A Hawaii mayor is asking airlines to ‘pause’ flights as travelers invade the islands

Visitors at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii, enter the state after the new pre-travel testing program launched.
Visitors at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

  • Maui County mayor Michael Victorino asked airlines for a “pause.”
  • Hawaii has seen a massive boom of tourists as people begin to travel again.
  • Locals and businesses aren’t fully prepared for this influx of visitors, Victorino’s office told Hawaii News Now.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

“Revenge vacation” season is now moving full speed ahead, and while many travelers are racing to book a trip after a year of being stuck at home, the mayor of one tropical island is asking airlines to slow down: Maui, Hawaii.

“I have been talking with different airlines and … we’re asking for just a pause, if you want to use that term,” Maui County mayor Michael Victorino said during a press conference on June 29. “We don’t have the authority to say stop, but we’re asking the powers to be to help us.”

In recent weeks, the number of tourists flocking to Hawaii has sometimes surpassed 2019’s travel levels. And from July 1 to July 5, over 170,000 people traveled to the state, according to Hawaii’s travel data. As a result, the Kahului Airport in Maui has hit “overcapacity” with bottlenecks throughout the airport, according to Victorino.

In late June, Victorino also met with “airline executives” to potentially cut back on airlift to the airport, Rick Daysog reported for Hawaii News Now.

“The people of Maui County have lacked sufficient time to prepare for the sudden, large influx of tourism, even as health restrictions remain in place,” Brian Perry, a spokesman for Victorino, told Hawaii News Now. “Many of our hospitality-related businesses are still struggling to fully staff their operations to provide a high quality of customer service.”

Over-tourism is not a new issue for the warm-weathered state. But despite the economic benefits of tourism, this massive influx of visitors has angered some locals who are concerned about COVID-19 spread and some of the visitors’ lack of adherence to health protocols.

“People are choosing to come to Hawaii not only because of its wonderful resources and people, but because there really isn’t a lot of choices,” Victorino said, citing that other international travel destinations currently have closed borders.

Some of these tourists also aren’t using “good common sense and [are] going into areas where they’re not supposed to,” therefore needing the island’s emergency services for rescuing, Victorino said.

This wave of visitors is also facing headwinds from the state’s rental car shortage, which has pushed tourists to rent U-Haul moving vans and trucks instead of rental vehicles. This may be a clever alternative, but it has left some U-Haul locations with less equipment to serve the locals.

“I want to remind the visitors that Maui is a community first and a vacation destination second,” Victorino said.

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Cargo plane makes emergency landing in ocean near Honolulu

The silhouette of a Boeing 737 cargo jet
The silhouette of a Boeing 737 cargo jet. A cargo jet reportedly landed in the water near Honolulu, Hawaii.

  • A Boeing 737-200 cargo plane with two people on board made an emergency landing in the ocean off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii, early Friday.
  • The aircraft went into the water at around 2:30 a.m. local time about two miles from Kalaeloa Airport.
  • Both pilots aboard the jet have been rescued by the US Coast Guard.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Boeing 737-200 cargo plane with just two pilots on board made an emergency landing in the ocean off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii early Friday morning, officials said.

Transair Flight 810 – operated by Rhoades Aviation, Inc – was forced to land in the water at around 2:30 a.m. local time, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement to Insider, after having trouble with both of its engines.

The emergency landing took place two miles from Kalaeloa Airport.

“The pilots had reported engine trouble and were attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the aircraft in the water,” the FAA said.

Both pilots have been rescued by the US Coast Guard.

“The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” the agency added.

Air traffic control had cleared the Boeing 737-200, operating as”Rhodes Express 810,” for takeoff from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Runway 8R minutes before the incident occurred. Flightradar 24 data then shows the aircraft making an immediate right turn from the runway, climbing to an altitude of 2,000 feet.

The flight map of Transair flight 810.
The flight map of Transair flight 810.

Confusion ensued as air traffic control appeared to miss multiple calls from the aircraft attempting to declare an emergency after experiencing engine issues, according to air traffic control recordings reviewed by Insider.

“Rhodes 810, radio check, how do you read?” pilots asked Honolulu Tower after not hearing a response to their emergency call. Air traffic control had also been communicating and servicing other aircraft throughout the emergency, the recordings show.

Another Rhodes Aviation aircraft sharing a similar callsign was on approach to land, further complicating the airwaves. Pilots didn’t immediately return to the airport and kept flying away from Honolulu, stating that they needed to “run a checklist” and would stay around 15 miles from the airport.

“When you get a chance, can I get a nature of the emergency, I know you said an engine out, – which one? – how many souls on board and fuel?” air traffic control asked the aircraft as part of standard protocol.

Twin-engine jet aircraft can fly on a single engine in the event that one is lost. A United Airlines flight in February was able to land safely at Denver International Airport after losing an engine shortly after takeoff.

But by the time the aircraft requested to head back to Honolulu airport, they had lost sight of the airport and needed air traffic control to provide vectors. Pilots anticipated losing both engines after the operating engine showed signs of overheating, which would’ve decimated the aircraft’s ability to maintain viable altitude and speed to land safely at Honolulu or any airport if too far from shore.

“Proceed direct to the airport and you are cleared to land any runway,” air traffic advised.

“Will you let the Coast Guard know, we can’t maintain altitude,” one pilot told air traffic control.

“Rhodes Express 810, the Coast Guard is on their way,” air traffic control said and then suggested a diversion to nearby Kalaeloa Airport, only three miles away. Pilots turned the aircraft in a likely attempted to land at Kalaeloa Airport but couldn’t maintain altitude and was forced to land in the water.

The entire flight, from takeoff to the emergency water landing, lasted less than 15 minutes.

The Boeing 737-200 involved was 46 years old and had started its life flying for Pacific Western Airlines in Canada, according to Planespotters.net. After numerous stints in Canada and Malaysia, it found its way to Hawaii flying for Transair in July 2014.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Russian military has been practicing taking out an enemy carrier strike group in the Pacific

The Russian navy Varyag missile cruiser ensuring air defence in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Russian navy Varyag missile cruiser.

  • Russia recently conducted a major military exercise in the Pacific.
  • Its defense ministry said this week that their forces practiced destroying an enemy carrier group.
  • Russian naval and air assets conducted a simulated conventional missile strike on the mock enemy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Russian military has been training to destroy a carrier strike group in the Pacific, the Russian Ministry of Defense said this week, shedding light on recent drills.

Roughly two dozen Russian combat ships, submarines and support vessels, together with as many aviation assets, recently conducted a major exercise in which Russian forces conducted a simulated attack on an enemy carrier strike group.

Russian forces divided into two teams about 300 miles apart, with one playing the role of the enemy. The defense ministry did not identify any specific adversary.

The opposing military force, consisting of the cruiser Varyag, destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, and two smaller corvettes, carried out a simulated conventional missile strike on the mock enemy. The attack also involved air assets.

Russia said its forces “worked out the tasks of detecting, countering and delivering missile strikes against an aircraft carrier strike group of a mock enemy.”

