There can be a lot of “what if’s” when traveling, like: What if my luggage gets lost? What if our car gets broken into? What if a hurricane hits?

Although these may sound very pessimistic for the excited traveler, they are valid concerns to keep in mind no matter where your dream destination may be. More often than not, however, the question that doesn’t always come up?

Who do we turn to for help?

Fortunately, for most travel destinations, organizations have been designated for this very purpose. In Hawaii, the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii has been the state’s arm in assisting tourists that have become victims of crime or other traumatizing events. These volunteers work very closely with local law enforcement and offer as much support as possible.

While the non-profit does not provide return airfare or cash, it does offer temporary services to address the visitor’s immediate needs. To qualify for such services, visitors must be from the mainland or abroad and have a roundtrip airline ticket for less than 60 days.

The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii has helped thousands of tourists since 1997. It had been a huge savior to stranded travelers when Aloha Airlines abruptly shut down in 2008. Other incidents include helping families affected by a sudden death during vacation (most commonly, drownings) or by theft. I remember one incident where the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii helped a young couple who had come to Hawaii for their dream wedding. Unfortunately, someone stole their belongings from Waikiki Beach. They helped secure an ocean-front hotel room for the couple and assisted with meal vouchers.

For more information on the Visitor Aloha Society, visit www.visitoralohasocietyofhawaii.org.

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