Stranded in Paradise: When you're already in your destination and EVERYTHING gets cancelled

Episode 18 December 18, 2023 00:25:03
Stranded in Paradise: When you're already in your destination and EVERYTHING gets cancelled
2TravelDads Podcast
Stranded in Paradise: When you're already in your destination and EVERYTHING gets cancelled

Dec 18 2023 | 00:25:03

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Hosted By

Rob Taylor Chris Taylor

Show Notes

Have you ever been on what was going to be the most epic trip only to have it cancelled once YOU'RE ALREADY THERE?! Well, that just happened to us, and being intense planners and very careful travelers, we had the joy of doing a mad scramble to find transportation, accommodations and activities for 8 days, 7 nights in Hawaii... during the busiest travel week of the year. We turned it into a Hawaii island hopping trip!

Give a listen to how we handled being stranded in paradise without a place to stay or way to get around. We truly did make the best of it, but had we not had the skills, points and financial capability to act quickly things would have turned out much differently.

To find out more about our favorite things to do in the Hawaiian Islands, top educational sites to visit and where to stay from Kauai to the Big Island, check out our blog articles:

Hawaii Guides -- Big Island -- Oahu -- Kauai -- Maui

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to two Travel Dads podcast. Here we share our favorite destinations, travel tips, stories from our adventures, and tips for saving money. Be sure to subscribe and check out our detailed show [email protected]. Podcast episodes. [00:00:24] Speaker B: Hey, welcome back to another episode of two Travel Dads podcast. I'm Rob. [00:00:28] Speaker C: I'm Chris. [00:00:29] Speaker B: And we wanted to talk today about. So we just got back from Hawaii, and it was a really interesting visit, and it was unlike any other trip that we'd ever done before, but not for all the right reasons. [00:00:44] Speaker C: It was a long trip. What, 17 days? [00:00:46] Speaker B: It was 17 days. And, yeah, we've been to Hawaii a couple of times, and the plan was to go and do the big island with the kids for the first time. And we did that, and that was great. And then we were going to be sailing from island to island on a project we've been working on for a while and then finish off with a couple of days on Maui, just doing some really good exploring because everybody says that Maui is the best. Yeah, that was the plan. [00:01:14] Speaker C: And we started. I mean, we're having a really great time on the big island in Hawaii, and we're at one of Rob's favorite places, which is a black sand beach that always have know sea turtles laying out on the beach. [00:01:28] Speaker B: It's the coolest place. Like, it's literally the blackest, black, wonderful sand. I love it. [00:01:33] Speaker C: Anyways, well, then I looked over at him and I was like, what's wrong? Because I could tell by his face that he was looking at his phone and something just wasn't quite right. [00:01:45] Speaker B: So while we're there just enjoying the turtles and the waves crashing and all that good stuff, one of my good buddies texted me, and she was also going to be sailing with us. She texted me and she's like, oh, my gosh, did you see the email? And I was like, oh, no. And I've had my phone on out of office ready to just enjoy our time and then hit the work running, all that stuff. And then I open up my email and there it is. Our sailing got canceled. [00:02:14] Speaker C: And how long was the sailing? Seven days, right? [00:02:16] Speaker B: Yeah. So eight days, seven nights on board. Canceled. Super duper. Bummer. [00:02:22] Speaker C: And that included thanksgiving. That included Elliot's birthday. [00:02:26] Speaker B: Yep. Yep. So it was the busiest travel week of the year. And so now there I am on this beautiful black sand beach with my heart in my stomach, not sure what. [00:02:37] Speaker C: To do, and no plan. [00:02:39] Speaker B: And no plan. So what we did then was just finish up our time, enjoy the turtles, and then get in the car. And, yeah, I kind of was in this spot of, wow, do we tell the kids before we have a plan? Yeah, it was weird. I couldn't see what was happening with your face while I was kind of in the depths of despair while I. [00:03:08] Speaker C: Was formulating what do we do next and what are our options? Right. [00:03:13] Speaker B: Why is a weird place to be stuck with no plan. [00:03:15] Speaker C: Yeah. And just knowing that now we had eight days to figure out where we're going to stay, what are we going to do? And that's what was top of mind for me, because as much as disappointing as it was to have that trip be mean, we were still in Hawaii, still had to figure out where to stay and really what activities we were going to do because everything was planned out for us for those eight days, seven nights. [00:03:46] Speaker B: Yeah. So here's the thing. So the cancellation. So we were doing our uncrews, which