We are headed to Hawaii in episode 10. MAST President and COO John Werner sits down with Aggie Lewis of Aggie’s Travel Inc. to discuss her December trip to Maui. Aggie is a Hawaii Five-0 travel advisor and has been to Hawaii over 25 times. Aggie’s Travel is a full-service travel provider dedicated to providing personal and memorable travel experiences. Aggie Lewis has been providing travel advise for over 20 years. Find out about her most recent trip to Hawaii here!  

Key Points Mentioned In The Podcast

#1  American Airlines is still making sure everyone is wearing masks

“the flight attendants did their due diligence, up and down the aisles, making sure people had their masks that they repeated a number of times to keep your masks on except for having something to eat or drink.” 

#2 –  It’s key to follow the process of gaining entry into Hawaii

“The protocol is to go to hawaii.com safe travels, you fill out the form, you have to COVID test three days before, not sooner, and the time is even stamped on there.” 

#3 –  Reservations are vital right now

“When I knew I was going only about a month before my travels, I tried to make a reservation at Mama’s Fish House. And even though social distancing and the numbers are low, the only time I could have made one there was like one day open at nine o’clock at night.” 

#4Food trucks are a great dining option right now, and always

“You go and there are picnic tables setup. People are friendly. You’ll see you’re in line with locals. People again are socially distant. And the food’s very good. And you’re helping out the locals.”

#5 – Travel can be done now, and it can be done safely

“I would definitely tell them to go. Anybody who, filling out the paperwork and getting the COVID test it is for their benefit. I think it makes not only you feel safe, but it also makes the people on the island feel safe.” 

Full Podcast Transcript

John Werner 0:03  

Hello, everyone, welcome to the MASTers of Tavel series. I’m John Werner, the President of MAST Travel Network, group of 220 travel agencies, 1000, travel advisors with expertise in travel to all parts of the world. Today I have with me Aggie Lewis, who is one of our expert travel specialists in our organization.

Aggie just returned from Maui. We’re going to talk about her experience there. Welcome Aggie to the travel advisor series. We’re going to talk today about Maui and what things are like about traveling to Hawaii. Well, I know you were there earlier this month, early December in Maui. And I think Maui was the only Island you were on. Is that correct?

Aggie Lewis 1:09  

That is correct. And let me preface by saying the reason for my trip was I was I invited by the Hyatt Hawaii resorts. I am one of 50, Hawaii Five-0 agents, and they invited 50 of us. And due to, confirmation of the schedule, only 10 or less with our guests went. 

John Werner 1:34  

Okay. So, you were able to visit the Hyatt properties on Maui. Where did you stay? 

Aggie Lewis 1:46  

I stayed on Maui for 10 nights, and I was all over the island. I stayed first three nights at the Andaz Wailea. After that I spent one night in Hana, in the hotel used to be called Travaasa Hana and it was taken over by Hyatt so, it’s the Hyatt Hana. Then the trip led us to the Hyatt Regency Kaanapali beach, which was recently re-done. And they were finishing the lobby while I was there. But it was good. You know, excellent. And then my last three nights, we’re at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. And with the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, in fairness to them. It is one of those Hawaiian hotels, they’re building a restaurant, but they’re rehabbing their rooms. And with how the percentage on the island was about 20% occupancy. I think they should have waited to open because there’s so much construction and it lacks the view of the beach by a green wall. So that should not have happened.

John Werner 2:56  

Yeah, I agree with you. The is a very Hawaiian style property at that hotel. And of course, the Hyatt Regency is beautiful. I’ve stayed there myself. And it’s, it’s a gorgeous property. From the very beginning when you started out on the trip, what airline did you fly to Maui? 

Aggie Lewis 3:18  

We flew American Airlines. Right now, due to COVID, and the flight numbers of being down. We had to connect. Going we connected through LA. And my husband Tod and I went. And we felt very safe. We had masks and shields. But the flight attendants did their due diligence, up and down the aisles, making sure people had their masks that they repeated a number of times to keep your masks on except for having something to eat or drink. It’s not like you could take an hour having your coffee or whatever. Overall, our experience was very good, uneventful, and there was about 44 people on the flight. I asked when I was boarding the plane. How many people on the flight?

John Werner 4:13  

Okay, yeah, that’s not a large number of people for sure. What was the in-flight experience like? 

