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Activities to Try on Your Maui Corporate Retreat

Maui is a great place for creative experiences, team-building activities, and strengthening interpersonal skills.
March 24, 2017

Activities to Try on Your Maui Corporate Retreat


The reason the corporate retreat has become such a popular choice among businesses is because it stimulates new ideas and relationships. In fact, the benefits are so pronounced, some business leaders feel that the cost is in not having corporate retreats. While there is a certain comfort and safety about the daily grind in the workplace, stagnation can easily set in and reduce the kind of brilliance that might otherwise be possible. Considering the right location for it? Maui has been inspiring artists and creative thinkers throughout history. What better way to shake things up than by taking the journey across the Pacific into a completely different kind of environment with a dynamic that is entirely its own?

One of the most important factors of the retreat is an unfamiliar location. This helps to pop the usual thought bubbles that one can become trapped in at the office. The Maui experience comes with unique scenery, geography, culture, cuisine, and weather. Even the air you breathe will feel completely different. All these qualities come together to help shake visitors out of their usual thought processes. The most effective retreats will include team-building activities to improve problem-solving and communication while fostering a healthy competitive spirit. But they will also include slower paced experiences that focus on enjoyment and taking time for reflection and introspection. Sometimes, the frantic drive to achieve can lead to a lack of creativity and depth.

Fortunately, Maui provides excellent opportunities for both kinds of experiences. You just have to know where to look, and that's where we can help. We pride ourselves on our Maui transportation services, which offer unique group tours, quality service, and the Aloha Spirit. Our work gives us our own unique perspective on the island. It isn't just about the roads, the destinations, or even the businesses on the island. It's also about knowing who is coming to Maui, why they are here, and what they need. With that in mind, here are some ideas to get you started.


Team-Building Activities

Maui Escape Rooms – Escape rooms have become the darlings of the team-building participants everywhere. Not only do they require powerful problem-solving and cooperative skills, but they are deliciously fun and addicting at the same time. This kind of activity provides one of those kinds of challenges that people rarely get to experience in any other situation, so the unique opportunity to engage in one of these is basically a must-do! On top of all that, Maui Escape Rooms has a stellar reputation.

Hawaiian Paddle Sports – This versatile company can teach your team all kinds of skills on the water, including stand-up paddle classes, kayaking excursions, and surf lessons. Best of all for team-building, they provide canoe tours. Paddling a canoe requires a group effort, and establishing a cooperative rhythm is part of the challenge. Participants are also taught how to enter and exit the water with the canoe as a team. This activity engages both the mind and body, while the sightseeing aspect of the outing makes the experience enjoyable for participants.

Island Art Party – When you're ready to step outside the box and engage in the opportunity to socialize, network, and bring the shy team members out of their shells, Island Art Party is a great option. At its most basic level, this is a guided painting class where all your materials are prepped and ready for your use when you arrive. Secondarily, this is a lively, welcoming social experience. Between the teaching segments, there are breaks where participants can admire each other's progress, munch on snacks, or buy drinks at the bar. If you have creative but quiet people you want to engage, this can help them shine and build confidence. If you have social people who aren't so artistically inclined, this class is a way to break down their preconceived ideas about what they can and cannot do.


Leisure Activity Suggestions

Yoga Classes – We won't pick a specific company or teacher for this one, because there are just too many outstanding choices on the island and it simply wouldn't be fair to select one. They are easy to find, so take your pick! The popularity of yoga has been picking up more and more momentum over the past few decades because it challenges and strengthens both the mind and body. Remember that introspection we were talking about earlier? That opportunity for reflection? It tends to happen after a good yoga session, which improves our focus.

Maui Horseback Riding – This could almost be listed in the team-building activity category, whether there were games involved or not. Mostly, you'll find that trail-rides and general lessons dominate the equestrian scene in terms of visitors. The reason it's a borderline anyway is because you can't ride a horse without a cooperative element. It's almost like having a partner in a dance, but your partner happens to be an equine. You can learn a lot from these sensible creatures, and mutual trust is the most important part of the exercise. Not only do you communicate with your mount via a language of physical signals, but you also get to share the experience with your fellow riders if you opt for a trail ride, and you can take in the stunning views at the same time.

Voluntourism – This trend has taken off like a shot, here on Maui. While the daily grind back home requires certain kinds of work, volunteering provides a wide array of opportunities to try different types of work. Sometimes, performing new types of tasks can get the gears in our minds turning differently. Ideas begin to criss-cross and before you know it, you have a new perspective that you can apply to your usual work. A simple search will reveal volunteer opportunities on farms, in areas that require habitat restoration, at the humane society, and even at native Hawaiian fishponds.

