My Experience: How Hawaii’s Pre-Travel Testing Program Works

Filed Under: Travel

Aloha from Hawaii! Hawaii has been an extremely popular destination for people to travel to in recent months, though traveling there without having to quarantine requires pre-travel testing, as part of the Hawaii Safe Travels program.

This isn’t as easy as just getting tested and bringing a copy of the negative result to the airport, but rather there are quite a few hoops to jump through. In this post I wanted to outline that process, and also share some of the things that I learned.

Who is allowed to travel to Hawaii?

Hawaii is not only open to all Americans, but also to anyone who is allowed to travel to the United States in general. However, Hawaii requires travelers to either quarantine or get tested:

  • Those arriving in Hawaii have to quarantine for 10 days
  • The only way to skip that quarantine is to participate in the Hawaii Safe Travels program, which requires taking a coronavirus test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure of your nonstop flight to Hawaii; if you upload the negative test result and complete all other requirements and documentation prior to travel, you can skip the quarantine

Note that starting at some point this summer, Hawaii plans to no longer require vaccinated travelers to get tested, though that policy isn’t in place yet (it’s expected to be rolled out somewhere around July 4). Also keep in mind that entry requirements are always subject to change, so make sure you check Hawaii’s official travel website for the latest details.

What is the Hawaii Safe Travels program?

Safe Travels is the name of the portal that Hawaii uses for granting entry to the state. You have to go to the Safe Travels website to create a profile, complete a health declaration, share personal details, and upload your coronavirus test results, among other things.

Step-by-step: Hawaii Safe Travels program

The Hawaii Safe Travels portal is kind of tedious, to put it mildly, and that’s probably by design. I’ll provide a step-by-step guide of my experience, and also share what I learned along the way.

A few things to note upfront:

  • It’s extremely important that all the forms you complete and all the documents you upload are accurate, or else you could run into issues, so triple check your work
  • Each adult needs their own profile in the Safe Travels portal; I’m traveling with my family (in this case a party of four) and I did all of our applications, so suffice to say that this was a bit time consuming
  • There are different orders in which you can complete the requirements, so the suggestions I outline below are intended to be the most efficient, though there are other approaches you can take as well
  • The most stressful part of this process was timing our tests (given the strict timeline), and then patiently waiting for the results to come in prior to travel

Step #1: Decide how you want to get tested

The state of Hawaii will only accept a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a trusted testing and travel partner (you can find a full list of those here). In general there are three directions you can go, and the best option largely varies on where you live:

  • There’s the option of an in-person test at all kinds of partner locations, including places like CVS and Walgreens; this typically costs ~$100-150 per person
  • There’s the option of an at-home test with a company like Vault Health, whereby you video chat with someone who watches you spit in a tube, and then you overnight it to them; this typically costs ~$100-150 per person
  • Some airports with direct flights to Hawaii have on-site testing with results available in less than 30 minutes, because they have an on-site lab; this is typically the most costly option, at ~$250

I know a lot of people have had good experiences with the at-home test kits. Personally we decided to just do in-person tests at CVS, since there was one near us, and it seemed more convenient than having to get on a video call, then bringing the boxes to the mail to be overnighted, etc.

Step #2: Decide when you want to get tested

This might seem like a silly point, but it’s not. Hawaii requires you to be tested no more than 72 hours from the scheduled departure of your nonstop flight to Hawaii (this means that if your flight is delayed you should be okay). If your flight ends up canceling, you miss a connection, or you get rebooked, you could be out of luck, so it could make sense to leave a bit of leeway.

Conversely, if you wait too long you might not get your test results in time. Our flight to Hawaii departed DFW at 1PM Central, and we decided to get tested at 3:30PM Eastern three days prior (the last appointment of the day), so that’s 70.5 hours before departure.

Step #3: Get tested

This is easy enough. Make sure you show up for your appointment (whether in-person or virtual), do everything punctually, make sure your name is correct on the test, and avoid getting coronavirus. 😉

Step #4: Create a Hawaii Safe Travels account, upload trip details

While you could do this before getting tested, there’s not really a need to. Go to the Hawaii Safe Travels website, and create an account for each adult traveling (if you’re traveling with a child, you can add them to your account).

The process of registering is easy enough — first you’ll just enter your email address and pick a password.

Then you’ll have to enter some basic personal details. Make sure you enter a valid phone number (which you’ll have to verify), because this will be used to communicate with you.

Once your account is created, you’ll see a dashboard showing multiple options, including the ability to add trips, complete a health questionnaire, and upload documents.

At this point I’d also recommend completing the “Trips” section, assuming your travel details are all finalized. You’ll be asked to enter all the details about your trip, ranging from your arrival and departure flights and dates, to where you’ll be staying.

Step #5: Upload test results, complete health questionnaire

I’d recommend completing the final step of your Hawaii Safe Travels process within 24 hours of departure, just so you can get it all done at once.

First you’ll want to go to the “Documents” section of the Safe Travels portal. There you’ll need to upload a picture of yourself (an informal selfie is fine, this doesn’t have to be professional), as well as your negative test result in PDF format.

When you upload your negative test result you’ll be asked to select the provider of the test, and then the system can almost immediately verify the negative result.