Aggie Lewis 4:26  

We were fortunate we got to upgrade for $99 to Business, Business Class going to LA and then LA to Maui that was not available. We we’re in coach. We experienced both class of services. And it was good in Business class, we receive mimosas, in economy nothing except, you know, not alcoholic beverages. I think that they feel that passengers get a little unruly when drinking, but I guess that stigma doesn’t stand for business class.

John Werner 5:05  

I guess. Well, fewer people to serve, I suppose maybe that’s the rationale. 

Aggie Lewis 5:10  

That’s probably the rationale. That’s probably a better way to put it. Yes, I agree with that. Going to LA we got, usually in business class you get it played with silverware, it was just a disposable box. And you had a choice between a breakfast item. Maybe a burrito, or you got a muffin thing. Nothing elaborate. And then from LA to Maui, we received no food service. You got a pack of pretzels. That was it.

John Werner 5:51  

Yeah. Yeah. You have to bring your own food nowadays. For sure.

Aggie Lewis 5:56  

Yes. And then service wise, you could have water, coffee, tea, anything but alcohol in coach. Okay. But the fleet of the passengers were fine. It’s funny when people aren’t drinking on the plane. They’re not going to the bathroom.

John Werner 6:11  

Yes.

Aggie Lewis 6:12  

Right. I did notice that and us too. I usually have to go to the bathroom on a five-hour flight, because each one was for almost five hours. That did not happen. I stayed in my seat.

John Werner 6:27  

Yeah, that’s a long time to stay seated. But you’re right. You’re right. I do know that even though the beverage cart doesn’t come down the aisle in economy, if you ask like you said, there was coffee, you could have tea. I noticed on a flight I was on not too long ago that somebody asked if they could get a coke and the flight attendant brought it to them. So, you can get beverages you just have to ask them. But anyway, so then, when you arrived on Maui, what was it like at the Maui airport?

Aggie Lewis 7:01  

When we arrived in Maui, they had a rope up. Now the airport was empty, the stores. We arrived at two o’clock in the afternoon. Yeah, it was it was pretty empty. And they had military personnel in their fatigues. And, and usually, you only see that in Mexico, the federales. I mean, we’re in Maui, and we had a military presence. But what they were doing was just basically directing traffic flow. You would then go in line, to an empty gate area, where the state of Hawaii hit the safe travel people.  And the safe travel people, before you even go to Hawaii, you have to fill out a questionnaire. And that questionnaire is basically an information sheet on your stay in Hawaii. When you’re coming when you’re going, your flight information, your hotel information. If you’re going to take a shuttle, if you’re going to take a rental car, it’s basically, I think, to trace you, if anything, happened with COVID. The protocol is to go to hawaii.com safe travels, you fill out the form, you have to COVID test three days before, not sooner, and the time is even stamped on there. Some people told me “Oh, don’t worry about the time”, you do have to be worried about the time. You can’t be tested before 72 hours from your last flight into the island. And we hit that both on our phone and printed. At the airport it was fine you could show either one. But, once you arrived at the hotel, and we were at four different hotels in 10 days, it wasn’t all the Hyatt family, one was the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, everybody took this very seriously. And you had pull it up on your phone. The hotels have to check it out on the on the actual app.

John Werner 9:20  

Okay, where did you go for that test that you were assured of having it back in time to travel?

Aggie Lewis 9:28  

We had heard, I actually called, there’s a phone number on the Go Hawaii safe travels and Miley, who’s the director, she answered the phone, and they keep adding on different testing sites in the US. So that’s a good thing. But my husband Todd and I, we went to the Walgreens in Bolingbrook. I don’t I feel it’s a real Walgreens per se because the store was empty. 

John Werner 10:01  

Okay. 

Aggie Lewis 10:02  

And people are like, “Oh, can you just go there?” No, you cannot, you can’t. It’s a drive thru. You can’t go there; you have to have an appointment. My container packing and travel site, I look to see when the time came out for us to be tested. And it’s four days at 6pm, four days prior at six o’clock at night is when they load the times. And I am telling you within an hour or two, those times are all gone. You really have to jump on it. And one of my favorite sayings is ‘lickety split’. You have to be lickety split fast and in doing this. You can also go to CVS. I had a client go from San Francisco. And he tested right at United Airlines. However, that was $250. And in Chicago now both Midway and O’Hare are going to be doing testing. The major thing is you want to make sure that it’s a rapid test. And they have two types of tests that they accept, one’s a rapid testable and a T. And I apologize I don’t recall what then a T is a specific COVID test. But we had the one with the nasal swab.

