How to Avoid Being ~that~ Tourist on Maui

That tourist. 

We’ve all witnessed cringey tourists doing cringey things while on vacation – and if you haven’t…well, maybe you are that tourist. 

Just kidding.

But seriously, there are some places where showing up without doing research on the place you’re visiting can lead to unintentional destruction to the environment, accidentally disrespecting native culture, or just being obnoxious.

One place where prior knowledge about your destination is imperative is Maui, Hawaii.

The island is incredibly diverse and rich in culture as well as natural beauty. But before you book that ticket, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re going to live it up in a way that won’t disrupt this beautiful place.


Spraying sunscreen with reef-killing chemicals is the fastest way to score dirty looks and seriously upset the people around you. Hawaii actually just passed a bill prohibiting the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, so it would be especially douchey to roll up with your own from home.

Sunblock is important, yes, but there are plenty of options that will keep the fishies swimming and will still prevent you from getting crispy. I don’t use sunscreen as often as I should, but when I do, Sun Bum is a favorite.

Pack a few canvas totes for groceries

Along with banning the sale of reef-killing sunscreens, Hawaii has also outlawed plastic bags and many stores are beginning to phase out or charge for paper bags. It’s a great idea to keep a few canvas totes in your rental car (they roll up or lay flat super easily in your luggage)!

Bring your reusable water bottle along for the journey! 

My swell water bottle went everywhere with me!


Are you catching on to the trend yet? The people of Hawaii are very environmentally conscious, and refilling your reusable water bottle (something like the infamous HydroFlask or Swell will do just fine) will cut down on plastic use and save you a few bucks along the way! And if you do end up in a situation where you have to buy plastic, make sure to recycle 🙂

Understand that many of the major sights on the island are sacred

Haleakalā in all its glory.

There are certain spots with deep spiritual or cultural significance, and these places should be explored carefully, consciously, and respectfully. You should leave nothing but footprints wherever you go on the island, but sacred places deserve extra thoughtfulness.

Know the ocean’s power

Shorebreak can be fun to splash in when it’s small, but at certain beaches (like Makena beach) you can get seriously injured if you’re playing in it on a rough day. Another thing to be aware of is rip currents. Make sure you know how to get out of one, and always remember – if in doubt, don’t go out.

Avoid going too far off the beaten path

There really are some places that are reserved for locals. Unless you know someone and they’re choosing to take you there, try not to go adventuring in super secret spots.


Maui has quickly become my favorite place on earth and anyone who visits will surely fall in love with her beauty as well. It’s a place to have fun, heal, relax, and appreciate the awesome natural playground God created for us 🙂

Do all the touristy stuff your heart desires, but just keep in mind that even though it’s your vacation, it’s also home to others.

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