Russia said that the exercise took place around 2,500 miles southeast of the Kuril islands. Media reports on the exercises put the drills within several hundred miles of Hawaii, though US Indo-Pacific Command told The Drive that some Russian ships came a lot closer, in some cases within 20 to 30 nautical miles.

The Russian Ministry of Defense statement on the exercise does not say when it occurred, but, as Military.com noticed, a Russian state media article announced on June 13 that a force of the same size and involving the same ships started training in the Pacific.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), front, and Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transit the Pacific Ocean
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), front, and Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transit the Pacific Ocean

On June 17, just a few days after the Russian drills in the Pacific began, the US Navy announced that Carrier Strike Group One led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was active in the Hawaiian Islands Operating Area.

US defense officials recently told CBS News that while the Vinson’s activities were planned, they were moved closer to Hawaii in response to the Russian exercises. The US also scrambled fighter jets in response to Russian bombers during this time, according to ABC News.

Insider contacted Third Fleet for comment on the Vinson’s activities but has not yet received a response.

Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, the commander of US Third Fleet, said in a statement last week that “operating in Hawaii provides unique opportunities for Vinson to train jointly while positioned to respond if called.”

The admiral added that “they train to a variety of missions, from long range strikes to anti-submarine warfare, and can move anywhere on the globe on short notice.”

US carrier strike groups, which consist of not just a carrier and its air wing but also other surface combatants, bring tremendous firepower to a fight and have been critical components of America’s power projection capabilities for decades, at times making them a focus for US rivals.

The recent Russian military exercises follow an episode in late January in which a large force of Chinese military aircraft, including fighters and bombers, conducted a simulated missile attack on an American carrier strike group in the South China Sea.

Though the Chinese aircraft remained more than 250 nautical miles from the carrier group and “at no time” posed a threat to it, INDOPACOM characterized China’s actions as “the latest in a string of aggressive and destabilizing actions.”

The command said China’s “actions reflect a continued [People’s Liberation Army] attempt to use its military as a tool to intimidate or coerce those operating in international waters and airspace.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Hawaii’s rental car crisis became so dire tourists are renting U-Hauls instead

Hana Highway, Hawaii.
The Hana Highway in Hawaii.

  • Hawaii is currently stuck in a glaring rental-car nightmare as Americans start to travel again.
  • Rental vehicle prices are skyrocketing, and some tourists have turned to booking U-Hauls instead.
  • Take a look at how the Aloha State found itself in such a dire situation, and how you can avoid it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Take a look at Hawaii’s rental car industry right now and you might see something quite peculiar.

Booked out rental cars. Vehicles renting for $700 a day. Tourists driving fleets of U-Haul vans instead. The state asking tourists to book rental cars before making any other vacation plans.

Hawaii’s islands are in the middle of a glaring rental-car nightmare. And now, renting a vehicle – in the Aloha State and other parts of the US – could consume the bulk of tourists’ vacation costs.

“People are quickly realizing that they need to take the cost of the rental car into account because it’s no longer just an add-on,” Jonathan Weinberg, the founder and CEO of AutoSlash, told Insider in April. “It literally could be the majority cost of your trip, so folks who are planning things last minute are unpleasantly surprised by it.”

So how did the Aloha State get here? The answer lies within computer chips, COVID-19, auctions, and “revenge vacations.”

How it started

hertz
A Hertz office in New Jersey in May 2020.

To understand how the national rental car shortage has impacted Hawaii, let’s go back in time to mid-2020.

As we all now know, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the majority of the travel industry, including the rental car companies.

In the midst of the pandemic, companies like Hertz – which later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – and Avis sold off chunks of their rental-car fleets. At the time, this decision may have helped save cash, but it’s now, unsurprisingly, at the root of this massive rental vehicle shortage.

On top of this, companies are now struggling to regrow fleet sizes as a result of shockingly high used car prices and a lack of new cars due to the global computer chip shortage. Companies like Hertz have evn to turned to “supplementing fleets by purchasing low-mileage, pre-owned vehicles from a variety of channels including auctions, online auctions, dealerships, and cars coming off lease programs,” a spokesperson told Insider in May.

But while rental car companies are scrambling to rebuild fleets, travel is beginning to skyrocket again.

“When we look at our travel numbers, travel bookings in May were 95% of where they were in May of 2019,” Steve Squeri, American Express CEO, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money” on Monday.

Hawaii specifically has seen a massive rebound in travel, and more people are now traveling to the state than before COVID-19, KITV, an ABC affiliate in Hawaii, reported on June 14. In the week preceding the report, 36,000 people on average traveled in and around the islands every day, according to KITV. To compare, in June 2019, the average was 34,000 people.

And as you can probably tell, this skyrocketing number of travelers is now compounding the rental-car shortage.

A look at Hawaii’s dire shortage, and how you can avoid it

hawaii coronavirus caution tape
Caution tape at Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach.

Hawaii’s fleet of rental cars dropped by over 40% during COVID-19, the Hawaii Tourism Authority wrote under the “rental car shortage” section of its website.

The average car rental in Hawaii sat at about $50 daily before COVID-19. Now, some vehicles are renting at highs of $700 a day, or over two-times 2019’s prices, Chris Woronka, a senior hotel-and-leisure analyst at Deutsche Bank, told Insider in April.

As a result, some tourists have turned to renting U-Haul moving pickup trucks and cargo vans instead.

“We have seen a considerable uptick in U-Haul rentals from customers who are visiting the islands now,” Kaleo Alau, U-Haul Company in Hawaii’s president, told Insider in an email statement in April. “We realize this demand is occurring when tourists are unable to secure a rental car, or they learn that our rental fleet options are more affordable.”

Renting moving vehicles may be a quick fix for tourists, but this unusual and outside demand for U-Hauls has left some offices with less equipment for locals who may need the vehicles for actual moving purposes.

“We are working every day with our primary customer base – the islands’ residential movers – to ensure we can still meet their transportation needs,” Alau said.

Relying on U-Hauls instead of car-rental companies has become so popular, the state’s tourism agency has now had to address the issue on its website.

“The Hawaii Tourism Authority does not condone visitors renting moving trucks and vans for leisure purposes,” the agency wrote.

If you want a rental car for your upcoming “revenge vacation” in the tropical state, but don’t want to pay a few hundred dollars per day, follow the state and experts’ advice: plan in advance.

“Rental cars are in high demand, so please plan ahead to secure a reservation first before making the rest of your travel arrangements,” the agency wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Inside Larry Ellison’s futuristic indoor farming company, whose massive, Tesla solar-powered Hawaii greenhouses are the first step toward an ambitious goal of feeding the world

Man reaching for leaves inside Sensei greenhouse
An employee at Sensei’s farm in Lanai, Hawaii.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison created an indoor farming company called Sensei Ag in 2018.
  • The goal of Sensei Ag is to feed the world by making produce more nutrient-rich and accessible.
  • Sensei Ag’s Tesla solar-powered greenhouses grow produce that’s distributed throughout Hawaii.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Picture this: You’re driving along the highway on the island of Lanai, Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island. All of a sudden, the verdant landscape gives way to futuristic greenhouses powered by an array of solar panels.

This is the first outpost of Larry Ellison’s 3-year-old indoor farming company, Sensei Ag.

