Category: Travel

Pre-travel testing News!

We got some good news today! The State of Hawaii is rolling out it’s pre-travel testing program which would allow visitors to avoid the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

Don’t get too excited too quickly. There are still many things to figure out – but at least there is a plan! I’m telling you, as a vacation rental owner, it’s been pretty bleak the past six months. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

morning

Please read all about it here at Hawaii News Now and if you are planning a trip to Hawaii, please do keep a close eye on the news for further announcements.

So far I see a few problems:

  • You have to be able to get pre-travel testing 72 hours before travel (I’m told often you need to be showing symptoms to get a test).
  • You need to get your negative test results back prior to your trip (this also could be a problem).
  • If you don’t get your test results back on time, you will need to quarantine upon arrival until you get your negative test results.
  • Per County of Maui rules, you cannot at this time quarantine in a vacation rental but would need to stay in accommodation on the ‘approved list’.

Here is a pre-travel testing flow chart issued by the State of Hawaii that shows some answers.

Also, check the Frequently Asked Questions on the State of Hawaii’s Covid page for many answers.

Let’s wait a little and see what else the State comes up with. I for one am encouraged – at least they are finally talking about having a plan…. six months after the pandemic shut down Hawaii tourism.

Is this the answer to Hawaii’s economic woes?

No, let’s face it. I don’t see visitors streaming back en masse with the current Covid uncertainty. However, at least those who want to travel will have an easier time doing it. I foresee visitors taking advantage of discounted prices to stay for longer periods of time and working remotely (hottest travel trend?).

What about our Canadian visitors?

Good question. At this time the Canadian government has not eased their 14 day mandatory quarantine requirements for travelers returning to Canada. (Trust me, I am watching for this – I would love to go visit family again).

Sig went to Costco today and look what he found…. while not Canadians per se, he did buy some Canadian bell peppers.

pre-travel testing
it may not be you, but Canadian bell peppers have made it to Hawaii!
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Hottest Hawaii travel trend

It’s been six months since Covid-19 brought Hawaii travel to a standstill. As we anxiously await Hawaii Governor David Ige’s announcement of when tourism can resume to the Hawaiian islands, here is a trend to consider.

Yes, we are getting inquiries again. The big trend I’m seeing is longer-stay inquiries. Specifically we are seeing one or two month inquiries. At this time it’s mainly younger professionals, looking to escape the West Coast wild fires, or just work remotely from Maui since they are working remotely anyway. We’ve also had families whose kids are doing school remotely inquire.

Can you work remotely from Maui?

Well, why not? The main hurdle you will face is the State of Hawaii’s 14 day mandatory quarantine. Starting October 1 there is supposed to be a workaround, a ‘test negative pre-travel to avoid quarantine’ option. I hate to say this but….. it doesn’t sound like the State has the details worked out yet (what are they waiting for???). We will see if it gets further delayed (we were supposed to have this option August 1).

UPDATE: Per today’s KHON News story, the governor says ‘tourism’s return October 1 is unlikely’. Sigh.

Should you need to quarantine, you will need to do your quarantine in one of these places per the County of Maui mayor. Once your quarantine is finished, you can move to a vacation rental of your choosing.

What to expect on Maui?

Well, Maui isn’t exactly the way you may remember it from your last trip. The disappearance of tourists has meant the closure or at least reduction of hours at many stores and restaurants. Many activities have shut down. We hope some of them will be able to restart their businesses once tourism resumes. Instead of having a fully packed and planned agenda, plan on a relaxed beach vacation. The businesses open will be thankful to serve you.

Why not end your work-day at the beach?

Are there any deals?

You bet! At this time we are offering 20% discounts on weekly, 35% discounts on monthly rentals. We may be able to give a better deal, depending on when you are planning to come? Please do get cancellation insurance. We will not refund due to Covid, however, if the State of Hawaii does not have a ‘test to avoid the quarantine’ option for your travel dates, we will give you a refund.

Guests!

We are thrilled to welcome guests back to our condos. Today I cleaned and prepped our Kamaole Sands 2-206 condo for tomorrow’s arrival. We are thrilled to have them! Enjoy this walk-through video I shot today.

A pre-arrival walk-through. We are thrilled to welcome guests back to our condo!

We can’t wait for Hawaii travel to resume!

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And here we go – another inter-island quarantine

How are things going Covid-wise in your neck of the woods? Here, after months of good numbers, the Hawaii governor has re-instated the inter-island quarantine AND pushed back the start ‘avoid quarantine by showing a negative test’.

