If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you know that Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth and I’ve been fortunate to travel to the islands dozens of times. My family and I usually go every New Year’s including this past one where we spent nine days on Maui. It’s an amazing place to visit because of the people, culture, food, landscape and weather but unfortunately. now is not the time due to the devastating and raging wildfires.
According to the Associated Press, over 1,000 structures have been lost and more importantly 53 people killed. It’s a real tragedy and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority is asking tourists to postpone their trips.
“Visitors who are on non-essential travel are being asked to leave Maui, and non-essential travel to Maui is strongly discouraged at this time. In the days and weeks ahead, our collective resources and attention must be focused on the recovery of residents and communities that were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses. Visitors who have travel plans to West Maui in the coming weeks are encouraged to consider rescheduling their travel plans for a later time.”
For those going to other parts of Maui and the Kohala Coast of Hawaiʻi Island in the coming weeks, they “are encouraged to contact their hotels for updated information and how their travel plans may be affected. Travel to Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and other parts of Hawaiʻi Island are not affected at this time.”
If you’re traveling to the other islands including Oahu you should check with your hotel because the government is flying those who have been displaced from Maui to Honolulu. According to Hawaii News Now, “the Hawaii convention center on Oahu is preparing to house up to 4000 evacuees from Maui.”
United Airlines has issued a travel waiver thru Aug 31 to allow for voluntary changes and refunds for travel to, from or through Kahului (OGG) or Honolulu (HNL). The others are similar: Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest.
I am a longtime partner of Allianz Travel Insurance and have an annual travel insurance policy for me and my family with them. If you do too, here’s what they want policy-holders to know: “For customers who have trips planned to Maui, many Allianz Travel Insurance plans allow our customers to cancel or interrupt their trip if their destination becomes uninhabitable, if their travel carrier can’t get them to their destination within 24 hours of their originally scheduled arrival due to a natural disaster and when government authorities order a mandatory evacuation due to a natural disaster at their destination that is in effect within 24 hours of their departure date. Trip cancellation coverage may provide a refund of pre-paid, non-refundable trip deposits. Allianz Travel Insurance customers should read their policy for more information or call us with questions. Claims can be filed online at https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/file-a-claim or by using the free Allianz TravelSmart mobile app.
Regardless of which company you have travel insurance with, check your policy to see what may or may not be covered if your travel plans change because of the Maui wildfires.
Hawaiian Airlines: Support Maui’s recovery by donating miles to the American Red Cross of Hawaii
“Mahalo to all those who reached out about helping our friends and family on the island of Maui where wildfires caused by Hurricane Dora have devastated homes, businesses and entire districts. Our HawaiianMiles partner charity, American Red Cross of Hawaii, is providing emergency services to the people of Maui. If you’d like to support their efforts, please consider donating miles, which will be used to transport volunteers and staff to Maui. American Red Cross of Hawaii is not a government agency and relies solely on donations to deliver critical aid. Your contribution can make a difference. For the entire month of August, Hawaiian Airlines will match every mile donated to the American Red Cross of Hawaii, up to 30 million miles. We make this pledge as our first step of many on the road to recovery.”
Our former president, Barack Obama, said it best on X, formerly known as Twitter:
It’s tough to see some of the images coming out of Hawai’i — a place that’s so special to so many of us. Michelle and I are thinking of everyone who has lost a loved one, or whose life has been turned upside down.
If you’d like to help, you can do so here.…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 10, 2023
My heart goes out to all those affected, and I know in time they will bounce back even stronger than before. But until then, Hawaii and its people are in my thoughts and prayers.