now we're rebooked for, for February, which. Totally excited. And it's going to be great. And we're not going to be gone for 17. [00:04:00] Speaker C: And granted, it was canceled because there was an engine issue. Rare. Obviously, they had to get that resolved and we couldn't sail. [00:04:09] Speaker B: And definitely they were as surprised as us that this ever had to happen because, I mean, gosh, could you imagine having to tell all the passengers on your ship that, hey, you aren't going to be doing this. I can't imagine having to be the person to reach out and tell people. Yeah. But anyway, so there we know a little side me. So Chris works a ton with his own job, so he was excited to be able to have vacation. For me, it was so stressful. All of a sudden, I'm such a planner with stuff like this, not actually having a day by day, minute by minute plan, and I don't have a way to communicate what that felt like on the inside. It was so very stressful. So, yeah, we had to just kind of calmly tell the kids, and initially they, gosh, their faces, they were pretty darn sad, but then they're like, oh, that's okay. Oh, well, we'll figure it out. Which, thank goodness. [00:05:21] Speaker C: Yeah. We didn't budget to plan for eight days and seven nights. [00:05:31] Speaker B: Yeah. We hadn't budgeted for impromptu eight day hawaiian vacation on the busiest travel week. [00:05:37] Speaker C: On flights for flights and hotels and food and activities. Rental car. [00:05:44] Speaker B: Yeah. So what we did, though, I guess maybe the point of all this is here's how you can try to recover a vacation or a trip when something goes awry, very first thing that we did was reach out to our travel insurance because everybody's like, you should always have travel insurance. It's so great for stuff like this. Yeah. So I've now gone through the appeal process twice with alliance travel insurance, and they have denied my claim twice under the trip cancellation. It's item five in their verbiage. They've denied it twice, saying that this is one of those rare situations that they actually don't cover mechanical failure. So what's the point of travel insurance? This is the second time I've ever tried to use it and both times it's been denied. It's such a croc. [00:06:39] Speaker C: I wonder if anybody has ever had travel insurance, like an issue and had it approved and paid out. [00:06:44] Speaker B: I don't know. That would be a fascinating thing to find out is if anybody's ever successfully had travel insurance actually work for them. But with that also in talking with the travel insurance folks, so what do we do? And they're like, well, that's up to you. What you do, they don't even have advice or anything to do because it's not like they're going to be paying out. So do what you want, I guess, is their thoughts. So that's what we did. Yeah. Gosh. Trying to think about how did we actually make our plan? Because it was 04:00 in the morning. Just. [00:07:20] Speaker C: Well, I think it was trying to figure out, okay, where do we want to stay? Because I think it was really important for you to continue to get content. Right. So we needed to figure out what other islands are we going to go to? We tried to still go to Molokai, but that just seemed unrealistic at that point. [00:07:37] Speaker B: Yeah, Molokai is a lot more complicated to visit than it seems. [00:07:40] Speaker C: And then it's also complicated to fly to Kauai because that's where you wanted to go, to go get some more content in between the big island and then Maui. And so you want to talk about what it was like trying to get flights out of. We were at the big island and how it is trying to get to. [00:07:57] Speaker B: That's. Yeah, that's a good point. So with the whole sailing that we were supposed to be doing, we were going to be ending on Molokai. So we already had flights from Molokai to Maui and trying to figure out, oh, well, how do we use that? That initially was pretty complicated. And what we learned is that on the cool little airline, Mokule, that goes from Molokai to Maui, they actually will just credit you and then you can use it at a later date. So we're like, okay, well, it sounds like we don't have this to use necessarily. And we're not going to be able to get from the big island to anywhere with Mokulele for now. So. [00:08:36] Speaker C: Great. [00:08:37] Speaker B: We'll just sit with that credit in the back pocket. And we've already rebooked it for when we're there in February, so that's great. So that is not lost value. But what we found was the inter island flights on hawaiian airlines are actually pretty affordable. So we went ahead and we just booked hawaiian air going from the big island all the way over to Kauai because we knew that that'd be a good place. The kids had never been there. We could probably do enough stuff. [00:09:05] Speaker C: It wasn't a direct. Right? [00:09:06] Speaker B: It wasn't, no. So we had a little stopover. Yeah. Direct flights between islands are rare, I guess, but yeah. So we found hawaiian airlines getting