We were doing well with low numbers, thanks to an island-wide shutdown and the mandatory quarantine. Then we got complacent as things opened back up. On Oahu the numbers have been increasing rapidly, with new cases numbering 200+/day in the past week.

Last week Hawaii Governor Ige (pronounced Ee-geh) instituted a new inter-island mandatory quarantine. It will run August 11-31, 2020. Oahu is also doing a partial shut-down, while Maui and the other neighbor islands are staying their current course. We’ll see what happens.

Negative test to avoid quarantine

Did you know, starting October 1 those traveling to Hawaii can circumvent the mandatory 14 day quarantine with proof of a negative Covid-19 test. The tricky part is, you will need to take the test 3 days prior to travel. This date has now twice been pushed back. We sure hope October 1 is a firm date.

Quarantine Options

The Maui County mayor has recently announced that visitors may no longer quarantine in vacation rentals. Should you need to quarantine, you will need to book a hotel or stay in a long-term (6+ month rental) or someone’s private home. Fun!

Canadian guests

A week or two ago Canadian media outlets were running stories that Canadians will be allowed to travel to Hawaii once the mandatory quarantine to Hawaii is lifted. I haven’t seen this on any of the official sites here in Hawaii, so I’m not sure if it’s true. For now Canadians still have a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon re-entry from the US into Canada.

Cancellations of upcoming trips

Since everything is so up in the air with Covid-19, I have temporarily pushed back the ‘balance due date’ to 30 days prior to your arrival (from the usual 60 days). If you need to cancel your upcoming stay, please do so prior to the due date and please give as much notice as possible so we can reopen dates for others (mainly staycations).

Once you have paid your balance in full, your stay becomes non-refundable even for Covid-19 reasons. We always recommend trip cancellation insurance. As I understand, the only trip cancellation insurance that covers COVID-19 cancellations is a CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) policy. Please study the terms of any cancellation insurance carefully to know what is and isn’t covered.

Newsletter

If you would like to be added to my newsletter mail list, please send me a message, either here or directly through email. I foresee sending newsletters every few months and you may always unsubscribe if you don’t find the information useful. As always I invite you to check our blog for updates and things to do on Maui. Let me know if there’s anything in particular you are interested in reading about.

I would love to have you follow us on social media

Wishing you a beautiful day from Maui!
Aloha!
Cara

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Quarantine extended!

Unfortunately we knew this was coming, but today Hawaii Governor David Ige made it official. The ‘negative Covid test to avoid quarantine’ exemption has been pushed out to at least September 1, 2020. Mandatory 14 day quarantine extended. Sigh.

Here is a link to my previous post about the mandatory 14 day quarantine and that there was going to be a testing option. Travelers could take a test 3 days prior to travel, have negative results, and avoid the quarantine.

Unfortunately there are problems with that. For one, local politicians and Hawaii residents have the jitters thanks to the surge in cases on the mainland. We are being told there is a shortage of testing kits because of the mainland surge. Many travelers and mainland owners are reporting problems getting tests (without having Covid-19 symptoms) and timely results which would be required at flight check-in. Finally, public school is slated to begin the first week of August and allowing tourism at the same time would make it more difficult to see if new flare-ups are community-based or due to travel (or so I’m told).

In short, it’s a bit of a kaffuffle.

Unfortunately, this further delays tourism to Hawaii and with that a kickstart to the economy and completely flat-lined tourism industry.

We wish you were here. I really do. In the mean time, we hope the US mainland is able to curb their cases so Hawaii politicians feel more comfortable with reopening to tourism. But we also hope the increasing numbers of returning Hawaii residents who traveled to the mainland this summer adhere to the terms of quarantine so that Hawaii also can keep its numbers under control.

How many people are actually arriving in Hawaii?

In case you are interested, here are the posted mainland arrival numbers for yesterday 7/12/20 as compiled by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. For comparison purposes, in 2019 the average arrivals were 35,000/day.

mainland arrival numbers as posted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority for 7/13/20
  • Crew = flight crew members
  • Transit = people who are in transit to another location through Hawaii and aren’t leaving the airport
  • Military = military exempt personnel
  • Exempt = people who are exempt from the 14-day quarantine after receiving prior approval from the state
  • Relocate to Hawaii = people who are moving to Hawaii
  • Returning Resident = people who indicate on the DOT’s form that they’re returning residents
  • Visitor = people who are not in the above categories
a torch ginger bloom – not because it has anything to do with this depressing news, but because it made me smile yesterday as I checked on our Kihei Surfside #405 condo

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How to avoid the mandatory quarantine

A few months ago the Governor of Hawaii instituted a mandatory quarantine for all arrivals into the State of Hawaii. We even had to quarantine when traveling between the Hawaiian islands with a few exceptions including medical travel.