Sensei Ag is an agriculture-tech firm bent on changing the way food is grown worldwide. The company’s mission is to feed the world by making produce more nutrient-rich and accessible and lowering the barrier to entry for vertical or greenhouse farming.

And while the company is young, it has the backing of Ellison, the tech titan whose net worth hovers around $95 billion and whose aggressive bet on the future of database-management turned Oracle into a $200 billion behemoth.

Read more: Leaked documents show just how much Oracle’s cloud unit is modeling itself after Amazon by telling employees ‘don’t be a jerk’ and ‘put customers first’

Ellison’s latest venture seems to have an equally ambitious outlook on the future.

“In the next three-to-five years, our goal is to feed the top three quintiles of the world with our products and employ the bottom two,” Sensei Ag CEO Sonia Lo told Insider. “And then in the next eight-to-10 years, it is to feed everybody.”

Here’s how Sensei Ag is working to making indoor farming mainstream and use its Hawaiian homebase as a “lab for the world.”

Sensei Ag is the brainchild of Ellison and Dr. David Agus, a cancer physician and professor at the University of Southern California.

Sensei 8
Larry Ellison, left, and Dr. David Agus.

Ellison is the cofounder of cloud-computing firm Oracle. The 76-year-old billionaire, who announced last year that he moved to Lanai full time during the pandemic, is known for being something of an international playboy, as well as an outspoken advocate for health and wellness. 

Ellison and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs were close friends for 25 years, and often spent time hiking together near their neighboring homes in Woodside, California, prior to Jobs’ death from pancreatic cancer in 2011. Ellison gave a eulogy at Jobs funeral.

Agus, 57, is a prominent physician who treats patients with advanced forms of cancer and leads the USC cancer institute funded by Ellison. 

Agus and Ellison became close friends while Agus was treating Jobs’ cancer, according to Forbes.

Ellison and Agus founded Sensei in 2018, and recently split the company in two: A data-driven wellness spa called Sensei Retreats, and Sensei Ag.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii
A person receiving a massage at Sensei Retreats in Hawaii.

Located at a Four Seasons resort known as Sensei Lanai, Sensei Retreats offers guests a customizable experience: They can set physical and mental goals for their stay, and the spa will track their sleep, nutrition, and blood flow.

Sensei’s overarching goal is to help people live longer and healthier lives by improving sleep, movement, and nutrition, the company says. 

Sensei Ag’s primary focus is to bring healthy, affordable food to the masses by making indoor farming more accessible and more sustainable.

Sensei 2
Inside a Sensei Ag greenhouse on Lanai.

“Larry’s perspective and David’s perspective is that indoor growing is revolutionary, and that we can move the needle on feeding people globally and diminishing water use and land use,” Lo said. 

This goal will come with significant costs and an ambitious technology rollout, she said, but cited the environmental benefits of moving farming indoors, particularly when it comes to water use: Indoor farming is shown to use significantly less water than outdoor farming. Greenhouses use roughly 10% the amount of water used in an open field, and vertical farms use even less — closer to 3%, Lo said.

In addition to focusing on sustainability, Sensei employs a team of plant scientists who are working on maximizing the nutrients in the crops Sensei grows. 

 

What makes Sensei Ag different from other indoor farming companies, Lo said, is that it works as a franchise model.

Sensei 7
An exterior view of Sensei’s greenhouses.

For the average farmer, shifting to indoor production can be prohibitively expensive, which is what’s held back the indoor farming movement up to this point, Lo said. 

Farmers who opt for traditional outdoor growing have “a whole infrastructure that supports you,” Lo said. That includes the ability to lease a tractor, lease land, and borrow other growers’ cold storage and packing infrastructure.

“Whereas if you want to be an indoor grower, you have to come up with several hundred thousand dollars, at a minimum, if not several tens of millions,” Lo said. 

What Sensei Ag offers is the “whole franchise package.” That includes helping a farmer identify the right indoor growing form factor for their farm, whether that’s a glass greenhouse or an indoor farm; setting up a “cold chain,” or refrigerated supply chain; and locking in transportation and logistics.

There’s also a data component to what Sensei Ag is offering to farmers. Sensei tracks factors like crop selection and what type of light a grower users, then feed that information into a dataset to help inform future Sensei partners. 

The produce grown by Sensei’s partners can carry the Sensei Farms branding, and Sensei will help with distribution.

Sensei 4
Crops growing inside a Lanai greenhouse.

Lo said that a benefit to being one of Sensei’s franchisees is the ability to distribute your produce at major US retailers. 

“If you go to Walmart and you say, ‘I have a 200,000-square-foot greenhouse and I want to deal directly with you,’ Walmart will say, ‘Oh gosh, you know, we really can’t manage you as a vendor that’s that small,'” Lo said. 

“Whereas if you go to Walmart and you say, ‘We’re Sensei, and we have 200 farms across the US,’ that’s a risk that Walmart is willing to take,” she said. 

Not all types of crops are suited to growing indoors, and what’s typically grown today meets a three-pronged threshold: good nutrition, reliability, and affordability.

Sensei 3
Tomatoes growing inside one of the greenhouses on Lanai.

Lo pointed to tomatoes as a good example of food that is almost entirely grown indoors, because growers can offer good value to customers.

“That’s taken 15 years and it’s taken a lot of technology, a lot of reliability of growing, a lot of just processes and procedures that have come into play,” Lo said. 

Lo predicted that the next crops to move primarily indoors will be leafy greens and strawberries. Strawberries, in particular, are becoming harder to grow outdoors due to a change in pesticide laws

But there are downsides to indoor growing, particularly when it comes to energy use.

Sensei 5
Tesla solar panels at Sensei’s Lanai greenhouses.

Indoor farms are often powered by coal, so they still have a carbon footprint.

And while there are vertical farms that are powered by solar energy, they require as many as 20 acres of solar panels, which means you’re not really using less land. 

At Sensei’s farm on Lanai, there are six greenhouses spanning 120,000 square feet that are capable of producing over a million pounds of food per year, according to Forbes.

The greenhouses have sensors and cameras that track data about the farms, including water usage and airflow, and are powered by Tesla solar panels. (Ellison sits on Tesla’s board.) 

Lo called Sensei’s farm on Lanai its “lab for the world.”

Sensei 9
Sensei’s farm on Lanai.

“Islands are incredibly tough,” she said, citing water, land, and labor constraints that make farming challenging on Lanai. But she said that the company has already met its initial goal of feeding the Hawaiian islands.

Sensei had its first harvest in August 2020, and by December, its produce was sold on every Hawaiian island. The food is packed on Lanai, then taken by barge to central Honolulu — from there, its distributed to the other islands, Lo said. 

Food that’s grown at Sensei Farms is distributed at the Nobu restaurant located inside the Sensei resort nearby, with the aim of measuring the effect the food has on people who visit the Sensei Wellness program.

“Now our goal is to not just make food an export of Lanai, but also to take the learnings from Lanai — the business processes, the franchising model on the island, the water conservation, the water reuse — and really make it an intellectual product and then export that intellectual product,” she said.