us over to Kauai and then figuring out kind of where to stay for a week. That was kind of tricky because there's the whole thing of Thanksgiving week. What can we do? Where should we stay? So we found. We booked one hotel. The what? I don't remember where we stayed. [00:09:39] Speaker C: We stayed at the Sheraton villas. [00:09:43] Speaker B: The Sheraton villas in Kauai resort or. Wow. Why is it so difficult? Poipu. [00:09:50] Speaker C: Poipu. [00:09:51] Speaker B: Poipu. It's fun to say. There's lots of fun stuff to do there. So we're like, this will work. So we stayed down at the Sheraton there in Poipu, which is great because there's lots of hiking. You're close to the know, the south side of the island with like Waimaya Canyon and beaches. All the stuff that we're already familiar with, which was great. So we were able to find a place there, which we booked and then paid for. And then for the second half of our week, we booked it with points. We were able to stay at the Sheraton coconut beach up in Kappa, which worked out great. The kids loved it. But there was something weird about how we did the points for that. [00:10:32] Speaker C: What did you do? [00:10:32] Speaker B: I didn't manage that. You did that? [00:10:34] Speaker C: Yeah. So we could have either booked using, you know, points through their platform or American Express points that we also had. And there was actually promotion that was happening at that time with American Express to where you could convert your American Express points to Marriott Bomboy points at a higher rate. I think it was like an additional, like, you transfer 1000, they get like 1500 or something. And so doing all the research, as I always do, the best deal was converting those points from american express points to Marriott Bombay points and then booking direct through Marriott Bomboy for the Coconut beach resort. [00:11:22] Speaker B: That's right. Because you had found it on the American Express site for a certain amount of points and then ended up being way less due. That's right. [00:11:30] Speaker C: But we were like, oh gosh, how long is it going to take to actually convert the American Express points to Marriott Bombay points and then have those bonvoy points available in the Marriott Bonvoy account to be able to use? And it was like 30 minutes talks. [00:11:49] Speaker B: It was just thank goodness because that's the busiest week of the year and it was pretty great, actually. Both of our hotels were pretty awesome. And now I'm working on writing about each of them because they're really unique and perfect for us. But yeah, that worked out. [00:12:05] Speaker C: Yeah. And then I think once we knew where we were flying, where we were staying, then that enabled you to put together an iterator and plan for our time. [00:12:15] Speaker B: Well, kind of, yeah. And with that we also had to find a car, which if you've ever rented a car in Hawaii, it's so much more expensive than the mainland, but. [00:12:25] Speaker C: It'S always a scramble to get your car. I don't like it. I feel like it's similar to a Mexico experience where it's not organized and easy. Although it was in Maui. Maui was pretty simple. [00:12:37] Speaker B: Oh, Maui was easy. I love that cute little. Well, so maybe Kauai would have been easier had we not decided to try to walk to the car rental place. [00:12:48] Speaker C: Yeah, but that line was crazy anyways. [00:12:51] Speaker B: Yeah, content anyways though. But, so if you have been listening to other episodes, we talked a whole bunch about American Airlines points and how that whole reward loyalty system works. And one of the things that you can do to earn points is you can check out the different loyalty points deals with car rentals and hotels and such like that. And I was able to book our rental car through american for the same price that I found directly through budget. And I ended up getting at the end of the day, it ended up being like 2800 miles or loyalty points with that. And it was a great deal for the most popular rental car in all of white, the super sweet Nissan Ultima, which, oh my gosh, they're everywhere. I had no idea that that was the state mascot of Hawaii was the Nissan Ultima. Absolutely everywhere. So we were able to actually earn miles and loyalty points doing that. And we got a car for the week we had transportation sold. Solid. Good to. It's so stressful, though. But then the other side of that, though, is the whole, like, what do you do on an island when you don't have a plan and you don't want to do the same stuff that you've done before? Because we were just there last year doing another project when we did a project with Tripadvisor. So we got to see kind of like the best of the best of kauai. And now we're there with kids, so we're like, what do we do? And that was kind of interesting because. [00:14:26] Speaker C: We just did a lot of hiking. [00:14:27] Speaker B: Yeah, so that's the thing. So we live in Florida and I think our beach really is one of the best beaches I've ever been to anywhere in the