OK, maybe not physically hazardous, but definitely mentally hazardous. Customers tell me when they shop online for Hawaii Vacations they can go blind looking at all the choices. Every day we receive calls from people who don’t seem to understand the difference between what travel agents do and what online megastore sites such as Travelocity, Priceline or Expedia do when booking a vacation. When you book with us you are booking your trip with a real person who lives in Hawaii, not an automated online system.
Unfortunately, very often people are deceived by what they see online and think they are getting a great deal when often they are really not. For example, you may see a great deal on a hotel but think that breakfast or parking is included when it’s not. Another common mistake folks make is they do look closley at airfare and later discover that there are long layovers or flights that take you backwards to go forward.
All of our agents are trained professionals who know the current prices on the various megastore sites; we see the same things you see. Very often travel agents, especially those of us in Hawaii can meet and even beat those great prices offered by online travel sites. The main difference between travel agents and the online travel sites is that we provide you personalized services to make sure your trip is handled right. So in other words, you can get the same or cheaper price with travel agents but with the important value of service. An added plus to using a Hawaii travel agent is that you are contributing to the local economy without costing you a single penny more.
Booking a Hawaii Vacation can be complicated. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I’ve received from people who have booked their Hawaii trips online and have been disappointed because they didn’t make informed decisions. Getting good customer service is a huge issue for most people when booking Hawaii. Keep in mind when you’re traveling to Hawaii you’re not traveling to a mainland destination and that’s a big difference! In fact when you ask people who post negative comments where they booked their trip, most of them will say "I booked it online" without any human interaction. This is a big mistake!
When you book with Hawaii-Aloha.com you’re booking your vacation with a real person, not a faceless online travel website. You may have found us online, but once the initial interaction with our website is completed, all your other interactions are with real people.
I guess what I’ve been trying to say all along is book with us and we’ll have your back.
Posted by: AlohaBruce
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June 1st, 2009
Hawaii Aloha Travel, an on-line travel agency whose focus is on Hawaii vacations and whose site is browsed almost exclusively by potential island visitors from the mainland, posted its 500th blog on Friday, February 20. Throughout its site (hawaii-aloha.com), the company has been generating as much information as possible about travel to the state of Hawaii since 1998, keeping everything updated and embellished on a daily basis.
Blogs are added regularly, now on an average of six per week. According to co-owner Bruce Fisher, who runs the company with his wife Yaling Yu Fisher, “The blogs talk about the attractiveness of the islands rather than their attractions.”
The site accepts no advertising. “That allows our blogging to be done objectively. We aren’t beholden to advertising or PR clients and we don’t regenerate press releases.” Fisher says. The Fishers do visit hotels on all the islands systematically and update the site’s video reviews “… on an informational basis only. There’s no ‘lure’ copy or puffery; just what each hotel offers along with its location and any unique attributes it may have.” The site also posts video news reports of happenings and developments in Hawaii that might be of interest to mainland people considering vacations in the islands.
Most of the blogs are written by Jim Winpenny, a 35-year veteran of Hawaii’s advertising-agency wars who now concentrates solely on “writing for fun.” Ya Ling Fisher says, “Jim just writes from his heart, using his amazing memory and researching his facts, of course.” He has recently chosen as such diverse subjects as Oahu’s Kaimuki dining diversity, the bed-and-breakfast-TVU controversy, the splendor and fate of Kauai’s Fern Grotto, the emergence of Downtown Honolulu’s Arts District as well as its sordid past, and the nature of local television in Hawaii. The 500th posting concerned the etiquette of poi.
Vacationers may also use the site to book all aspects of their trips with Hawaii Aloha Travel agents. Agents work directly with consumers, giving valuable advice and personal service. Agents are available interactively via the Internet and directly by toll-free telephone at 1-800-843-8771. Each agent has been trained extensively in virtually all aspects of Hawaii, and most were born and raised in the islands.
It’s a personal, attentive and immediate service unavailable for vacationers considering Hawaii in their travel plans through any other source but Hawaii Aloha Travel.
February 21st, 2009
In Downtown Honolulu, a small cluster of houses holds some of Hawaii’s most significant history. Unfortunately, it often is overlooked by visitors whose attention in the area tends to focus on Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, the Kamehameha statue, the state capitol and Chinatown.
The Mission Houses, which were the original headquarters of the Sandwich Islands Mission, are the oldest structures in Honolulu and provide a link to an era of enormous cultural change in the islands. Missionaries from New England began to arrive in Hawaii in 1820 determined to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity.
King Kamehameha II viewed the missionaries with mistrust. He imposed a one-year limit to their stay and confined them this then- barren place between Waikiki and Downtown in which to live. They managed to construct only a few grass huts there, which afforded them little shelter and the dry earth made farming on a large scale impossible.
The Frame House on the grounds was shipped around Cape Horn from Boston in 1820 and is the oldest wood house in Hawaii. The Chamberlain House, built of coral blocks in 1831, was both a family home and storehouse for mission supplies. The third building, also of coral blocks, was completed in 1841. Today, it functions as the Printing Office. A working replica of the first printing press to be brought to Hawaii is demonstrated there on a regular basis.
The missionaries are remembered in two lights. They are respected for having created an alphabet that preserved the Hawaiian language, which had hitherto been spoken and sung only. But it also can be said that their spreading of Christianity contributed to the deterioration of the Hawaiian culture.