John Werner 11:25  

Okay. All right. Well, yeah, that worked out then for you. that was going to be one of my questions about the testing and preparation for the trip. And now on the way back home, did you have to do anything when you left, departing Hawaii?

Aggie Lewis 11:44  

No, not at all. And what I had to say about, going back to the testing, Walgreens notified us in an hour and 45 minutes on our email. And then you just go and upload that QR code to the Safe Travels Hawaii. 

John Werner 12:02  

All right. 

Aggie Lewis 12:04  

Some of the other testing that’s out there, the CVS, Costco they send it away, and you’ll get your results in three days. But then that’s frightening in itself. Because if you are going, it’s not the airline’s responsibility to really check that so people cannot be mad when they get there if they don’t have the correct paperwork. It’s really important. And the travel advisors have to make sure that they instill that in their clients, and even have them check in if they want to have a check. But it’s the responsibility of the traveler.

John Werner 12:42  

Yeah. Well, it’s a good thing. With Walgreens, it sounds like you can be assured that the way they’re handling it and get the results back to you gives you the assurance that you’re going to have it back in time to travel

Aggie Lewis 12:57  

Right, in the Illinois area, because I have clients all over the United States. In Illinois, I went and looked and if you go on the Safe travels Hawaii and go to their trusted partners. It’ll give you a list and you have to go through there to sign up, so they know you’re going for the COVID test for travel from Illinois. I think John, you’re in the Schaumburg area. They have a Walgreens there that does it. Like I said, there’s only maybe three; there’s one on the east side of Chicago on East 95th Street, Schaumburg, Illinois, and then you’ve got other downstate. A lot of people I know that went with me on the trip, they went to Kaiser, Walgreens, CVS. 

John Werner 13:50  

Right, yeah, well, whatever they can arrange. So, then at the Maui airport, what was your ground transportation? Did you rent a car? Or did you take some kind of a limo or shuttle?

Aggie Lewis 14:06  

We rented a car. And in Maui, there’s two ways to get to the car center. You could take the little trolley. It’s like a train kind of thing. You can do that. After a long flight, we felt like walking. It’s only a 10-minute walk. We just walked there. And then we rented a car and not due to COVID. But we were supposed to have a convertible we got a Jeep instead because Hertz Ford Mustang has a recall. Of the convertibles in Maui 80% of the convertibles are a Ford Mustang. They’re very hard to come by. But we had a nice Jeep.

John Werner 14:51  

Okay.

Aggie Lewis 14:52  

And that whole process went fine. Everybody is basically behind the Plexi Glass these days. You’re standing in line at a counter. All the keys are in the car they don’t give you them. They just hand you the paperwork in an envelope and then in you go. When you leave the parking garage, they check, you know, everything out, and off you go. But there’s a tag inside the vehicle that states the car has been cleaned according to the standards for COVID-19.

John Werner 15:34  

Okay, good. Good. Since your first hotel was Andaz Wailea, they, when you stepped into the lobby of the hotel, what was your first impression?

Aggie Lewis 15:51  

Well, the weather was beautiful. Andaz is a beautiful hotel, when you walk in, you see the ocean, what I noticed immediately was they make it more of a living room, very inviting, very, very friendly. And you go over to the couches and are greeted with a cocktail. The people are behind the plexiglass. They’ll give you a hot towel. Um, things are more disposable. I feel that the protocol is getting better by day.

John Werner 16:39  

Yeah. I would imagine they as they test things, because, the state has just recently opened, they’re seeing what works or what they should tweak. I’m sure the conditions change, but the staff at the hotel, everybody is in a mask, you know, wearing a mask I would imagine? 

Aggie Lewis 17:08  

Everybody I mean, if you’re not wearing a mask, you’re an alien. Everybody’s wearing a mask.

John Werner 17:15  

Okay. And I found it to be the case everywhere you went across the island, I would imagine? 

Aggie Lewis 17:21  

Every everywhere. Yeah. We drove up to how Haleakala.

John Werner 17:27  

Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s fun.