SCUBA Diving – This is a bit of a niche option because generally, participants need to be certified, but you may find yourself surprised at how many people already are. SCUBA isn't just about exploring an underwater world that you probably would never have seen without this specialized equipment. It's also about having, and being, a reliable buddy. One of the first rules of diving is that you never go alone. You should always have a buddy and know the hand signals that allow underwater communication. Before you ever get into the water, you check each other's equipment to make sure everything has been done properly.


When you've finally planned out your corporate retreat activities, you will need a reliable and experienced Maui corporate and group transportation service to get your group to and from your destinations in style and comfort. We tailor each and every trip to our clients' unique needs and preferences. We will be here when you need us. Our contact information is located at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Tax Deductions for Your Corporate Transportation Travel Expenses

Learn how to navigate the nuances of travel expense deductions with ease.
March 10, 2017

Tax Deductions for Your Corporate Transportation Travel Expenses

The end of tax season is coming up fast, and that means getting all the business expenses tallied up and ready for deduction. Have you considered adding your transportation services to the list? Some of these services do qualify for deduction, including our Maui corporate transportation services, if you used us for business travel. Some people still think of Maui in terms of corporate retreats only, but more and more business-related events are being held on the Valley Isle. For example, the upcoming Maui Energy Conference is bringing industry experts from all over the world to address Hawaii's energy future. As you can imagine, these events make our lives very busy! Unfortunately, some folks don't know all the ins and outs of deducting travel expenses, which can make a substantial difference, whether you're in charge of a large corporation or a small business.

As we stated, deducting Maui corporate transportation starts with the requirement that you used those services for business reasons (which is true anywhere you go). That umbrella may be wider than you expected. So what does, and doesn't, apply as business-related travel expenses? Some are straightforward, while others require specific circumstances.

For example, you can't deduct travel expenses if they're just for you to go out and do something fun, like spending a night out on the town. However, if you're entertaining clients, then yes, you can deduct the transportation expense. Here are some examples for applicable business-related deductions.


Tax-Deductible Maui Transportation Services:

  • Transportation to and from conventions
  • Travel to and from the airports
  • Travel between airports and hotels
  • Trips between hotels and business-related destinations
  • Tips provided to transportation services
  • Temporary work assignment trips
  • Entertainment trips, if the trip involves at least one client

How extravagant can you get with these expenses? Limousine services require special conditions as well. You could engage our Maui limousine bus and deduct the cost, but you must be traveling with clients to or from a conference or some other work-related event. If the limo is being used while entertaining your client(s), then your will most likely need to put it down under a different category: entertainment deduction. The difference is substantial, because you can only deduct 50% of your entertainment expenses, while you can deduct 100% of your travel expenses.

Since we listed the situations where your transportation deductions apply, we will also talk about situations that you want to avoid, so you don't have trouble with the IRS. Fortunately, there aren't many of these to look out for.


Non-Tax-Deductible Transportation:

  • Travel expenses within your "tax home" (the city or area of your main office)
  • Travel expenses with no receipt to account for it
  • Any travel expenses that have been reimbursed by your employer

Once the year is over, and you've collected all receipts and various other records of your travel expenses, the next step is to get started with your filing process. That means itemizing the expenses for the IRS, so each can be checked and verified if necessary. This is one of those times when good record-keeping really pays off.

What about bringing family members on my business trip? What can I deduct then? If your family member is a shareholder or employee of the same business, the above guidelines apply to both of you. If not, you will need to handle things differently. Let's say you bring your spouse with you on a business trip. If you were to rent a car during your trip, you could deduct that expense because you needed that car regardless of whether or not your spouse was in it with you. You will only be able to deduct your plane ticket, however, not your spouse's. Hotels increase the charge based on the number of people in the room, so you could find out their single-rate and only deduct that. You would not be able to deduct the remainder. Again, this applies to business-related travel, not vacationing. If you spend five days that are business-related and add one day of fun at the end, you would simply deduct the expenses of the first five days, but not the last day.

