After a week hiatus, Aloha Bruce is back for this Monday, December 6, 2021, episode of the Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast with a Hawaii Travel update and he begins by talking about the current severe weather affecting most, if not all, of the Aloha State. Bruce explains that this time of year is our rainy season, and “this particular system is just a mess!”
The podcast’s new restaurant segment features Kona Brewing at Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai, a short, “marina life” boat ride from HAT headquarters. Bruce reminds listeners that we often share dishes when dining out, and the pork tacos and barbeque chicken pizza that he and Aloha Yaling enjoyed were the “perfect amount of food”, and delicious. Bruce enjoyed the Fire Rock Pale Ale.
Bruce moves on to discuss the famous Liliha Bakery, which has opened a new location at the International Marketplace in Waikiki. Bruce says that Yaling enjoyed an Eggs Florentine that was “absolutely magnificent!”
Up next is an email from podcast listener Crystal, who has been working with Bruce about planning her Hawaii Travel. Bruce discusses the possibility of getting upgrades for properties on Oahu and Maui. He says that “it jacks the price up a lot.” Bruce also notes that people often don’t spend as much time in their rooms as they thought and that paying for an ocean view may not be the best value. Bruce mentions amenities for families at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.
Crystal also asked about the need for a rental vehicle for Oahu activities like a tour of Kualoa Ranch and a trip to the North Shore. Bruce suggests that you will need a rental car for those activities, but you probably don’t need to rent a vehicle for your entire Oahu stay. He notes concerns over parking fees and space availability.
Another longtime listener, Carey, wants “a vacation of a lifetime” with first-class air travel and is trusting Bruce and HAT to plan it all for him. Bruce talks about some of the benefits of first-class, and some common misconceptions about what is included. First-class tickets can add up to $2,000 per traveler. Bruce says, “The best way to use travel points is for upgrades.”
Bruce moves on to explain some changes to travel and gathering restrictions on each island. Policies for each island are different, although Bruce notes that all Hawaii restaurants are now operating at full capacity. The Hawaii Safe Travels Program remains in place, as well as vaccination requirements in most cases.
Bruce breaks down specific policies for each island, starting with the Big Island where crowd capacity has been increased. On Kauai, gathering capacity has been increased for vaccinated attendees. On Maui, similar changes have been made. All gathering restrictions on Oahu have been lifted with exceptions for food and drink events.
“Otherwise, pretty much it’s been business as usual,” Bruce says. He notes that being vaccinated is key to enjoying a Hawaii vacation and mentions Hawaii’s high vaccination and masking rates.