She added: “If it works on an island in the middle of the Pacific, it will work anywhere.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hydro Flask’s reusable water bottles are lightweight, nearly indestructible, and worth every penny

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

hydroflaskbottle
The Hydro Flask Shave Ice edition Standard Mouth Water Bottle, afloat in the waters off Hawaii.

  • Thin and lightweight, Hydro Flask’s Standard Mouth is my go-to water bottle while on-the-go.
  • It has a smooth but grippy finish, is thin enough to fit in most of my bags, and comes in a variety of colors.
  • The bottle also does extremely well to keep any beverage I have cold or hot for hours on end.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyStandard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap (24 OZ.) (small)

The Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Water Bottle is a simple water bottle. Inherently, there’s not much to it, and that’s what I like. It’s double-walled and vacuum-sealed, but you wouldn’t know by looking at or carrying it.

Double-walled and vacuum-sealed technology dates back over a century, and most modern, steel-walled water bottles employ it. In short, it involves one flask (or bottle) being placed over another, and the gap between the two being vacuumed before its sealed to stabilize the inside temperature, keeping cold things cold and hot things hot for long periods of time.

I like just about everything else about the water bottle, too. The spray-on finish has a luxurious feel, and the new Hawaiian shave ice ombrés are just downright seductive.

If you want a “Wide Mouth” container, or a larger bottle, Wide Mouth models come in 18-, 32-, 40-, and 64-ounce sizes, and, like the Standard Mouth models, are compatible with a few different caps and lids.

Durably built and highly portable

The narrow body of my 24-ounce bottle also means it can fit in just about everything, from my laptop case (where I can safely trust it not to open and expel its contents) to my boat bag. It refuses rust even after repeated soaks in the sea (without a wash), and there’s an unobtrusive, collapsible silicone handle that you can use to attach it to a bag or railing if need be.

But that “if need be” should not be taken lightly. The strap, being silicone, is not the most durable thing in the world, and it will eventually break, especially if you’re clipping it into a carabiner often enough. There are a handful of complaints right on Hydro Flask’s website attesting to this where the replacement cap is sold for $7.50.

The other side of this issue, while not a perfect solution, and certainly a nuisance, is that this bottle comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which does include things like the Flex Cap‘s strap breaking. And, again, you could also purchase a different cap or lid altogether.

The rest of the water bottle is nearly indestructible. I’ve dropped it down flights of stairs, I’ve kicked it across the deck of my boat, and it’s rolled all the way down my gravel-laden driveway with little more than a scratch. There were some smudges after all that, but I was able to buff them out, which I found impressive (not in reference to me, but the bottle, of course).

Should you buy it?

Yes. Hydro Flask’s lineup of vacuum-insulated water bottles offer an environmentally friendly and versatile way to enjoy your beverage of choice each day. They do well to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for hours on end, and their nearly indestructible design means you’ll have it around for years.

What are your alternatives?

Hydro Flask’s water bottles took the top spot in our guide to the best water bottles, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few worthy substitutes to consider. If it’s a reusable plastic water bottle you’re after, the Chute Water Bottle from Camelbak is a reliable option for under $20 while something like Vapur’s Element Collapsible is a great choice for frequent travelers (and costs less than $10).

Another Insider Reviews favorite are the bottles from S’well which not only do well to retain cold or hot beverages but feature a aesthetically pleasing design, too.

The bottom line

Standard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap (24 OZ.) (small)

All told, the Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Water Bottle is a functional yet fashionable vessel for hydration, and while it’s not the water bottle I’d necessarily choose to take on any long-distance kayaking or hiking sojourn, it’ll hold its own just about anywhere and, in an urban setting, it’s a delightfully refreshing splash of color.

What more do most of us need in a water bottle this summer?

Pros: Lightweight, streamline, several cap choices available

Cons: Strap with included cap prone to breaking

Standard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap (24 OZ.) (button)

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SpaceX’s Starship rocket is set to splash-land into the ocean near Hawaii in its first flight around the Earth, FCC filings show

spacex starship sn15 landing success happy elon musk
Starship SN15 and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • The first orbital test of SpaceX’s Starship is set to launch from Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii.
  • The trip around the Earth is scheduled to take around 90 minutes, FCC filings showed.
  • The Starship rocket will launch on the Super Heavy booster, which will carry it into orbit, SpaceX’s filings said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX is planning for its first Starship rocket orbital test flight to launch from Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii, according to the company’s filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday.

Over the past year, SpaceX has launched five prototypes of its Starship rocket into the skies. The first four burst into flames on landing, but the fifth test flight, with Starship serial No. 15, or SN15, proved successful. This allowed SpaceX to move to the next step of Elon Musk’s goal to reach Mars.

The company’s FCC filings said the test flight, comprised of the Starship rocket and a Super Heavy booster, would blast off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. It did not give a projected launch date. The plan is for the booster to separate from the rocket nearly three minutes into the flight, and return to land roughly 20 miles from shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Starship rocket is set to continue into orbit, the filing said. SpaceX plans for it to travel almost all the way around the Earth before plummeting back into the atmosphere, and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean around 62 miles off the northwest coast of Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands.

The orbital test flight should last around 90 minutes, the filing said.

Read more: SpaceX may want to launch 42,000 internet satellites – about 5 times more spacecraft than humanity has ever flown

The five prototypes the aerospace company has already launched were the upper stage of a two-part rocket system for Starship. Now that the 16-story upper stage is able to reach high altitude smoothly, SpaceX will add on a 23-story booster called Super Heavy.

The Super Heavy booster will try to heave the nearly 400 feet tall spaceship towards orbit.

SpaceX’s ultimate goal is for the Starship to carry humans into low-Earth orbit, to the moon, and to Mars, then return to Earth to repeat the journey again. In April, NASA awarded SpaceX an exclusive contract to land the first humans on the moon since 1972.

Read the original article on Business Insider

19 of the best Airbnbs in Hawaii on every island for a much-needed tropical vacation

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

the best airbnbs in hawaii
  • With beautiful weather and stunning beaches, a passport-free trip to Hawaii is always appealing.
  • Hawaii can also be expensive, so booking an Airbnb over a hotel may help trim your budget.
  • We found some of the best Airbnbs on each island, whether you seek sun and surf or rainforest hikes.

With year-round warm weather, beaches framed by swaying palms, and majestic rainforests and volcanos, Hawaii is always a good idea.

And now that Hawaii’s six visitable islands are once again welcoming guests – so long as you present a negative COVID-19 test – a passport-free island getaway is especially appealing.

Enjoy Hawaii’s trade winds and warm sunshine as you sample fresh papaya alongside Hawaiian-grown coffee. Plan a rainforest hike, surf incredible waves, or simply savor a slower island pace. However, with such an idyllic setting, hotel prices may shock your wallet. It’s easy to spend over $500 per night for a standard double room with no character.

Airbnbs, on the other hand, can offer a more affordable option in spacious condos or homes that come infused with local personality. Here are the best Airbnbs in Hawaii you can book.

Browse all the best Airbnbs in Hawaii below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

These are the best Airbnbs in Hawaii, sorted by price from low to high.

