While scenes of molten lava drive fear into Americans on the mainland, a Tri-State family just back from Hawaii's Big Island said they didn't see any smoke or ash or lava and they had a perfect vacation. The TV images, though, have sent bookings down 15%, according to CNN.
We all dream of visiting the Aloha state. But the erupting Kilhuea volcano has many potential travelers now rethinking those dreams.
But should you really change plans?
Drew and Cindy Abas of Clermont County, Ohio, suggest you don't change a thing.
They just spent a week on Hawaii's Big Island, miles from the volcano's burning hot lava flows.
But Cindy Abas says despite their initial concerns, "we didn't see, or hear anything. We were actually hoping to see something, feel the earthquakes, but there was nothing."
"There was nothing about the volcano that influenced our trip at all. No ash, no cloud," Drew Abas said.
Not what tourists are expecting
If you watch the news or videos being shared on Facebook these days, smoke, fire, and huge cracks in highways is just about all you see when it comes to Hawaii's big island.
But the US Geological Survey has released a map, showing what most people imagine the lava flow looks like (covering about half the island), versus a map showing what the lava flow really looks like (a tiny stream to the ocean in the bottom 2% of the island).
"Only one tourist attraction, volcanoes national park, is closed down," Drew Abas said. "Everything else is open for business."
CNN says tourism on the big island is down 15% the past month, but says future bookings are down much more. The Abas's noticed the downturn.
"We felt like we had the resort to ourselves, as well as the island," Cindy Abas said. "There were many times we were driving and there was no one on the roads."
What about the air?
If you're wondering about volcanic smoke and ash, the couple says the trade winds are taking them away from the island, so they never had smoky air their entire week.
Drew and Cindy Abas want other travelers to know Hawaii -- except for that 1% near the volcano -- is still open and still safe.
That way you don't waste your money.
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