Let’s be honest – with this month comes an anniversary most of us would rather forget. It has now been one year, give or take, since the majority of us first went into lockdown due to the onset of the pandemic. It has now been one year of working from home, one year of social distancing, and one year of very limited traveling – and we’re ready for a change.
Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, announced the launch of Malama Hawaii – a heartfelt invitation to malama, or to take care of, our earth, each other and ourselves. As visitors look forward to traveling when the time is right, Hawaii asks them to take a trip that gives back – to Hawaii and to themselves.
In an effort to inspire mindful travel, industry partners and volunteer organizations across the state have come together with an initiative that encourages visitors to give back to the destination. Volunteer projects range from reforestation and tree planting to self-directed beach cleanups, ocean reef preservation, and even creating Hawaiian quilts for the kupuna (elders). By making a positive impact, visitors will have a more enriching travel experience and can even enjoy a free extra night from participating hotels.
“Malama Hawaii is more than a promotion or campaign, it’s the direction in which our brand is headed,” said Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau President and CEO, John Monahan. “Our goal is to attract mindful visitors who will leave Hawaii better than when they arrived. By doing so, visitors will experience a deeper connection and a vacation that really becomes more meaningful to them.”
Hotel partners across the state are offering special packages that include a volunteer opportunity either run on property or in partnership with a local non-profit. The attractive offers, most available through 2021, include a free extra night when participating in the designated volunteer activity. Each hotel is managing its own promotion and volunteer project, which follows strict state and county guidelines including wearing a mask, physical distancing, and limited group size.
Beyond Hawaii hotels and resorts, other industry partners and volunteer organizations are joining the effort and creating meaningful travel experiences and initiatives. Following is an initial list of participating partners that will be updated on gohawaii.com/malama:
While the visitor experience might look and feel different, travelers can count on the transformative and positive impact of traveling to Hawaii to change their own lives, and the destinations they visit across the state, for the better.
Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative Executive Director, Jeff Dunster added, “Together we will provide guests with a unique opportunity to give back through the restoration of Hawaii's rarest native forests. These ecosystems exist nowhere else on earth, and now, with visitors’ help, we can all leave a lasting legacy for this generation and for generations to come.”
For more information about how you can malama Hawaii, visit gohawaii.com/malama.
Image Credit: The Hawaiian Islands
One of the most incredible aspects of traveling is its ability to reset and recharge the human body, mind, and soul simultaneously. We chatted with Dave Llewellyn, Trade Marketing Specialist at G Adventures, to learn about unique ways travelers can unwind while also making a difference and immersing into the world around them.
Q: Tell us a bit about G Adventures and the types of tours the company offers.
G Adventures is an adventure travel company offering the widest selection of affordable small group tours, safaris, and expeditions to more than 100 countries across seven continents. We offer immersive small group tours for travelers open to seeing new places, trying new things, and learning about our differences all over the world – something we need now more than ever.
We also work with local businesses to help underserved communities benefit from the global travel economy and establish development projects in the places we visit.
Our small group tours connect you with the world in a way unlike you’ve ever experienced before. Each one is designed to let you enjoy must-do highlights, embrace spontaneous situations, revel in personal freedom, and share eye-opening encounters with local people.
Q: How can travelers reset and recharge with G Adventures?
I feel we all could use a reset and recharge after the past year, and I think everyone resets and recharges differently. After a year of working remotely, and for a lot of us, being cooped up at home, our Active tours are the perfect way to reconnect with nature and the amazing destinations our world has to offer. Our bucket list hiking trips such as Trekking Mont Blanc, The Inca Trail, Everest Base Camp Trek, and Mt Kilimanjaro have seen even more interest than before as people start to look forward to some of the most epic adventures they can dream up, and I think anything where we can get our bodies moving and breathe in some more fresh air is the perfect way of recharging after an undoubtedly tough year.
Q: How have the company’s offerings changed in response to the pandemic?
G Adventures has come out with so many responses during the pandemic, it’s hard to know where to start, but most importantly, our Travel with Confidence reassures our travelers that we are keeping them safe when they are comfortable traveling once again. On top of that, we’ve always run small group tours. We’ve always offered more freedom and space even before “social distancing” was a term so commonly used. Running small group tours for over 30 years, plus the local knowledge and support of our CEOs (tour leaders), means that travelers are in good (and safe) hands. The new policy really just builds on what we’ve always inherently done, including staying at smaller hotels with fewer guests, while ensuring travelers can continue to foster connections and access places often overlooked by larger groups.