Not sure where to start itemizing? We can point you in the right direction. Use Form 2106 or Form 2106-EZ to calculate all of your deductions. Once you've done that, you will need to put your calculations into Form 1040. This form includes different schedules for different types of employment, but don't be daunted. This is very simple. If you're an employee, you will want to fill out Schedule A (refer to line 40). If you are self-employed, fill out Schedule C (refer to line 12). For more information right from the source, you can visit the IRS Business Travel Expense page. This will help you figure out the other kinds of expenses you can deduct as well.

If you need Maui transportation services, contact us and we'll collaborate on the best options for your specific needs. Why book with us? Not all transportation services are fully certified for commercial transportation. We are. Not all services provide all custom bookings. We do. Not all have a CEO/Owner who personally evaluates the manifest of each and every client. We do. Not all transportation services give you rates that include the taxes and fees, so there are no surprises at the end. We provide you with an all-inclusive quote right up front. If you need our assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

8 Tips For Planning Your Maui Destination Wedding

Our 8 tips for planning a Maui destination wedding so smoothly, you'd think it was in your home town.
February 10, 2017

Maui is one of the great romantic icons of the world, and may be the finest of all in terms of natural beauty. If you'd rather have your wedding on Maui than in your home town, there are a number of vital top tips we can offer you so you can make sure your wedding is seamless, beautiful and full of unforgettable memories, no matter how familiar or unfamiliar you are with the island.

1. Hire a Maui Wedding Coordinator

When planning a Maui destination wedding, you should avoid using planners located on the other Hawaiian islands, or worse, out of state. A planner who lives and works on Maui will have a much more intimate familiarity with the strengths and limitations of the various accommodations, venues, activities, and many other details; like the time it takes to get from one to the other.

Most importantly, a local wedding coordinator will know which island services provide the best quality and reliability for catering, flowers, photography, etc. The right planner can bring your whole dream wedding together, from ceremony to reception, so that you can relax and enjoy your trip to Maui from start to finish with your loved ones.


2. Best Time of the Year for a Wedding on Maui

Although our island paradise is blessed with warm weather all year round, certain times of the year provide more ideal weather than others. However, these have become peak wedding seasons, which are times when prices tend to be higher, and wedding service providers are busier. This doesn't have to be an obstacle if you reserve your services early and you can afford higher prices. Maui has two peak wedding seasons.

  • Winter -The first is peak season is winter, because it's so cold everywhere else. That being said, the weather tends to be most unpredictable from January to March. On the plus side, these are the best months for whale watching.
  • Summer - The second peak season is during the summer, when the kids are out of school and more people use their vacation time. Although there are no whales during that time of year, the weather is warmer and more consistent. You do need to watch out for those big tropical storms that will sometimes show up around August, so early summer is a safer option.
  • Spring/Fall - If the logistics work out for you, April and May are excellent months with beautiful weather, you may have a few whale sightings, and the island is less crowded, which means prices are lower. Fall months generally shares these qualities as well.

3. Learn About Hawaii Marriage Licenses

Hiring the right officiant can make the process much easier for you in terms of obtaining your marriage license in Hawaii. In any case, the process is actually pretty convenient. The State of Hawaii Department of Health provides an online application process for your license, but you will need to schedule a meeting later in person. Fees can change, so we won't state them here. Be sure to check the link for the current cost. You will be issued a live document that will be valid for 30 days. A good officiant should be able to help keep this process on track.


4. Reserve Your Maui Wedding Venue and Accommodations Early

This step in your wedding planning should be one of your top priorities. When choosing your venue, you should definitely consult your wedding coordinator, or any long-term Maui residents who you might know for some great suggestions. As for accommodations, an early booking is important, especially if you want to reserve a room block.

Wedding Venue - Maui is one of the hottest destination wedding locations in the world, and that means that if you have your heart set on a particular venue for your ceremony or reception, you should book it as soon as you possibly can. The more popular destination locations fill up months and sometimes even over a year in advance. If you don't have much time in which to plan, it's best to be flexible about your wedding location. After all, our island is full of beautiful places! South and West Maui are ideal if you want to get married on a gorgeous beach, or opt for an elegant beachfront lawn at one of the many exquisite resorts. Upcountry venues feature cooler temperatures and breathtaking vistas, while the North Shore Maui area is known for its lush tropical greenery and laid-back vibe.

Rental Accommodations - Many hotels and resorts on Maui offer package deals for your wedding, reception and accommodations. This may sound like a less adventurous option, but makes for smoother logistics. It all depends on what kind of wedding is right for you. If you can reserve a room block at a hotel, then you'll usually get a discount and you'll have all your guests in one place. If you are going for a small wedding, you may find it more convenient to rent out a large beachfront vacation home where your group of friends and family can all stay together. Plus this option means you'll get the chance to cook your own meals!