Aggie Lewis 17:30  

Yeah, we did we the drive up to Haleakala, except for us being in the car, and we stopped along many different routes. We’re going to go to a place called O’o Farms. They were close, but it was owned by Oprah. And it’s funny to hear, we’re talking to some locals about the island and differences. Everybody again, I can’t stress enough, they welcome the tourism but at the same time they want us all to be safe. They live there. Were just visiting. I think they’re trying to get the culture back to its forefront. And you really see that more. I feel there’s just such a respect for these people because tourism has got to be almost all of their economy.

John Werner 18:45  

Yeah. Oh, yeah. It’s been devastating on the economy because it is such a big part. I think right now, they’re accepting visitors and vacationers from the mainland US, but I don’t think they’re accepting travelers from other countries. You know, Japan, Australia, some of those countries have a lot of their citizens go to Hawaii and I don’t think they are allowed in yet.

Aggie Lewis 19:20  

That’s correct. I know they were looking at opening up the border this month for Canada.

John Werner 19:27  

All right. You mentioned going to Haleakala, was it for the sunrise or was it during the dead middle of the day? 

Aggie Lewis 19:37  

We did go for the sunrise, but not this trip, we did go in the middle of the day. Just for a drive because we were going to do Haleakala and we were going do that O’o Farms. One of our favorite restaurants is Pacifico. And the server was like, “you’ve got to check out O’o Farms”. And I was like, you know, I’ve been to Hawaii over 25 times.

John Werner 20:03  

Oh, wow. Okay.

Aggie Lewis 20:05  

And a master specialist on all the islands with the Hawaii Tourism Board. But I wanted to really try to find different things. So, we ate at food trucks. We saw in one of the photos that I sent you, there were four old model cars in front of us on the road, it was must have been they’re coming from a car show. Beside the food trucks we went to go into this O’o Farms, I haven’t been there. It serves a lot of the restaurants Farm to Table. The day we went it was closed. And being the travel agent, when the server told us to visit it. We’re like, oh, we’re going tomorrow, we’ll check it out. Never did I think it was going to be closed. But that’s another fact that I would tell people, it’s just going to keep getting busier. So, hours will get more to normal. Yeah. When would a farm be closed on a Saturday or Sunday? You know? 

John Werner 21:02  

Did you run into that a lot of attractions being closed or maybe only open certain days of the week? 

Aggie Lewis 21:12  

Only open certain days of the week. The camaraderie on the island and that’s probably not the right word. They use the word Ohana — family. I went to the Hyatt Maui’s luau. And it’s only opens certain days of the week. In past times, it was open every day. And there’s only a couple luaus open right now. And I think they alternate days so; they get guest to sponsor both luaus. 

John Werner 21:47  

Yeah, makes sense right now with a very early in the reopening. So, besides Haleakala, what other attractions or sites were you able to visit?

Aggie Lewis 21:59  

We went on a Sea Maui sunset cruise. That was that was a lot of fun. And we went to Hawaii. We did the road to Hana. And just a plug for Hana. Hana is a great area, and you really can’t see it all in one day. The drive is almost a day. If you want to spend any time outside the hustle bustle. When it is that way. I would definitely recommend the Hana Maui. When we went there was only their cottages. Oh, I think 75 acres. It’s spectacular. The sunrise, the sunset. And you could visit one of the seven wonders of the world in Hana — Oheo. It’s the seven waterfalls. But to do any hikes or anything like that. You really need another day.

John Werner 23:11  

Yeah. And you stayed one night or two nights there?

Aggie Lewis 23:17  

We spent one night.

John Werner 23:19  

Yeah, you really probably, I’ve not been to Hana, even though I have been on Maui, but we didn’t make it there. We just didn’t have enough time to do everything. So next time I would like to get to Hana, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful.

Aggie Lewis 23:34  

Yeah. And on the way there’s a hippie town, Willie Nelson’s a known to be frequent, Paihia town. 

John Werner 23:42  

Yeah.

Aggie Lewis 23:43  

On the way there is one famous restaurant Mama’s Fish House. It’s right outside that town. When I knew I was going only about a month before my travels, I tried to make a reservation at Mama’s Fish House. And even though social distancing and the numbers are low, the only time I could have made one there was like one day open at nine o’clock at night. 

John Werner 24:14  

Yeah, it’s amazing. The restaurant is so famous and so popular. And it’s beautiful there. It’s very beautiful setting. 

