Hawaii Offers Tourists Free Hotel Stays in Exchange for Volunteer Work

The program's goal is to inspire mindful travel

Pacific Islander surfers carrying surfboards on rock wall
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If gorgeous beaches, an incredible cultural history, and active volcanoes aren't enough to convince you to visit Hawaii, perhaps the state's voluntourism deal for tourists will nudge you across the line.

As of Oct. 15, Hawaii has eliminated the 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors who partake in the official pre-travel testing program, which now means that the state is able to promote the Mālama Hawai‘i initiative to tourists. The program offers travelers, who volunteer their time to certain local causes during their trip, a free night's stay at one of many participating hotels across four of the islands, including luxury properties like the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

The goal of Mālama Hawai‘i, which translates to "care for Hawaii," is to encourage visitors to travel more intentionally—and not just within the context of the coronavirus pandemic. (Though you should still be very mindful of all pandemic safety protocols while traveling, so as to protect not only yourself but the others around you!)

"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," states the Hawaiian Tourism Authority on its 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)."

So if you plan on visiting Hawaii—not just imminently, but any time in the future—consider extending your trip a day to participate in the program, getting to know the land and the people who inhabit it in a much more meaningful way. Staying at an incredible Hawaiian hotel for free doesn't hurt either.

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