Lastly, within 24 hours of departure you’ll need to complete a simple health questionnaire.

Read this carefully, because once it’s submitted it can’t be done again.

Step #6: Retrieve & save your QR code

With this process being done, you’ll be sent an email with a QR code. This is your key to entering Hawaii seamlessly. Make sure you not only save the email, but ideally take a screenshot of your QR code so that it’s handy on your phone.

For that matter, if you’re traveling with people who aren’t particularly tech savvy, I’d even recommend printing out the QR code, so that it’s easier to present.

You’ll potentially have to show this quite a bit — not just when you land in Hawaii, but also when you check-in for your flight, and potentially even after that.

Our frustrating(ish) testing experience

We used CVS Health for our coronavirus testing, which cost $139 per person (traveling to Hawaii isn’t cheap — for four people we’re talking about $576). CVS states that test results for Hawaii are typically returned in one to two days, though no guarantees can be made.

The testing process itself was easy enough. Testing was self administered and at a drive-thru, and the person at the drive-thru window just kind of talks you through the process. I really tried to jam the thing up my nose, because I didn’t want to have one of those inconclusive test results, which happens sometimes.

We got tested at around 3:30PM. The first test result came in two calendar days later, shortly before 4AM, so just over 36 hours later. The next test result came in less than an hour after that, at around 5AM. The next test result came in an hour after that, at around 6AM. And then for the fourth test (which also happened to be mine)… nothing.

For context, we were flying from Tampa to Hawaii via Dallas, and our flight was departing Tampa at 7AM the following morning.

Throughout the day there were no further results for me, so as you’d imagine I was quite worried. And go figure there’s no customer service with this stuff, so it’s not like you can phone up a number and someone will actually help you figure out if your test is lost, or what.

I started to look into other options. Fortunately I had planned a very long layover in Dallas, so my backup was to spend another $249 to get tested at DFW, with the results that come in quickly.

Fortunately I woke up the following morning and found that my result had finally come in, about 56 hours after I took the test.

Personally I’d highly recommend planning your testing so that there’s a backup option. For example, if I had planned a shorter layover at DFW I wouldn’t have had that backup, and I would have been so stressed about this, given what a special trip this is with my mom.

What happens when you arrive in Hawaii?

What’s the arrivals process like in Hawaii with the Safe Travels program? We arrived at Kahului Airport (OGG) in Maui in the afternoon, and upon deplaning all passengers with a QR code had to queue in a single line. We were told to have our QR code and photo ID ready, and were then directed to one of roughly a dozen tables.

At these tables a representative scanned our QR code, reviewed our profile, and checked our ID. At that point we were sent on our way. Surprisingly this wasn’t the last time we had to show our QR codes — we also had to show then when going to the rental car center, as well as when arriving at our hotel.

With the exception of during the arrivals process, oddly there’s not actually any verification that the QR code is valid, but rather they just glance at it to make sure you have a QR code (even though you could easily use someone else’s for these purposes).

Bottom line

While it’s fantastic that Hawaii is open to visitors and many will appreciate that the state is doing pre-travel testing, there are definitely some hoops to jump through.

Especially if you’re traveling as a family, the cost of pre-travel testing will quickly add up. The actual Safe Travels portal process isn’t that complicated, but rather the frustrating part is the uncertainty and stress associated with waiting for your pre-travel testing results to come in, especially given how much is on the line.

I know some people avoid traveling to other countries because of the requirement to get tested prior to returning to the USA, though personally I find that to be much cheaper (since a rapid test suffices, and many hotels are set up for this), easier (since there’s no paperwork), and less stressful (since your entire vacation isn’t potentially on the line while you wait for a test result).

If you’ve traveled to Hawaii with the Safe Travels program, what was your experience like?

Comments
  1. BUt I’M ONLY ViSitING PLACEs thaT ARE cOMPLETELY OpEn TO toUrIsm And WhERe The LOCAlS WANT ME!

    Very irresponsible. Hawaii doesn’t want us quite yet. Be patient and listen to the science Ben.

  2. Sounds like a lot of hassle, just to go to Hawaii.

    Also, in before the chowderheads telling you that you’re evil for traveling anywhere.

  3. Out of curiosity, if you had traveled from LAX, would you have used the CLEAR Health Pass offering instead of the manual/direct process with the Hawaii Portal?

    I have friends that are planning Hawaii vacations and want to see what your thoughts are about it.

  4. Thanks for the information! I’m traveling to Hawaii over Memorial Day Weekend and this is very useful.

    Is testing not covered by insurance? I (luckily) have not needed to be tested yet.

  5. @KVM insurance doesn’t typically cover it, but Walgreens does. However, Walgreens doesn’t guarantee a timely turnaround.

    I just got back from Hawaii (had a wonderful time) and got tested at LAX 3 days before I left. The turnaround time at LAX is 3-5 hours and is a pretty painless process.

  6. Why in the world do they want photo ID? Hawaii allows a person to register and also vote without photo ID why not have the same requirement to visit there?

  7. Ben’s problem was that he didn’t fly on an airline participating in Hawaii’s “Pre-Clear” program, which really speeds up the process. (Given the DFW layover, it sounds like he flew American.)

