What to know if you have or want to book a Hawaii trip

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With the devastation caused by wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui, there are questions about what people should do with travel plans.

“Unfortunately, if you have a trip planned to Lahaina specifically, that is not an option. Lahaina is in ashes at this point,” Jen Maki with Divine Destinations said. “But it doesn’t mean that the island itself, the island of Maui, is closed.”

Maki said that would be like saying that if Duluth had a natural disaster, you shouldn’t travel to Minnesota. However, if you do have a trip to Lahaina planned, Maki says you need to pivot.

“With your airline tickets, you should have seen some sort of notification, a waiver,” she said. “So there will be some leeway with that, but it is important that if you are going to pivot that you do it sooner than later so that you get an opportunity to choose what you want to do versus what’s left over.”

If you haven’t yet booked the trip but were interested in Lahaina, Maki suggests finding other places that offer the activities that drew you in.

“If you’re a golfer, there’s other places for world-class golf. If you’re looking for some deep-sea fishing, whale watching, hiking, you know, there’s other areas, other islands, that can accommodate you with that,” she said.

A cruise may be another good option for travelers who want to sample several islands but don’t have much time.

Travel insurance is key to protecting your down payments and more in the case of a natural disaster.

“It’s going to give you protection to change your dates without having to pay penalties, to just pivot altogether to a different destination, or in a case like this to just straight up cancel for a refund,” Maki said.

However, she said Hawaii should stay on your travel bucket list.

“Don’t scratch it off your list,” she said. “Definitely keep it on there and find a way to get over there because it is a beautiful island area and certainly their Aloha spirit is something that we could all learn a few things from.”

Maki can be reached via the Divine Destinations website.