Where are you from?!

Pristine waters, breath-taking vistas, magnificent ocean creatures and warm people; it’s no wonder that Hawaii plays host to visitors from around the world!

One of the enriching aspects of working the Kona-Kohala coast, is that Kona is a popular destination so I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and engage with many of these national and international guests.

Just in the past week, I’ve had guests from Dubai, Canada, Japan, France, and Zimbabwe…  They all have questions like; “What’s a must do activity, while here?”, “Which restaurants have the best poke?”, and “What is a good beach for small children?”.  I give them some insight, and they’re thankful, but what most excites me is hearing about their perspective and culture.  Through our conversations and their stories, It’s kind of like the world coming to me!  Last month, I spent a day with a wonderful family visiting from Serbia.  They generously and passionately shared about the history of their country; Bosnian War, the dissolution of Yugoslavia and also the modern-day characteristics of the Serbian people and culture.  I enjoyed my time with them, while taking them to various Big Island locations such as South Point and Papakolea Beach (Popularly known as Green Sand Beach).

A lovely couple from Dubai expressed to me how much they were enjoying the sights and weather, here, on Hawaii Island. “It is simply beautiful here.” the wife said as if recalling the details of a dream.  I responded “Yes, it is.  I feel blessed each and every morning.”, I replied.  From the videos and photos, I’ve seen, Dubai is also beautiful.”, I continued.  “Yes, but Hawaii Island is the opposite of Dubai.”, the husband said.  “How so?”, I asked.  “As beautiful as Dubai is, it is all man-made… artificial.  Hawaii Island is mostly natural. You know?… Natural beauty.“, his wife added.  “Yes, that is a good point.” I said with a smile.  We went on to have an interesting conversation about renewable energy and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.  I love this stuff Haha!

On  my website, and the Facebook page, there is a considerable amount of traffic from around the planet.  The website stats indicate the following countries as the top five visitors of my page:

1. United States
USA

2. Japan
Japan Flag

3. Canada
Canadian Flag

4. India
Indian Flag

5. Australia
Australians Enjoy Visiting Hawaii

Where are you reading this post from?  Please, rep your city and country in the comment section below!

When you finally make it to Hawaii Island (or return ;D), make sure you give me a shout!

I hope to see you in the Kona Sun! Peace!

Southwest Comes to Hawaii!

Southwest Comes to Hawaii
Aloha, Southwest!

I’ve been hearing about Southwest Airlines’ plan to provide flights to Hawaii for over a year now.  They officially began marketing flights today!

Held up by the FAA approval process and, more recently, the government shutdown, Southwest has shown incredible resolve.  With the December approval of their Extended Operations manuals, there were just two major tasks left to do- simulations to test the carrier’s procedures for dealing with emergencies, and validation flights between the mainland and Hawaii with FAA inspectors on board.  This week, to the delight of many travelers, the airline announced that it finally received federal approval to begin making flights to Hawaii. Yeaah!!!

Starting with Cali cities; Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, and Oakland,  flights have been announced today!  How many flights per day, and to which islands will they be flying to?  I’m sure that information will be announced, shortly, as well.
“We have teams now finalizing our plans to offer service to Hawaii, and we’ll publicly announce our timing for inaugural flights and other services when we publish our schedule in the coming days.” Southwest officials stated earlier this week.

Less expensive flights to and from the “mainland”, is cool but what most excites ME is that the airline plans to provide inter-island flight service in the near future.  Finally, Hawaiian Airlines will have some healthy competition!  This should result in lower fares, making it easier for people to visit family and friends, on neighboring islands.  Not to mention visitors will be able to explore more of the unique beauty and culture each of the Hawaiian Islands has to offer, without being too cost prohibitive, during their visit.

So…  When are you coming to Hawaii?

Online flight booking

Are Airlines Jacking the Price on You?

With the advent of the world wide web, people can easily shop around for the best prices on items or services. Whether its shoes, a book, or airline tickets, it’s not uncommon for a consumer to look out for different sites in search of the best deals.   Have you ever noticed, when looking at airline tickets, the prices go up day-to-day, and in many cases moment-to-moment? I was curious about it so I dug around a bit. I found out about “Dynamic Pricing”.

“Dynamic Pricing”, also known as “Yield Management”, is a set of pricing strategies aimed at increasing profits. It’s not new, but add the technology and capabilities of the internet, and you have a powerful tool for, potentially, identifying customers that will pay a bit more.

Through the use of “Cookies”, websites have access to a great deal of data about their visitors. With that information, the site could automatically adjust the fair based on the collected data. The travel sites’ position is that the change in rates is based on inventory and not cookie data.  This is what I always thought, and it may be 100% true.  I’m skeptical of that 100%. Lol!  William McGee, an aviation adviser for Consumer Reports, conducted a study, in 2016, of 372 searches on nine airline ticketing websites.  What McGee and his team found was:

“Among the 372 searches, we found 42 pairs of different prices on separate browsers for the same sites retrieved at the same time (in theory there should have been no differences). In fact, all nine sites provided different airfares on separate browsers at the same time at least once, although it occurred most frequently on Google Flights (12) and Kayak (8). Out of the 42 pairs that differed, 25 resulted in higher fares (by as much as $121) and 17 resulted in lower fares (up to $84 less) for the scrubbed browser [meaning cookies/browser history removed].”