    If you fly Alaska, Hawaiian, Southwest, or United, employees of those airlines will verify your negative COVID test results and other docs form the Hawaii Safe Travels program before your final leg from the mainland, and give you a wristband, which allows you to bypass the lines in Hawaii.

    I recently flew SFO to KOA on United, and it worked great. No lines upon arrival.

    Also, if you’re vaccinated, I would recommend brining your CDC card (or a photo of it on your phone) if you’re flying to Kona. The Big Island is still doing a second rapid COVID antigen (which is free) upon arrival, but you are allowed to bypass the second test if you can show you’re fully vaccinated.

  8. Handily enough I live in a state with mass testing through Vault which is free of charge, typically comes back within 12 hours, and the results through the state portal always have a Hawaii Safe Travels version. Not sure if it was the state’s intent to subsidize testing for that purpose or if it was just a matter of them neglecting to make Vault turn off that feature unless you pay. Though TBH all testing really should have been frictionless, free, and required for all interstate travel this whole time.

    For Step #5, how did you answer for “Have you had a flu vaccine?” Do they mean recently, as in, within a timeframe that could cause side effects mimicking illness? I can’t tell whether Yes or No is the “good” answer.

    Also, if you get tested right at T-72, yes there’s a risk of invalidation due to cancellation/reroute. But if your original flight is simply delayed, is there really a penalty for delayed departure versus scheduled? What if it departs late but arrives on-time due to padding?

  9. @BlackHill, voting is a right. Its a shame that the founding fathers didn’t see a need to say it explicitly like the right to own a gun.

    Driving and flying are privileges, so having a requirement to have an ID that costs money is fine.

  10. I by no means a United fan but they’re most definitely one if not the best option to fly to Hawaii during this pandemic. If you got your testing and QR code taken care of, United will check them before boarding on a dedicated desk/booth and once everything checks out, you get a blue wrist band that allows you to bypass the verification line when you arrive in Hawaii. The last thing you want is to queue up to another long line when you just want to hit the beach.

  11. To all people saying we should not travel or Hawaii residents do not want us are just ignorant and have a false sense of righteousness. That’s why Hawaii is very strict with testing to minimize the spread. I spoke to Hawaii locals during my week long stay last month and they’re thrilled that tourists are coming back because their livelihood are in bad shape. I specifically asked about news interviews of residents not wanting mainlanders back, and most of them said that majority of the complainers are retirees and aren’t affected by lack of tourists. I’m glad I was able to have a fun vacation safely and directly contribute to their economic revival.

  12. Can you clarify what you mean by “nonstop flight” to Hawaii. Are connecting flights to Hawaii not allowed? Or can you connect, but the testing needs to be done 72-hrs before the departure of your final leg from the mainland?

  13. My family of 4 flew to hawaii in April and we used vault. Results were fast and although a bit of paperwork using the app was easy. The most complicated part for us was taking another test to fly from honoloulu to hawaii. Our hotel told us to go to test at the sheraton which was a walk in. Testing was easy, but the results for our kids hit a snag. Adult results could be pulled off the website but we needed to call for access to the kids which wasnt obvious. Kids results required that they authorize me and it wasnt automatic to give us the access. It worked out easy enough when i calked and we got their results in time but was a bit worrisome. The back up plan was a 1 hr test if we couldnt get the kids results online.

  14. @ JohnF — You absolutely can connect, but the test can be conducted no more than 72 hours prior to the nonstop flight to Hawaii. In other words, flying from Tampa to Dallas to Maui, the test needed to be no more than 72 hours prior to the Dallas to Maui flight, rather than the Tampa to Dallas flight.

  15. @Lucky… You really goofed on the testing. An ID NOW test from Walgreens is permitted. I was in Hawaii last week and it worked without a hitch. Safe Travels read it, and everything was smooth. My results (from a Walgreens in TX) arrived in less than an hour. My friend in Missouri received their results in the same time frame. Better yet, it was free.

    For anybody going to Hawaii, the ID NOW test from Walgreens is the only way to go. In fact, its so easy, I hardly view testing as a barrier anymore.

  16. @ GoAmtrak — Excellent questions! I answered “yes” to the flu vaccine question, but I also wasn’t sure what exactly the motive was with the question, since it doesn’t seem to be a requirement one way or another?

    I wondered the same thing about if a flight is delayed. I couldn’t find any official explanation of that, so does anyone know? It seems you’re out of luck if you get rebooked on another flight, but I would assume that if your flight is simply delayed you’re okay. But I wonder if there are limits to that?

  17. The article cover photo looks like Ka’anapali Beach! Are you at the Hyatt Regency by any chance? 🙂

  18. @ KVM — I was wondering that as well, especially about the distinction between Hawaii testing and other testing. The CVS Health website explicitly stated that insurance doesn’t cover testing for Hawaii, but it did cross my mind if a regular test with CVS would do the trick, because results seem to come in at the same time. GoAmtrak has an interesting point above.

  19. Way too much hassle and expense.

    I’m vaccinated, Hawaii. If you still don’t want me, I’ll stay away.

