With all of the spectacular and awesome (and maybe even terrifying) photos of volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawai'i, a lot of travelers are asking whether they can, or should, visit Hawai'i right now. We actually just had clients return from a fabulous anniversary trip to Hawai'i, so we've definitely got a perspective about it.
Since everyone loves a good listicle, here we go!
1. You Should Not Cancel Your Trip.
If you've booked, or are poised to book a trip to Hawai'i, you should know that only a very small part of the state is impacted by these eruptions. Kilauea is on the Big Island of Hawai'i, which is not the "main" island of O'ahu, where Honolulu is located. If you're traveling to Maui, Kaua'i or Honolulu, you'll be on a completely different island. And even if you're traveling to the Big Island, most of the resort areas are located far from the volcanic activity. Hilo is the closest airport to the volcano, but even flights to Hilo are not disrupted at this point. If you're flying to or staying in Kailua/Kona, you're completely on the other side of the island, miles away from the eruptions.
2. You Should Not Expect to Visit the Areas of the Eruption.
Of course, some folks might want to get up close and personal with the goddess, Pele. That might not be a good idea. For one thing, it's insensitive to people who live in the affected area, whose lives are being disrupted. But also, it might not be safe. When we last visited Volcanos National Park, there were certain parts of the park that were off-limits because of toxic gases seeping from the core of the earth. But now, with additional fissures, there's even a greater danger to your health if you're near the affected areas. If and when it becomes safe to see the volcano up close, the local experts will let you know.
3. Your Cruise Itinerary May Change.
While flights are still going in and out of the Big Island without incident, Princess and Norwegian have each canceled port calls in Hilo, which is closest to the affected area, replacing those ports with a day at sea. But that's just one of the many ports you'd visit on any cruise, and in our experience, when itineraries change, cruise lines often make up for the inconvenience by offering amenities--shipboard credits, future cruise savings, special discounts on spa treatments. So, enjoy that extra day at sea, get a massage, and relax--you're on vacation!
4. Now Might Actually Be the Best Time to Plan a Hawai'i Trip.
As we've already said, Hawai'i is open for business, and only a small portion of one island is actually affected by the volcanic activity. But lots of folks (probably those who aren't using a professional travel planner) might be reconsidering their Hawai'i plans. That means that there's likely to be good availability and competitive rates at resorts all throughout the state. And since airfare is priced dynamically based in large part on consumer demand, there might also be some good prices on air tickets, too. Let us know if you'd like us to pull a quote for a Hawai'i trip--we're happy to look into it for you!
5. Book through a Travel Agent.
With any trip, there's always the possibility that something could suddenly require a change in plans. Staying in Volcano National Park at the Volcano House Lodge is a fantastic experience, but right now, because of steam and ash, the property is closed, until May 23. If you were booked there during this period, you'd need to find alternate arrangements, and if your room was pre-paid, you might need a refund. When a professional travel planner makes your arrangements, someone else will deal with the hassle of rebooking you and getting that refund processed, so that you can enjoy your vacation. Huckleberry Travel is an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor, so when you book with us, you're in good hands.