It’s no secret that for one to travel amid this pandemic, you’d have to spend a lot more money than you used to. For one, not only are airlines selling non-sale seats for steeper prices to practise social distancing in the air, but Filipinos also now have to pay thousands for a COVID-19 test — a crucial travel requirement during the pandemic.
Kababayans, especially those in the United States (US) or have a valid US Visa, what if we told you that you can cut your travel costs without compromising comfort, at least in the accommodation department? The catch — you have to fly to Hawaii and to commit to volunteering work. The reward? A free stay in a luxury Hawaii hotel!
How to volunteer in Hawaii for a free hotel stay
A few weeks after Hawaii reopened for tourism in October 2020, the Aloha State’s tourism body introduced the “Malama Hawaii” programme, which invites travellers from across the world to visit Hawaii and make a difference by helping in meaningful projects. You can then enjoy a free extra night in a participating hotel in the areas of Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island.
“In an effort to inspire mindful travel, industry partners and volunteer organizations across the state have come together with an initiative that encourages visitors to leave Hawaii better than when they arrived,” says the Hawaii Tourism Autority on its official website. “Volunteer projects range from reforestation and tree planting to self-directed beach cleanups, ocean reef preservation, and creating Hawaiian quilts for our Kupuna (elders).”
To volunteer in Hawaii and avail the free night hotel stay, all you have to do is go straight to the website of any participating hotel, whether it’s the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, or the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Then, find the package indicating the free stay in exchange for volunteering activities.
Some of these packages also come with other perks like luxury car rentals and resort credits. For select hotels and resorts in Hawaii, the total rate is higher than the standard rate due to various reasons. Among them, of course, is the current state of the travel and hospitality industry wherein these accommodations receive fewer visitors. Nevertheless, Malama Hawaii is a great opportunity to give back to the island.
Hawaii travel requirements during the pandemic
In addition to having a valid US Visa for Filipinos currently outside the country, travellers who wish to volunteer in Hawaii will also need a negative COVID-19 test taken from Trusted Testing and Travel Partners within 72 hours prior to departure. This is to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine for those arriving without the needed test result.
You must also register via the Safe Travels Hawai‘i programme, complete the Mandatory State of Hawai‘i Travel and Health Form, and undergo temperature checks upon arrival at the airport. You can visit this page to know more about other COVID-19 travel requirements for Hawaii.