  20. The rules explicitly require testing 72 hours prior to “scheduled departure.” In the case of a delay you’re fine. I cannot attest to what happens in the event of a cancellation or a reroute. I suspect it could invalidate your test because your Safe Travels profile is built around your final segment flight to Hawaii. If you got rerouted on a different flight to Hawaii, you’d have to update that in Safe Travels

  21. @ Will — I guess I probably would have, though I’m also not sure I see a huge advantage here? It seems the paperwork might be a bit easier, but otherwise it’s the same?

  22. If you were going out of Seattle there is no reason not to get a rapid test. Plus it should be free If you do it at Walgreens.

  23. @snic that was my sentiment but after going through the process, it was actually not much of a hassle. I got tested at CityHealth for free, and only paid $20/person for the Hawaii certificate. Got the results on the 2nd day via text. I think it’s less of a hassle than getting a tourist visa to other countries such as China.

  24. Its funny that Hawaii has a higher infection rate than Texas and Florida which of course has no testing requirements and much easier restrictions. Seems to be a complete money grab by the State of Hawaii. I hope travelers are ready for all the extra fees that are coming in the near years for our “safety and convenience”. Hotel safety fee, airline and airport sanitation tax etc.

  25. What if you are connecting in Hawaii to a different island? I am flying from SAN to Kona via HNL. Do we need to go through the testing verification in HNL or KOA?

  26. We visited the big island mid March. Fortunately Kaiser is our health care provider and worked well for the testing regiment. We were also retested on landing which was quick with no issues.

    Overall the visit was great. Many locations enforce hand sanitation before entry, as well as masking up. The testing regiment is a bit of a hassle, and I’ll wait till vaccinations are accepted as acceptable forms of entry before going back.

  27. @Steve_CC You’re full of S*iT. Hawaii’s infection rate is 1.74% while Texas is 5.7% and Florida 6.6%. You wish you can go to Hawaii.

  28. @KVM my insurance covers physician ordered tests. Our Walgreens’ “ID NOW” tests were covered. For Walgreens, your appointment is not confirmed immediately. Instead you get an email saying your request is received and we have requested a test. Once a physician issues prescription for your test, you receive a confirmation for your appointment. Even the report will have ordering physician listed on it.

    Our experience with Walgreens was excellent. Received results within couple of hours. All online reviews raised red flags about CVS.

  29. Agree with the comments above on Walgreens being best option.

    We did IDNow test – booked 3 days in advance to guarantee timing and did it in drive thru. No payment or insurance info requested as Walgreens covered it. Did the test at 10.30am on a Sunday and got the results at 11.20am same day!

    Also flying with an airline doing pre clear like United is amazing – we cleared at Denver so had the wristbands when we arrived so we could bypass checks on arrival. The lines in Maui to clear through for those flying airlines not offering pre clear were hours long!!!

  30. Note that as of 5/4/21, visitors arriving to OGG are also subject to an additional Covid test UNLESS you provide proof of full vaccination.

  31. I live and work on Maui part-time and have traveled there six times since SafeTravels was implemented late 2020. I am a front-line physician.

    Things I have learned YMMV:
    1. The pre-travel program is not easy to use the first time.
    2. Best to carry a hard copy of your QR code as well as have the SafeTravels site populated in your web browser since rental car companies often need to see it.
    3. For pre-travel testing: I have used AFC, Azova (telemedicine), and WorkSite (a Hawaiian Airlines contractor). WorkSite is by far the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable. It’s $90 a test in cities that Hawaiian Airlines flies out of and you can book weeks in advance. I usually test 48 hours before and get results in less than 24 hours from departure. My next outbound test is Sunday 6am during Memorial Weekend. Hopefully it goes well.
    4. ONLY fly on airlines that have a pre-arrival screening and wristband. This will save you HOURS at Kahului. If you cannot get a wristband then sit at the front of the plane and pray that you don’t have a huge line. When I say huge, I’m not joking. It was 3 hours during spring break. Summer will be even worse with…
    5. ARRIVAL TESTING IS MANDATORY NOW. To bypass this have your vaccine card. I cannot see this lasting for long as it will create massive logjams in the airport aka “super-spreader” conditions. There will be a court challenge or some pushback or some complaints of “vaccine inequality blah blah blah.”

    Yes Hawaii is draconian in their rules. It’s not as bad as Canada or NYC (pre April 4). As everyone has said…it’s because we don’t have the hospital capacity. HNL is few hours away at best and the mainland is even worse even if you have a private jet.

  32. Ben, what was your rental car experience like in Maui? My wife and I are going at the end of the month and I keep hearing about low availability across the country. I’m hoping our pre-paid reservation helps us.

  33. For those asking if testing is covered by insurance. It can be depending on your insurance and if you answer the pre-questions that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have symptoms. The drive thru test at CVS was covered by United Healthcare for my wife son and I after we were exposed to our daughter who later tested negative.