Aggie Lewis 24:25  

Also, you can watch the windsurfers right outside there. So that being the beginning of December the surf was up. So, there was a lot of wind surfers, kite surfers, regular surfers all along that, that stretch of the road. They’re just parking their cars just lining up parking and they’re out there having a good time.

John Werner 24:56  

Yeah, that is so fun. When you said you took a cruise off the island, did you see any whales?

Aggie Lewis 25:08  

Yes, yes. We were at a point where every time everybody tried to take a picture, they would miss it. There were two whales out there and they were probably buying for a female whale’s attention because they were literally bumping each other. You could just hear them grunting, they were doing more of a show with breaching, we saw two breaches. They were being really aggressive with one another.

John Werner 5:42  

That would be neat. An incredible experience to be watching that and so yeah, going back to the restaurant conversation for a moment, what were some other dining experience in the hotels, and then other experiences, you had off properties?

Aggie Lewis 26:01  

We felt very comfortable dining. Again, you have to wear your mask at all times everywhere. If you’re at your table eating your mask is off. And some people would be like, Oh, I don’t want to deal with that. I didn’t feel bothered by it at all because it was habitual. Everybody was doing it. I think when you would get up you just got to make sure you put your put your mask on. We ate at the Kitchen.

John Werner 26:35  

Okay.

Aggie Lewis 26:36  

And that was excellent. Andaz was a little bit different than the Hyatt Maui. Andaz you ordered only off the menu. Hyatt Regency Maui they had their buffet. But they had the Plexiglas, and you don’t serve yourself. The chef serves you. Usually, a chef will make an omelet and hand you back your plate. Well, now, they take your plate and you just point to what you want, and they’ll put it out there and then hand it back to you at the end.

John Werner 27:13  

Okay, so now the Hyatt Regency were all the restaurants buffet style? 

Aggie Lewis 27:21  

Oh, no, you can order off the menu this was just breakfast.

John Werner 27:24  

All right. Just breakfast.

Aggie Lewis 27:27  

Yeah, it was just breakfast and Andaz also had breakfast. But no buffet whatsoever. Because everybody was so used to their wonderful buffet breakfast. But one day, I ordered off the menu and tried the buffet so, that that was good. When you went to the luau. They served you behind the plexiglass too. And they would call whole section before, but now they would only do a table by table. 

John Werner 28:03  

Okay, right.

Aggie Lewis 28:04  

And at the Hyatt Maui luau, they could have up 600 people, it’s big, big, big space. They only allow up to 200.

John Werner 28:16  

Okay, yeah.

Aggie Lewis 28:18  

Someone said, “Wow, it looks empty I feel bad”. It wasn’t, it was just that socially distant And before might get 10 people at a table that you don’t know.

John Werner 28:35  

Right? 

Aggie Lewis 28:36  

Not now. No. You are going to have that table yourself. The two of you. And that table will cost $400

John Werner 28:48  

Oh my gosh.

Aggie Lewis 28:50  

But being a Hawaii Five-Oh, you get $100 off. So now it is $300. So just a little bit elevated. You have all this space to yourself now.

John Werner 29:07  

What was your favorite restaurant on this trip?

Aggie Lewis 29:10  

In Lahaina we went to, well I had two, in Lahaina we went to a restaurant called Pacifico. That was very good. When in Hawaii, you have to have fish because the fish is phenomenal. I’m not usually a fish person in Chicago. It was fresh and it was great. And then my second one was at the Hyatt Maui Japengo. Japengo, where Pacifico is a at the end of Lahaina, it’s right on the ocean. It was excellent. It was socially distant the whole time. But with Japengo, people were waiting to get in. It’s a popular restaurant on the island, not just at a hotel.

John Werner 30:05  

Right. Okay.

Aggie Lewis 30:06  

There we had, because Hyatt sponsored a couple dinners for us, and they split the group of 10 to five and five. So, we wouldn’t be larger than a big table. The table was quite large. But we did have some appetizers. And I think we tried every appetizer, and then for our entree Todd actually had a filet, which looked great. And I had the Ono.

John Werner 30:35  

Okay. I know a few minutes ago, you mentioned the food trucks, and that has really caught on quite a bit on Maui. And it’s so fun. Especially if you’re a rental car and you’re just visiting different places. 