Cheaply priced studio apartment on Oahu

Best airbnbs in Hawaii in Waikiki

Book this Waikiki studio on Airbnb

It’s hard to find a bargain in Waikiki, so this studio is an absolute dream for its great rate and amazing location near one of the most famous beaches in the world.

The apartment may be small and standard in terms of amenities, but it provides privacy and partial ocean and sunset views from your own dedicated lanai. 

A calming neutral palette, beautiful wood floors, big windows, and plenty of storage means you won’t miss out on unnecessary square footage. The main space is comprised of a small kitchenette, and a sofa and TV for downtime, backed by a sleeping area with a Queen-size bed. 

Staying here also provides access to the complex’s soothing palm tree-lined pool, outdoor BBQ, guest laundry, and a cute outdoor fitness center. Nearby Diamond Head also provides a serious workout, so take host-provided beach towels to refresh after a morning climb. 

Quiet oceanfront condo on Molokai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - Quiet oceanfront resort condo living room looking outside

Book this Molokai condo on Airbnb

Social distancing is a breeze at this condo in Ualapue, just outside the town of Kaunakakai. The population is just over 400 on this side of the island, but it’s a short drive to eateries and shops in central Molokai. 

The ground-floor condo is surrounded by a lush garden landscape with easy access to an unpopulated beach. Take advantage of resort amenities such as tennis courts, a pool, and a community recreation center. Hiking trails and waterfalls are also close by. 

Inside, light wooden floors are accented by an open-concept space with a stainless steel equipped kitchen and a King-size bedroom with ocean blue linens. A private shaded outdoor dining and lounge space boasts spectacular waterfront views. 

Condo near Kailua Village on the Big Island

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - Kailua Village Condo kitchen table

Book this Kona condo on Airbnb

Staying in this condo means you’ll have the ocean just a block away, waterfront Hale Halawai Park is within a few steps, and wonderful eateries, tiki bars, and local shopping are all in close proximity. Visit nearby Kona Farmers Market for produce, freshly roasted coffee, and tropical flowers to add color to your rental home’s contemporary kitchen. 

This fully renovated condo has gorgeous wooden floors in the bedroom and cool new tile in the upgraded bathroom with a spacious walk-in shower. Furnishings are minimal while island-influenced decor like the ocean-inspired bedding are nice reminders of the surrounding tropical oasis. There is a Queen-size bedroom, though a fold-out sofa offers additional space if needed. 

Sip morning java at the kitchen bar while plotting the day’s adventures, or take breakfast onto the private furnished lanai to enjoy ocean views. Be sure to dip into the on-site pool to cool down, though you’ll also appreciate the rare island find of air-conditioning in this condo.

Private guest house on Maui

Best Airbnb in Hawaii - Downtown guest house living room

Book this Maui guest house on Airbnb

While it seems everyone wants to flock to Maui’s beaches, there’s something to be said for the charm of Lahaina Town. Front Street is bustling with activity and known for its vast array of local eateries and amazing art galleries. You’ll also find the world’s largest banyan tree right in the center of it all, just one block from this rental. 

This upper-level Lahaina guest suite has its own private entrance and comes with a work desk with a parsons chair for digital nomads, though you’ll most likely want to simply lounge with local coffee outside on the furnished private lanai. There is also a smart TV, crisp white bedding, and a modest kitchen.

Discover more of the best Airbnbs on Maui

Islander’s ocean view condo on Oahu

hawaii airbnb honolulu

Book this Honolulu studio on Airbnb

This colorful studio has a prime location just two blocks from the ocean and is a fantastic deal for a couple or solo traveler. Centrally located in Honolulu, guests are steps away from great local food trucks, restaurants, entertainment, nightlife, and more. 

Chic but whimsical decor will instantly place you in vacation mode from the retro pink couch to the bright turquoise design accents, and leafy bathroom statement wallpaper. The kitchenette is small, but has a vintage mini fridge, and a balcony and with a built-in bar that overlooks the ocean waves. Beach gear, including sunblock, is also provided showcasing attention to detail and small personal touches made by the host.

Beachfront condo with a pool on Molokai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii -- Beachfront Condominium living room with balcony

Book this beachfront condo with pool starting at $130

This oceanfront condo may be small but is packed with all you need for a great stay and is just steps from the beach. From your private furnished lanai, you’ll catch colorful sunsets and views of surrounding islands, and the beachfront pool is equally scenic.

Tasteful island decor shines with Koa wood optic floors, sleek granite countertops, and pops of color by way of accent furnishings and bedding. The apartment is fully stocked with small appliances and a gas stove, while the living room has a flat panel TV with HD cable provided and free Wi-Fi.

Provided beach gear includes an umbrella, beach mats, and towels, and the location is about a mile east of downtown Kaunakakai with local eateries and shopping. On-site coin-operated laundry is available, and gas and charcoal BBQs are free to use. 

Beach paradise condo on the Big Island

The best Airbnbs in Hawaii -- Beach Paradise terrace view

Book this Kona condo on Airbnb

Watch amazing sunsets from your private lanai at this condo rental on the outskirts of popular bar town Kailua-Kona. No rental car is needed; you can walk or cycle to nearby hotspots like Don’s Mai Tai Bar or Alii Sunset Plaza for boutique shopping or to gather groceries. 

The condo has a community pool and hot tub, though a sandy beach is mere steps from the rental, too, so you can enjoy ocean waves day or night. Inside, the decor is a touch dated but features tropical inspiration and you’ll find a nice breeze on the shaded lanai, and east-facing windows bring in fresh air while you relax in the King-size bed. The sofa converts to a full-sized bed and also benefits from its own large windows. 

There is also a full kitchen plus a wide breakfast bar for quick bites and a small dining table perfect for a candlelit dinner. Or take it outside to grill up an island feast on the provided BBQ. 

Charming riverside cottage on Kauai

Kapaa_Kaui_Cottage

Book this Kauai cottage on Airbnb

Only one block from the beach, this riverside canal cottage on the outskirts of Kapaa Town overlooks the peaceful banks of the Wailua River, where guests can paddle with host-provided kayaks and SUPs, or take bikes out for a spin on a lovely path. The river leads to a natural lava rock grotto with waterfalls, an area formerly reserved for Hawaiian royalty but now enjoyed by many.

The plantation-style cottage was built in 1953 but renovated to feature beautiful paneling and beam details, bamboo accents, air conditioning, a vaulted ceiling with fan, sustainable wood floors, and a well-appointed outdoor area with a grill and water views. The lush grounds are home to fruit-bearing trees, so don’t be surprised if the host offers you a taste of starfruit. 

The kitchen is stocked with all the basics, so you’ll be able to sample local coffee and have seasoning on hand to flavor your in-room meals. Beach chairs and umbrellas are also provided, and there’s complimentary guest laundry.

Private guest house on Maui

Private_Home_Kihe_Maui

Book this Maui home on Airbnb

Some of Maui’s most beloved beaches are located in Kihei and Wailea-Makena, and this one-bedroom cottage makes it easy to take advantage of the waterfront along Keawakapu and Kamaole Beaches where you’ll find food trucks and casual eateries aplenty, along with great people watching.