On top of that, we’ve also released a Travel With Confidence Plus collection of tours that caters to those looking for even more comfort surrounding health and safety protocols in amazing destinations that travelers are booking such as Costa Rica, Morocco, Iceland, Sri Lanka and Jordan. These itineraries feature even smaller maximum group sizes, discounted private room options, more personal space, and private transportation throughout. We know everyone is going to be at different comfort levels as we get back to travel, and we don’t take it lightly when we say it’s our job to make sure we cater to everyone looking to travel our big, beautiful world.
Q: What types of new tours and offerings are in the works for G Adventures trips in 2022 and beyond?
Most recently, we’ve just announced the release of our culturally immersive Mini Adventures, a collection of two- to six-day short breaks with experiences across 28 cities in 19 countries globally. We’ve seen that people are booking longer trips than ever before, and these Mini Adventures make for perfect trip extensions for those looking to dive deeper into the places they start or end their G Adventures tours. On the other hand, they also work as nice little “tasters” for those who are new to adventure travel but want to get a peek at what G Adventures offers in classic destinations like Havana, Istanbul, Bangkok and Lima.
Q: For travelers looking to disconnect and focus on both their mental and physical wellbeing, which one G Adventures trip would you recommend?
How does discovering small towns, mountain trails, the ruins of Pompeii and coastal hikes, then wrapping up your day with a home-cooked Italian meal and crawling into bed in a converted 17th-century monastery home sound? If you’re looking for a more relaxing alternative, our Local Living: Amalfi Coast trip is the perfect match and allows you to unpack once, enjoy top-notch food and drink, and breathe in fresh ocean air in the company of like-minded travelers.
Q: BONUS: Describe a G Adventures experience in one word.
Immersive. We believe that travel should build meaningful relationships with local communities and provide an enriching experience for all parties involved, while taking you deep into the destinations you visit!
Amazing travel experiences don’t have to take you around the world and back. If you’re needing a break from reality and a chance to recharge in a space that’s both peaceful and exhilerating, you don’t have to look beyond North America. These six hotels provide all of that and so much more. From the west coast to the east, pick your favorite spot and pack your bags for the perfect long weekend getaway.
Main Image Credit: Fairmont Chateau Whistler
In our new era of social distancing, mask wearing, and working from home, where does travel fit in? Some borders are open, some are not. Requirements and regulations are ever-changing and different in every place and space. It’s confusing and overwhelming, and if you’re like me, you probably just want a vacation from it all.
But, where can you and should you go? Well, the “can” part falls into the hands of a travel advisor. During this complicated time, it’s highly recommended to use a professional when planning a trip. Travel advisors have the answers, insight and guidance, and they’ll be there for you before, during and after your trip. Plus, there is no need to add stress to what should be a stress release.
However, when it comes to the “should,” now is the perfect time to revisit your favorite places, no matter how close to home they are. Why? Because you already know the destinations, you’re comfortable with them, and you’ll inherently feel safer. Afterall, staying within your comfort zone isn’t always a bad thing.
But, if you’re looking for additional reasons to travel back to the places you’ve been before, here are three to consider:
Far fewer people are currently traveling which means destinations are far less packed. In fact, Thanksgiving is said to be the busiest travel time of the year in the U.S., and only 560,902 people traveled on Thanksgiving Day in 2020 in comparison to 2,648,268 in 2019 (according to TSA checkpoint travel numbers). And, fewer people mean more personalized and private experiences are available. But, that doesn’t mean you’ll simply have more space on a beach; many travel suppliers are now offering new small-group and private options while still delivering big experiences. Private transfer options are even becoming the norm, meaning from the moment you step off the plane, you’ll enjoy five-star traveling like never before.
Similarly, the rising popularity of small group traveling and travel bubbles has changed the travel game. Travel suppliers know that in order to attract consumers, they must adapt, which has led to the average traveler receiving much more for their money than in the past. A private tour, a secluded experience — these things used to cost more than most were willing to spend. However, now, with new health precautions in place, these “exclusive” and secluded experiences are readily accessible.
One of the silver linings to the pandemic era is the increased flexibility within the travel sphere. Most suppliers, if not all, have changed their cancellation policies making travel planning much less stressful. For example, Contiki has made it easy to change travel plans up to 30 days prior to their trip’s departure date. Guests can now choose new dates and/or a new destination without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Additionally, travel insurance has also changed, and Allianz Travel Insurance, for example, is reimbursing you for nonrefundable cancellations if you or someone named on your plan becomes ill with COVID-19 before or during your trip.
Simply put, travel is poised for a renaissance in the post-pandemic era with a newfound focus on the consumer and his/her overall experience. This means that even your most favorite places you’ve visited time and time again will have something new to offer. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to travel back to your safe spot and experience your comfort zone like never before.
Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.
Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.