I don’t know about you, but whenever I go on vacation, I bring an extra empty suitcase, and fill it with treasures that I can’t find back home. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking about that same plan for your trip to Maui, so here are some ideas on perfect Maui (and Hawaii!) souvenirs.
Buy Local: This might be obvious (“Of course I want truly local souvenirs!”) but you’d be surprised at what passes for Hawaiian. Those tiki guys lining the shelves at major retailers on Maui? Most likely, they’re not even made in the US, let alone Hawaii. Check tags, or, even better, visit Maui’s Farmer’s Markets, craft fairs, and unique art and gift shops, and you might have a chance to talk to the artisans themselves. Hawaii artists take pride in locally-made products, and you can bet they’ll be higher quality, more authentic, and hold much more sentimental value to you than a mass-produced trinket from the clearance rack.
Think Outside the (gift) Box: When choosing gifts for friends and family, try to stay away from the same-old t-shirt and dashboard hula girl route. Choose gifts with meaning—pick up a framed photo of those beautiful flowers your sister would love to grow in her garden; get a few bottles of that locally-made hot sauce for your co-worker’s famous chili; or inquire about some gift certificates for your best friend who’s making her journey to Maui in a few months. If you want to give your friends an “up-close-and-personal” experience with Maui’s natural beauty, send a tropical bouquet their way– fresh from Hana! We love the beautiful, DIY flower arrangements from Hana Tropicals.
Don’t Forget Yourself: Sometimes it’s hard, when you have a long list of folks to buy for, to remember yourself. Do your research, take your time, and find that perfect keepsake that will send you back to a tropical paradise each time you see it. Remember your Haleakala Sunrise with a painting or photo depicting all the beauty of that “top of the world” experience created by a local artist. Or remember all you learned from your tour guide about Native Hawaiian plants with a koa wood bowl or even a sample of traditional kapa cloth.
Most importantly, whether you’re buying for yourself or someone else, keep it Hawaiian, keep it unique, and make sure it speaks to your experience while visiting our islands. Rather than picking up a mass-produced, cheesy t-shirt, truly put some thought into what will help you best keep the spirit of Aloha in your heart and home.