Maui, Hawaii

Tag: flights

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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Sugar Beach Walk

Have you been on the Sugar Beach walk? Last weekend the pool at our Sugar Beach Resort condo reopened for condo owners and guests. With Covid-19 restrictions in effect, there are very few owners and guests on property. Sig has been doing a lot of work at our condos and wanted to sit in the hot tub, so off to the pool we went.

I felt the need for exercise and went for a Sugar Beach walk prior to joining him in the hot tub. If you have never been, this is a five mile stretch of beach in North Kihei in front of our Sugar Beach condo. It can get pretty windy, so you may want to time your walk to a less windy time of day to avoid the free exfoliating treatment! One of the best things about this walk is, if you get hot, just step into the ocean to cool off!

hiking
Ahhhhh…. the beach

I do enjoy walking the beach. There were a number of people enjoying the sun, playing in the water, bringing in a sail boat and fishing. A few years ago we saw a fisher catch and then of course release a ray at this beach. That’s certainly not something I’ve seen caught before but I suppose it happens.

Keawe trees

A portion of the beach is lined with Keawe trees. You will want to be very careful around these trees. They have thorns which are painful to step on especially when barefoot. Incidentally it seems every time my brother-in-law goes on a bike ride when on Maui, he gets a flat tire thanks to Keawe tree thorns.

hiking

A rare direct flight!

In other news, while sitting at the pool after my walk, I saw a plane flying into Maui. These days with Covid-19 that is sooo rare. There are currently three direct flights to Maui from the mainland. They are all Delta Airlines and arrive from LAX. If you are flying anywhere else, you have to first fly to Honolulu (HNL) on Oahu and then off. Life sure has changed.

flight
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Quarantine for all arriving in Hawaii

Another day, more news. Yesterday the governor of Hawaii announced a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all arriving in Hawaii starting this Thursday (March 26, 2020).

As you know from mandatory quarantines being instituted elsewhere, in Monopoly terms this means ‘do not pass go’. No stopping at grocery stores or running other errands, just go to your home or condo and order groceries in. The point of the quarantine is to protect others on island in case you have Covid-19. If you are returning home to Hawaii, you have a support system of people to help you with this. If you are coming to Hawaii on vacation – frankly, this is not a vacation. As nice as the condo is, it’s not that nice that you want to spend 14 days in it. Internet speed on Maui is pretty slow.

While it may seem harsh to some, please remember that the Covid-19 situation is a lot worse in other parts of the US. Hawaii is the most isolated center of population on earth, 2400 miles away from the nearest landmass (California). The government feels they have the opportunity but also the obligation to isolate to protect our population as it takes significant time for help and supplies to arrive, if they are even available to come.

What does this mean for you

If you are already on island, the mandatory 14 day quarantine does not affect you. However, on Maui for instance, the social distancing mandate went into effect on Friday (March 20). Return flights are being cut – Westjet I believe stops flying its regular flights today. Hawaiian Airlines has announced they are cutting their flights. My friend’s son just returned from his year abroad in Spain yesterday (yes, he is in quarantine), and I’ve been seeing pictures of very empty airplanes. Please check directly with your airline about your return flight as I’m sure other airlines will be cutting flights in an attempt to preserve funds.

If you are still hoping to come to Hawaii on your vacation, please keep a very close eye on Hawaii news. Things are changing on a daily basis. Great sources are Hawaii News Now for Hawaii news, Maui Now and Maui 24/7 for Maui specific news. If you are staying at one of our condos, please email or call me.

The government sites to check are

Loss of Aloha

There have been reports of sign-wavers near the airport, rudely telling those arriving to go home. This is embarrassing and uncalled for. However, please understand that as everywhere in the world, people are stressed and panicking about their health and our already fragile health care system. Covid-19 has been brought to the islands by those arriving from other places. Ironically the majority of cases are locals returning home, but that fact is lost on the sign-wavers.

Of course, concern regarding visitors is not helped when they are seen blatantly violating social distancing rules (keeping 6 feet distance from others).

Almost everyone I know here in Hawaii is affected by tourism. Social distancing, tourists staying home and mandatory quarantines is creating economic hardship for all on the islands.

Clearing my head

sunset beach activity

Yesterday after an early dinner I went for a walk. If we are healthy, we are still allowed to leave the house and go for walks. It’s been seemingly forever since I went to the beach for sunset. It appears others had the same thoughts as I. One local family was having a beach bbq at the County beach park (I didn’t count to see if they were following the ‘groups of 10 or less’ County rule). Many were standing or sitting on the beach, enjoying the view while a few kids still played in the water.

another day another beautiful sunset

This too will pass. I don’t know when. But it will.