  34. Oh and since I’m on the soapbox…
    1) Don’t get upsold on a convertible, drive an hour to the hotel and get burned on the first day
    2) Take care of your feet. A vana spine or reef cut will end your trip fast. Watch where you walk.
    3) Get your ears checked. Swimmer’s ear from a wax plug or otitis media: also trip-killers.
    4) Don’t dick around in the shore break or jump off of high rocks. The ocean is not a swimming pool. You will get hurt with a spinal injury, dislocated shoulder, laceration, etc.
    4) Don’t travel when sick. Come on…duh.
    5) HAVE TRAVEL INSURANCE. Most out-of-state insurance both private, Medicaid, and Medicare are NOT taken by the urgent cares. Maui Memorial Medical Center takes Medicare, but you really don’t want to burn a full day in the ER. Kaiser is on Maui but they don’t see people acutely. Minit Medical has a Kaiser contract but I’m not sure if it’s for out-of-state enrollees. Everyone else has a lot of restrictions on which insurance they take and most just like cash to avoid hassles.
    6) IF YOU ARE ON SCHEDULE 2 MEDICATIONS DO NOT TRY AND REFILL THEM ON-ISLAND. Sure, you can get it done, but it requires a full office visit for a paltry amount. Out-of-state doctors cannot phone in controlled substances to HI pharmacies. Why? Because prior to the prescription monitoring database being established, mainlanders would frequent pill-mills and get party-drugs there. The Hawaii State DEA shut all that down and monitors all controlled prescribing activity. You can’t just walk in off the street and get benzos, opiates, suboxone, or adderall anymore. That’s a good thing.
    7. Get all high-end restaurant reservations in place weeks or months before you arrive. Mama’s Fish House is booked solid for two months and summer isn’t even here. Even the concierges at the Four Seasons and Andaz can’t get you in there. Hawaii restaurants are only at 25% capacity and many resorts are encountering people making a standing reservation for every meal.
    8. Book a rental car early. People were driving U-hauls over spring break due to shortages. Even Kimo’s was sold out. The concierges at the 5-star hotels also had no luck helping people with this issue. Not sure if this will be sorted out by June due to a lack of container ships. Upgrade inventory sucks. I’m a Hertz President’s Circle and where I used to get a Mercedes roadster, I only find Cadillac SUVs.
    9. If you stay on West Maui (Lahaina, Kapalua, Kaanapali) check the roads hours prior to your departure. Get to the center of the island a few hours before and eat in Kihei. If there is any traffic (there always is during summer) or a road closure, you will NOT be able to loop clockwise above West Maui to get to the airport. The road is incredibly dangerous (more so than the back way into Hana). The cops will close it to everybody other than locals to prevent a catastrophe.
    10. And for the sick, elderly, chronically ill, etc…DO NOT STAY ON WEST MAUI. The hospital is over an hour away and if the Pali gets closed, you will be cut off from all medical care, specialists, labs, advanced imaging, etc. An air evacuation is your only hope and those are few and far between.

  35. In Maui right now and our experience was a mixed bag. The pre-clear before departure was a godsend for avoiding the lines at OGG. The testing experience went smoothly for my husband and I and one of our friends. The other couple joining us had a nightmare scenario with the testing. They used Kaiser and didn’t receive their results until 60 hours after taking the test! My friend went to the airport not knowing if she and her husband would be boarding a flight or going home in tears. It all worked out in the end but, not without causing enormous stress. We are all here now enjoying ourselves but, I’m not sure it was worth the stress and hassle.

  36. @Alan
    Hopefully my extensive comment will post soon. There’s a mention about rental car stuff.
    All rental cars go out of the CONRAC facility these days.
    Inventory was awful during spring break and going forwards. I’m a Hertz Presidents Circle and while I was able to get a car, the upgrade selection was awful. There are definitely cars for those who pre-pay or have status, it’s just that the selections and upgrades are really limited.
    YMMV as I am not sure if they can recall enough cars for summer rush.
    I’ll be back in a couple weeks (can’t wait to get off the insanity of the mainland) and my reservation looks good (didn’t pre-pay).

  37. @Nate nate, How convenient of you to refer only part of the constitution so as to make your own interpretation. Please update yourself with the US Constitution. Voting is a right and a privilege of the US citizens(Felons cannot vote) and to vote you have to be a US citizen. How does one prove one is a US citizen?
    Also we are not speaking of driving or flying here. Read the article once again(especially step #6). This is after he landed in Maui.

  38. A state that believes “This is my ballot” but does not believe “This is my QR code without my photo ID”

  39. Does anyone know that the process is when connecting in HNL to another island? Do we go through the test proceedings in HNL or in KOA? We have a very short connection, will that be an issue?

  40. HUI car share app is another option. Book in advance and reserve your spot ($10/hr). If used right, it will be cheaper than the cheapest rental car, since you most likely have to pay an extra $50 for daily parking in your hotel.

  41. @Blackhill I agree that an ID should be required when voting but comparing it to a QR code is just ignorant. Each state can restrict it’s borders and establish their safety measures to protect it’s community (Jacobson v. Massachusetts). You think Hawaii cares what you think or any out of state folks? Stop complaining about the requirements to enter Hawaii, they’re not forcing you to do it. The question you should ask yourself, is visiting Hawaii worth the hassle? if yes, shut up and do requirement, if no, shut up and move along and visit Florida.

  42. @ Blackhill… I would just add that voting is not a “right” per se. Not stated as a right in US constitution nor any state constitution. The 17th Amendment for the direct election of Senators by popular vote would be the closest. That was only done because there were divided state legislatures that couldn’t agree on whom to send to the Senate and it left states without representation. US constitution clearly gives state legislatures the power to decide electors to send and while that will likely never be done in the future it still stands in the constitution. States have just allowed its citizenry to vote for the electors.

