Hawaii’s Visitors and Us Local Residents

Someone on the mainland calls his Hawaii-resident casual friend and says, “A guy who works with me is taking his family to Hawaii for a couple of weeks next month. He doesn’t know what to expect, or even where to stay. Can you help him out?”

This is big trouble for the local guy. A whole family is coming to his island with no place to stay. His casual friend knows he has some extra space and lives near the beach. (In Hawaii, we ALL live “near the beach.”)

The recommended action is for the Hawaii resident to refer his friend’s friend to Hawaii Aloha Travel (hawaii-aloha.com or 1-800-843-8771).

But if he is stupid enough to say, “Sure. Have your friend give me a call,” he is doomed.

To begin with, he will have to put those people up. At his place. Regardless of how many of them there are. (Hopefully it will be four or fewer.) He can swing that, of course, by borrowing a cot and a futon and relinquishing his spare room, and destroying his routine for the necessary week or two. That’s pretty easy.

But now he will have to pick his guests up at the airport. His car probably isn’t big enough, so he will have to either recruit a friend to provide and drive another vehicle, or rent a van.

Now he feels he has to entertain them! Bad thought. That could cost big bucks. Does he want to take them to Sea Life Park? Good idea/bad idea. The admission into that marvelous facility is reasonable enough, but they’ll want to do the neat stuff. They’ll want to swim with the dolphins, of course. That costs between $100 and $200 a swimmer. Hanging out with the stingrays costs $15 a hanger-out. Encountering the sea lions costs $70 – $100 per person. Plunging into the Hawaiian Reef Tank to mingle with eels and turtles costs $60 per mingler. Doing a gamut – playing with dolphins, stingrays, penguins, sea lions and wolphins – runs from $300 to $340 per person. Sea Life Park is a good suggestion … but for heaven’s sake we can’t afford to host the tour!

Whatever we do, we local residents must avoid the temptation to show off our exquisite Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. Sensational as they are, we must resist Roy’s, avoid Alan Wong’s and eschew Chef Mavro. If we have to take our guests somewhere, we take them to Zippy’s, a popular family chain with local comfort food. It’s okay to send guests to the special places where the menu prices hover at about $40 per entrée with the rest of the menu a la carte, but we can’t consider taking them there!

If we want to show off our island (and of course we do), a personal “circle-island” tour will occupy an entire day and use up a tank full of the most expensive fuel in the country. The Iolani Palace Grand Tour? Polynesian Cultural Center? A Haleakala Sunrise tour? A tour of Kauai’s Na Pali coast? A Kilauea Volcano Tour? We’re talking serious time and/or money here. And we can’t even consider having parties at our homes, where friends can help entertain these people whom we barely know. The guests’ kids will terrorize everyone who comes, and at least six people will be offended by one faction or another … with us being burdened with the blame for all of it.

So if you’re considering a trip to Hawaii and have been referred by a friend to someone who lives here, call Hawaii-Aloha Travel first. We’ll do all the heavy lifting. Then you can call that friend in Hawaii and arrange to buy him a cocktail – and spare him the burden of hosting your vacation. He’ll appreciate your aloha.

Posted by: Jamie Winpenny