Thursday, August 21, 2014

Travel Tips : Travel Disruptions due to Natural Disasters

Sometimes when we travel, plans are disrupted due to mother nature's plans with things like tornados, tsunamis or hurricanes.  It's often the case that while they can predict these weather patterns to an extent, oftentimes travel plans can be quickly canceled or changed due to whatever ends up happening with storms.

Last weekend when we were headed to Hawaii, hurricane Iselle was on path tracking to majorly hit the Islands, causing wreckage as well as power outages, extreme winds and lots of rain.  Hurricane Julio was coming shortly behind that and the forecast for last week in Hawaii was not good to say the least.  Our flights also happened to coincide directly on days when each hurricane was supposed to hit, so we worried about flight disruptions or cancelations due to the storms.  It actually ended up working out fine and the storms didn't hit nearly as hard as they had been anticipating, but it's still good to know what to do in situations with natural disasters and what that means for your travel plans.

Sometimes you have to just wait and see what the weather does.  Even if you are watching the news and keeping track of the conditions in the week prior to your trip, it's important to be patient and just know that you might have to be flexible.  Everyone was telling us the week we were supposed to head to Hawaii that we should be changing our tickets, but sometimes waiting it out and just seeing the day of your flight is the best option.  Though have a backup plan as well, so if you end up having to change your travel plans, you'll know exactly what you're going to do.

If you have the flexibility to change your travel plans until later and the airlines are letting you change, then I'd say do it.  Particularly if you're headed somewhere for a vacation and for example, you don't want to be in Hawaii during a hurricane, then change your ticket.  For these recent hurricanes, all the airlines were letting people change their tickets free of charge, if you can, take them up on that offer.  We weren't a position to do that (and the weather ended up working out) but know your options and if it works for you, go ahead and change.

During severe weather, it's important to know the risks of both flying through storms and the risks of financially changing plans if the airlines/hotels aren't waving change fees.  It is also important to know that airplanes are much stronger than we think and can withstand a lot more than we give them credit for, but it's still important to know what you're risking if you stay with your plans.  This might also include things like are  you risking changing flights and not making it and loosing your luggage or will there be no power at your destination even if you get there?  Way the risks and then decide what you want to do.

In situations of severe weather and natural disasters, we need to trust the airlines.  If it's dangerous, they aren't going to fly.  If their planes can't make it there, they won't fly.  Just because we're thinking that it's unsafe, doesn't mean it necessarily is.  So trust the airline you're flying.

If you end up having to change your plans, make sure you think about every plan you will need to change.  Hotels, rental cars, restaurant reservations... there can often be a lot of planning that goes into traveling and you'll need to take that into account.  If for some reason those reservations give you a hard time for changing, often if you mention that the airlines are recommending you change, they'll waive their change fees too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hawaii : Sunrise at Waikiki

Continuing on with our Hawaii trip recap posts, we usually only get a day or two in Hawaii when we go for work so we try to make the most of it.  Since we were only in Hawaii for the weekend this time (arriving late Friday night and leaving mid day Sunday), we never really got on Hawaii time due to the time difference.  That meant that we were up around 5am both days we were there, with ample time before the sun even began to rise.  We used that early morning time on Saturday to work and take photos of my projects, but Sunday morning we decided to make the most of being up early and headed down to Waikiki (a quick 10 minute drive from my parents' house in Manoa).  We spent about an hour down there, sitting on the beach and watching the sun rise over the Eastern side of the Island behind the towers of Waikiki and Diamond Head.

We sat near the jetty on the lagoon behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village, a great spot for those of you headed to Waikiki in the future!  We took in the colored sky, the cool temperatures and watched the surfers headed out for their morning rides.  I always love catching the sunrise in Hawaii, especially when due to the time difference you don't even have to get up earlier than usual!  It was a great quiet morning before heading home on our flight mid-day, ending a busy but successful weekend in the Islands.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hawaii : The Windward Side of Oahu

Today I'm getting into our trip recap photos from Hawaii and while our time in the islands wasn't the typical "paradise" weather, it was a different side of Hawaii that you'll get to see from our photos due to the hurricanes in the area.  I actually love that the photos that Nick captured from this trip to Hawaii turned out stormier, moodier than usual because this is a side of Hawaii that not many think of but that happens quite often as storms roll through.

During our quick weekend jaunt to Oahu last week, we spent the majority of Saturday working (after arriving late Friday night) but by late afternoon we needed a break and had planned dinner with my parents that night.  We decided to head over to the windward side of Oahu to show Nick that part of island, which he'd never had a chance to experience before, and to escape the intense humid heat on Southern Oahu due to the hurricanes that had come through a day prior.

The windward side of the Island is on the North Eastern shore of Oahu and tends to be a bit cooler and rainier than the main part of the island including Honolulu.  It's surrounded by lush jagged mountains and jungle like forests, creating a much lusher feel than the likes of Waikiki's beaches.  I've always really liked that side of Oahu but never spent that much time there.  So this trip we decided to spend the evening in Kaneohe, having dinner at Haleiwa Joe's, overlooking the mountains and then driving down along the shore and getting some views of the ocean.  This side of the island always feels like you've escaped somewhere else, leaving Honolulu and city behind and transporting you to a lush rain forest that can sometimes, be all the break you need!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Announcing... the True Colours Insider!

Happy Monday! I have some exciting news today for all of you lovely readers!  I have been working hard behind the scenes on a new feature for True Colours, something that will give you even more insider travel tips, information on my favorite travel accessories and other travel related information I'm loving at the moment.

Starting in September, I'll be launching the True Colours Insider newsletter!

The Insider will be a way to get monthly travel information that isn't on the blog, special travel items I come across or insider tips into some of my favorite cities around the globe.  It will be a once a month newsletter with lots of great travel information and you can sign up to receive it now on my sidebar!

For a sneak peak of the first issue coming out in early September (see above screenshot), we'll be delving into Insider tips for Paris, tips for picking hotel rooms that will blow you away and some of my other favorite travel items from the month.  And in the first installment of the newsletter in September, I'll be offering a major percentage off of ad space only for newsletter subscribers that won't be available on the blog.  So head on over to my sidebar now to sign up and the first issue will arrive in your email inbox in just a few weeks!