The inter-island restrictions were lifted as of June 16th and slowly inter-island travel is resuming. A few days ago the Governor held another press-conference. Visitors and returning residents to the islands will be able to avoid the mandatory quarantine by having a negative pre-travel Covid-19 test, to be completed 3 days prior to travel.

Here is the Governor’s press release

Governor’s Office:

Pre-Travel Testing Option for Trans-Pacific Travel Beginning August 1

Gov. David Ige announced today all travelers arriving in Hawai‘i from out-of-state will be required to get a valid COVID-19 test prior to their arrival, and to show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine. The pre-travel testing program begins Aug. 1.
Out-of-state travelers arriving in Hawai‘i must get a PCR test prior to arrival from any testing location approved by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health. Evidence of a negative test result must be provided upon arrival in Hawai‘i. Without this, passengers arriving from out-of-state will be subject to the 14-day quarantine. No testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport.

DOH is still in the process of developing this program but anticipates requiring an FDA-approved PCR test from a CLIA certified laboratory. Travelers will be required to provide printed or emailed pre-test certification as evidence of a negative test result. Travelers will be responsible for the cost of the pre-travel test. 

Temperature checks will continue at airports across the state. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees or who is experiencing other symptoms will be required to undergo a secondary screening at the airport with trained healthcare staff. In addition, travelers will be required to fill out the State of Hawai‘i Traveler and Health form. 

Gov. Ige said, “Now is the time to work together to ensure that our residents and local businesses can safely reopen to incoming travelers. We expect more cases as travel reopens and the State is confident in its ability to monitor and respond to new cases. This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Numerous community leaders were instrumental in helping to develop the plan along with county mayor’s and legislative leadership.

State Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson commented, “Lifting the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travel will require an intensive airport screening process, increased contact tracing and monitoring of cases, and careful tracking of the state’s progress in controlling and containing the coronavirus. This is a huge undertaking by the state and a tremendous commitment from public health as we embark on these new and untested initiatives and face many unknowns. It is definitely a new normal and we have much to learn as we lift restrictions and rebuild our economy while safeguarding the health of our people.”

Exact details have yet to be figured out. Visitors would need to have the testing done at their own expense prior to getting to the airport and have results in hand.

What is an FDA approved PCR test?

The press release specifically mentions needing an FDA approved PCR test. I know there are several tests out there. Several of my side-job coworkers had them done in the past few months (thankfully testing negative). One had the full-on nasal swab experience (the turnaround time on her particular test was nearly a week), another had a cheek swab and had the results within a few hours. Here is what the FDA has posted on PCR tests – apparently there is even a home test kit. Who knew. At the press conference, Governor Ige mentioned working with CVS pharmacies for this proposed testing.

What does this mean for your Maui trip?

Not having to do the mandatory quarantine is in my mind definitely game-changing when it comes to planning your next Maui trip (or for us Hawaii residents, our next mainland trip). However, there are still many questions to be answered. Will visitors be able to get these tests on the mainland? How can you be sure to get the results on time for your trip? What if you test positive (please get trip cancellation insurance!!)?

I know the Hawaii visitor industry as a whole will be pushing hard for the governor’s office to provide answers and finalize details in the coming weeks. As I find out more information, I will post it here on the website.

Please contact me with questions

If you have a Maui trip booked at one of our condos, please message me. If you’ve booked through VRBO or Airbnb, please message me through those platforms to keep all communication in one place. If you booked direct (good for you! You always save this way), please send me an email.

quarantine
the entrance to our Palms at Wailea condo – taken a few days ago when I prepared our condo for a local family’s staycation. Wish you were here!
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Reopening for vacation rentals!

I had just sent an email to all our upcoming guests yesterday and then sat down to watch Maui Mayor Mike Victorino’s press conference. I was expecting more of the same, information that affects me as I live here, but nothing positive about vacation rentals. Then – surprise! – he announced the reopening of vacation rentals effective June 16, 2020.

What does this mean for you?

