Staff Picks: Mahealani

By Mahealani Schuman

If you asked me to tell you my favorite place on earth, I’d answer without hesitation: Hawaii.

While sipping Mai Tais at sunset on the famous beaches of Waikiki is a notorious image across the world, for travelers, Hawaii is sometimes shrugged off due to its high popularity and price tag. But as someone who was born and raised there, I can tell you from the heart—Hawaii is everything that you could ever imagine and more!

There are few words to adequately describe the feeling of being surrounded by nature, observing life as it naturally flows around you. I think there is a point in everyone's life when we have that “ah ha” moment—the moment when we are humbled by the world and its stunning beauty. This moment is not something bigger than ourselves, but rather, it’s when we are really able to reconnect with the raw beauty of our world and find our place within it.

Originally from the island of Oahu, I experienced these moments and feelings my whole life. Nature was and still is engraved in the fiber of my being. Since before I could remember, living meant being a part of nature, embracing what was there before us in its pristine state, and growing with it.

As kids, we were taught how to respect the land we live on, learning to interact with the worldly elements that surrounded us in our day to day. Our parents used to tell us, “Never turn your back to the ocean. Never take a lava rock from the place you found it. Never pick the Ohia Lehua flower because it will begin to rain torrential rain.”

As I traveled around the world and later began my professional career after university, these fundamental values I grew up with, especially the bond I had with nature, became even more important to me. Life is about collecting moments, moments that change you and the world in positive ways.

At Glamping Hub, one of our core values is nature. All of our accommodations are thoughtfully sought after and selected to be on our site with nature in mind. Every day at my job, I am inspired by our incredible hosts, and I’m able to see firsthand how the most unique stays connect people back to nature.

For my staff picks, I want to bring you my favorite places, placing you in the heart of nature. Of course, Hawaii is at the top of my list!

Hawaiian Volcano Tree House

This is a tree house new Volcano National Park, Hawaii.

Tucked away in the green-mossy Hapu’u fern forest, this tree house offers guests an experience like nothing else. Literally built into the surrounding nature, the branches of this tree run wind the heart of the home, reaching and bending in their natural state through the rooms of the rental.

Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, this is the perfect location for all things adventurous! One of the most untouched islands of the Hawaiian chain, the Big Island is home to eight of the 13 different climate zones in the world. These ecosystems range from tropical dry forests and grasslands to snowy mountain tops and anchialine pools.

In Volcano National Park, guests can explore the subterranean lava tube systems, feel the heat of sulfur vents from miles below, or hike out to the coastline and watch the sunset as Kilauea pours into the ocean. There really is nothing missing from this one-of-a-kind tree house, just be sure not to pick a red flower from the ohia tree!

Tiny House, Volcano National Park

This is a tiny house in Volcano National Park, Big Island of Hawaii.

I couldn't help but pick yet another accommodation from the Big Island. This unique, hand-built tiny home perfectly balances inside comforts with the nature of the world outside. Of course, take a day or two to explore Volcano National Park, but make sure to venture out and experience the other sides of the island.

Mauna Kea is not too far of a drive and debatably the most amazing experience you will have while staying at this tiny home. Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the state and the tallest sea mountain in the world. If measured from the ocean floor, it is 33,000 feet taller than Mt. Everest!

During winter, snow covers the tops providing ski-enthusiasts with the novelty of skiing in Hawaii.At night visitors are encouraged to stay and watch as the sky fills with stars, appearing so close that you could reach out and touch them.

For anyone looking to reconnect with nature, the Big Island is one of my favorite places to recommend. Make sure to seek out the green, black, and pink sand beaches, swim with the dolphins in Kealakekua Bay, and jump into a few waterfalls along the way!

North Shore Yurt in Haleiwa

This is a yurt on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

The most widely renowned island is the Island of Oahu. Home to the infamous Waikiki Beach and memorable Pearl Harbor, this island is often seen in movies and popular television shows. As I’m from Oahu myself, it is undoubtedly my favorite, which is why I suggest these glamping yurts on the North Shore.

This non-traditional take on a Hawaiian vacation spot puts guests right in the center of the best surf and the most beautiful views in the area, allowing them to experience Oahu’s finest during their stay. Eco-friendly and locally made, these yurts offer guests everything they could imagine, plus things they hadn’t dreamed of, like a private slide leading into natural salt water pools.

Oahu also has so many activities for guests to enjoy! Close to the rental, guests can take on the challenging Crouching Lion hike or take an easy stroll to Waimea Falls. Make sure to take a day trip to Kailua Beach and the West Side to see a sunset, too!

Glamorous Camping Tent, New Zealand

This is a bell tent in New Zealand.

There really are so many places I want to visit, and not just in Hawaii. On the top of my list are these unique and glamorous bell tents. Guests can enjoy all the luxuries and comforts of a hotel in their glamping tent with the addition of these magnificent views in Waitaki Valley, New Zealand. With a personal fireplace outside the tents and a beautiful wooden deck, watching the picturesque sunset has never been so cozy.

New Zealand has so many amazing opportunities for glampers to experience, from gorgeous hikes to adventure sports outside! These glamping tents are the perfect place to start.

If these beautiful places have inspired you, head over to Glamping Hub and get back to nature!

Blogger Spotlight: Marissa Tejada

By Mahealani Schuman

It might not feel like it just yet, but summer is right around the corner! The East Coast snows have piled up just enough, leaving us dreaming of our summer destination spots. At just a few months away, we have more than enough time to start planning. Travel blogger Marissa Tejada is a professional at picking the best spots to go in Europe—from the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean to the rolling countrysides of Italy—and you can find the best tips and tricks on her blog to make the perfect Euro-trip.

Talking with Marissa, we asked her about how she plans her amazing trips and what’s on her list for this year!

When and how do you to start your planning for your next vacation? Do you start with destination or the accommodation?

I like to plan my trips around the destination. There are many places I’d love to see and tick off my travel bucket list. If the opportunity comes up, the plans go in motion, and then I figure out the logistics, from flight to accommodation.

When planning a trip to a place you have never been before, what’s the best tip of advice on where to start?

I think you need to start by being inspired by the destination. The beauty of travel is that we all travel differently and see the beauty of a place differently. That’s exciting. So, when you start with sheer inspiration, I believe the logistics fall into place. Online research about anything about that trip from what to eat, what to do and where to stay becomes that much more fun!

What is your favorite time of the year for traveling?

I don’t have a particular favorite time of year to travel. I think all seasons offer something special when considering a destination. I must admit, however, that I love beautiful beaches and tropical island scenery, so if the weather is beach weather at a destination, that is a big plus.

What is your top must see this year?

Now that I am living in the U.S. again, I’d love to see Hawaii—I've never been!

What is your favorite type of glamping accommodation?

I love the fact that glamping combines luxury and nature. The design to me is just wonderful to experience so I think my favorite type of glamping experience would be one that is truly dedicated to showing off the local flavor, culture and nature of a place.

Marissa Tejada is an author, travel writer, and award-winning journalist. Her work is featured in CNN Travel, BBC Travel, Forbes, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, Telegraph Travel, and an array of travel and lifestyle magazines. She also publishes a top niche travel blog, Travel Greece, Travel Europe.

Marissa is originally from New York and lives in Seattle; however, part of her heart will always be in Athens, Greece, where she lived for eight years. Keep up with her travels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!