastern time to the time that we finally went to sleep at midnight Hawaiian time, we were awake for more than 24 straight hours.
Surprisingly we were able to awake at a reasonable hour on our first full day on Maui. We have booked our condo for 14 days, so the major task of day one was to shop for food and other essentials which we would need. The weather on Maui was very rainy, so the timing was perfect for a day devoted to errands and rest from our trip.
An advantage of staying in a condo is that you can eat as many meals at home as you wish. A disadvantage is that you realize quickly that you probably will need to purchase some basic essentials in addition to the actual food that you intend to consume.
In our case these "essentials" included reasonable size drinking glasses, a stopper for the kitchen sink, a shower caddy, and a few other items. Somehow, items that we know that the owner had provided when we last visited had disappeared in the intervening time, plus several others that we had purchased ourselves.
In addition, you can expect to have to purchase (or bring with you) some grocery items such as butter, eggs, seasonings, and sugar as well as plastic bags, trash bags and plastic wrap.
All in all, the savings in food dollars for breakfasts and lunches alone make up for the essentials that you need to buy when you arrive. The opening of a Wal-Mart in Kahului is a great help to locals and tourists alike. Affordable prices are now available on most of the items that you will need to buy if you decide to stay in a condo on your trip. In addition, full size supermarkets such as Safeway and Star Markets are now opening on Maui resulting in more competition and more reasonable grocery prices.
One thing to keep in mind is that certain items continue to be much more expensive in the Islands, including almost all dairy products, cereal and any produce that cannot be grown in Hawaii. Interestingly, a local teacher told me that cereal is so expensive because few locals buy it due to the high price of milk. Locals find other things to eat for breakfast, including the island favorite - SPAM.
The forecast for tomorrow is for more cloudy and rainy weather. We can only hope that the forecast is wrong and the weather will clear.