Covid-19 Travel Update: Traveling to Big Island? Here's What You Need to Know.
As of November 1st, Hawaii's Governor has invited vaccinated travelers back to the islands. However, there are still some important things you need to know. Below, we've laid out the pre and post travel steps for a trip to Hawaii now.
For Domestic Travelers
Step One, Get Tested... Unless You're Fully Vaccinated
Unless you're fully vaccinated (see more details below), the first, and arguably most important thing you must do before boarding your flight is get a Covid-19 test. But not any test or testing center will suffice. Here's what you need to know about the test:
- Test must be a administered by a trusted partner. Find a list of partners here.
- Test must be taken within 72 hours of departure. Tests that are taken prior to the 72 hour window are invalid.
- You must get a FDA Authorized Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT). Rapid tests, antibody tests or other sorts of tests do not qualify for the program.
You probably have some questions -- no worries! We're here to help. Here are some FAQ's about the pre-travel test.
1) What if I take a test within 72 hours but don't get the results back before I arrive to Big Island?
Then you must quarantine for 10-days. You must present proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival in the islands. If you get your test results after arrival and while quaratining and they are negative, you are still subject to the remainder of your 10-day quarantine.
2) What if I take a test and the result is positive?
Do not travel to Hawaii.
3) What if I take a different type of test -- not the NAAT test?
Then you will have to quarantine for 10 days or the length of your stay.
4) What if I get a negative test result from a facility that's not a trusted partner?
Then you will have to quarantine for 10 days or the length of your stay.
5) Do children need to take a test too?
Yes, children 5 and older need to prove a negative test result to forgo the 10-day quarantine. Please note that not all testing facilities will test children, confirm with your testing facility before making an appointment.
6) What if I don't get a test prior to departure?
Then you must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
7) Can I take a test when I get to Hawaii?
No, Hawaii will not administer tests for travelers to bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine. The test must be taken prior to departure.
8) If I am fully vaccinated do I need to take the pre-arrival test?
No. See more about the entry requirements if you're fully vaccinated below.
If You're Fully Vaccinated...
You can bypass the mandatory pre-travel test. But, you'll have to show proof by uploading the vaccination reccord to the Safe Travels site (see more below) and printing it prior to arrival. You must also have a hard copy of the vaccination record on hand when you arrive to Hawaii. The state is also acceping vaccine records that are validated through Digital Health Pass Partners including AZOVA, CLEAR and CommonPass. If you choose this option - to use one of the digital validated vaccine records with Safe TravelsTravelers - you will have expedited processing at the airport.
Step Two, Register for Safe Travels Hawaii
Now that you're ready to travel to Hawaii, you must register for the Safe Travels program here. After you've registered, and within 24-hours of your departure, login to you account to fill out the online questionaire. This is mandatory -- you will have to prove that you've filled this out upon arrival to Hawaii.
Remember, you need to upload your vaccination records to this site as well (you'll also need a hard copy - don't forget to pack your vaccination card!).
If you are not vaccinated and have opted to take a pre-travel test, you need to upload your Covid-19 test results to this website. We recommend bringing them with you too - just in case.
For International Travelers
International travelers will be allowed entry into Hawaii under the same guidelines as the rest of the country. Below are the new federal requirements for international travel:
- Non-U.S. citizens traveling to Hawaii inernationally must present BOTH a vaccination record and a negative COVID-19 test result (NAAT or antigen) within three days of boarding a flight to the United States.*
- U.S. citizens flying to Hawaii internationally must provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within one day of boarding flight to U.S.*
- Airlines will screen passengers prior to their departure to the U.S. If foreign passengers fail to meet both requirements and if U.S. citizens fail to meet one of the two requirements, they will not be allowed to board the flight.
- International passengers entering the U.S. from another state or territory will be treated as domestic travelers when entering the State of Hawaii. Which means they'll need to follow the steps for domestic travelers above.
*Tests do not have to be done with the state’s trusted travel partners under the new international federal requirements.*
Travel to Hawaii
Congrats! You've completed the above steps and you're on your way to Hawaii. During your travels, please:
- Wear a mask on your flight.
- Socially-distance when possible.
- Wash your hands and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
Post-Arrival at Airport
When you get to the airport you’ll be required show proof of your vaccination or negative test result. You'll also need to have your Safe Travels QR code ready. Be prepared for a temperature check as welll!
During Your Vacation on Big Island
Please be respectful of Big Island residents and continue to wear your mask and socially distance. In fact, masks are still required indoors in the state of Hawaii and they are recommended when outdoors if social distancing is not possible.
As of September 13, 2021 all restaurants, bars, gyms, entertainment and recreation settings will require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test taken within the past 48 hours. That means if you're unvaccinated and visiting Oahu you'll be required to get tested every two days to visit these establishments. You can still dine outdoors or get takeout. Learn more here.
Although Hawaii has reopened to tourists, the state is still dealing with the ongoing pandemic. Many businesses, attractions and hotels remain closed. Here's a list of major attractions that have reopened on Big Island to help make your trip planning easier. Please remember that some businesses may have modified hours due to the pandemic.
Major Attractions on Big Island that are Closed
- Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm
- Lapakahi State Park
Major Attractions on Big Island that are Open
- Volcanoes National Park - some parts of the park are closed, Thurston Lava Tube has recently reopened
- Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park - some parts of the park are closed on certain days
- Big Island Bees
- Limahuli Gardens
- Pu'uhonua Historic Park
- Umauma Falls
- St. Benedict’s Painted Church - open Tues, Wed and Thurs from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
- Punaluu Black Sand Beach
- Kau Coffee - open for take out only
- Akatsuka Orchid Gardens - open limited hours
- Onomea Trail
- Akaka Falls - open but the gates are closed, park outside and walk in
- Waipio Valley Overlook
- Keck Visitor Center
- Waimea Nature Park
- Queen Liliuokalani Park
- Rainbow Falls
- Kaumana Caves
- Puukohola Heiau
- Pololu Valley
- Panaewa Zoo
- Imiloa Astronomy Center - opened on weekends ONLY
- Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center - with modified hours
- Tropical Botanical Garden
- Laupahoehoe Train Museum
- Anna Ranch
We’re thrilled to welcome you back to Hawaii, but as we do, please remember to practice aloha to keep yourself and the community safe. You can do this by wearing your mask in public, respecting the current protocols in place by each island, and practicing social distancing. For more on how to keep yourself and Hawaii safe, watch this video here.
We'll update this post periodically as more information becomes available. For more information on Hawaii's pre-travel testing program click here.
This article was originally published on 10/20/2020 and has since been updated.