  43. Ben – one point that may be useful to readers, if they have a Walgreens nearby that does a Nucleic Acid Test (NAAT) – not a close call, go there over Walgreens. Our test came back with 6 hours (it was actually 3 hours later but call it 6) – we went in around 1:30p.m. and by the evening all of us had our tests back. The line at the Airport in Maui was almost as long (as the time to get back our test results, not really but it was 60+ minutes) after getting off the plane – so whoever in your group gets off first, get in line don’t wait for the rest.

  44. Ben, I traveled to Kona twice this winter. First was a bit stressful as it was just before Christmas and there was a strong demand for Covid-19 testing. Fortunately, I have found one Walgreens location in the Triangle area of North Carolina offering Abbott Rapid ID PCR tests. You have to sign up for an on-line appointment which was opening up at about 7 pm each day (you sign up ca. 3 or 4 days in advance). Then you come for a drive through test in a car and we got our results in 1 h 30 min by email (Rapid ID test is done on-site in ca. 15 min and the rest is just paperwork and transmitting data to another company). In NC such a test is Free. Walgreens lost a test for my wife and she spent 2 hrs on phone with Walgreens next morning but they have found the results. Uploading the files to the Hawaii website is trivial and we did bring hard copies of QR codes with us. Local test in Kona took ca. 20 min.
    We did the same in March – it was very easy to get an appointment in a Walgreens 10 min drive from my home. Again, the results were ready in about 1 hr. Same 15 min in Kona airport – you do not have to wait for the results and you are ready to go.

  45. Ben….what if instead of flying into OGG, you flew into LIH. Then, 5 days later you were flying inter-island from LIH to OGG. Do you have to get tested all over again in Kauai before you depart for Maui? Or do you just get tested at OGG when u arrive? The Hawaii State website is not very clear on this type of inter island itinerary once you make safe passage into the state.

  46. Just wanted to echo many of the same things as other commenters:
    Walgreens IDNow is free and NAAT and fast.
    Other PCR results need to be sent to a lab. Probably done in a day, but nerve wracking when it’s been 2 days and the lab doesn’t have results yet (happened to me).

    Flying with the clearance bracelet makes things easier (rental car and hotel). So keep it on if it doesn’t bother you.

    Maui (where I was) is lovely as always. I felt like it was a little less crowded than typical, overall a great trip.

    Restaurants being at not full capacity is the only issue I ran into – getting hotel breakfast frequently had 20-40 minute waits in the morning.

  47. I’m at Kona airport outbound now. None of the 4 hotels we stayed at would use the printed copy. Take screen shot of your QR code. We got tested at Clarity in LAX terminal 6 parking. No problem. $125 each. Take a picture of your vaccine paper. That saved us a local test inbound but never read anything about them wanting vaccine proof.

  48. @Nick
    Unless you are a vaccinated HI resident, inter-island travel requires a NAAT test >72 hours from departure every time you transit to another island (or in your case, back to OGG).
    I do these all the time for inter-island travel.
    Some private resorts require a rapid antigen test before they let you use the facilities.
    I do these all the time as well.
    Every island has different rules and the goal posts change constantly.
    Plan for the worst.

  49. We flew on Hawaiian and did the WorkSafe test which was very convenient. But in avoiding crowds at the departure gate, we missed the announcement to get a wristband……fortunately still pretty quick at HNL>
    When we checked in to our hotel in Waikiki we had to show our QR code – not sure how common that is.

  50. I live on Kauai and our resources are very limited. So taking precautions to ensure that our residents and visitors are healthy and safe are our top priority–not making it more convenient for non-essential travel.Please understand and respect that and spread aloha

  51. If one is traveling to one island for say a week, then another island for a week, do they need to enter two trips on the Hawaii travel website?

  52. +1 for Walgreens rapid NAAT test which was free as they billed my insurance directly with no copay. Results in less than three hours. Does the author and his family have no health insurance?

  53. Aloha. I live here. Rules have already changed pertaining to Maui (County). TWO negative covid tests are now required. Each county/island has their own requirements. Trust me. They check as soon as you land! Many businesses are gone for good and mask compliance is strictly enforced even if you are outside. You’re better off to go to Florida or cabo

  54. I just got back from Maui, the proceeds is so easy and totally worth it. Get your rapid test day before you fly. Get test within 30 mins.
    Upload the lab results pdf to Hawaii safe travel account. And enjoy the islands while all the lazy people stay at home. If you can’t afford the tests then you probably can’t afford a Maui vacation…

