Planning to travel to Hawaii during covid is no easy feat currently, but it can be done by taking the proper safety measures and following all protocols necessary to enter. It’s no secret that this past year has been very difficult on many people and for some traveling is a form of therapy. So before you pass judgment on those traveling right now, remember that every person’s situation is different and the islands are open for a reason. Below I am going to give you all the information you need in order to travel to Hawaii safely during covid. (Oahu, Maui, + The Big Island):
Please note that this post was written in March 2021 and things may have changed since then so for the most up-to-date regulations go to the Safe Travels Hawaii Website.
July 2021 Update: As of July 8, 2021, the state of Hawaii is allowing trans-Pacific travel for vaccinated passengers (those vaccinated within the U.S.), without requiring a pre-travel test or quarantine. For those that. are not vaccinated you will need to complete all the steps below.
Prepping for your trip
So much planning has to go into your trip in order to a) get there safely and b) follow all the necessary protocols to enter. You have to be diligent with everything because one slip-up might require you to quarantine for two weeks immediately upon arrival. The first thing you’ll want to do is check news updates on the island you are planning to travel to. As of right now, the only island of Hawaii that is not allowing visitors without quarantining is Kauai. We traveled to Maui in January 2020 and this is our experience:
- Set up an account with the Safe Travels Hawaii Website prior to traveling
- enter the exact dates of your trip
- input where you are staying and for what reason you are traveling.
- 72 hours before the final leg of your flight you need to take a NAAT test and it can only be taken by the providers listed on the Hawaii Safe Travels Partner site (I’ve included the provider list below). Once you receive your results, you’ll need to upload the documents to the safe travel website.
- 24 hours before your flight each traveler needs to take a 5-minute questionnaire on the Hawaii website. Once this is completed you will be sent a QR code from the State of Hawaii.
- Once you receive the QR code you will be good to go!
We used Vault Health and took an at-home test since it was recommended by Hawaiian Airlines. We received our results within 24 hours (each test cost $120). I later submitted my claim to insurance and received a refund of the price after traveling (depends on your insurance provider).
here are all the providers you are able to get tests at for US travelers
Make sure to have your negative test results printed out. They didn’t check them during the boarding process or when we landed but they claim it is necessary to have them printed out so to be safe, just do it. Make sure to bring all the sanitizing equipment to wipe down EVERYTHING you are going to touch on the plane. Consider buying a face shield, double masking, and bringing your own food for extra safety measures.
Notable mention to Hawaiian Airlines – they’ve been doing a fabulous job making sure all of their passengers are following the rules and keeping safety top of mind. I witnessed the crew on multiple occasions scanning the aisles s and asking people to bring up their masks over their noses. Not only that but they are spacing out passengers and the boarding process is much more spaced out as well. We had the entire row to ourselves and felt completely safe the entire time!
Once we landed we waited roughly 20 minutes (expect up to an hour wait) in a line to show our QR code. You cannot bypass this step because they hand you a ticket once you have shown your code that you need to hand to the security guard at the exit. After that, we headed to baggage claim and all else seemed normal!
Check out the below video for more details of the airport at arrival:
The Island’s Safety
Once we arrived we settled into Kaanapali at the Grand Hyatt Maui. Upon checking in, we needed to show our Safe Travels QR code and account. They will not let you check into your hotel without those documents so be prepared. They then checked our temperatures and had hand sanitizing stations everywhere they possibly could. Along with that, I never saw one employee not wearing a mask, and most of the guests were taking it pretty seriously as well.
Finally, the entire island was taking all necessary safety measures. When passing people on trails 75% of them were wearing masks properly and social distancing. All in all, it’s very quiet in Hawaii right now and is extremely easy to socially distance. Multiple times we had the beach/pool area to ourselves (pictured above how empty it was).
Thank you for reading about my travel to Hawaii during Covid experience. I’d be happy to answer any more questions you may have in the comments and click for more of my Hawaii Travel Guides. If you need packing help here is my Ultimate Hawaii Packing Guide.
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