I believe that travel makes people better - we can learn so much from visiting another land, and grow in our understanding of one another. Through my travels, I’ve gained an immense appreciation for the cultures and places I’ve visited. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to love and care for Mother Earth and all the beauty she has to offer. Whenever possible, I aim to work with tour operators who keep the earth and locals in mind. I will never participate in booking travel that capitalizes on the abuse or disrespect of culture, animals, or people. Working with like-minded suppliers falls in line with my values and results in a lighter travel footprint for myself and my clients.
I don’t just plan travel to Hawaii and other Pacific islands - I also love and care about these exotic destinations and want my clients to as well. I cannot stress enough how important it is to tread lightly on these special places. For this reason, I expect my clients to behave accordingly when visiting these magical locations, so that they may remain pristine for generations to come. Eco-friendly, mindful travel is at the core of what I do and why I do it, and it is my hope that you will honor the land and sea as best as able while you visit.
Here are some important concepts to keep in mind while traveling:
Sunscreens: Hawaii recently banned the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, due to the damage they cause to marine life and coral reefs. Consider purchasing a reef-safe sunscreen for use while in the water, not just in Hawaii, but anywhere in our oceans. These natural sunscreens can be tricky to apply, but mixing a bit of coconut oil with them makes them spread much easier. The marine life and coral reef will thank you!
Plastics: Bring cloth reusable bags if you plan on shopping. Plastic bottles are also a danger to marine life and ocean health. Plastic does not biodegrade and therefore ends up in our food chain and waters. Bringing a reusable water bottle (such as a Hydroflask) is a great and easy way to help the environment and reduce the amount of waste you produce. Avoiding plastic single-use silverware is also an easy way to do your part to protect the environment.
Rash guards/swim shirts: One of my personal travel favorites is a short or long sleeved shirt that can be worn in the water. They are lightweight and dry quickly, keeping your skin safe from the sun and reducing the need for sunscreen.
Suck responsibly: A common item we use everyday is causing a big issue for marine life. Many restaurants have started doing away with plastic drinking straws, opting for paper straws or none at all. When possible, refuse plastic straws or bring your own stainless steel/bamboo/paper straw to use. Americans alone use an estimated 500 million plastic straws PER DAY, and they take 200 years to break down, often finding their way into waterways.
Agricultural laws: Please be aware of what you can and cannot bring into a destination. A delicate eco-system can be destroyed by the introduction of new species inadvertently brought on to the island via fruit, animal or other method. When in doubt, leave it behind.
Take only photos: The old saying, “take only photos, leave only footprints” is an essential one to remember while visiting the islands. Please don’t take home shells, rocks, or sand. If everyone did it, the landscape would eventually become barren and lose its exotic appeal. A Hawaiian legend says that those who take from the lands of Hawaii will be cursed by the Goddess Pele. A quick Google search turns up multiple results of people mailing items back to the islands after experiencing bouts of bad luck after taking home sand and rocks! It also goes without saying that littering is unacceptable.
No petting: It is common to see marine life up on the shore. For example, Hawaiian green sea turtles often sun themselves in the afternoon heat, and Hawaiian Monk Seals can be found frolicking in the surf. There are federal laws protecting marine life and harsh penalties for those who do not abide. Use the zoom on your camera to get a great shot or sit and watch from a distance and let these beautiful creatures be in peace. As a rule, Malihini Travel will not facilitate any activity or excursion where captive animals are used for entertainment. Examples include swimming with captive dolphins or riding elephants, among others. If the animal can be safely approached and observed in their natural habitat and can leave freely on their own accord, Malihini Travel will happily accommodate and facilitate these activities into your custom designed vacation itinerary.