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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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New Car Rental Facility at OGG

It’s finally time – time to unveil the new car rental facility at Kahului Airport (OGG) here on Maui! Work began 3 years ago in April 2016 and according to the Maui News article construction is now complete. The new facility is scheduled to open May 15th. It’s been a long time coming.

Most airports I’ve traveled to have those handy car rental facilities that you walk to directly from the terminal. Currently here on Maui you catch a shuttle which then takes you to an off-site rental car location – it’s just a short 2 minute drive at most. It’s been fine. But on the off chance you can’t get the car you want at your agency, you then have to walk a ways to the next car rental company to see if they have one.

The new car rental facility is very lovely looking. Honestly, they have added some neat Hawaiian features to the building, I think it looks great. But the best part about the new facility are the two old-style sugar cane train trams that take you from the arrivals area to the new rental car facility. The old sugar cane plantation days may have come and gone here on Maui, but it’s a neat nod to the island’s history. I’ve also seen an old-style clock at the rental car terminal. I just may need to check it out next time I pick up friends/family from the airport.

By the way, no, you don’t have to take the tram. If you’re going to departures, it’s not that far a walk – just across the street. And you could just walk from arrivals too. In fact, after the long flight, it may feel great to get out and stretch a bit. Depending on the time of day, sleepy kids and amount of luggage you have with you.

Kahului car rental
the new ‘sugar cane train’-style tram cars (photo taken in September 2018)

Maui’s sugar cane history

Sugar Cane plays a significant role in Maui’s history since it’s commercial introduction to the island in 1848. Several sugar cane plantations and mills popped up around the island. Owners brought in workers from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia and Scandinavia. It was a hard life, but these people settled, started families and their descendants make up a significant portion of the island’s population today. Check out the Maui Sugar Museum across from the last remaining (now abandoned) Sugar Factory in Kahului. The last sugar cane crop was harvested in December 2016.

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Kahului Airport Car Rental Construction

A few weeks ago I was at Kahului Airport to pick up friends from their mainland trip. If you’ve had to park at the airport in the past year and a half, you will know it’s been a bit of a gong show. Parking has been cut up to 50% percent during the construction of the new car rental facility. Parking has always been a bit tight, but it’s been extreme with people creatively parking where they shouldn’t, making the parking lot even tighter than it should be. The past few weeks it has eased up, as the airport has re-opened former parking spots. Thank goodness!

What are they doing exactly?

The car rental facilities at Kahului Airport have always been off-site, with arriving would-be-renters having to catch car rental company specific shuttle buses to get to their rental counters/car pick up locations. In April 2017 construction began on a new joint car rental facility along the airport road just before you get to the terminal. There will be a solar-powered monorail line with carts that continuously run to and from the terminal, shuttling passengers back and forth. Cool, right? We can’t wait for it to be completed!

Kahului car rentalTwo weeks ago when I was at the airport I got a good shot of one of the new monorail cars which is already parked on the monorail line. Very cool. Unfortunately I have not been able to take a picture (yet) of the new car rental facility – there is just no place to pull over safely and take a picture. But it is looking really good.

From what I can find online, this project isn’t set to complete until next May, so you’ll have to wait to actually check it all out. But I for one am glad that there is an end in sight for this Kahului Airport construction project.

Flight Tracker Apps

By the way, if you are meeting someone at the airport and wondering where their flight is at, or wondering where that plane overhead is going, there are neat flight tracker apps available. I like Flightradar24 on my iPhone (I have the free version with ads). You can search by flight route, or look at certain spots on the global map. It is really cool. Check it out – what flights are tracking to your location right now?

Kahului Airport
this was our friends’ arriving flight – showing their flight route. Click on any of the airplanes or even helicopters for more information about them.

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Frequently asked security questions

I thought it might be helpful to address some of your security questions. If you have any others you’d like me to address, or if you have first hand experience with any of these (and better answers), please let me know.

This post is not to scare you. Maui is a very safe place to visit. But, please use common sense, just as you would at home.

What do you do with your phone and keys when you go to the beach?

keawakapu
I love sunset at the beach!

Is it safe to just leave them with your towel? Honestly, don’t take anything of value to the beach. If you must bring your phone (I know, it doubles as our camera, book, etc), make sure someone stays with your stuff when you go in the water. Or, pick up a water proof case, either at home or at the ABC store. I know of people who have used ziploc bags to protect their phones when going paddle boarding. Would I? Probably not… If you are staying at one of our condos, we have keyless entry, so it’s just the car key you need to worry about.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the rental car?

