Prefer to Listen? Find this episode on Youtube HERE, or listen to the podcast HERE. Barbara: I am really excited to talk to a good friend of mine and a client who just returned from Hawaii, Michele Hardman.
Michele, it's so good to talk to you. There are a lot of people right now who are really interested in going to Hawaii, but they're also kind of scared because they don't know about all the procedures. We are going to talk through some of those and help people know what to expect while they're there. First of all, Michele, which aspect of wellness do you think that this trip helped you with?
Michele: I would say relaxation! Who doesn't relax when they're in paradise? I love nature, so anytime I get to be outside, that helps with wellness for me. We went on a great hike to the waterfalls. We were on Oahu, and that was probably one of the most fun things that I did, swim, be in nature, and take pictures of the flowers and hear the birds singing.
Barbara: That is awesome. Let’s back up a little bit and talk about planning the trip. What kind of a trip was this? Who did you go with? Why did you want to go? Can you set the groundwork for what you were doing?
Michele: It was a business retreat with eight women. We had done a big event that we had spent a lot of time and effort on, and decided we wanted to go party and just have a fun time. Vibrant Living is all about health and wellness. That's what we do. We put on retreats and events. We actually were going to look at some places to put on retreats. That was the goal of why we were going and having a little retreat ourselves.
Barbara: Wonderful. So when you first started planning, you knew that you wanted to be on Oahu because you were scouting out locations for future places for retreats. And you knew how many about how many people would be going, within one to two.
Michele: We already kind of had scoped out a few places where we were thinking about going. And when it started coming together, I knew I didn't want to be the one in charge of booking it or collecting all the money. And I kind of got put in charge of it, which I wasn't planning on. So of course, I'm going to call you to say, Hey, you just take care of all that stuff for me. And you were great on getting that all put together. Why wouldn't I go to an expert like you, who does that for your business? You know, I'm not really qualified to do all of that. And it worked out perfect to just have you do all that for me. And they were willing to pay a little bit extra to have you do that. That was fine with all the girls. And so yeah, it made the headache not be mine.
Babara: Yes, I took that off your plate, so you didn't have to worry about any of it. We went back and forth a little bit with where you were going to stay, but we found you a great place on the north shore. Before we get to that, let's go back and talk about getting the testing. Right now (hopefully they will lift this soon), they are requiring that everybody who goes to Hawaii is COVID tested, and it's not just any COVID test. Talk us through the COVID testing process.
Michele: I will say at first I was a little bit overwhelmed, not happy about it. And so were some of the other ladies. That was the first COVID test that I had to experience. But once I got on and read all through all the information that you provided, it was pretty simple. It was just deciding where I was going to get it done. I decided Walgreens was the best. It was a drive-through. They just handed it to me. I signed up for the time. There was a little bit of trickiness on that because they open it up and there's a time slot. And if you don't get on like the first day it opens up, you don't get your time spot.
Once I did get online, I did find a time and the test was slick. And at the end I thought I don't know why I stressed about that. It really wasn't that big of a deal once I read the information of what I needed to do. So find out when the time slots open so that you can get a time that works for you because it has to be done within 72 hours of flying.
And actually those results came back 45 minutes after I took the test. It just dinged on my phone, told me that it was negative and I was good to go. I expected to have to wait 24 hours.
Barbara: You need to have a negative COVID test from one of Hawaii's trusted partners. Walgreens is one of them, CVS is another. The tests are pretty simple, but you do have to jump through those hoops prior to travel.
Michele: And it was free.
Barbara: With flights and airports did you notice anything? Of course everyone still has to mask on at airports and on flights.
Michele: I didn't have my seat assignment, but I just got my seat assignment when I got to the airport, not a big deal. They put me by one of my friends. One of the gals was bringing her daughter who has a little bit of autism. And she knew that Lexi would not wear her mask. So she just showed up a little bit earlier to be able to get that clearance through the airport to not to have to wear a mask, and it wasn't that big of a deal.
Things went well at the airport. They now have all the seats full. There's no middle seat empty. So the flight was completely full, which is fine.
Barbara: You had a couple of car rentals that you were picking up. Tell us just a little bit about that.
Michele: We thought we had it pretty well taken care of. We had two gals that were flying in earlier who waited in line; they spent about an hour and 20 minutes to get the cars, but then she got there and didn't have her credit card. You do have to have a regular credit card, not a debit card. Don't ever think that you can rent a car with a debit card. They won't let you do that. So be aware, just know if somebody is renting a car, it has to be an official credit card, not a debit card. But yeah, things were well with the car. It was nice that you had it all worked out for us.
Barbara: Car rentals are crazy right now because there's such a shortage of cars out there. They have long lines and are very busy.
Let’s talk about where you stayed. It was over on the north shore; tell us about it. It was a four-bedroom condo/villa.
Michele: It was. There were supposed to originally be nine of us women and then Lexi. We couldn’t find anything online; we were looking at the two bedrooms. We were so grateful that you were able to get that worked out. There's no way I could have worked that out on my own. This particular Villa that we were in at Turtle Bay was different than a lot of the villas. It was kind of next to the ones that all face the pool, but we had our own walkout with private grass. We were on the bottom level. And we looked at the ocean; it was right there: a little hop, skip, and a jump over this little tiny rock wall.
So we weren't on a sandy beach to the ocean, but oh my goodness. We went out every morning and went on a walk and just had our own private little beach area right there. Not a lot of people were there. I can't say that it would be that way in prime season time; there'd probably be more people. The villa was awesome. We had a couple of problems. One day we came home and there was water on the floor from the fridge leaking, and I had the lady’s name and contact number and all I had to do was call her. I felt very noticed. It was a beautiful place. I would go back there in a heartbeat. And if we decided to do another retreat, I'd request that same building. That was awesome.
The pool was delightful. The golf courses are close, there are walking paths, the whole place was amazing.
Barbara: Those villas are not part of the actual Turtle Bay hotel, but they are just off to the side.
Barbara: Tell us one or two of the highlights while you were there. You mentioned a hike that was really fun. Anything else?
Michele: The nice part about being on the north shore is you're right close to Polynesian Culture Center. Three of us decided to go there. You helped us book those tickets. It was nice to have those tickets in advance. They had just opened maybe two weeks prior to us getting there. They were sitting people every other row and everyone was masked. That was divine. The north shore is also close to the peninsula, so we made a drive out to the peninsula. It’s beautiful and green. And it was a great place. We loved it.
There were plenty of shrimp trucks around. We only used one tank of gas the whole six days we were there. So everything that we went to was close. I've never actually stayed up there on the north shore. And if I stayed on Oahu again, that's where I would go.
Barbara: The north shore is such a great place to stay. It feels like the traditional Hawaii: more laid back, and relaxed and green.
Barbara: Do you have any recommendations or anything that you would tell people if they're getting ready to go to Hawaii?
Michele: Pack a beach bag, your flip-flops, your swimsuit and sunscreen, and get a little bit of sun before you go. Grab some girlfriends. This trip went very well because you did your part and I didn't have to worry about all that stuff that I didn't want to worry about. I'm sure I'll use you again on the next retreat for sure.
Barbara: Thank you! It has been so great to talk you through all of this! It helps people to feel like they understand a little bit more the protocols to go to Hawaii.