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Visiting Hawaii During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know

airline travel check-in covid-19

Everyone dreams about visiting the Aloha State at least once, but the pandemic has certainly thrown a wrench into every Hawaii visitor’s travel plans especially last year. Thankfully, things are slowly but surely getting back to normal. Visitors are starting to come back, tours and attractions are operating again, and Waikiki is slowly waking up from a year-long slumber brought about by COVID-19. That said, those dreaming of a Hawaiian getaway need to know how to prepare for their vacation during this pandemic.

Before Your Departure to Hawaii

packing for hawaii vacation covid-19

There are a few things you need to do prior to your departure to Hawaii. First and foremost, a Covid test 72 hours before take-off is necessary to bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival.


You can easily get tested at one of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing programs here. Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program is available for US Domestic, Canada, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.


Download the user-friendly Safe Travels App to keep all of your testing information and itinerary for your trip in one, easily accessible place.


covid-19 vaccinationWhat if I’m Fully Vaccinated?


Here’s the thing: Proof of vaccination isn’t a recognized exception by the State of Hawaii. You’ll still need to get tested 72 hours prior to take-off to avoid the mandatory quarantine. This is because each state handles vaccination records differently and there’s no way to fully verify proof of vaccination. It’s expected that this will be sorted out by summer, which is one of Hawaii’s busiest visitor seasons.

Traveling Inter-island (Hawaii, Kauai, Maui from Oahu)

Knowing how to travel between the islands is also important. Travelers should check out Hawaii’s Safe Travel Program. Here, you will find the most information on testing and vaccination passports. As of right now, the information is as follows:

  • Testing 72 hours in advance is necessary to avoid a 10-day mandatory quarantine.
  • Vaccination passports are available starting 5/11, but this program is not available for people vaccinated outside the state.
  • There is no quarantine necessary for tourists going to Oahu from the other islands.
  • In order to visit Maui, the Aloha Safe Alert App is required.

While You Are Visiting Hawaii

Currently, Hawaii is under Tier 3. You can find out more information about the rules and regulations regarding tiers in Hawaii here. Don’t forget that certain sunscreens are also prohibited and shouldn’t be packed.


It is important to plan ahead, from rental cars to activities. On-island total inventory for rental cars is currently very low, and prices can go up to $800 per day. Booking ahead is critical.


Due to the capacity limits of Tier 3, it is also suggested to plan and book your activities before arriving. Most tour companies, boats, and Luaus are operating under 50% capacity, so make sure you secure your spot beforehand.

clinicians at the PCR Testing ClinicBefore You Leave Hawaii

Before leaving Hawaii, international tourists need to get tested 72 hours before their flight. However, US Domestic tourists do not need to be tested. LeaLea Tours has a convenient PCR COVID-19 testing service right in the heart of Waikiki. While walk-ins are welcome, It’s strongly recommended that you schedule your test as soon as possible to make sure you have enough time to go through the testing procedure prior to your departure flight. Schedule your test here:



Traveling might look a little different these days, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all of the fun and relaxation that Hawaii has to offer. The most important thing to remember is that testing is necessary 72 hours before boarding, and you should have your rental car and activities booked before your trip, too. Stay up-to-date with Hawaii’s tiers for the latest information and use Hawaii programs and Safe Travel App for a smooth and safe vacation.