SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- What if you have plans to travel to Maui in the next few weeks -- or beyond? The fire has many travelers wondering whether to still go.
Right now, the airlines and Hawaiian authorities are telling tourists not to come. Now, many travelers are thinking of postponing or even canceling their trips -- but will you get a refund?
A wildfire in an island paradise, fueled by a hurricane. It's a disaster no one could have predicted -- least of all the thousands of tourists who planned to go.
Karen Smith of Danville booked a trip to Maui for next February. But after seeing the devastation, she doubts the island will be ready for tourists.
"Our plan was to go to Lahaina and go whale watching because that's a perfect time to go whale watching," Smith said.
"I can't imagine in six months, that they're going to rebuild that whole area to go whale watching. It just doesn't seem like that's going to happen," she continued.
Smith tried to get a cash refund from Alaska Airlines, but could only get a voucher good for one year.
"It's ridiculous that I should get a voucher, when I don't know when I'm gonna go back," she said.
Clint Henderson of The Points Guy says tourists will likely get cash refunds or credits for travel to the island in the next few weeks -- but not beyond that.
"If you have a trip planned in the next couple of weeks, definitely do not go to Maui. If your trip is further along, I would wait and see, see what happens. See how quickly everything gets back up and running," he said.
"I think if you're, if you're looking to cancel a trip months and months from now, I think that's probably too much to ask for a full refund. At this point, I think the resorts will be up and running just fine by Christmas time. So for now, I would just take a wait-and-see approach, I wouldn't, I wouldn't go to the mat," Henderson said.
Most airlines are allowing penalty-free rebooking for travel to and from Maui at least for this week. Some airlines, including United, Hawaiian, Delta and American, are offering refunds for those who want to cancel during a short window period. You should check with your airline.
Henderson says hotels are expected to give refunds though many are still cut off from communications.
"I think you'll find in many cases the airlines, the hotels, the Airbnbs will work with you to try to make you whole, whether that's come back in a year from now or yes we can give you a cash refund," he said.
Henderson says trip disruption is becoming more common with climate change, and he advises using credit cards with trip protection benefits, or travel insurance. Also he's urging folks not to cancel if you are traveling months from now -- the islands are counting on tourists to help them recover.
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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