Few of the original furnishings have survived, although two large desks from the 1830s (sent to Honolulu from Boston) and a rocking chair still exist. Two hurricane lamps from New England, almost 250 years old, can also be seen.
Tours are available at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Groups of more than six should call (808) 531-0481 for reservations.
If you like, we’ll arrange to include a tour in your Hawaii vacation plans. Pick an agent from our Web site home page (Hawaii-aloha.com), or call 1-800-843-8771.
November 6th, 2008
If you like to ride horseback and think you will have few, if any, opportunities to indulge while you’re in Hawaii on vacation, you are mistaken. Those of us who live in the islands like to ride, too. (In our vernacular, we like to “ride horse.”)
Our kids start riding early and take lessons from highly-qualified instructors. The Hawaii Horse Show Association offers hunter, jumper and western competitions throughout the year on Oahu, and other organizations stage events on the neighbor islands. In fact, each of the islands has its “horse country,” with ranches, farms and stables.
You may be here while a rodeo is being held on your island, and they’re great fun with all the events the major circuits feature. The largest rodeo of the year takes place on the 4th of July. With more than 350 cowboys from all over the world, the rodeo livens up Oskie Rice Rodeo Arena, at Kaanaolo Ranch near Makawao on Maui. This Hawaiian style rodeo, with rough stock and roping events, has everything down to the clowns. Before and after the rodeo, you can indulge in the live entertainment and country western dancing.
Wherever you’re staying, you’ll have a lot of choices if you’d like to spend some time on horseback — quick trail rides, rides on the beaches, romantic waterfall picnics, moonlight rides and even intensive cattle drives. Horseback riding in Hawaii offers a huge variety of experiences. Prices start at about $60 for an hour and a half per person, and there is a number of horseback adventures – such as a ride to the Haleakala crater on Maui – with prices that range between $120 and $200 per person. Several hotels and resorts offer horseback riding as a standard amenity like golf, tennis or a spa. Experienced professionals will make sure your venture into the world of Hawaiian equestrianism is an unforgettable one!
We can work horseback riding into your vacation plans for you. Just pick an agent from the Hawaii Aloha Web site home page (Hawaii-aloha.com), or call 1-800-843-8771.
Posted by Jim Winpenny
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Shortly after I moved my family to Hawaii from the East Coast in the early 1970s, we were befriended by my lawyer and his wife, who had a family ranch in Waimanalo — “horse country” on Oahu. Beverly, the wife, insisted that she give horseback-riding lessons to our nine-year-old daughter Karen. Easy enough. The horses were on hand, lessons were free and Karen seemed to love both the ranch and riding. She conscientiously tended to her tack, cleaned stalls and groomed as many horses as she could, visiting the ranch virtually every day.
After about a year, Beverly told us that Karen’s riding skills were extraordinary, and that she should take private, professional lessons. Okay, we went along with that. With the lessons, Karen was becoming more and more proficient on horseback and we began to enter her in equestrian show events. Up until then she had been “share boarding” – paying part of the cost of boarding a ranch horse that was ridden by as many as three or four others. She started earning ribbons at shows, and before long most of the ribbons were blue. It was time to buy her a horse of her own. She and her beloved Renegade reached statewide championship status, now earning trophies and medals and plates regularly. Karen continued to ride competitively until boys became as interesting to her as riding horse, and that’s when Renegade was sold.
When it was time for her to leave for college, she had accumulated a lawn bag full of ribbons and shelves full of various kinds of trophies. A rough count came out at 300 or so. I started to do some retroactive arithmetic. Each ribbon represented at least a $15 entry fee in its class. Especially at the outset, she entered several classes in which she did not place. The trophies represented high-end shows and the entry fees were considerably higher. Then, of course, there were the costs relating to the share boarding and later her own stall, feed and tack, saddle, boots, riding livery, lessons, veterinarian services … and the champion Renegade’s purchase price.
Actually, I don’t like to think about it.
November 5th, 2008
Here’s a pretty amazing fact: More than ten thousand species of plants and animals reside in Hawaii, and nine thousand of them don’t live anywhere else in the world! Unfortunately, an alarming number is considered endangered.
Hawaiian monk seals got their name because their round heads are covered with short hairs, making them look a little like medieval friars. They live mostly on Kauai, but they appear from time to time on Oahu and southeastern Hawaii, where they can be seen napping alone on secluded beaches. (Most seals like to hang out in crowds, but not these guys.) If you do see one, don’t approach it or try to attract its attention. When officials are made aware of one’s presence on a beach, yellow strips are set up to protect it from your curiosity.
The Hawaiian green sea turtle, at about three and a half feet in length, is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world. They often climb out of the water onto beaches to bask in the sun. They seem to especially like the black-sand Punaluu Beach on the south shore of the Big Island. Don’t touch, if you see one! Your body oils can damage their shells.
The nene goose is the official state bird of Hawaii and the rarest goose in the world. While still endangered, the nene has bred well in captivity and has begun to proliferate again in the wild. Most of them are seen in and near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, where they can hang out among the wild turkeys, pheasants and peacocks.
Consider it good luck if and when you encounter one of those treasured creatures, but please keep your distance. We want to keep them around.
Posted by Jim Winpenny
July 14th, 2008