Aloha from Oahu. For the past weeks, Iâve been hearing a lot about Hawaiiâs safe traveler program for visitors to the islands coming from the mainland, as well as the new pre-clearance process for travelers on specific airlines. Intrigued about any travel that seems COVID-safe (and easy) these days, I decided to test out the process myself, put some of my rewards points to work, and hop over to Hawaii for some research and warm weather.
Iâm happy to report that flying from Portland to Honolulu was easy. While the COVID testing and safe travel preparation process was rigorous, it was also straightforward. Plus, I was rewarded for all of my effort with lots of sunshine on arrival. Hello, endless surf and summer.
Even if youâre not traveling right now, Hawaiiâs process might foreshadow what we can expect as part of the pre-travel process once the world starts to open again.
See related: Prepping your post-pandemic travel strategy
The pre-travel process for visiting Hawaii
Before you travel to any of the Hawaiian islands youâll need to get yourself a negative COVID test at one of Hawaiiâs trusted testing partners within 72 hours of your flight, then complete all the steps of the mandatory state of Hawaii travel and health online form to be cleared before boarding. If you fail to complete any of the steps, youâll be spending your first 10 days in a strict hotel quarantine watching the sunset through your window.
Since my preference was to spend my time in Hawaii working on my winter tan and watching the sunset from the beach in my hammock â not in quarantine â I definitely paid attention to all the rules, followed the detailed Safe Travel process, and even flew an airline that offered me pre-clearance so I could get my toes in the sand as quickly as possible on arrival.
See related: What to do if you get COVID-19 while traveling
Steps to take before you go
- Create a safe travels account for yourself (and each traveling adult) on the travel.hawaii.gov site.
- Create a trip for your visit to Hawaii, adding all flight and lodging information.
- Get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your travel from one Hawaiiâs trusted testing partners. The approved partner should provide you with a PDF of your results in a special format with the state of Hawaii seal.
- Upload a copy of your negative test results in PDF format (it canât be a picture or a screenshot) to the trip youâve created in your travel Hawaii profile.
- Complete the online health questionnaire in your travel profile â you will not be able to access this until 24 hours before your flight.
- Print a copy of the QR code you receive and a copy of your PDF results. You will need to show these at the airport before you fly â and when you land if the airline you are flying with does not have a pre-clearance process.
Add a shortcut to the travel Hawaii website to your phone home screen and make sure you know your password so you have easy access to everything you’ll need. You will have to show your QR code anytime you check into a hotel, campground, or rent a car. And make sure your phone is charged upon arrival in Hawaii â especially if you arenât flying on an airline with pre-clearance. Youâll need to use it often to show your QR code and prove you tested negative.
testing and quarantine requirements are a bit different and more restrictive than visiting any of the other Hawaiian islands.