world. And Hawaii beaches are not like our beaches. [00:14:41] Speaker C: They're different. [00:14:43] Speaker B: If it's even slightly stormy, you have like 7000 foot tall waves and it's unsafe. [00:14:50] Speaker C: Yeah. They're not as relaxing to just swim in. [00:14:55] Speaker B: It's actually really difficult. And so on. Gosh, where did we go for our first beach day? Oh, we went all the way out to the barking sands beach, which was beautiful. It was an amazing looking beach. Very deceptive. We got there and it literally is just like this place where the tide pulls one way, tide pulls another way, and if you get caught in the middle, it's five foot waves crashing into you. Totally wild. But yeah. So with that, that's how it is all around Kauai for the most part on this trip. And so we did so much hiking. And one of the coolest places you can hike on Kauai is the, you know, that goes up the nepali coast. But you also have to book know months in advance to be able to do it because it's very limited and we couldn't get our hiking reservations. [00:15:47] Speaker C: You had reservations for many other things that were already planned for because it is so important to get those reservations in advance. [00:15:53] Speaker B: Yeah. So that was kind of a pickle. But we ended up finding out that, hey, you can actually approach that same coastline, same trail system from the opposite end and you don't need a reservation. So we actually did get to do some hiking on the nepali coast out of Koke State park, which is on the west side of the island. So it was a great way to kind of get to do one of the things we wanted to do, but from a totally different perspective. And that really fun, fascinating trail that needed a Machete. [00:16:24] Speaker C: Oh, that's right. Yeah. That was beautiful, though. [00:16:27] Speaker B: Oh, it was gorgeous. And you're doing this big trail and the kids did great. And when you finally get out to the coast, it's just this jaw dropping view of 1300 foot cliffs and red dirt everywhere. And lots of guava. [00:16:42] Speaker C: I was going to say strawberry, I think. Guava. Strawberry guava to eat along the way. [00:16:45] Speaker B: Yep. And lots of little pig hoof prints everywhere. But, yeah, so little things like that, like finding different ways to do an island that we were already pretty well versed in was awesome. And we got to do stuff we hadn't done before. So Hannah Pepe was really neat. That was a cute little town. It's where lilo and stitch is set, so got to do that with the kids. [00:17:09] Speaker C: And the kids are all walking bridge, suspension bridge. Yeah, they like finding their new little chotchkis. [00:17:16] Speaker B: Yeah, it's a problem. They really enjoy souvenir shopping, which that's. [00:17:21] Speaker C: Not what they do with their own money. [00:17:23] Speaker B: Yeah, it's true. They do. So, yeah, we got to do stuff like that. We got to go up to the north shore, which is really pretty and windy roads and all that, and have good beach time, but not necessarily swim time. Except we found that wonderful. Remember that? I'm going to look up what river? That was real quick because we found the coolest beach on the north shore of Kauai. And basically it is where a river meets the beach. So it makes this big, huge, soft, beautiful swimming pool kind of off on the edge. [00:18:04] Speaker C: It was actually relaxing to swim there. So the water coming from the river was cold, but it was perfect. It was so relaxing. It was nice to be able to just dive in the water, swim around. There was even a spot where there was a rope swing that you can go off to. [00:18:20] Speaker B: Yeah. And it was Lumahai beach. So it's a huge beach. Like, there's actually plenty of parking right there on the street on the Cujillo highway. So there's plenty of parking, which is difficult to come by in Hawaii when you find a good beach spot. And then you just walk out there and you've got probably 100 yards from the edge of the woods to the water. So there's tons of sand. And then where the Lumahai river comes out to the beach, it's a really slow flowing river, so you can swim in it and it's beautiful and clear and cold. And then a wave will come and it will kind of push the water backwards. So you kind of get stuck in these little whirlpools, but not in a dangerous way, and then it warms it up, and then it kind of flows back out and it goes back and forth. Perfect with kids. Perfect to kind of let your stress out. [00:19:12] Speaker C: Yeah, we hung out there for a while. [00:19:13] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:19:13] Speaker C: Most of the other places we just kind know would get to and evaluate and enjoy how beautiful it was. But we can't swim here. We can't relax here. And we'd have to go off to another spot. But we hung out there for a good couple of hours. [00:19:29] Speaker B: Yeah. And then Hanalei beach was actually wonderful, too, which, when we were there last, actually, we didn't explore that part of the town of Hanalei at all. Or Hanalei. The