(Disclaimer: The following information is as of June 8, 2021, and is subject to change.)
I’ve had the opportunity to visit Hawaii twice since the islands began allowing travelers from the mainland to visit – Maui in January and Oahu in May. In that short span, a lot of things changed.
As of early June, here’s what you can expect as you plan your visit to Hawaii. These processes are often changing – ALWAYS check the Hawaii Covid Traveler Website closer to departure.
Pre-Arrival Testing Requirements
Hawaii instituted its Safe Travels program to facilitate secure travel to and between the islands. The program requires all visitors to obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to departing the mainland to avoid the 10-day mandatory quarantine.
Here’s how that works:
- Identify the testing options available to you from Hawaii’s Trusted Testing Partners. https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/. You MUST use a partner from the list.
- Schedule your testing appointment within 72 hours of the departing time of the flight that will land in Hawaii.
a. For example, if you fly direct from Denver to Maui, your test must be processed no more than 72 hours from the departure time from Denver.
b. If you connect through another mainland airport, the same approach applies. Your test must be processed within 72 hours of the flight departing that mainland airport.
- Some testing locations will schedule appointments 10 days to two weeks out from the testing date. Do not wait until a few days before to find a testing location!
- The testing facility will provide you with a printed copy of your negative test result.
Uploading Your Test Results
- Scan your individual test results into a computer and save as a PDF.
- Create your Hawaii Safe Travels Account (https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/). Separate accounts must be created for all travelers over the age of 18.
- You’ll need to create a Trip in your account, then Apply for Exemption/Exception from Quarantine.
- Upload the PDF of your test results.
- All travelers over the age of 18 must also complete an online Health Questionnaire within 24 hours of the first flight departure. Minors’ information will need to be added to one of the adults’ accounts.
- Login to your Hawaii Safe Travels Account. Click on the Health Questionnaire and follow the instructions.
- Once complete, you’ll be given a QR code on the screen. I suggest screenshotting the QR code and storing it separately on your phone.
- You’ll use this QR code to clear arrivals in Hawaii (or to obtain a Pre-Clearance Wristband, if available – explained below), including the airport and all hotels and rental car agencies upon check-in.
- Check to see if your airline is offering a Pre-Clearance process to expenditure your arrival in Hawaii. If you forget or don’t see the line – don’t worry – you’ll just wait (like we did) in a line to get quarantine bypass. The line looks longer than it is because it’s so exciting to be in Hawaii. They keep the line moving as fast as they can.
- The Pre-Clearance Program enables travelers to show their QR codes at the gate of their mainland departure to receive a wristband. The wristband allows these travelers to pass through arrivals in Hawaii without having to show their QR codes again. The lines will be at the gate or sometimes nearby (Southwest flights in CA are usually not at the gate).
- The following link includes information on the participating airlines. (https://media.gohawaii.com/state-hawaii-and-airline-carriers-partner-expand-pre-clear-programs-ease-summer-travel)
- Airport personnel in the Hawaii airports will direct you through the arrival process after you landed.
- If you received a Pre-Clearance wristband, you will bypass the QR check process and head out!
- If you don’t receive a wristband, be prepared for a wait to show your code and get your clearance.
- The front desk of your hotel and rental car providers will also require you to show your QR code.
- Through June 14th, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii (the Big Island) require travelers to obtain an additional negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure to the islands. So, if you travel first to Maui and then plan to fly to Kauai, you’ll need to schedule and obtain a negative test within 72 hours of your flight to Kauai. Again, you’ll need to use an approved Safe Travel testing location.
- Effective June 15th, restrictions for inter-county travel will end. This means there will be no pre-travel testing or other requirements needed for travel between the Hawaiian Islands.
Whew! Is it worth it? I certainly think so. Hawaii has been welcoming visitors for nearly six months. They are organized and efficient.
Protocols are likely to change as more and more travelers are vaccinated and cases drop. There are lots of news stories – it’s VERY important to remember that the www.gohawaii.com site contains and has links to the most up-to-date information. I check it nearly every day.
Next steps? Call me and we’ll talk about which islands you want to visit and when you want to go! I’ll be with you every step of the way.
This blog is intended to provide basic guidance and should not be interpreted as official policy and/or procedure. All travelers should validate current protocols with Hawaii state authorities, airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, and all other travel providers.