  55. This is for Darrell Manning and Nick: Yes, you WILL need to take ANOTHER covid test if you plan on traveling to another island if you are staying on another for about 5 days. That means you will probably have to re-enter the hawaii state info. Again since it is 2 different flights and ANOTHER covid test since your original test will then be older than 72 hours. (Gabe should be ok since he has a same day Inter-island connecting flight. Just got back on Sunday and my same day Inter connecting still was stressful.) FOR ALL THREE OF YOU: my observation was airport ppersonnel were not very knowledgeable on the rules and regulations esp. With Inter island travel, esp. With same day connecting flights since its different counties or not trained with the apps. Have your app ready to show them! no matter what airport it was, none of them could really navigate it. It is also best to have a hard copy of your negative covid test since they didn’t appear to have expertise to retrieve the information. Make sure you are familiar with the functions of it!!!!! if you had the vac due to new requirement of Maui, it’s in your best interest to have that as well. HOT TIP: per the hawaii safe travels, if traveling with spouse USE your OWN cell phone number AND your OWN e-mail. Basically, it can confuse the system- meaning “this account is already in use.” Aloha to DP Gumps. My hubs also part time MD here. His infornation sums it up nicely too. STICKER SHOCK WARNING: good luck getting a rental car. Minimum is 500 per day! Yes, five hundred per day. Luxury cars are one thousand. It’s true folks r renting u hauls. Been finally seeing articles on this. If not traveling far, I recommend public transportation (the bus). Using uber from airport to Kannapali is not as cheap as you think. Brother in law just called. Can’t get rental car. He’s taking Speedi shuttle from airport to Kannapali. Cost is $35.00 per person. He will use uber locally not traveling far from his location. Those rates remain affordable.

  56. I have been lucky enough to have spent half the winter in Hawaii. Two weeks, twice, on the Big Island, two weeks in Maui and two Oahu trips. It has gone from a post apocalyptic empty feel to quite busy. Felt very welcome and was so much less Covid stress then Seattle. Always flew on Alaska and they have a list of test providers. The thing I wanted to stress was choose your provider carefully. If they mess up your trip is ruined. Will be awhile before vaccine cards are accepted. Till then the system is a bit of a pain but workable.

  57. I’ve travelled SFO-OGG about 6 times this year…used CVS for my test, last one (a week ago) results were back in less than 48 hours…free with my Humana and Medicare card. Only trick is they want the results uploaded to the Safe Travels as a pdf only…I scanned my printed results as a pdf and then uploaded the file…easy…not sure some folks know how to do that. Got the QR code back via email, and at SFO the UA Club and Gate 17 can get your QR code scanned and give you a wristband. With the wristband I just walked past the lines of folks that just had the QR code. Starting yesterday, OGG in their infinite wisdom started an arrival test regardless of whether you had the pre-test in the mainland. Only way to avoid that is to have the vaccine 14 days prior. Re rental cars– a BIG problem…a year ago there were 18,000 rental cars parked everywhere, and the car companies shipped most of them back and sold some…now there are very little, and people are renting scooters and U-haul trucks/vans or using UBER, etc. There are 6-7 ‘non-legacy’ rental companies not in the CONRAC facility, but I believe their situation is the same. Even with ships coming with cars, the issue will probably not be resolved for months…I’m hearing Florida has the same problem.
    I agree with the west side driving issue…if u are staying in Kaanapali, Kapula or Kahana, and flying out, allow plenty of time for the drive around to Kahului…traffic can be an issue.
    Aloha

  58. My 76 yr old dad had to fly from Boston to Phoenix. Rent a car drive thru Walgreens to get the rapid Covid test and stopover in Phoenix for the night. I met him in Phoenix the next day and was heart broken to see how tired and jet lagged he was. We flew to Kona and had the exit row. The FAs and GAs on American were amazing and my dad feltbbetter . I’m currently on the big Island and having the trip of a lifetime. Today we went to the green beach. There are 45-1hr waits at most restaurants. Wyndham recognized me as a Diamond member and upgraded us to a 2000 sq ft villa at a club Wyndham. I bought my dad a confirmed ticket home on delta koa-sea-bos last minute for $302. Not bad.

  59. Aloha! Please do NOT tell people that they can “just use anyone’s QR code” to get in. I’m sure it’s already happening, but we don’t need a mass influx of people doing so. If they are sick, or coming down with symptoms, or just carriers, then they need to be tested.
    Remember one thing, while we want tourists back, we also don’t want covid to be brought here. We are but a small patch of islands in the middle of the pacific ocean, not your neighborhood state. It’s literally 2500 miles to the nearest mainland facility if something bad happens. No matter your political view on this, please respect the people of Hawaii and their concerns, and don’t give people the idea of avenues to get around our protocols. Even if we have a slippage in our system, please don’t exploit it. Mahalo nui loa.

  60. You should have gone to an American Family Care clinic. They do the NAAT testing on site and you get the results within about 20 minutes, before you leave the clinic. Cost for us was $150 pp, and yes, they are on Hawaii’s list of approved clinics. They have locations across the nation, including 2 in the Miami area. It couldn’t have been easier for us, and certainly removed the stress of worrying whether we’d get results in time.

  61. @ Josh…Think you are correct. If uninsured and state that in the questionnaire it is free and in most states county health departments will and are testing for no cost.

  62. We went to Hawaii twice in the past 6 weeks.

    I tested at CVS and Walgreens the first time as I was uncertain about result timing. Like Ben. CVS no results available for over 48 hours. Essentially useless. Walgreens offers drive through rapid PCR testing so in 15 minutes had the Walgreens results back.

    Our second trip we just used Walgreens with the same efficient results.

    Otherwise Hawaii travel in Delta one from MSP was effortless.

