Don’t Tell a Local That You’re From the USA
Although it doesn't feel like it, Hawaii is a US State and has been so since 1959. If someone asks you where you are from, just say the city or state where you live.
Don't Leave Any Valuables in Your Rental Car
While Hawaii is much safer than most of the USA in terms of violent crime, it does have a higher rate of property crime, and rental cars are a prime target for thieves. There are easy ways to identify rental cars in Hawaii and most locals know how to do so. Not even the trunk should be considered safe from thieves.
Don't Spend All of Your Time at Your Resort
Hawaii has some of the best beaches in the world, but there is so much more to the state than its wonderful coastline. The islands are all beautiful and quite different from each other. Get away from your hotel or resort and see the islands. In addition to the amazing natural wonders that you'll encounter, there are so many great activities to do in Hawaii. You won't regret taking those day trips!
Don't Swim Alone
It may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many deaths occur when people swim alone in Hawaii. The main cause is drowning because of Hawaii's strong surf. Also, many of Hawaii's beaches don't have lifeguards and visitors often don't follow the posted warnings. Snorkeling is especially dangerous in Hawaii if you don't adhere to the rules. The surf gets rough and causes anxiety in the swimmer, so fear and panic sets in. Don't take a chance- swim or snorkel only on life-guarded beaches.
Don't Spend All of Your First Full Day in the Sun
It's tempting to spend your first day in Hawaii lying in the sun, but that's a mistake that you'll regret for the rest of your trip. The sun in Hawaii is very hot and it is very easy to get a severe sunburn. If you decide to spend time in the sun, approach it gradually and use plenty of sunscreen.
Don't Forget to Tip
Hawaii is a very expensive place to live. Locals who work in the service industry rely on tips to make ends meet. Not only does this include servers in restaurants and hotel bell and valet staff, but also the guides who run the tours you'll enjoy.
Don't Honk Your Horn
Some of us have a tendency to hit the horn when the car ahead of us doesn't move when the light turns green. In Hawaii, however, if you honk your horn for anything other than a major emergency, such as to avoid an accident, you're likely to get a pretty nasty reaction from the other driver, especially when you get outside of Honolulu. Hang loose and keep away from the horn.
Don't Take Home Lava Rocks or Sand
It's tempting to take home a small lava rock or a handful of black, green, red or white sand, but don't do it. Locals believe that doing so is bad luck, and every year many boxes of lava rocks are returned to Hawaii Visitors Bureau from people who have taken them. In fact, it's actually against the law to remove objects from a national park. In addition, the sand in Hawaii is not a limitless resource. Whether you believe in the superstition or not, it's best to leave everything in place. Enjoy the beauty of Hawaii's lava flows, lava rocks and multicolored beaches, but leave them in Hawaii.
Don't Approach a Hawaiian Monk Seal or Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
It's very exciting when you come across the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal or green sea turtles resting peacefully on the beach. Monk seals in Hawaii are known to be especially nasty and while Hawaiian green sea turtles are mostly docile, keep in mind that both are protected and endangered species. The Hawaiian green sea turtle has made a good recovery due to conservation efforts, but the monk seal's numbers have been declining and may become extinct within our lifetime. If you come across them, just admire from a distance and leave them alone. The same rules apply if you encounter them in the ocean.
Don't Just Visit Waikiki
So many visitors come to Hawaii, spend a week in Waikiki, and rarely leave their hotel or resort except to go out to eat or to shop. Even if your vacation brings you only to the island of Oahu, get away from Waikiki and see the rest of the island, especially the North Shore. It is beautiful and there are so many things to see and do.
If You Visit a Local, Take Off Your Shoes
Because of its large population of Asian heritage, it has become a common practice to remove your shoes before entering a person's home in Hawaii. Unless the owner specifically tells you that it's okay to keep your shoes on, be prepared to remove them.
If you rent a condo for your stay, don't be surprised to find a sign on the door from the owner requesting that you remove your shoes.
Now that you've learned the important things that you should avoid doing in Hawaii, let's talk about all the things you should and can do when you're there. I can help with your itinerary and answer all your questions about Hawaii!
How much does it really cost to go on the vacation of your dreams? That's the first question most of us have to ask. And preferably before we get our credit card bill with a few too many zeros. The cost of a vacation is much more than just the cost of your hotel room. Hopefully, this will help you decide before you leave how much your trip is really going to cost. Let's look at five important areas to understand how you can properly budget for your next vacation.
Cost of Getting There and Back
Generally speaking, this cost is pretty fixed if you are decisive on your destination, but if you are open to exploring other places, this can make a huge difference in the overall cost of your trip.