The space is bright, light, and sparkling clean with a convection oven and enough kitchen space to cook meals. There is also a coffee maker, air conditioning, a memory foam Queen-sized bed, and blackout curtains for excellent sleep. The private courtyard space includes a BBQ and hammock surrounded by lush plant life including organic papayas, mangoes, avocados, lilikoi, guava, lemon, and lime, depending on the season.

Additionally, the living room has a mounted smart TV to stream your favorite shows and movies after a long day at the beach. This guest house is attached to the host’s home, but you will have incredible privacy with a separate entrance and your own dedicated outdoor space. 

Modern remodeled condo at Poipu Beach, Kauai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - modern remodeled condo living room

Book this Kauai condo on Airbnb

It doesn’t get much closer to the waterfront at Poipu Beach than this stunning home.

Fresh off a full remodel, the contemporary space has a cool palette of white and grey, with a stainless fridge and in-counter cooktop, ideal for quick self-made meals. Adorning the walls is a series of island images from a locally renowned photographer, and the fresh, clean design carries throughout the condo.

There is a large bath offering natural light and the main bedroom has a King-size bed and a spacious layout. The living room convertible sofa adds extra sleeping space, and big windows and air conditioning keep the space comfy and cool.

In addition to immediate beach access, the condo property also has an outdoor grill and seating area for meals outside, while guests are also close to popular ice cream shops, casual and upscale restaurants, and great local coffee roasters. 

Bohemian retreat on the Big Island

best airbnbs in hawaii jungle home

Book this Big Island home on Airbnb

Set on an organic mango orchard and surrounded by plumerias, the home is located in Captain Cook and just a mile from Kealakekua Bay, known for some of Hawaii’s best snorkeling and wild dolphins.

Kind of like glamping, this open-air, two-bedroom bungalow merges the comforts of a well-appointed, bohemian-inspired home, with the outdoors. The kitchen and living areas are partially outside and open to the elements, but protected from rain, and eclectically adorned with vintage and tribal-inspired decor.

A lofted bedroom places you eye-level with a lush canopy of trees through floor-to-ceiling windows and a 30-foot stroll down a secluded path leads to an open-air bathhouse. It’s scenic and lovely, like staying in a jungle treehouse, but best appreciated by those who are comfortable with such rustic accouterments, especially given the occasional cameos from birds, insects, and lizards.

But it’s not totally roughing it; modern amenities include Wi-Fi and a washer and dryer, and town is a short 20-minute drive.

North Shore getaway at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii -- Entire condominium living room with stairs to a second floor

Book this Oahu home on Airbnb

Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore is memorable for its jagged lava rock coastline, a wide assortment of sea life ideal for snorkel sessions, and a starring role in the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

At this resort condo, guests may enjoy all the amenities of the popular resort such as a great pool complex, private beach, tennis, grills, dining, and sprawling grounds, while enjoying the privacy and quiet space of a whole home rental. 

The beach cottage comes with partial ocean views from the living room and the bedroom loft separates you from travel pals who can spread out on the Queen pullout sofa. Decor is crisp and clean with sea blue accents, and a vaulted ceiling is accented by tropical plants and island-inspired artwork. There is also a full kitchen, air conditioning, ensuite laundry, and your own designated parking space. 

Tiny home on a volcanic lava field on the Big Island

Best airbnbs in Hawaii tiny home on a lava field

Book this Big Island home on Airbnb

For an only in Hawaii experience, book this custom-built tiny home set on an otherworldly landscape of a volcanic lava field. You might even catch a glimpse of Pele’s orange volcanic glow. 

The home is also loaded with standout decor from steel tub sinks to a brightly painted ocean landscape mural behind the bed. Light pours in through oversized windows and patio doors, brightening the industrial-inspired interiors. The main living area is open and includes a couch, full kitchen, wooden writing desk, while a Queen-size bed is tucked upstairs in a sleeping loft.

This unique rental is in a great location for visiting the national park and nearby Kehena Black Sand Beach, which is less than an hour south of Hilo Airport. You’re also on the right side of the island for sampling local-grown macadamia nuts. 

Modern condo on Kauai

Zen_home_Princeville

Book this Kauai condo on Airbnb

Located in a well-kept apartment complex, this Princeville condo offers the amenities of a larger resort with the privacy and personality of a warm home. Located on a quiet ocean bluff, guests enjoy the use of a shared community pool, grills, scenic hiking and cycling paths, and breathtaking beaches. 

The design exudes a luxury lean, with a soothing palette of calming blues and greys that creates a very Zen-inspired feeling. The living room has a smart TV, ceiling fan, and beach views from a lovely patio, while the kitchen is full-size. The modern Queen-size bedroom includes an additional fan, blackout shades, a bathroom with walk-in shower, and the option for a Pack ‘N Play crib if needed. 

Farmers’ markets and great restaurants are located close by. Be sure to sample the taro and juice farm store in neighboring Hanalei, and note there’s even a wine market nearby that offers delivery. 

Tropical cottage on Maui’s North Shore

North_Shore_Cottage_Maui

Book this Maui cottage on Airbnb

For a tranquil stay on Maui’s scenic North Shore, this garden cottage places you amid green grass, waterfalls, and gentle breezes, perfect for lapping up sounds of nature and stargazing. Hookipa Beach is just a 10-minute drive away while the town of Paia isn’t much further.

The one-bedroom space is airy and bright with a smart TV, ceiling fan, convection oven, dishwasher, a washer and dryer, a memory foam Queen-size bed, an additional Queen-size daybed, as well as both a picturesque terrace and a separate, screened porch with ocean views. The backyard overlooks fruit trees, and the host also provides boogie boards, snorkeling gear, and there is the added bonus of an outdoor shower.

It’s worth noting that while this cottage is private there is a shared wall with another home, but only a few guests have noticed neighbor sounds and there are “quiet hours” in place. 

Large plantation-style home on Lanai

best airbnbs in hawaii in lanai

Book this Lanai home on Airbnb

This stunning home in the heart of Lanai is ideal for group travel thanks to its sizeable footprint. The contemporary space is well-lit with high ceilings and includes deluxe appliances and an inviting marble island made for social gatherings. There’s also a private patio, free parking, on-site laundry, free Wi-Fi, and taxes are already included in the nightly rate, making it a great deal for a full-family getaway.

Each of the three bedrooms has a Queen-size bed and the spacious living room includes a plush sectional sofa that converts to a full-size bed. There’s also a daybed if you have even more family members to accommodate. 

For cool pool dips, visit the rec center a mere five-minute walk down the street. Or head to nearby Hulopoe Bay to enjoy ocean waves. 

Three-bedroom designer beach house on the Big Island

Earthy_Modern_Beach_Home_Kona

Book this Kona beach house on Airbnb

With three bedrooms, this sophisticated beach home is a solid deal given the excellent location, sleek design, and excellent amenities. It’s just 10 minutes from the closest beach and the bustling tourist town of Kona.

