A moment with our “King of Hawaii”

It is safe to say that AAA Travel advisor Bruce Hebert is our resident “King of Hawaii.” Bruce has been to the Hawaiian Islands over 30 times, with each trip offering him a new and exciting way to experience the Aloha Spirit. For many, Hawaii invokes images of Volkswagen Buses with surfboards on top, beautiful red sunsets, and maybe a floral printed shirt worn over a pair of board shorts. But to Bruce, and those with a deep appreciation of the islands, Hawaii means so much more.

We had the opportunity to meet (virtually of course) with Bruce to chat about Hawaii, his time on the islands, and what AAA members should look for while planning a trip to the region.


AAA Travel: Bruce, with over 30 visits to Hawaii, there must be something that calls you back? What is it about the islands that draws you to its shores?

Bruce: I have fallen in love the ambiance of the islands, and the deep-rooted authenticity of the people.

Hawaiians are so very welcoming! Everyone is treated like they are Ohana, a Hawaiian term meaning “family”! They are so proud of their heritage and truly believe in the Aloha spirit!


With over 30 visits, you have taken in various islands and their special features. What do you recommend to AAA members as the must-see locations?

Bruce: If you’re heading to Oahu, you have to spend time at Waikiki Beach and make a visit to Pearl Harbor. Both locations are significant to the island’s history and culture. I also tell members to take a peek at the surfing action along North Shore. Whether you surf or not, the scene at these beaches should not be overlooked!

Now if your itinerary includes Maui, you must visit or stay on the Kaanapali Beach! This spot is one of my absolute favorites. The Road to Hana and the extinct Volcano Haleakela are also beautiful day trips! I also tell my customers to visit the small town of Pia for a taste of the local flavors, and often recommend they take advantage of a Molikini Snorkel trip.

When members are visiting Kauai, I remind them to spend some time at Wailua Canyon, Princeville, the village of Hanalei, and the cliffs of the Napali Coast. The cliffs are one of the most majestic places in America.

The Big Island is home to Volcano National park, The village of Kona, the amazing resorts of the Waikoloa area as well. No matter which island you pick, you will not be disappointed.


AAA Travel: Hawaii is literally a continent away, and we’ve often been told the more time you have to spend there, the greater the reward. What vacation length is best, and what tips do you have for planning the best Hawaii vacation?

Bruce: This is such a great question, and the answers really depend on how much time you have to get away! I like to suggest that if you are going for a week or less you should try to stick to only 1 island. However, if you are going for about 7-10 days, I find that you can fit 2 islands in! I always recommend at least 10 days dedicated to the islands so you can visit both Oahu and Maui – especially if it’s your first time to Hawaii! You won’t be disappointed!


AAA Travel: So many islands, and so much to see! Where should a family look to stay? Is it different for a young couple, our older traveler?

Maui. The answer is always Maui, regardless of age! I believe the ambiance of West Maui is a perfect vacation destination for everyone. The area is filled with a great selection of hotels, restaurants, and included a great shopping village. For those feeling adventurous, Maui has access to various water sports and active island tours. Maui is a safe and clean destination that is right in our backyard!


AAA Travel: It is easy to forget that while Hawaii is an island paradise, it is also a state. Unlike other island destinations, the United States governs Hawaii and regulations. As we see destinations coming back to life with vaccines and COVID protocols, what can members expect to see as requirements for traveling to Hawaii?

Bruce: You will need a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding your plane to Hawaii. If you are island hopping, you will also need a negative test to move from island to island.  The good news is that many of the resorts are offering COVID-19 tests, and as you mention, you are still within the US, where access to COVID-19 tests has become much easier!


AAA Travel: Last question. Does the expectation of what a Hawaiian vacation promises live up to the hype?

Bruce: The Hype, now that is funny. I would share that everything you dream Hawaii to be is exactly what you will find in her Aloha Spirit. The misconception is that you must have a lot of time off to be able to enjoy Hawaii. I do not see things that way. Hawaii will be an incredible vacation no matter the length! There is also a misconception that Hawaii is an expensive vacation. I find that through planning, it can be an economical travel option. That’s why I love my job, helping people realize their dreams. If you plan right and use a travel agent, you can make the most of your budget and your time. With small details added to your itinerary like a lei greeting when your airport transfers pick you up to a luau in Maui, you are guaranteed to have a memorable vacation and truly experience the spirit of Aloha! The islands of Hawaii are everything you could expect and more. Be prepared to be wowed!

AAA Travel offers several ways to explore Hawaii. Find your next Hawaiian escape here.
AAA Travel advisors are here to help. Speak with our “King of Hawaii” Bruce Hebert to learn more about planning your Hawaiian vacation.