While the volcano continues to spew lava on the ground and toxic gases into the air — the latter appears to be making people squeamish about traveling to all of Hawaii.
In case you’ve already booked a trip to Hawaii that you want to cancel, you may want to think twice about that decision.
As Hawaii.com has said in response to these developments, “There’s a misconception that the Big Island and Hawaii as a whole is dangerous to visit due to recent volcanic activity. As a result, many local businesses that depend on travelers to the island are suffering unnecessary economic loss. The truth is majority of the island, including the airports and resort areas, are unaffected and could use your support.”
Not Canceling Your Trip to Hawaii
Unless you bought travel insurance, you might lose money if you cancel airline tickets that are specifically nonrefundable.
Even with travel insurance, you typically have to provide documentation of a reasonable cause for canceling a trip — it usually has to be illness, bereavement, work conflicts or even jury duty.
Although you could probably find a psychiatrist to write a letter declaring that you have a phobia about the volcanic situation, that might only get you a credit rather than a full refund of airfare or other travel tickets.
When You Can Cancel
If you just bought the ticket, you do have 24 hours to cancel, according to U.S. Department of Transportation rules.
Those who booked their flight through an aggregator travel site like Orbitz or Expedia will want to consult the company about their policies for cancellations — including whether they want you to go through the airlines, hotels, and car rental companies to try to cancel.
Airlines tend to follow what travel insurance providers do with respect to cancellations and refunds.
Hotels and car rental companies might refund your deposit of you cancel more than 48 hours ahead of time, but this varies — so don’t assume you’ll get your money back.
If all else fails, consider this a lesson to buy travel insurance the next time you book any kind of trip.
Since demand for trips to Hawaii has fallen precipitously this summer, local tourism entities have had to lower their prices considerably.
You might be able to save money on a trip to Hawaii even if you book at the last minute — although the fares depend on how much demand there is from your point of origin.
The New Normal?
Although Hawaii’s volcanic activity has a lot of attention right now, it’s not as unusual as you might think.
Apparently, about 20 volcanoes actively erupt on any giving day, according to Janine Krippner, a volcanologist and postdoctoral researcher at Concord University. Like she told MarketWatch, this is normal — this is what our planet does.”
Readers, does the volcanic situation in Hawaii concern you — enough to make you change plans to travel there (if you had them)? What kinds of experiences have you had with canceling or rescheduling travel bookings?
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