If you live in Hawaii or have already finished your 14 day quarantine after arriving in the Islands, we are able to rent to you. We are offering 20% off rates for stays from June-September 2020 – coupon code ALOHA.

If you are coming to the islands and need to do your 14 day quarantine, I’m really sorry – but we cannot rent to you until you have completed the quarantine. Per the governor’s latest decree, we as owners can be held criminally liable if we rent to those under quarantine orders. Yikes.

When will the mandatory quarantine end?

As of this Monday Hawaii Governor Ige extended the mandatory 14 day quarantine through July 31. He talked about infrared temperature scanners and possible testing that will be implemented at island airports in the coming month. We are hoping the quarantine will NOT be extended any further. However, with the recent upswing in Covid cases on the mainland, who knows.

When will the US-Canada border reopen?

I recently read in a CBC article that the Canada/US border is actually only closed to land and sea crossings, but that you can currently fly from Canada into the US. If you can find a flight. Of course, there still is the mandatory 14 day quarantine into Hawaii to deal with. And the mandatory 14 day quarantine back into Canada upon return. It seems like a big hassle.

Continued reopening

On my walk along South Kihei Road yesterday evening I saw patrons sitting on a lanai at Fred’s Mexican Cafe. In normal times the restaurant would be packed with lines out the door, especially on Taco Tuesdays. I’ve seen people in line to pick up take-out, but this was the first time I saw someone being served on the lanai in…. months. I can’t wait til things get back to normal. Whatever the new normal will be.

Stealthy picture of one couple on Fred’s lanai.
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Life in our new COVID-19 reality

Aren’t these strange dystopian times we are currently living in? It is so surreal that the entire world is facing this same COVID-19 crisis at the same time. We here on Maui are fortunate to face social distancing and school closures in the tropics instead of say in winter-bound Edmonton. Maui itself has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time.

The Governor of the State of Hawaii asked two days ago for a 30 day halt to travel to the State of Hawaii to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help slow the demand on our healthcare system. He is however unable to stop flights from arriving, that would be something the federal government would need to decree. All cruise ship stops are currently halted for 30 days (ships can refuel and resupply but noone may disembark).

Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino announced new public health emergency rules for Maui County effective this Friday March 20th at 7:45AM. As I read it, restaurants and cafes can still serve take-out (no dine-in), public attractions are to close, the Road to Hana (together with all its roadside stops) is closed with exception to local traffic (all tours including private drivers are halted). Grocery stores, convenience stores, banks and others will remain open per the article.

If you are on Maui, do read the article. Beach parks remain open, sounds like golf remains available. We are encouraged to go outside and exercise, just maintain social distancing.

the view from the Kihei Surfside hallway this afternoon. A little overcast.

What does this all mean for your Maui booking?

First, we and our condos are still here. The condos are being well-cleaned and sanitized and are ready for guests. After a busy winter season Sig is tackling some of his maintenance projects. And did you hear we replaced a number of our mattresses last month?

If you have booked your Maui vacation rental with me, please contact me directly. I have reached out to all our guests arriving through end of April to discuss the terms of your contract and reschedule your stay.

For all non-Airbnb guests, if you have a balance payment due, please contact us before making your final payment. If you are more than 60 days away from your arrival, you can still cancel and get your deposit back subject to the terms of the rental agreement. We certainly hope that travel will again be possible in the next few months.

What does this mean for us?

Well, as with everyone else in our industry we are currently experiencing many cancellations/reschedules. We will continue to pay our cleaners even for the cancelled cleans to help them remain financially afloat. We very much look forward to COVID-19 settling down and the world becoming more stable again. And we look forward to welcoming you here on Maui for your next Maui trip! Hopefully in one of our beautiful Maui Oceanview Condos.

In the mean time, one would hardly believe it’s high season. In the past two days I’ve twice been able to easily turn left from Keonekai onto South Kihei Road at the unregulated intersection. I wonder just how slow it will get…. Hopefully not for long, our tourist economy will be hurting for a long time.

Safeway update – well stocked, except I noticed there was no rice, no pasta and little fresh meat available. I did not check for toilet paper.

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Corona Virus Concerns

revised March 14, 2020

You have been busy planning your Maui trip! This is an exciting time! Please browse our Maui blog for trip ideas.

Yesterday President Trump announced a 30 day ban on travel from European Union countries with the exception of US citizens in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. It is bizarre to think this is happening.

