Are you going to book activities and tours while in Hawaii? Being a good consumer when planning your Hawaii vacation can save you time, money and frustration, and ensure that all your memories of Maui are great. Good consumerism can apply to anything, and making a reservation for doing an activity or taking a tour excursion in Hawaii is no exception. Here are some tips for travelers from the Hawaii State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. You can get this and much more information from DCCA at their web site.
There are a few different ways to book an activity:
- Direct with the tour operator—You can usually call the tour company directly to book or make a reservation online.
- With an activity desk or hotel concierge—These are the booths or desks you see in the lobby or around town. Activity desks can also sell tours online.
- With a travel agent—These are agencies that also sell other kinds of travel services, like cruises or airline fares. They might be location-based or online.
- As a discounted or free gift after having attended a sales presentation—These are activity desks that also ask you to attend a time share or other pitch in order to claim your reservation.
Who Can Operate an Activity Desk?
The State of Hawaii regulates activity desks, and an activity desk must obtain a registration from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Professional and Vocational Licensing Division before it can operate. You can find out if a company is properly registered as an activity desk at the CCA web site or by calling (808) 587-4272.
What Information Are You Entitled To?
An activity desk must clearly display the name and telephone number of the activity provider whose activity is being booked or sold. And, an activity desk provider must disclose to you, in writing, if a discount offered for an activity requires you to first attend a sales presentation.
What Should You Look for Before You Book Directly With an Operator or a Desk?
An activity desk should be able to provide the following information, or get the information if they don’t have it immediately handy:
- Where the excursion or activity is located and figure out how you’re going to get there
- Where you will need to meet and whether transportation to the site is included
- What’s included in the cost, and if there additional fees like equipment rental or meals
- If the activity is appropriate for you, and you meet the restrictions or requirements the operator may impose. Assess whether you are able to meet the physical demands of the activity. Some high adventure activities may not be appropriate for pregnant women or individuals with certain health issues.
- What the cancellation policy is. Be sure you understand it. Make sure you understand under what conditions a refund may be available.