beach was great, and it was the kind of most magical setting with all of the mountains just kind of pouring down into the bay and then actual waves, actual sand. I loved it. That was really just a wonderful spot to actually be able to go and do that. Trying to think, what else did we do when we were on Kauai? We had so much downtime at the hotels. [00:20:06] Speaker C: There was downtime at the hotels and enjoying the pools and walking along the coast there. Right at the hotel, especially one in, it had a nice, really great spot where you could do some good snorkeling because it was protected by a little reef there. It's because we also didn't have the best weather. So it rained a lot while we were there in Hawaii. And so a lot of our hiking trips that we wanted to take were foiled by the rain because it gets muddy and slippery for the kids. So we did do a lot of downtime at the hotel. [00:20:40] Speaker B: And it's funny, so know, kind of of the rain. We live in Florida. It rains a ton here. Yeah, it rains so much more in. [00:20:48] Speaker C: Like, not in terms of inches, just a constant wetness. [00:20:52] Speaker B: You're perpetually moist forever. And so one of the days that we were up exploring, we went and did Waimea Canyon and Coquea State park. All of the lookouts that we went to, we did the entire road to each of the lookouts where you get to look, know the ridges and the cliffs and valleys of the nepali coast, they were all so socked in, in fog that we couldn't see anything, which was a super, you know, whatever. We got really drenched on some hikes trying to do it, and that was fun. But going back to that, though, so because of all the rain, we had very know, just actual beach swim time, snorkel time. And Chris called it out that our beach at the Sheraton coconut beach in Kappa it had this amazing. It has a reef basically just off the sand. And then maybe, I don't know, a ten to twelve foot expanse that at low tide is just this perfect mellow, flowing water full of fish. And it's amazing for snorkeling. So we scored on that. And it's funny because this is this place that we stayed this time. It's literally right around the corner on the same beach as where we stayed last time. Because last time we stayed at the Kwai Shores Hotel. So this is right next to it. Same beach. And we did not know when we stayed here last time that there was this amazing little reef right off the edge. So we took advantage of that. Oh, what was that amazing fish Oliver and I saw? [00:22:18] Speaker C: It was the leopard flounder. [00:22:20] Speaker B: The leopard flounder. We were just swimming along in this dinky little area and all of a sudden this leopard flounder who was huge, he was about, I don't know, probably 18 to 24 inches long, his eye moved. And then we saw him and we just sat there and then he swam with us. And it was the coolest thing. And I think that was probably one of Oliver's highlights. He loved it. But, yeah. So that is kind of how we handled that whole situation of ending up on Kauai without a plan. A lot of downtime, a lot of hiking. And then we continued know with one of those other little hawaiian airlines flights and made it to Maui, where we had the rest of our actual planned trip. We'll have a different podcast episode about that because Maui is a really interesting place and it surprised. Um, was there anything else you wanted to talk about with how we dealt with the weird cancellation in Hawaii? [00:23:16] Speaker C: No, it was just a surprise. I mean, you never know when something like that is going to happen and how it's going to impact your trip. But I think we've got experience and resources that really helped us navigate that. Very thankful to have points on hand and being able to leverage those instead of having to come out of pocket for a place to stay, especially when it's unplanned. [00:23:39] Speaker B: Yeah. And I mean, if you're listening to this and thinking, gosh, well, the company probably should have taken care of you. Don't worry, we've got everything sorted. And this was so unplanned, they weren't sure exactly what they were going to be able to do and all that. We've got it all taken care of and they're helping us with all of our unplanned hawaiian holiday. So thank goodness for that because we did not budget for having such an expensive stranding. Next time, tune in for when Chris and I talk about Maui and also going to have the kids on to talk a little bit about some hawaiian stuff. We'll talk to you later. Thanks for listening. And check us out on iTunes, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts so you can subscribe and share with your buddies. Have a great day. [00:24:28] Speaker A: Aloha, two travel Dad's podcast is written and produced by Rob and Chris Taylor in St. Augustine, Florida. Check out past episodes in detailed show [email protected]. Podcast episodes if you would like to be on TwoTraveldads podcast, please send us a note through our website or find out [email protected]. Work.

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