Select a record for the turntable or queue up something to screen on the living room projector and sink into a hanging wicker chair while admiring the serene atmosphere of this beach home with concrete floors, midcentury furnishings, and tropical plants. The neutral design feels curated out of a magazine, with a full kitchen, air conditioning (in all rooms but one bedroom), surf and bamboo accents, essential oil diffusers, and playful palm print wallpaper. Each of the three bedrooms has a Queen-size bed, and a tranquil porch and backyard blend indoor and outdoor living seamlessly.

Other extras include beach gear, a grill, two bicycles, free parking, and a slew of family-friendly perks such as a travel crib, high chair, stair gates, changing table, baby monitor, baby bath, and more, for no added fee. 

Decadent artist’s house on Lanai

Best Airbnbs in Hawaii - artists house open floor plan

Book this Lanai house on Airbnb

Located in the old Japanese section of Lanai City, this original 1930s plantation-style home has been remodeled with a contemporary chef’s kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances and a sharp-looking range hood. 

A classic neutral color palette emphasizes natural finishes, including warm wood grains in flooring and the dining set, with a plush leather sofa for cozy movie nights. There’s also plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors with a large furnished patio, a tropical garden, and an outdoor shower to rinse off after a fun day at the beach. The two interior full bathrooms offer natural light and ample storage for the whole family, while the main bath also has a jetted tub for soothing soaks. 

A well-known local artist renovated this charming home to reflect modern needs while retaining its roots as a former plantation home. Now the property includes a steam shower, full ensuite laundry, and personality while having easy access to downtown Lanai’s shops, eateries, and cafes. 

Luxury B&B with a pool on Maui

best hawaii airbnbs luxury bnb

Book this Maui B&B on Airbnb

For something closer to a hotel stay that’s still a standalone accommodation with a private entrance, this B&B offers the best of both worlds.

This guest suite includes a luxurious spa-like ensuite bathroom with a rain shower and a deep soaking tub, plus a King-size bed and golf course views. Right outside the door is a gorgeous swimming pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, a sauna, fitness equipment, and free daily breakfast that is included and served poolside each morning.

While the pool and outdoor amenities are shared with one other listing on the same property, staying here is truly like staying at your own exclusive resort. Plus, for a completely private escape, you can rent out both guest suites.

Award-winning Ka’anapali Beach is just across the street, so you’ll have quick access to incredible soft sand beaches, and a supreme range of local eateries and retail shops. 

FAQ: Airbnb in Hawaii

Where should I stay in Hawaii on Airbnb?

Each island has its own identity, which means you’ll eventually want to experience all the islands for a true sense of the state. 

Oahu is often a first-timer’s choice, as it’s home to Honolulu and Waikiki and cute surf towns. It’s also the most populous island, which means there’s no shortage of attractions, eateries, and places to stay. Here you’ll find a fusion of traditional art and luaus alongside city skyscrapers and contemporary five-star restaurants.  

Maui is known for its laidback beach vibes, though you can also explore lava rocks, watch the sunrise atop a volcano summit, and hike through the rainforest in between surf sessions. It’s the best island for watching migrating humpback whales in the winter, while summers are ideal for seasonal farm-to-table dining. 

The “big island” of Hawaii is hands-down a coffee lover’s paradise. This is where you’ll find famous Kona coffee beans grown on lush hillsides en route to those famous volcanoes. This island is sizeable, so you’ll want to day trip to its various seaside towns to experience all the flavors, like Macadamia nuts on the east side, coffee on the south end, and chef-driven dining in upcountry. 

For outdoors enthusiasts, the island of Kauai is a magical place to visit for its diverse terrain of stunning green valleys and towering cliffsides. Rainforests and cascading waterfalls are a big draw for hikers, too, so pack reliable footwear. Beaches on the South Shore are great for family swims and there are plenty of great snorkeling spots here, too. 

Lanai is only nine miles from Maui and easily accessible by a pedestrian ferry for day trips. The island is known for 4-wheeling and snorkeling spots, and there’s really only one town to explore in the center of it all. In tiny but chill Lanai City, guests savor local coffee at mom-and-pop cafes in between adventurous exploration of rugged island terrain.  

Finally, Molokai is only 38 miles long and while it’s perhaps the least visited island, it offers a different experience with its quiet atmosphere. The highest sea cliffs in the world are found here and lead to Kalaupapa National Historic Park. Though the island is remote, Central Molokai is home to an 80-year-old bakery and a handful of local eateries and shops. Keep in mind there is no direct air service to Molokai Airport, so you’ll need to connect from Honolulu. Once on the island, there is no public transportation, so your options will be to walk, cycle, or rent a car. 

What is the best time of year to visit Hawaii?

Hawaii’s climate is consistently warm, so there’s no bad time to visit when considering the weather. Even during the winter months, the daytime average is a balmy 78° while summer at sea level is in the mid-80s. No matter when you visit, it’s possible to experience some light trade winds or rainfall, but even in the wettest months, which are November through March, the rain passes as quickly as it arrived, so your fun won’t be interrupted for long. 

Near-shore water is consistently welcoming, so any time of year offers a refreshing dip at the beach. Just keep an eye on wave conditions to ensure you won’t face strong currents. When in doubt, swim at a beach with a lifeguard. And be sure to layer on sunscreen as even cloudy days can take your skin by surprise. 

How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?

In shoulder season and for more modest accommodations, Airbnb vacation rentals are easy to find for under $100. But expect to pay a few hundred dollars during popular vacation periods or for homes with plenty of guest space, unique features, and updated design.

Of course, you’ll also want to plan for a decent food and drink budget, which can also be expensive. You can save money on dining by picking up beverages and a few essentials at a local market like Foodland Farms or ABC Stores. 

If you can be flexible with travel dates, there is sometimes a dip in midweek pricing for Airbnbs but know that Hawaii is a year-round popular destination. Shoulder seasons may offer a bit of a price break, so keep an eye on spring and fall prices which may be less than the peak of summer vacation and winter breakers. 

Are there travel restrictions to Hawaii? 

If you are traveling during the pandemic, be sure to review Hawaii’s latest travel protocols and know that entrance requirements change often in response to new health data.

At present, all incoming mainland travelers — regardless of vaccination status — are subject to pre-travel testing to bypass a 10-day quarantine. Travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test to enter, which must be an approved test from specific trusted testing partners, no more than 72 hours before departure to Hawaii.

If you are unable to present an accepted test, you will be subject to a 10-day quarantine upon arrival. A new vaccination quarantine and test bypass program is in development, but not likely to begin until later this summer. 

All travelers must also register with the State of Hawaii Safe Travels program and be sure to stay up to date on the latest traveler guidelines

 Is Airbnb safe?

While there’s no such thing as a safety guarantee, getting fully vaccinated greatly decreases your chance of falling ill near home and while away.

If you’re wondering if staying at an Airbnb right now is safe, experts largely agree that private vacation rentals are likely safer than hotels due to the ease of social distancing and lack of interactions with other guests or staff.

Airbnb has also implemented reassuring new policies, including the Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, which includes new safety guidelines for hosts, as well as optional booking buffers.

More warm weather getaways on Airbnb

airbnb beach houses malibu
Read the original article on Business Insider

How one millennial resident in Honolulu maintains a simple and sustainable lifestyle to help fight the climate crisis

IMG_1030 credit Christina Kaoh
Jennifer Lieu.

