Friday, November 20, 2009

Time for Hawaii Time

As I get ready to head out on my well deserved and much needed vacation, it got me thinking about how Hawaiian people live on their own time - "Hawaii Time".  Hawaii time is slowing down, taking a breath, and doing things at your own pace, all in good time.  I was talking to my husband last night about how annoyed I will get if I have to wait in line at the Starbucks in Waikiki (there is a 99% chance of that happening) - when I realized that vacation is all about taking a break, slowing down and being able to unwind.  Will it really matter if I have to wait 5 extra minutes for my Latte?  Probably not.  Maybe that's why living in Hawaii is such a dream - its Hawaii time all the time.  Even if you are not in Hawaii for Thanksgiving, why not use the time to slow down, breathe deeply, and appreciate your surroundings.  Aloha!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Take The Natalani Travel Poll!

It's on the right hand side of the blog - this survey is thanks to an interesting travel discussion I had with some colleagues last week - and I would love to know your travel preferences too.  Happy Voting!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Holiday Travel Survival Guide

Yes, it really is the holiday season. Before you head out and brave the airports, the roads, and your grandma's cooking, check out these tips thanks to Christopher Elliott at, as the upcoming travel season will be different than past ones in several important ways. You need more than promises of warm fuzzies. You need a survival guide.

1. Most of us will only travel if we have to
That’s the assessment of Juline Mills, who teaches at the University of New Haven’s department of hospitality management. “The upcoming travel season will see people traveling primarily to visit friends and relatives, and not so much for leisure vacations,” she says. That is a significant departure from previous holidays, in which Americans used Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s to get away. For those of us who do decide to go somewhere, Mills predicts more people will cruise, because it’s “the best deal in travel,” adding, “meals, lodging, and most activities are included.”
Survival strategy: If you don’t stay home, steer clear of a cruise vacation. You’ll avoid the crowds.

2. Last-minute is in
The time between booking and departure is growing ever shorter, to the point where the “last-minute” vacation is becoming the norm. The 2009 holiday travel season will see more 11th-hour getaways than ever, says Helen Fullem, president or The Crown Collection, a Paramus, N.J.-based marketing group for luxury hotels. “Every year in the past that I can remember — going 30 years back — the best hotels in the Caribbean were virtually sold out by the middle of the year,” she said. “Travelers would pay any price in order to secure reservations for the entire family at some of the chicest and most expensive resorts and be grateful that they even secured the space, at whatever cost,” she added. This year, those same travelers have more options than ever. And many of them aren’t deciding on a holiday destination until days before their departure. She’s seen customers booking their European vacations “two to three days in advance.”
Survival strategy: For the best flight and hotel options, book at least a week in advance, if not more.

3. Try not to miss your flight
If you do, you might be unable to catch another plane until 2010. That’s particularly true if you’re flying over the Christmas holiday. Airlines have cut their schedules to the point where every last seat is spoken for — especially during the busy holiday season. Observers say we haven’t seen such tight capacity in many years, if ever. “Fewer flights mean fewer ways for airlines to reaccommodate passengers, both those who volunteer to give up seats, as well as those who miss their flights,” says Seth Kaplan, a managing partner for Airline Weekly, a trade publication. “Showing up on time is more important than ever, because the next flight to a destination will, on average, be further in the future than it would have been last year.”
Survival strategy: Call your airline to double-check your departure, and give yourself plenty of time to check in at the airport.

4. You’ll probably pay a luggage fee
It’s safe to say more travelers than ever will pay extra to transport their luggage and presents during the 2009 holidays than at any other time. Airlines have discovered their money tree, and its name is baggage fees.
“I see this finally making an impact, not so much on the first checked bag but on the second bag,” says Susan Foster, author of “Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler.” She predicts air travelers will try to consolidate their bags to avoid additional fees, and more “bin rage” as passengers fight for increasingly scarce overhead space for their property. Her advice? Weigh your bag pre-flight, get familiar with your airline’s luggage policies and ship any gifts ahead so that you don’t have to haggle with your carrier over fees.
Survival strategy: Bring only a carry-on bag.

5. It’s a Wi-Fi world up there
A recent survey concluded that 62 percent of leisure travelers will carry a smartphone this year, compared with just 19 percent a year ago. And nowhere will that change be more apparent than on a plane, according to Mike Benjamin, the chief executive of FlightView, a developer of phone applications for travelers.
Chances are better than ever that you’ll be able to access a hotspot on your plane during this holiday travel season, empowering you “with more information than ever,” he said. “ With no major changes in how air traffic works, coupled with unpredictable weather, travelers headed to the airport this holiday season will be armed with actionable flight information that they know how to access and use.”
Survival strategy: Pack your phone in your carry-on bag. You may need it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Google Street View Maps - Finally in Hawaii

When I read the news this week that street view was now available for Hawaii on Google maps, the first place I went was my old apartment block on Pau St. The memories! It was great to be able to zoom in, see my old parking stall and the street that I used to walk each morning and evening as I made my way to the bus stop for work. Why was Hawaii not included earlier? I'm not sure. But the good news: Whenever I need a fix, I can head to Google Maps and dream of what was, and what I am sure will be in the future. Enjoy the street view of my old humble abode.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can You Say Neglected?

My poor blog is terrible shape. I have been neglecting the blog due to work, sleep and exercise. Poor excuses I know. By the time I get home I am so tired that I can't think about paradise. And in the mornings, I have been trying to go to the gym and get in my exercise to compensate for all the holiday candy I can't stop shovelling into my mouth! We are heading to Hawaii shortly and I hope that the spark will revive itself. I miss writing about Hawaii! More to come soon, I promise....