Would you leave valuables in the car where you live? Probably not. If you must, maybe because you can’t check into the condo til 3 or 4pm or because you have a late flight and couldn’t get a late check-out, place everything in the trunk of the car and do not open the trunk to get things out (in case anyone is casing your vehicle). If you are renting a jeep, there is no trunk, everything is visible (and accessible if it’s a soft-top). In six years of living here, we haven’t had a vehicle break-in, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

A few years ago I wrote this post on ‘What to do about late check-out at your condo?‘ Have a read. Did you know, most flights to Canada and a surprising number of flights back to the mainland leave in the evening? Check-out at our condos is at 11 AM.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the condo?

Generally yes. But, know that there are others who by necessity have access to the condo. The owner, the property manager (in the case of our condos, we are the owner and property manager), the cleaning lady and the manager of the complex you are staying at (they need to have access in case of emergencies and for the quarterly pest-control treatments). If you are staying at our condos, we have personal safes for you to use (I have an override key should you forget the code or the battery randomly dies). Otherwise, I recommend just placing your valuables in a drawer or at least out of sight. It’s happened a few times where I’ve had to go into one of our ground-floor condos (with guest consent) to repair something, and seen the blinds wide open and laptops, ipads, phones and once even a wallet just laying out. When staying in a ground floor condo especially, please don’t do that. It’s asking for a break-in. At minimum close the blinds when you leave.

Is it safe to walk at night?

You may have noticed, it is really dark on Maui at night. Why is this? Power is super expensive here and street lighting isn’t cheap. On the plus side, it makes for some great star viewing. Generally the tourist areas especially are quite safe to be walking at night. But use common sense. I also strongly recommend taking a flashlight. A few years ago I didn’t see the edge of the sidewalk – ouch. I was walking with crutches for over a month.

All in all, Maui is a pretty safe place to be. But like most places, we also have drug and homeless problems and crimes of opportunity do happen. A little common sense will help you have a great vacation – I’d hate for you to have a negative experience because of something preventable.

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Westjet Sale and other ways to save!

Our Canadian guests have been taking a bit of a hit with the dollar exchange this year. However, the Canadian dollar has been moving up from its recent low of 69 cents, currently coming in at 77 cents. Yes, I know, it’s nowhere near the glory days from 2008 when we were boasting 1.15, but…

Here’s a chart of where the dollar has been the past few months – sorry, I can’t find the inverse chart. This one shows how many Canadian dollars you need to buy one US dollar.

us canada exchange

In addition to the great news of the dollar exchange rate improving, Westjet has a seat sale on – with rates from Vancouver to Kahului Maui (OGG) starting at $350 – Canadian that is, all taxes in. Perhaps that sweetens a Maui trip a little?

westjet sale
Westjet Seat sale

What are some other ways you can save? A big one is – book directly from the owner! VRBO/Homeaway recently implemented a guest service fee which ranges from 4-10% of the rental (which can amount to $90-$400/booking). Save the fee by contacting me directly through our website. Yes, you can still pay by credit card which offers you protections and gives you points.

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What’s new flying to Maui?

So what’s new flying to Maui? I’ve come across a couple newsworthy items in the past while:

Flying to Maui
Two questions: why did the rooster go to Kahului airport? And, is he pre-checked?

flying to Maui
Inter-island Hawaiian Airlines flight at HNL airport, waiting to fly to Maui

  • Air Canada (Rouge) appears to be offering direct flights from Vancouver to Maui in the summer! This is new and might explain why I was able to score flights on Westjet at a much more reasonable rate this year than in the past (gotta love competition)!
  • You can opt for smaller seats and less service (sigh)! Several US carriers are adding ‘economy minus’ or ‘basic economy’ sections to their planes – supposedly to compete better with the discount carriers? The good news is that a regular economy seat is now considered an upgrade! You are no longer sitting in ‘cattle class’. Or maybe you are. (While Delta already has this option, I don’t think they fly their planes to Kahului – yet).
  • A proposed federal law to set minimum airline seats was defeated.

I have to admit, I will not be taking airlines up on their smaller seat/less service option. At least not on flights to and from Hawaii!

What is your favorite airline to fly to Maui? My personal favorite is Hawaiian Airlines. Last year we had a great experienec with Alaska Airlines. The happy folks at Westjet make me smile, too. How about you?

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Westjet sale for our Canadian guests

I just got an email from Westjet announcing their 7 days of Black Friday flight deals….

Black Friday Sale

As per their announcement, over 500,000 seats on sale from $99-$399

Book by:        Nov 30, 2015
Travel from:  Now to April 30, 2016

For example, fly Vancouver – Kahului (Maui) December 9-19, 2015 for $384 (Canadian dollars) all taxes in! You know we have that sale at our Palms at Wailea condo, right?

Planning a Maui trip? Check it out!

 

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