Aggie Lewis 30:51  

Hands down because these are the real local people. We ate at an Asian food truck in the Kihei Wailea area. They’re pretty much permanent there. And then we ate at a Mexican one in the Kaanapali area. It’s just nice. You go and there are picnic tables setup. People are friendly. You’ll see you’re in line with locals. People again are socially distant. And the food’s very good. And you’re helping out the locals.

John Werner 31:22  

Yeah, definitely. Any other restrictions that you encounter trying to use the pool or the beach or the gyms or anything? spas?

Aggie Lewis 31:34  

Well, unfortunately, I did not go to the gym. We decided coming from Chicago we would walk the beach. We did a little hike and Haleakala, there’s a neat forest there that we hiked a couple of times. Did not even look into the gym. I couldn’t even tell you about the gym. I did have a massage at the Hyatt. And the protocol there is, usually they’ll have nice flavor cucumber water or oranges, but now no pitchers of water. 

John Werner 32:14  

Oh. 

Aggie Lewis  32:16  

When I went to have my treatment, my massage. When I was on my stomach, she said, because you get a little nasally sometimes when you’re laying down, and she said you could bring your mask down past your nose, so your mouth was covered. And then when I flipped on my back and my front side, I didn’t have my mask on.

John Werner 32:35  

Okay.

Aggie Lewis 32:36  

Yeah, but I didn’t feel, I was thinking, Oh, I’m in this room, but the room was quite filtered. I was fine. I arrived back home on December 9 and today’s the 23rd.

John Werner 32:56  

Yeah, yeah, it is. 

Aggie Lewis 32:58  

I’m home two weeks today.

John Werner 33:00  

Okay.

Aggie Lewis 33:02  

And whereas I was going to take a COVID test. Two weeks knock on wood, I’m fine.

John Werner 33:09  

Yeah. No, that’s great. And, you know, that’s the thing about travel, it can be safe. Even in these times. So many destinations that are receiving visitors have done a great job it appears to feel safe, traveling. And I think they’ve done a great job trying to make sure that they’re keeping everybody healthy and safe. And they followed all the protocols.

Aggie Lewis 33:42  

Three of my four hotels for housekeeping. They didn’t come into our room at all.

John Werner 33:49  

Okay. 

Aggie Lewis 33:50  

If we needed it, we could have had them come in. But I was like, three days, and I think that that’s the break point. I had a client go for 10 days, and they said they stayed at the Grand Wailea. They went the day it opened. There was a bit of a learning curve there. But with Hyatt when we got to the Hyatt Maui, they asked us, do you want housekeeping or no? And I’m like, Yes, please. I like my bed made instead of me making it, it’s part of the vacation experience.

John Werner 34:26  

Right. Right.

Aggie Lewis 34:26  

I’ve seen the house keeping people and that they wear gloves. They would ask you what time do you want your room cleaned and just make sure you’re out of your room. We would have them clean our room around 11 o’clock because we felt we’re back for breakfast and we could go to the pool or go out and do excursions and a room was clean. And that was a really nice feeling. I like that better. I know some people don’t want anybody in their room. But I was like, bringing it up. 

John Werner 35:02  

Yeah, right. That makes sense. So, what other recommendations do you have for anyone who would also like to go to Maui at this time? Or maybe in a few months?

Aggie Lewis 35:16  

I would definitely tell them to go. Anybody who, filling out the paperwork and getting the COVID test it is for their benefit. I think it makes not only you feel safe, but it also makes the people on the island feel safe. I listened to the Lieutenant Governor who is an emergency room doctor during the weekend. They actually have from when Hawaii opened, they have less COVID cases, based on their protocols. So, they’re feeling that it’s working. And I can attest to it. It is working. People can’t go there with a cavalier attitude and fear. They’re going to do whatever they want. They have to, you know, just follow these steps. And I think travel is going to be different for a while and like you said, if it’s safe, and it protects everybody, then that’s a good thing.

John Werner 36:28  

Yeah, absolutely. Do you have any other trips coming up?

Aggie Lewis 36:33  

I was supposed to leave today for Colorado to visit our kids. We canceled because in Colorado, they have a health and safety ordinance that you can’t rent a house, we rented a house in Breckenridge, if you’re going to be more than one household and we were three and four households.

John Werner 37:06  

Oh, okay.