  • Texas-native Jennifer Lieu moved to Honolulu 20 years ago and says Hawaii feels like home.
  • She’s focused on reducing waste and living sustainably to help preserve Hawaii for generations.
  • Her habits include shopping locally, biking instead of driving, and volunteering with local farms.
  • This article is part of a series focused on American cities building a better tomorrow called “Advancing Cities.”

When Jennifer Lieu moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, 20 years ago, she said she felt a sense of “coming home.”

“I feel very, very fortunate and lucky to live in Hawaii,” Lieu, who’s originally from Texas and in her mid-30s, told Insider. “There’s so much natural beauty, and I’ve always been attracted to the ocean.”

During her time in Hawaii, Lieu has become dedicated to protecting its natural resources. She said she spends as much time as she can outdoors – swimming, running on the beach, or hiking. She’s passionate about giving back to the community by volunteering with sustainability-minded organizations, such as local farms and ecological groups, and strives to reduce her own carbon footprint.

IMG_0108 credit Christina Kaoh
Jennifer Lieu hiking.

And she’s seen other Honolulu residents also become more aware and involved in supporting issues of sustainability over the years, and the local government working to solve these challenges.

“It’s so special when you can eat, live, and play in a place that has the same values as you – it just seems it comes together, it’s much more natural,” she said.

Embracing minimal living

Lieu works as a program manager at a boutique information technology firm, but said yoga is her passion. She’s been practicing since childhood and became a yoga teacher in 2016.

“It gives me the ability to connect with my body, breathe, and be in Hawaii,” she said. “There’s a lot of like-minded yogis here. Part of that, they talk about minimal living. It’s just using what you have, and that also is a stepping-off of how I feel about sustainability.”

Hawaii is more susceptible to the impacts of climate change, Lieu said, because it’s surrounded by water. So she’s focused on reducing waste and living sustainability to ensure it’s a great place to live for generations to come.

“There’s a lot of things as a resident I can’t control,” Lieu said. “I can’t control energy costs. I can’t put a solar panel up because I live in an apartment. But things I can control are my carbon footprint and knowing that I can walk safer and I can bike safer on the roads.”

Before the pandemic, she used ride-sharing apps, she said, but she became nervous about jumping into an Uber during COVID-19.

Another way she lives sustainably and supports her local ecosystem is by shopping at farmers’ markets and buying locally produced foods.

“I usually buy local coffee because I want to support the coffee farmers,” Lieu said. Other meals usually consist of sustainably caught fish and locally grown vegetables, and she dines at restaurants that support local farmers.

Volunteering with local farms and organizations

On many of her weekends Lieu enjoys volunteering at local, “like-minded” organizations that support the causes she’s most interested in, such as local farming and cultivating native plants.

IMG_0060 credit Christina Kaoh
Jennifer Lieu volunteering.

Protect & Preserve Hawaii is one of these organizations. The group works to preserve and restore Hawaii’s native ecosystem, and Lieu’s volunteer work with Protect & Preserve involves planting native plants back on the island.

“There’s a lot of invasive plants in Hawaii, and unfortunately, they take over really quickly,” she said. “It takes away from the beauty that Hawaii has to offer.”

Lieu also volunteers at a local taro farm, which aims to restore native agriculture and ecology. Taro is a root vegetable that was a food staple for ancient Hawaiians.

She’s inspired by “ahupua’a,” an ancient Hawaiian term that means “mountain to the sea.”

“The way they built their taro farms, it was surrounded by water and the ability to have it self-sustaining,” Lieu said. “That was something that I was very drawn to, the fact that this one group of people could have such a sustainable plan as far as food and land and then, as things got industrialized, that got taken away.”

Blue Planet Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on clean energy and climate change solutions, is another organization that Lieu volunteers with.

“I think it’s important as a resident if you can give back, whether it’s time or money,” she said.

Putting state goals into practice

As a Honolulu resident, Lieu keeps an eye on how the local government is tackling sustainability and climate change, especially in areas like sea-level rise, plastics in the ocean, transportation, and energy costs, which are especially high in Hawaii.

She said she’s benefited most from the city’s efforts to promote multimodal transportation, such as the bike-share program Biki and initiatives to convert citywide buses to clean energy.

In general, she appreciates how the city and state governments are setting sustainability goals and holding themselves accountable through programs like the Aloha+ Challenge, which lets residents track the state’s progress on meeting these goals.

“The fact that the government is standing behind what they’re saying,” Lieu said, is really cool. “It’s not just nice to say – they’re truly putting in actions and doing things to support what they believe in.”

The biggest challenge is getting residents to put some of the sustainability programs into practice in their own lives. Lieu said residents often agree that initiatives to fight climate change, like cutting down on plastic or converting to electric vehicles, are needed. But since Hawaii is an expensive place to live, actually making these changes to meet these goals takes an investment of time and money.

“I think that people really need to own and love where they live,” Lieu said. “But I think to really have a full life is to love where you live and to really be passionate about these issues that not only affect you as a person but affect the future of the island or wherever you live.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hawaii lawmakers just approved a measure to fine people $500 for intentionally releasing balloons into the atmosphere

popping balloon
  • Hawaii lawmakers passed a bill to make it illegal to intentionally release balloons.
  • If signed by Gov. David Ige, people who intentionally release helium balloons face a $500 fine.
  • Supporters say the bill would reduce pollution that is harmful to the state’s marine life.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hawaii lawmakers this week voted to pass a bill that would make it illegal to intentionally release balloons filled with helium or another similar gas into the atmosphere.

According to a report, if signed into law by Hawaii Gov. David Ige, people who intentionally release balloons will be subject to a $500 fine beginning January 2023.

The nonprofit Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii (B.E.A.C.H.) backed the proposal, which was introduced in the state legislature by Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki, a Democrat, West Hawaii Today first reported.

“This type of litter is one of the most harmful there is to marine life. Sea turtles, albatrosses and other marine life that eat squid and jellyfish can mistake a balloon in the ocean for food,” said Suzanne Frazer, the co-founder of B.E.A.C.H. in written testimony supporting the bill.

“When balloons are ingested they cause blockages of the gastro-intestinal tract that then leads to starvation and death,” she continued. “The plastic ribbon attached to balloons is also a danger as it can cause injury or death to marine life that become entangled in it or ingest it.”

Some balloon releases are exempt from the law, including those that are released indoors, hot air balloons, and balloons released as part of scientific research, according to the legislation.

“Although a large amount of marine plastic debris arrives from the ocean, it is all of our responsibility to reduce the amount of plastic debris entering and re-entering our ocean and beaches,” said Suzanne Case, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson, in written testimony in support of the bill.

“This bill would help reduce the balloon waste load entering Hawaii’s waters and shorelines and contribute to the improved health of our wildlife and their habitats,” she added.

A 2019 report published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports found that balloons posed the biggest risk to sea birds and were 32 times more likely to kill them if ingested compared to other hard plastics.

According to BalloonsBlow, a non-profit organization that tracks policies related to balloon releases, states including California, Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia, already have laws that prohibit or limit balloon releases.

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