View of Lanikai and islands (mokes) from pillbox hike

Hawaii is Open for Travel

Hawaii is open for travel as of October 15th! Well, sort of and with some travel restrictions. What should you expect? Here is what you need to know and how to avoid quarantine on arrival to the islands.

Pre Travel Testing Program

The state of Hawaii is implementing a Pre Travel Testing Program that began October 15th. Travelers visiting the Hawaiian islands that have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their departure time can be exempt from the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Travelers must follow stated requirements to bypass the quarantine and travel freely, although still with precautionary measures such as wearing a mask in public, no large gatherings/social distancing, and washing hands.

All Islands – Travelers flying directly or with a layover (connection) do not have to quarantine if presenting a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Big Island (aka Hawaii) – 20% of travelers arriving here will be required to take an additional antigen test after you arrive at the airport, and there is no cost (it’s free).

Kauai & Maui – Travelers coming here can take a post-arrival test 72 hours after arrival, but this is voluntary.

*** Inter-Island travel*** If you are traveling to the Big Island, Kauai, or Maui, you must have a negative test within 72 hours of departure. If you have no test results for the island of Hawaii, you will face a 14-day quarantine. You can break your stay in quarantine to test and then await results.

The State of Hawaii requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before the last leg of your travel into Hawaii to forego the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. The State recently announced that as of Nov. 24, negative test results must be received before the final leg of travel into Hawaii. Otherwise, the State requires that you quarantine for 14 days or the length of your stay, whichever is shorter.

Visit a temple when hawaii opens for travel
Byodo-In temple

How to Avoid Quarantine in Hawaii

Covid-19 tests have to be from a trusted testing partner that has been approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. There are some familiar names on the list, including CVS, Walgreens, Kaiser Permanente, and Quest Diagnostics. The test you take must be from a CLIA certified laboratory and be of the NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test) variety. Find a trusted partner for your testing, and you will not have an issue. If you get the wrong test type or take one from a non trusted source, you will have to quarantine for 14 days. Also, note that if you do not take a test before arrival, you will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Quite a few airlines have chosen to begin offering testing to their passengers at certain airports. They are listed on the link above and are considered trusted travel partners. You will have to pay for the tests. Every person five years and older is required to take a test. Remember to factor that expense into your budget.

What to Expect at the Airport

According to a report on Hawaii News Now, “arriving passengers will be guided to one of four lines: Travelers who test negative, those awaiting testing results, those who did not test, and a line for flight crew and active duty military.”

Before leaving the airport, you will need to have your temperature checked, and you will have a completed health questionnaire and QR code to present. If your temperature is 100.4 or higher, you will be directed for further screening.

On day one, some people did not know the rules or follow them completely. They were not prepared. This will jeopardize your trip and plans. Be knowledgeable, and understand what is required of you before you leave.

Is Hawaii Open for Travel?

Yes! But expect a few hoops to jump through if you want to visit the aloha state. Is it worth it? Definitely! Without question 100%. Hawaii is a fantastic destination and offers many things for you to enjoy on your vacation.

You can lounge on the beaches, learn to surf or boogie board, explore different parts of the island with hikes, visit historical points of interest, and so much more.

Kaneohe Bay

Everything Isn’t Open Yet

Some places remain closed at the time of this writing, but that could change as the state prepares to welcome back visitors—Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, and the Polynesian Cultural Center, to name a few. Keep checking official sources or websites to stay updated on any changes or openings. Relax and take it easy; you are on island time.

My Plans to Visit

I am visiting at the end of the month and am detailing the steps that I have gone through. So far, that has been booking my ticket and registering on the Safe Travels website. I have been learning about where and when to get an approved test. I am the budget backpacker type, so I’m hoping to test at Walgreens because they aren’t charging. 🙂 I expect to go through that process within three days of my flight departure. I’ll keep you posted.

I haven’t been to the islands in 19 months or so. That is a long time for me. It will be great to see “Da Mama” and other friends and family if I can, even though a bit overdue.

I’m looking forward to some hikes, getting in the warmest water, cruising around the island, and eating all of the things. I will be doing all of this while avoiding crowds, wearing a mask, sanitizing, and being respectful to others. I’ll visit a mix of some old favorites and some new places that I have heard about.

Halloween, Election Day, and my Birthday will all be on island time. I am very much looking forward to getting back to Oahu. I’m always so comfortable there and able to unplug from the world.

a beach on oahu
Perfect beach day

Hoping the procedures and protocols in place work for the best and keep everyone safe and the virus recurrence at bay. We will need the guidance to be followed by those who live there and those visiting.

A hui hou, live aloha and be safe.

Get Ready to Book Your Trip: Helpful Links and Resources

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find and research your airfare needs and to find the best flight deals. It searches worldwide on multiple airlines to help you find the best options.

Book Your Stay is my go-to for finding a place to stay anywhere globally. An outstanding company that I trust and have used for many years. Find accommodation from budget to luxury in cities and countries around the world. If you happen to be backpacking and staying in hostels, I recommend Hostelworld to help you find a place to stay.

Get Travel Insurance
Travel is unpredictable. Anything could happen. A trip interruption, flight delay, lost or stolen items, or personal injury, having comprehensive trip insurance will protect you if anything goes wrong. SafetyWing is a solid choice for most travelers.

Tours, Activities, and Things to Do
Viator (a TripAdvisor company) offers many excellent options to keep you busy wherever you may be, from walking and food tours to sunset cruises and more. Make sure to give them a look and add some fun-filled activities to your itinerary.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend companies and products that I use myself and believe in.


    1. Aloha Stefan, thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. The pound has always been fairly strong compared to the US, so I think you would do pretty well on the exchange. When I took my UK friend (Lee) over, he enjoyed himself immensely. Hawaii is a wonderful group of islands loaded with opportunities for any traveler. I believe that you would love it too!

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