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!

Time For Change?

 

Fiverr-Gig-696x465

Happy New Year!
A New Year is always a good time to “start a fresh”, re-invent yourself, begin again…
The calendar year represents a new cycle for many things, why not jump on that wave of change and ride that momentum to your advantage!

I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the past few months, with some of my guests.  There seems to be an increasing number of people asking about the average cost of homes, and land on Hawaii Island.  I know that Hawaii has a way of making people feel like their visit is always too short.
I tell them “There are a few factors, but between 200k and a few million.”.  Appearing encouraged, some couples begin lightheartedly planning out how they would make their move to the Big Island.

Hawaii Island does not only seem to be an attractive option for international and continental U.S. visitors, but for the residence of the neighboring Islands as well.  With real estate prices on Oahu sky-rocketing, the lure of, relatively, inexpensive properties and land being offered on the Island of Hawaii, it most likely continue to be a growing destination.

Although the 2018 Hawaii County census data has not been released yet, the rate of growth in 2017 was 1.1%, braking the 200,000 mark.   If the increased talk and curiosity is any indicator, that number is sure to increase in the upcoming years.

Do you need to change your location? How about your job?, Perhaps just your attitude?  Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid, and go for it!

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!

Kilauea Is Not Mount Vesuvius!

By now, I think the entire world is aware of the latest volcanic activity of Kilauea on Hawaii Island.

As serious as the situation is, the corporate news outlets have used sensational headlines such as: “Volcano erupts in Hawaii forcing thousands to evacuate!”, “Volcano alert urges Hawaii’s Big Island residents to get out!”, and “Hawaii residents flee after Kilauea volcano eruptions”.  All of these statements are correct but designed to promote fear and panic, instead of informing.
I am not trying to downplay the severity of this event at all.  I just think, for the people outside of Hawai’i Island, especially those that have family and friends here, have been whipped into a frenzy by the corporate news coverage.  Images of Mount Saint Helen’s or Pompeii comes to their minds (Plinian Eruptions) when they hear of an imminent volcano eruption.  There were even erroneous reports of Oahu residence being evacuated because of the volcanic eruption (No need to call out that network.  All local people are hip to who it was.). Oahu is an entirely different island. Why would they be so careless in their coverage?  TV networks need people to tune into their channel.  The thinking is; the more sensational the story, the more viewers they will attract.  The more viewers they attract, the more they can charge advertisers.  It’s all about revenue (topic for another time.).

Hawaii Island Map of East Rift Zone
New Fissures Along the East Rift Zone

Here are a few points that I think people should be mindful of:

  • Kilauea has been flowing since 1983
  • Kilauea is a shield volcano with a very different eruption style than a composite cone (aka stratovolcano)
  • As of today (May 8th) 37 structures have been lost to the lava flow. Yes, people have lost their homes and it is possible that there will be more
  • Leilani Estates and Lanipuna subdivisions have been evacuated, approximately 1800, displaced from their homes with an uncertainty of ever being able to return to them
  • Sulfur dioxide is emanating from the eruption site, making it a dangerous situation for the young, elderly, and those with respiratory conditions.
  • NO ONE has died or been injured
  • This is precisely how the Hawaiian Islands were formed

If you would like to take a break from all of the sensational presentations of what’s going on, I encourage you to visit the site links below:

U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory site:  Click Here

County of Hawaii’s Civil Defence:
Message and alerts page Click Here

If you would like to support the displaced families of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna, please contact the following initiatives and groups for info on how you can help:

Grassroots community led Pu’uhonua o Puna.  For their FaceBook page Click Here
Hilo-born Major League Baseball player Kolten Wong, of the St. Louis Cardinals, is leading a GoFundMe campaign for the families: Click Here

Hawaii Island Map of Lava History
Lava Has Been Flowing For Years

 

Hawaii Island Hazard Zones
Lava Hazard Zones