Maui is not a port of entry for travelers from any of the higher risk parts of the world (Asia or Europe). While we understand some guests are hesitant to travel due to Corona Virus, at this time the State of Hawaii has not issued travel advisories.

At this time there have been two presumptive positive cases of Corona Virus, both on the island of Oahu. Both patients are in quarantine. As of March 14th, it has been announced that two tourists arrived on Maui with symptoms, continued to Maui where they tested positive.

If you have tested positive to Corona virus or are experiencing symptoms, please do not travel.

Kamaole 3 beach
Kamaole III Beach

We highly recommend guests purchase trip cancellation insurance and all our guests have initialed and agreed to our cancellation policy in their rental agreement. If you have purchased trip cancellation insurance, please double check if it includes ‘cancel for any reason’ insurance. To my knowledge this is the only policy that will issue refunds for trips cancelled due to Corona Virus.

We do not specifically endorse any trip cancellation insurance company as we have not ourselves had any experience with having to cancel a trip and collect. Again please carefully review the terms of your policy.

You are welcome to contact us for further information on your Maui trip. We look forward to welcoming you to Maui!

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How do you fold up those beach chairs?

my Tommy Bahama beach chair – sadly not at the beach!

You’re probably wondering what this title is about. If you’ve been to Maui, you’ve likely seen people struggling with beach chairs. They are so convenient to have and quite comfy to sit in. But when it comes to folding them up…. there is a trick to it.

Here is a little how-to video on how to fold up the Tommy Bahama beach chair as sold at our local Costco. These are convenient backpack chairs with a little cooler compartment and an additional bag to store other stuff in. No, they are not theft proof, please never leave anything of value unattended at the beach.

Once you are ready to fold up the chair, the trick is to stand behind the chair. You stand on the cross bar, lean over the chair and lift on both arm rests simultaneously. The chair will easily fold up, making it so much easier to carry and store.

Please, before you bring the chair into your rental car and/or the condo, knock off all the sand. Sand is corrosive not only to the chair itself, but also really beats up the condo flooring and closet tracks.

What other beach gear do we provide at our condos?

Each of our Maui Oceanview Condos is outfitted with 2-4 beach chairs, 1-2 boogie boards (please, use at your own risk), one beach towel per person and a cooler. Sometimes other guests will leave beach umbrellas behind, so before you go out and buy one, check the beach gear closet. However, they have a tendency to fly away unless drilled properly into the sand, so we do not provide them.

Not staying at one of our condos?

Before you run out and buy a beach chair, check your condo. They may provide them. If not, these run about $34/each at our Costco in Kahului. However, then you have chairs to dispose of at the end of your trip. You could also check with a nearby snorkel or activities store. Often you can rent them.

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Kahului Airport rental car tram

Just under a year ago the new rental car facility opened at Kahului Airport. I’ve been admiring it and the new rental car tram every time I drive to and from the airport, but to date I’ve not had the opportunity to check it out. When I arrive on Maui, I’m coming home – and as such I haven’t rented a car on Maui in nearly ten years.

Yesterday I had to pick my husband Sig up from the airport. I left home early with intention of going for a tram ride. Unfortunately the kids are too old to want to go, but once a boy mom, always a boy mom 🙂 It’s a train ride after all!!

You can check out my blog post from last year for info on the car rental facility. But here’s my report from last night.

I parked near the train house and since I had just missed the tram, I opted to walk to the rental car facility. The signs said ‘8 minutes’, but it seemed shorter. Of course, I didn’t have any luggage in tow and I was the only one walking. It’s a nice partially covered walk which will be handy for shade in the daytime and should it be raining.

As you get close to the facility, the ramp goes uphill – not a problem if riding the tram.

The lobby sure is nice. And I particularly like the old fashioned clock. The tram is reminiscent of Maui’s sugar cane train history.

tram
the car rental arrivals facility

Here’s a short video I took getting into the tram at the car rental facility

How was it?

Ok, it was fun. I enjoyed my little adventure. The ride itself isn’t terribly smooth, the cars jiggle and swing around a bit, but totally fine. The car was empty, I think I had just beat the rush as there were both an Alaska Airlines and Westjet flight arriving when I got back to the terminal. If our kids were still little, I’d pick a quiet time, park in airport parking and take them for a tram ride. I got off the tram with a big smile on my face. Yes, several people were hanging out at the OGG arrivals station – they clearly thought I was a little crazy. No matter.

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