Cost of Accommodations
What you will likely spend per night on hotels or other types of accommodations is a big factor in your trip cost, but it’s far from the only one. It’s also important to know what is included in that cost. All inclusive stays are usually a cost-saving benefit, but they limit your ability to be out exploring. When possible, I always like to use properties where I can include breakfast in the cost.
These costs play a big part in the type of vacation experience you are going to have, but are often overlooked. Do you prefer private guides? Are you hoping to take a hot air balloon ride over the valley at sunrise? Will you want to set up a special vacation photo shoot to capture these special memories? Some of these activities might be pre-planned, and others you might decide on the go. Try to include all the experiences you know you want to enjoy and that the destination might require for you to experience it fully.
Cost of Living in the Destination
What is the daily average cost of being in this particular place? What might you spend on food each day, taxis, train fares, private transfers, evening entertainment, etc? These are costs that can vary greatly by destination. A private driver for the day in one city might cost $75, whereas in another, it could be $500.
Other Costs Associated with Travel
This would include visas, travel insurance, vaccinations if necessary, etc. Once you have a good idea of your total costs, you can proceed accordingly. Planning ahead allows you to be prepared, and this type of work saves you from any surprises, and helps in the decision making process.
If all this makes your head spin, we can help. Contact us to plan all the details, and take the vacation of your dreams on the budget of your dreams!
Is using the services of a travel advisor for everyone? Absolutely not. In fact, I get questions all the time where I’m more than happy to tell someone they would probably be better off not using my services. At the end of the day, if what you value doesn’t line up with what I provide, we aren’t going to be a good fit. Here are six of the top categories where I think it makes sense not to contact me.
If you have traveled extensively and you enjoy the research and planning yourself.
There are people out there that know far more than me about traveling, and have visited a destination enough times to make them a mini expert. I would probably turn to them for advice. If that’s you, AND you like the research, planning, and booking of it all, then you certainly don’t need me.
If the "Top 10" things to do on Trip Advisor is sufficient.
There is nothing wrong with the reviews on Trip Advisor . But there are many ways that these type of websites fall short when planning customized vacation itineraries. So, if tailor-made is not for you, these will give you all you need to know about what is popular in your destination of choice. My services differ because I create itineraries based on client's interests, not just the touristy activities that are on a top 10 list.
If you're only interested in getting the cheapest price on everything.
The race to the lowest cost is not one I am trying to win. If price is the first and only thing that matters to you, then you are probably looking at your travel advisor to provide some sort of discount. There is a place to find that online, as long as you realize that there are many factors that aren’t considered with a cost only approach. I want to help you get the best value for your vacation, and the itineraries I design will reflect that. But if there isn’t an appreciation for work being done that you would enjoy, as well as not be able to do yourself, then a relationship with a travel advisor might not be best for you. Online is great for finding lowest cost (i.e. Groupon, Priceline, etc.) but my next point is something to keep in mind when you choose that option.
If you don't mind getting stuck with the worst hotel room available.
One thing I don’t think a lot of travelers realize is that hotels know how you booked your room, and the type of room and level of service you receive will reflect that. When you book on Orbitz, Expedia, or through a Groupon for instance, a hotel will see what you paid for the room, and not consider you a loyal customer. Basically, you get what you pay for. That dark, corner room that has a view of the dumpster? It’s not going to be given to a client I’m sending to a property, because there are relationships that exist in this industry that are valued on both sides. Additionally, in anticipation of your arrival many travel advisors, like myself, reach out to the property directly to ensure the details of your stay are as they should be.
If you hate free stuff.
Just kidding- I know you don't hate free stuff, but you might not realize that using a travel advisor can help you gain added benefits or a little extra special attention. Is it always this way? No. But often we leverage our relationships and connections to the benefit of our clients. Why? Because we want you to feel special when you travel, and we will do our best to help you get that early check-in or upgrade when possible.
If attention to detail and thoughtfulness isn't that important to you.
I treat my client’s travel as if it were my own. That means I am thinking of the little things that I know will make a difference. I always want you to feel that working with me made your experience better.
Working with a travel advisor is not a one size fits all. Understand what you value, and take a good look at whether or not what I do helps get you there.If you didn't find yourself on this list, feel free to contact me when it's time to plan your next vacation!
Contemplating a cruise vacation can be a daunting and confusing task. Perhaps you have already taken an ocean cruise and you’re looking for a new experience. River cruising is an investment, so you want to be certain you will enjoy the experience thoroughly.
Do you like a party 24/7? If so, river cruising may not be the choice for you. The lifestyle is comfortable and relaxing. It is a perfect time to unplug and absorb the beautiful scenery and reconnect. Entertainment on a river ship comes in the form of local musicians, dancers, and evening skits performed by the ship’s crew. There is plenty of space to relax into the evening around the bar and lounge area (both with amazing views), enjoy tasteful beverages, and create new friendships that last a lifetime. In the evening, you can walk off the ship, dine at a local restaurant, enjoy a pastry at a café, or listen to local musicians. On an ocean cruise, most do not overnight at the port and you have to stay on the ship to be entertained.