Aggie Lewis 37:08  

We cancelled it. Our son’s going skiing tomorrow for two days. And staying at the Hyatt Regency Breckenridge. I hope to get to go maybe next year for New Year’s or my birthday, which is early January. I have no problem flying I’ll wear, I don’t think it’s necessary to wear a shield, but I would be extra protective because I’m going to visit our children. I would go, I just, have to be very concerned with these ordinances and travel. 

John Werner 37:48  

Yeah, yeah, no, it’s a reasonable thing to do if it helps keep everyone safe. It makes sense.

Aggie Lewis 38:02  

As far as travels next year, I have a few groups on an Avalon river cruise, and Todd and I are going with them in October. We’re doing the Three Rivers. It’s a new river cruise for Avalon, incorporating the Rhine, the Maine, and the Danube.

John Werner 38:21  

Danube. Yeah. 

Aggie Lewis 38:23  

There’s 19 of us.

John Werner 38:25  

It’s gonna be a great trip, I’m sure.

Aggie Lewis 38:29  

I was incorporating this trip for work and visit with our kids in Hawaii. But that didn’t happen because Kauai went back to the 14-day quarantine. We’re hoping to get back to Kauai with our kids sometime next year.

John Werner 38:45  

Yeah. Oh, that’ll be nice. Something to look forward to for sure.

Aggie Lewis 38:49  

Yeah. Hawaii is great. Even if you’re not into horseback riding, because there are some people that horseback rides, zip line. The Hyatt Maui has this guy Eddie. He does Star Tours out on the top roof. That’s pretty neat. There’s a lot out there there’s a lot on Maui that you could do yourself so you could feel socially distant going to the beach, walks, hikes. I would tell people yes get out there, travel in Hawaii is probably the safest place to go right now.

John Werner 39:21  

Those are great suggestions because of the outdoor everything. The hiking I know is spectacular. And I love the fact that you brought up the stargazing with this week’s appearance with Jupiter and Saturn being so close to one another and the Christmas star as they call it. 

Aggie Lewis 39:47  

right.

John Werner 39:47  

Yeah.

Aggie Lewis 39:48  

Did you did you get to view it or no? 

John Werner 39:50  

A little bit last night. The night before it was cloudy. That was the peak night, but last night I think I saw it. I think. 

Aggie Lewis 40:01 

One of our members Julie Kokos, she took a picture of what she viewed. She said her amateur camera skills. But I think she did a good job. 

John Werner 40:11 

Yeah. I’ll have to see if I can get ahold of that. Well, Aggie thank you so much for spending time today with us. I learned a lot about how they are doing things in Hawaii. It’s very comforting to know that things have started out well there, since they are recently reopened. I’m sure a lot of people just can’t wait to go. We appreciate you sharing your experience with us today and I’m sure you’re looking forward to your next travels. 

Aggie Lewis 40:48

I am, and John just to recap for the travel advisors and their clients. Make reservations early, you can always cancel, but I would make the reservations so you aren’t disappointed once you get there and you can do everything you want to do. 

John Werner 41:06

Yeah, that’s good advice too. Especially for some of those restaurants that you wanted to get into and couldn’t. 

Aggie Lewis 41:11 

Oh, restaurants as well as activities. Because the boats, only had 18 people on it. 

John Werner 41:19

Oh, right yeah, that makes sense too, that the boats aren’t taking as many people on them. 

Aggie Lewis 41:22

Yeah, so some of these boats hold 100 and take 60. And they might not even take out that full 60 right now. 

John Werner 41:29

Right. That makes sense

Aggie Lewis 41:30 

Sea Maui, they were great. Because we saw the whales, when we got back it was dark. We were getting out into the water, and they really did their part to make it a complete experience. With the sunset and the whales 

John Werner 41:46

Yeah, what a great experience to see that. Well, again thank you so much and we wish you and your family Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and I enjoyed very much talking to you today. 

Aggie Lewis 42:04

Thanks John and Merry Christmas to you! 

Amber Zakem

Amber Zakem

Amber Zakem has worked in the travel industry since 2014. Although, her love of travel began far before that. Amber grew up visiting cousins stationed throughout Europe and worked as an Au Pair in Germany for a year between High School and College. She started working at a local travel agency in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, after graduating from Central Michigan University. Amber began working for MAST Travel Network in 2016 and is the Social Media Specialist. She runs the MAST Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat and she teaches twice monthly webinars to travel agents on using social media to promote travel. Amber has continued her passion for travel and social media by also teaching a course at Moraine Valley Community College in their Hospitality program.