John Matarese speaks with a couple just back from vacation on Hawaii's Big Island
Hawaii warned residents and airplanes to stay away after a plume of ash from the Kilauea volcano rose 12,000 feet into the air.
We all dream of visiting the "Aloha State." But the erupting Kilauea volcano has many potential travelers now rethinking those dreams.
But should you really change plans?
Drew and Cindy Abas 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.
Cindy Abas says despite their initial concerns, they "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 U.S. 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 percent 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 percent the past month, but says future bookings are down much more. Cindy and Drew Abas 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 small area near the volcano -- is still open and still safe.
That way you don't waste your money.
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