5. Plan Fun Activities for Your Guests

One of the best things about booking a destination wedding here on Maui is that you and your guests can add vacation days to the trip. If you've visited before, then you'll know that there are so many things to do that one trip can't usually cover all the possible activities and custom tours on Maui. When you plan group activities for your wedding party along with family and friends, it's a good idea to think of activities in terms of how physically capable your group is. Some activities are best for the young and able-bodied, but not suitable for the elderly or young children. Here are our suggestions based on physical intensity, in terms of strength, energy and environmental factors, like temperature.

Rigorous

  • Horseback riding
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Surfing/Windsurfing

Moderate

  • Ziplining
  • Snorkeling
  • Parasailing
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  •  HHHHaleakala Crater
  • Twin Falls

Easy

  • Whale Watching
  • Ocean cruises
  • Fishing
  • Beach Days
  • Sightseeing
  • Theater Performances

6. Protect Your Skin

Hawaii is closer to the equator than any other state in the U.S., so keep in mind that the sun's UV rays are more intense. That means that you will get a sunburn faster here than you will at a higher latitude. The last thing you want on your big day is a sunburn, or a new set of tan lines! For the sake of your health, you should always protect your skin while visiting Maui, and you may want to remind your guests to do so as well. Nothing puts a damper on a Maui trip like a painful and unsightly sunburn. If you plan to be on the island for a number of days before the wedding, be conscious of outdoor activities, sightseeing and even restaurant dining, if you end up sitting outside or next to a window. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and try to keep most of your skin covered by light, breathable clothing.


7. Picking the Right Maui Wedding Photographer

Opt for a wedding photography company with plenty of experience, and a big portfolio of work to show for it. Rookies may offer you a cheaper deal, but this is the part of your wedding day that will last for the rest of your life, so if you splurge on anything, it may as well be this. Even if your hair and makeup doesn't end up ideal, a good photographer can often fix it in the editing process. Read the contract thoroughly. This will ensure that you know what you're getting in terms of the hours of shooting and the number of images. Last but not least, make sure your photographer has a backup plan for their files and equipment. When it comes to your wedding, there are no do-overs! If you find a great Maui photographer who can easily share their process with you regarding all these factors, you can focus on looking and feeling your best.


8. Hire Reliable Maui Wedding Transportation Services

This is the part of your Maui destination wedding that we hope to help you with directly. If you've read through the above tips, then you have probably just begun to grasp how thoroughly we know the island. We've earned this knowledge from many decades of first hand experience. Because our company was founded in 1928, our Maui Transportation Service has been in business longer than any other, and with great success. That's because our first priority is to customize our services to your precise transportation needs. Whether you need us to transport you and your wedding party between the ceremony and reception venues in one of our chic limo buses, or you'd like us to gather up your wedding guests for a day of sightseeing or activities, we will get you there comfortably and promptly!

Some Maui transportation companies book through agents who don't live on the island. Unlike these transport companies, we know how long a drive will be at a certain time of the day, which routes are the quickest and most scenic, and which locations are or aren't accessible by a large vehicle. These are just a few examples of the many considerations that we take into account so you can spend your time enjoying your dream wedding and soaking up those fun, memorable moments with your loved ones. The best way to enjoy your wedding is to make sure you have reliable people handling all of your logistics so you can spend your time celebrating! If you're ready to let us help you put together a seamless, unforgettable wedding, you can call us at (808) 879-2828.

Blogs for March 2017

Activities to Try on Your Maui Corporate Retreat

Posted on March 24, 2017
Activities to Try on Your Maui Corporate Retreat


The reason the corporate retreat has become such a popular choice among businesses is because it stimulates new ideas and relationships. In fact, the benefits are so pronounced, some business leaders feel that the cost is in not having corporate… Continue Reading

Tax Deductions for Your Corporate Transportation Travel Expenses

Posted on March 10, 2017
Tax Deductions for Your Corporate Transportation Travel Expenses

The end of tax season is coming up fast, and that means getting all the business expenses tallied up and ready for deduction. Have you considered adding your transportation services to the list? Some of these services do qualify for deduction,… Continue Reading

Akina Aloha Tours

PO Box 933, Kihei, Maui,
Hawaii 96753

Phone (808) 879-2828
Fax (808) 879-0524


Akina Aloha Tours - Ambassadors of Aloha


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