  63. How are you able to get the test free from Walgreens? It looks like they charge and we have Medicare. Also it looks like here in San Diego they don’t offer the rapid test at Walgreens.
    I hope someone will answer me………

  64. Anon Bay Area says:
    May 5, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    “… Also, if you’re vaccinated, I would recommend brining your CDC card (or a photo of it on your phone) if you’re flying to Kona. The Big Island is still doing a second rapid COVID antigen (which is free) upon arrival, but you are allowed to bypass the second test if you can show you’re fully vaccinated.”

    This is not accurate. Hawaii is planning on allowing fully vaccinated residents to travel inter-island without testing, however this has not been authorized yet. Transpacific travelers will NOT be allowed in without a negative test result from a trusted partner REGARDLESS of their vaccination status.

  65. Just a couple of points on Hawaii tourism from a local and based on my complicated unsolicited opinion.

    1. Hawaii needs tourism. There’s always talk about diversifying the economy, but it’s not going to happen in any meaningful capacity, at least in my lifetime.

    2. Prior to the pandemic we had 10mil visitors a year, new records broken every year. It was too much. I hoped state leaders would have taken the opportunity to reevaluate what sustainable tourism meant, but right now there is a rush to save the economy so they gave tried to open the doors the best they can. I hope we revisit this issue later.

    3. Around spring break the islands were flooded with tourists and continue today. Those in the tourism and hospitality industry were probably happy to get back to work, but I gather it felt like things switched overnight and many businesses were trying to catch up with demand. Restaurants and car rental in particular. If you want to eat at a specific place or want a rental car book early. I heard this summer is going to be worse.

    4. Locals that don’t work hospitality industry probably are in someway misguided in their belief that they don’t want tourists. However, again there is justifiable apprehension because of point no. 2. Prior to the pandemic we had too many. Plus locals in 2020 got to enjoy a less busy island. And it felt like overnight everyone came at once so there is understandable shock. There is some sentiment out there whether true or not that the tourists that are coming now aren’t the type that we want, i.e. those that spend a lot of money. I dont know if that’s true or not, but as long as you are respectful and courteous to people and the island then that shouldn’t matter. Everyone deserves a vacation.

  66. @Laurie S

    Walgreens rapid COVID test ID now takes under 45 min for results. availability varies state by state. Maybe city. I know it’s available free of charge in Houston and Phoenix. Unavailable in Boston and LA

  67. Your point about getting a backup test scheduled at an airport, just in case your initial test doesn’t return in time is useful.
    The biggest issue I’ve run into wit myself when traveling to the mainland and returning, is that some areas of the country are not well supported by the Safe Travels in relation to approved testing facilities. The west coast has a lot of options, as do larger urban areas. In more rural areas in the middle of the county there are not many options. NOT every Walgreens does the rapid test. In many areas it’s just the regular pcr test and needs to be sent out of state, with no guarantee of a 72 hr return.
    The Vault mail in testing is the option I’ve used for my son returning home and for myself, but still stressful waiting for those results to come in. Also somewhat limits days you can travel. Tests cannot be done on weekends because no FedEx overnight shipping. So if your flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday the 72 hr window is nearly impossible to meet!

  68. I just got back from Oahu and I was kind of concerned going over because I got my test and results through local Urgent Care and results came back from Quest Diagnostics, which is not a trusted partner, I selected United Airlines in the drop down and uploaded my results, system accepted but when I checked later it had in right column “not a partner”. I did all other inputs and got my QR code. When I got to SF got in a short line, guy validated my QR code and then just asked to see my actual test result, I had a copy with me. Gave me my blue wrist band and when arrived in HNL sailed right thru. Rental car did not ask to see anything but they may have seen my blue band and knew I was good. The stressful part of this was not knowing if the would accept Quest so I did a backup Walgreens test that took over 48 hours to get results which came as I was already in HI. Hope this helps someone to know because there was noone to call to know. On rental car, I paid $298 for a week rental, with budget, no issues and hundreds of rental cars available. I am sure it was a Spring Break issue and maybe this coming summer, but I had zero issue getting rental car booked maybe 3 weeks ahead.

  69. What about returning to the mainland from Hawaii…. if you stay for a week do you have to get retested in Hawaii 72 hours prior to them letting you board a plane back to the mainland?

  70. @ Fred V. — Nope, there’s no testing requirement when flying from Hawaii to the mainland.

  71. Important reminder: Other than Oahu, you cannot travel between islands without getting another test. We were there in later March. Flew to the big island for 5 days, and then flew to Maui. Our tests, etc. from the mainland, were no longer valid. We needed a new negative test within 72 hours of entering Maui. What a mess. The website is NOT at all clear – it should say – in flashing bold – you cannot travel between islands without a new test. Upshot: Since we were not allowed to stay in Maui, we flew to Oahu, got a test at the Kidney Foundation (at the airport), stayed overnight a Hilton Hawaiian Village (Diamond Member), got the test results back the next morning, and few back to Maui @ 12:00 pm. Lost a day in Maui, but we have a nice overnight stay at the Hilton. This story demonstrates, travelling is not for the faint of heart. You must have financial and other resources, i.e., quick thinking, decision making, etc.

  72. You mentioned that the “rapid test” is acceptable to re-enter the US from foreign countries. Is this the 20 minute PCR/NAAT test?

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