The technology is there, the incentive is obvious (mo $$$), and the discrepancies are fact, however, there is no admission from the airlines that they strategically employ “Dynamic Pricing” practices as a way of taking advantage of consumers based on their data.

What can you do?
I know it’s a little more work, but you can search for your flight in two browser windows- one that has no “cookie” data, and one that does. And go with the best results that serve your needs.

Browsers now have a “private” feature. Chrome has a way to browse the internet undetected through their “Incognito” feature. For your convenience, I’ve illustrated below how to do this in Chrome.

Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, offers a much more detailed look at “Dynamic Pricing”, in their blog.  READ IT HERE.  

Click here

Going Incognito in Chrome. D The Driver Blog
The Dropdown menu to open an “Incognito” window in Chrome.

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 10.33.57 AM

Honu at Punaluu Beach

Kailua-Kona With D The Driver

The last blog I wrote was at the tail end of May. That was just before I took my trip back to the East Coast. It was on this visit when my laptop was stolen from my rental vehicle. Although I did not allow the theft to rob me of a good time visiting friends and family, it did impact, among other things, my ability to write my weekly blog. With a laptop, there’s freedom- Freedom to turn virtually any place into “my office”. Any of the beautiful beaches, parks, or cafés magically transform into places for me to manage accounts, do paperwork, communicate with clients, and consistently write my D The Driver Blog. A lot has gone down since I last shared.

The Volcano.
The breakout lava flow is still flowing- like a river, in fact! Fissure 8 has emerged as the dominant source of the lava activity. The Big Island is getting Bigger! For the latest maps and information, dealing with Kilauea and lava activity, please visit the USGA’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory site.
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

Added a 12 passenger van service option.
Now, if you would like to apply my exemplary service to the delivery of your group, of up to 12, on an outing or retreat, I can take care of that!

12 Passenger Chevy Van

Absolute Ba;ance In Hawaii
Yoga Retreat Participants from Tokyo, Japan.

The cruise ships are back!
After the news coverage gave everyone a good fright, the cruise ships discontinued their stops to Hawaii Island’s Hilo and Kona ports.
When Norwegian Cruise Line announced it would be adding the ports back onto its Pride of America itinerary, here’s what they said:

“As we have always said, Hawaii is an incredible destination,” the cruise lines said. “We have visited its ports for well over a decade and we are very happy to be returning to Hilo and Kona. Please know that the safety and security of our guests and crew remains our first priority so we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation.”

I had the privilege of driving a pleasant older couple from Fort Lauderdale, FL, last Tuesday. I picked them up at the pier. They told me that they wanted to drive around, see a few sites, and find themselves at a beachfront restaurant, for lunch. So we cruised South on Ali’I Drive, up to Keauhou Bay and the scenic lookout, and then we headed North to Hualalai Resort where they enjoyed a nice lunch at The Four Seasons’ Beachtree Restaurant, situated on the beach! Then, the final stop before returning to the pier- Kona Mountain Coffee- for some gifts. I returned them to the pier with a half hour to spare and big smiles on their faces. They thanked me for a wonderful afternoon and said “If you’re ever in the Fort Lauderdale area, give us a call.”. I just might do that. Haha!

With so many things to see and do on this wonderful island, what would you like to do or see?
Give me a shout, and we can work it out!

I hope to see you in the Kona Sunshine!

Hawaii Shores
D The Driver At Your Service!

Interesting People, Interesting Conversations

Kailua-Kona, Travel
D The Driver, serving Hawaii Island

What does an Admiral of a British Royal Navy submarine, a South Korean car engineer, a billion-dollar real estate broker, and major recording artist have in common?   Me!  They have all rode with me (Not all at the same time. Although that would be interesting. Lol), while visiting the Kona-Kohala Coast! Lol.  I enjoy engaging in conversations with interesting people.  And to get paid while doing so is frosting on the cake.

Kailua-Kona transportation
Photo by Joel Collins.

It’s not lost on me that there are some people, at times, that are not interested in speaking during our 20-35 minute commute.  Whether they need to send emails, texts, or just catch a quick nap, it is incumbent on me, to identify those times and keep quiet.  But for the most part, people ARE interested in engaging.

I’m not a star-struck individual.  I believe people are people.     However, I am fascinated by all people.  Each of us has a journey, and each path is unique.  It’s these paths, and how we process the experiences, that differentiates our perspectives. Music and movie celebrities are interesting to me but no more interesting than any individual that has distinguished themselves in their respective field.  I guess I’m just curious about how different folks are navigating their life experience.  Each person that enters my vehicle is the sum total of their journey, thus far.  The work they choose, the way they view various events taking place in the world.  I feel enriched when people share their stories and perspectives.

Last week I had the honor of transporting a noted liver specialist.  “There are five major organs in the human body, how did you reach the decision to specialize in the liver?”  I asked the good Dr.  He lit up in his response.  Speaking of all the wonderful functions of the liver. From filtering toxins from our blood to the storage of vitamins “It’s a fascinating organ!”, he expressed.  Although he would not be as known as an entertainer or professional athlete, he and other professionals have reached a level of success that would make them “rock stars” in their respective industries.  I’m interested in everyone, but I know, generally, people want to know about “high profile” figures.

Have I driven celebrities? Yes. Do I broadcast who has ridden with me? No.
From time to time people ask me “What celebrities have I driven?”  I always answer “Everyone that rides with me are V.I.P!”.



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