What to Know About Maui Travel Restrictions for Honeymoons & Weddings
After a devastating wildfire claimed the lives of at least 115 people and decimated the historic town of Lahaina, the local community and island officials of Maui are now grappling with the aftermath and recovery efforts. With that, tourism is affected too as Maui travel restrictions are being put in place–which impact weddings and honeymoons across the island.
Governor of Hawaii Josh Green has discouraged visitors from visiting the island in the immediate aftermath. Officials are asking all visitors with non-essential travel plans, especially to West Maui, which includes Kapalua, Ka'anapali, Napili and Lahaina, to reconsider their trips for August. They've also requested all future visitors check in with their individual properties and rentals to assess the ongoing situation. As the tragedy continues to unfold in the weeks ahead, with at least 1,000 individuals still unaccounted for and disaster efforts underway, tourism across the island remains unclear even through the fall months.
In a press release issued in mid-August, government officials wrote: "The devastation in Lāhainā is immense and unprecedented. The extent of the damage affecting residents, families, and area businesses has yet to be fully understood. Experts have warned that hazardous materials are likely present. The area most affected by the wildfires is off limits to the public, and vehicular access is restricted to the region." Subsequently, Governor Green enacted rules restricting access to West Maui through mid-October. However, locals have encouraged tourists and visitors to still move forward with visits to neighboring islands and other parts of Maui, which remain unaffected by the wildfires. If you plan to marry or host your honeymoon in Maui in the seasons ahead, here's what to do.
How Maui Travel Restrictions Impact August Honeymoons & Weddings
If you planned a stay or event in Kapalua, Ka'anapali or any of the disaster regions of West Maui, reconsider your travel plans. It is highly discouraged to visit these areas, so much so that Gov. Green has restricted access to these parts through mid-October. The entire remaining Western part of the island (and many properties, shelters and homes across the island) is focused on hosting those displaced by the fires, as well as essential workers who've flown to the island to help.
That said, you should be in touch with your team, travel agent, and/or the front desk at the resort. In addition, you must communicate all changes to your loved ones if you are planning a wedding. Rely on your wedding planner here, if you've hired a professional. Here's some sample language to consider:
Dear [insert guest name(s) here],
Due to the ongoing situation and disaster in Maui, the state has declared a State of Emergency and has discouraged all non-essential travel to the island. For that reason, we have decided to pause our wedding date of [insert wedding date here]. As we continue to assess the situation, under the guidance of our wedding vendors and team, we appreciate your patience and support.
Find your kind of venue
We will get married! In the meantime, please donate to [X organization].
With Love & Care,
In addition, those planning visits to other parts of Maui (like Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, and Mākena) are encouraged to reach out to their contacts and properties on the island to assess the situation. It's important to get a better sense of the situation and whether you should be entering a disaster zone when the island is focused on healing.
Some resorts, including the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali, and Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, are all closed through October 17. All cancellation fees are waived at the properties.
If You Aren't Hearing Back About Reservations
It's important to note that even if you want to book a room in West Maui, hotels in the area of currently paused on accepting bookings for future reservations. The region lacks electrical power, a local water supply, as well as access to stable communication. Please hold off on reaching out to West Maui resorts or properties to book in the meantime, or for reservation adjustments. Instead, reach out to your credit card companies, travel agents and booking sites for direct support.
If You're Planning a Honeymoon or Wedding in September
It's important that you remain in constant communication with your events coordinator (pending their availability given local efforts), as well as your vendors and planning team. If you're honeymooning in September, speak to your travel agent or the resort directly as these vendors or professionals will have all up-to-date information on the ground. Many hotels across the island that aren't in West Maui are open for business and welcoming guests.
If you're planning a wedding, it's also vital that you keep your loved ones privy to the latest updates—either sending out frequent emails or updating the FAQ page of your wedding website. As communication is important, you should also check in with guests over text if you don't hear back. Rely on your wedding planner and vendor team here. Here's some sample language to consider when communicating with guests:
Dear [insert guest name(s) here],
Due to the ongoing situation and disaster in Maui, the state has declared a State of Emergency and has discouraged all non-essential travel to West Maui. However, other parts of the island remain open and it's integral to fuel local tourism during this challenging time. For that reason, we have decided to move forward with our wedding date of [insert wedding date here].
As we continue to assess the situation, under the guidance of our wedding vendors and team, we appreciate your patience and support.
Please join us in the meantime, please donate to [X organization].
With Love & Care,
If You Have Concerns About Airline Issues or Changes
Not to worry. US airlines flying into Kahului Airport are rallying together in an effort to change, cancel, or provide flexible travel options for visitors and guests. Call your airline about adjusting your travel dates and visit the US Department of Transportation website, which includes more information about the situation.
If You're Planning to Honeymoon on Other Hawaiian Islands
If West Maui isn't part of your travel plans during this time, rest assured: travel to Kauai, Oahu, Lanai and Molokai is not affected. Honeymooners, couples and guests should know that many parts of the island are also open for business across popular tourism regions, including Wailea Beach, voted one of the top in the world. However, if you feel concerned about making the trip, speak to your resort or travel agent and they may help assuage any concerns.
If You Want to Help
The fact is Maui is one of the most beloved honeymoon destinations in the US. So many couples have either honeymooned on the island previously or currently have plans to visit for their respective getaways. Understandably so, those who've fallen in love with Maui's natural beauty, culture and the locals may want to spring into action to help efforts that are now well underway. Donate to the following organizations to assist with rebuilding efforts and, perhaps, encourage your loved ones to consider extending a donation too. In addition, employees across the island's various resorts and local businesses have been directly affected by the fires. Consider a donation if you have a special tie to the resort or wish to support staffers at these local institutions too.
Maui Fire and Disaster Relief Donation Page
Hawai'i Community Foundation's Maui Strong Fund
Four Seasons Golden Rule Relief Fund
Hearts of Montage Kapalua Bay Associate Emergency Relief Fund
Finally, if you plan to visit in the months ahead, consider a donation with your honeymoon or destination wedding. The wildfires have devastated Maui, an island made for romance, as well as parts of its infrastructure. The locals need support now more than ever, and consider it through donations and a continued awareness of the state of the island.