Do you love the active night life of a casino- twinkling lights, sounding buzzers, flashing lights and the sound of coins trickling out of casino machines? You won’t find that on a river ship but if gambling is your thing, there are often casinos close by in many cities for you to try your luck. The only twinkling you will experience on a river ship is the bright stars as you gaze into the night sky from a lounge chair on the top deck.
Shopping on an ocean liner is definitely an experience you can’t avoid while walking on the promenade deck of a great ocean liner. Most large ships provide a full mall experience offering everything from clothing, souvenirs, liquor, sundries, hats and formal wear, just to mention a few. On a river ship, you will find a lovely little corner in guest reception offering simple, well selected items.
Love the art auction events on the big ships? Who doesn’t enjoy a free glass of champagne and the entertaining auctioneers? On river ships, art comes in the form of visiting famous museums, landmarks, and art galleries displaying collections from famous artists in history. You will take home the memory of viewing the original piece with you forever.
Is food what you love about cruising? Ocean cruises offer delicious dinners designed in advance by a well-known chef and prepped by a huge team of cooks with an abundance of dining options. It has to be a big team to execute hot meals for thousands of passengers. On river ships, your meals are prepared by a chef and a small team preparing three amazing fresh meals a day for less than 200 passengers. The fresh ingredients are often purchased at the local markets you visit. And fine regional wine is paired for each dinner by a wine specialist.
On an ocean cruise line, you have a lot of choices for accommodations. Your professional travel advisor will make sure your cabin fits you perfectly. On a river ship, you essentially have four options- half windows, French balcony, sitting balcony, or a suite. River ships are only 360 feet long and 37 feet wide, and your options are mid-ship or aft (towards the rear). Another noteworthy fact on a river ship- there is always a view because interior cabins are not an option.
One of the best experiences of cruising is booking shore excursions to fully immerse yourself in the destination. On the ocean cruise lines, the tours and shore excursions are optional and you need to keep in mind that you will be paying for all of your experiences. When planning your ocean cruise vacation, you will need to budget a considerable amount of money for the tours. On a river cruise vacation, you receive one or two free immersive tours at every port at no additional charge. Optional tours are offered at an additional cost if you have other interests.
An ocean cruise brings you to the country, a river cruise brings you through the country. Your journey is the destination. On a large ocean liner, the ship is the destination. Large ships are floating cities. On a river cruise, you are docked in the city, town or village and you literally exit the river ship and you’re there. On an ocean liner, you are usually docked in an industrial location, not the city center. The line to get off the ship can be very, very long. There are no lines or formalities when you walk off a river ship.
Does the size of a ship matter to you? You can choose to sail on an ocean liner with 3000 to 5000 strangers, families and children, or you can create new friendships with 130 to 198 other like-minded passengers. The average river cruiser’s age is 55, well educated, curious, and active.
Getting acclimated to your ship is pretty crazy on an ocean liner. You will find
15 decks or more, elevators on each floor, lobbies,and interior hallways that wind around cabins. A river ship has four decks, one reception area, and a few public areas. The hallway to your cabin is in one straight line. I can guarantee you won’t get lost or spend more than three minutes getting to your cabin. It’s comfortable, relaxing, and becomes very familiar in a matter of less than an hour.
The cost of wine, beer, soda, and liquor on an ocean liner can be extremely expensive. When you are gliding along the rivers of Europe, beer, soda and wine are included at no additional cost with lunch and dinner. With some river cruise lines, it is included 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For the river cruise companies that don’t include an open bar, it is very, very reasonable to add the cost onto your cruise booking. On an ocean liner, if you are not paying attention to your on-board account, by the end of the cruise, your bill could be as much as the cruise!
There are many different European river cruise companies in business
today and each is different and unique. The top river cruise companies are: Ama Waterways, Viking, Avalon, Croisi Europe, Emerald, Scenic, Tauck, Crystal, and Uniworld.
River cruising is becoming one of the most popular travel choices. The market is growing so fast and the river cruise companies are continually working on new innovations and new ideas to make their company the most attractive. Ships sell out well in advance, especially for the most popular itineraries like the Rhine and Danube. No matter the demand, the ships will always be small and intimate and the crew will always make the passengers their number one priority.
At Trip Quest Travel Services , we understand river cruising and European travel. We constantly stay up to date with growth, changes, current promotions, new itineraries, and what makes each river cruise company special. We understand their differences and their uniqueness and it is our pleasure to connect you with the right river cruise company that meets your lifestyle.
We want your journey to be seamless and memorable. It is about the destination and the experience. We want to take you there!
Ann Jones, CTC, MCC