Maui – Expect the Unexpected! A Travel Agent’s Firsthand Experience with Travel Insurance

Written by Julie Schafer.

Hau’ oli la Hanau (Happy Birthday) Courtney! It’s not every day that you turn 1 year old, so in honor of this big event, we decided to take a family vacation to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Even though we had a well-planned itinerary and this was not Courtney’s first time on an airplane, it is always the unexpected that can disrupt a perfectly good birthday trip. Never leave on your vacation without travel insurance!

As most parents know, the first few years of your child’s life is plagued with non-stop runny noses and fevers, so when Courtney developed a cough the night before we were to depart, we were not too concerned. We continued with our travel as planned, however when we arrived in our layover city (Phoenix), we knew Courtney had taken a turn for the worse as she was fighting an alarmingly high fever. We quickly changed our flight from Phoenix to Honolulu to the following day with the gate agent and proceeded to RediCare. RediCare checked Courtney’s vitals and immediately sent us to Phoenix Children Hospital; at this point I was panicked. After hours and hours (and a $2,000 medical bill later), it was determined that Courtney had RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and was starting to be herself again. We decided to watch Courtney overnight and then make our decision to continue on our trip to Hawaii or return home. Courtney woke up feeling much better and with the doctor’s okay, we decide to continue on to Hawaii.

The moral of this story is that travel insurance is one of the best investments you can make when booking your trip. In a stressful situation, you need the ease to make the decisions without worrying about the financial ramifications of canceling your trip, the cost of change fees and of course the high medical costs. Please contact your Classic Travel agent for travel insurance coverage, options, and rates.

Now on to the good part: Hawaii! We finally arrived in Oahu as planned, but with our unexpected overnight in Phoenix, we had to adjust our itinerary a little bit. I had pre-purchased tickets to the Arizona Memorial during our stay, however we had missed our tour time. The Arizona Memorial tours were already sold out when we arrived in Honolulu, so we decided to relax and stroll around Waikiki instead.

Agent Recommendation: If your main purpose for overnighting in Oahu is for the Arizona Memorial – always pre-book your tour time.

We checked into our hotel (The Aston Waikiki on the Beach), which I would highly recommend. This hotel is located right across the street from the famed Waikiki Beach and within walking distance of restaurants, shopping, and sights (Waikiki Beach, International Market, the Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, etc). After a relaxing night and wonderful dinner, we departed for Maui the next day.

Upon arrival in Maui, we found ourselves in Paradise. The locals say that Maui is “no ka oi,” or the best. I have to say I whole-heartedly agree. Maybe it was the weather or the emerald green hills and the gorgeous blue sky or one of the many other experiences that make Maui so special. In Maui you can almost choose your weather and climate. In Lahaina, it is almost always warmer and drier than the rest of the island. Farther north in Kaanapali and Napili, it’s slightly cooler with ocean breezes. And over in Hana, Maui takes on the climate of the rain forest.

We chose to stay at the Aston Kaanapali Shores for 5 nights and loved everything about this property. My husband’s parents joined us on this special birthday trip, so we booked a 2-bedroom ocean view room at the resort complete with 2 bathrooms and a full kitchen with a private lanai overlooking the Pacific and the island of Molokini. I would HIGHLY recommend this resort to anyone looking for a great location, clean rooms, and wonderful service. There is also a fantastic onsite restaurant with daily specials and a nice happy hour!

Courtney is a great traveler, so we did not hesitate to tour the island and see the local sights and sounds. One day we traveled the Road to Hana and the gorgeous sights of Hana, which is a must-see during your stay on Maui. I was armed with the Maui Revealed book (as were most of the other tourists along the way), so we stopped to see all of the waterfalls and sights along the 68 mile stretch of road.

Another day was spent at the beach, complete with snorkeling and building sand castles. There is no shortage of dive shops in the area (note there is one located right across the street from the Aston Kaanapali Shores). With grandpa and grandma to look after Courtney, Nick and I enjoyed a half day deep sea fishing excursion that departed from the town of Lahaina. I never did get to yell “Fish On”, but we did see a number of whales that morning. We also attended an evening luau at the Sheraton Resort.

For many reasons, this was a trip to remember and a wonderful way to celebrate Courtney’s First Birthday! I walked away from this trip with many valuable travel lessons and recommendations to pass on to my clients:

  1. Never leave home without travel insurance.
  2. Everyone must experience the magic of the Hawaiian Islands.
  3. It’s always the right time to make memories with the ones you love. Mahalo!

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