Complete Guide to Traveling to Hawaii this Winter

Looking for a tropical winter getaway without the hassle of international travel? Hawaii is ideal for travelers who want a few days of paradise but don’t want to stray too far from the United States. However, it’s not quite as simple as flying to most other places in the United States. If you’re thinking about traveling to Hawaii this winter, be sure to keep reading to learn about their travel restrictions and the Safe Travels Hawaii policies!

Americans and fully-vaccinated travelers allowed to visit Hawaii

Is Hawaii Open for Travel?

The short answer is, “It depends.” As of right now, only Americans and fully-vaccinated travelers are allowed to visit the Aloha State. International travelers who haven’t completed their vaccination cycle are not allowed, and anyone who tests positive for COVID within 72 hours of arrival will also have to wait.

What are Hawaii’s Current Travel Restrictions?

Currently, Hawaii is putting a huge emphasis on keeping the islands safe from international cases by keeping all unvaccinated international travelers out and heavily regulating American travelers from international locations. Additionally, all travelers must register for the Safe Travels Hawaii program to enter the state (more on that below).

If you are traveling internationally to Hawaii, you must be fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 within 3 days of traveling, even if you’re an American citizen. And if you’re an unvaccinated American traveling from an international location, you’ll be required to have a negative COVID test taken within 1 day of your departure.

But even state-to-state travel from the U.S. has heavy restrictions. Americans traveling to Hawaii from another U.S. state may still have to quarantine for 10 days if they don’t follow the pre-checks from Safe Travels Hawaii. Depending on vaccination status, you can participate in the Vaccination Exemption Program or the Safe Travels Pre-Travel Testing Program.

Man in yellow surfing board on a beach in Hawaii

What is Safe Travels Hawaii?

Safe Travels Hawaii is the state’s new COVID-19 screening process for all travelers, regardless of vaccination status. If you plan to visit Hawaii, you must create an account with Safe Travels and get cleared for entry into the state and any quarantine exceptions. Even if you don’t plan to quarantine, you’ll still have to make an account for yourself and any minors coming with you to enter the state.

Safe Travels Hawaii

Vaccinated Traveler Rules

Fully vaccinated Americans can qualify for the Vaccine Exception Program. By providing proof of your vaccination (Pfizer, Moderna, of Johnson & Johnson only) to the Safe Travels Website, you’ll be able to skip the 10-day quarantine and start enjoying your vacation immediately.

If you plan to apply for the Vaccination Exemption Program, you can do so when you create your Safe Travels account. You’ll be required to upload proof of vaccination (past the 14-day immunity period), enter your trip details, and complete a health questionnaire within 24 hours of your departing flight.

Your vaccination proof must include your name and date of birth, vaccine type, dates of the shots, and the vaccination site. If any of this is missing, you’ll be asked to provide a different form of proof.

When you land in Hawaii, you need to have a hard copy of your vaccination record with you, as well. They are currently accepting digital documents validated through Digital Health Pass Partners, but hard copies are preferred.

Unvaccinated Traveler Rules

Those who aren’t vaccinated can still get around the quarantine by participating in the Safe Travels Pre-Travel Testing Program. This requires all unvaccinated travelers over five years old to take a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 72 hours of their flight departure. The state is not accepting antibody of antigen tests at this time.

You’ll start by creating an account with your itinerary and general information. Then, you’ll have to return to your account within 72 hours of your departing flight and upload the negative test result taken by one of their trusted testing and travel partners.

Finally, within 24 hours of your flight, you’ll have to log back on and complete a mandatory health screening.

Once all of this is accepted, the state will email you a Safe Travels Hawaii QR code. To enter Hawaii, you’ll need this QR code, your negative covid-19 results, and a valid photo ID that matches the name in your Safe Travels Account. Once again, hard copies are best to avoid any issues.

crowd swimming on a beach in Hawaii

As long as you follow the Safe Travels Hawaii steps and plan ahead, you’ll be able to waltz into this warm-weather paradise with no problem. So start packing that suitcase, get your documents together, and get ready to have a fantastic vacation! Don't forget to use our Vacation Countdown App for your countdown to Hawaii.

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