Welcome to Dream Vacations, a lifestyle column on traveling to amazing destinations with practical advice and my revelations about locales from years of personal experience. With the COVID pandemic limiting travel and tourism, you should learn where and how to travel safely. In this article, we’ll explore traveling to Hawaii with the state’s new Safe Travels Program, but be sure to check out our COVID-19 Guide to Traveling Safely .
Can I Travel to Hawaii?
Yes, is the short answer. In fact, almost 10,000 people are arriving in Hawaii daily! There is a lot of misinformation that states are closing their borders or that they are not open for tourism. If you are not a US citizen and you are from any of these countries, you are not allowed to enter the US. However, US citizens and the majority of countries in the world are still able to travel to Hawaii, as long as you follow the current Safe Travels Program requirements.
While states can close their borders and force quarantines on residents or incoming travelers, this has widely not been the case in the US for US citizens in regards to border closures between states. The US Congress could overrule states border closures according to a Supreme Court ruling from the 1930s. In either case, Hawaii has been clear in wanting to open their state for tourism, albeit carefully and with a strict program in place for travelers.
What is the Safe Travels Program?
Hawaii, until starting the STP which was announced in September and took effect on October 15, was requiring all travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. To help increase tourism, the STP was created. The STP is a series of steps required of all travelers entering Hawaii, that if accepted and approved, can avoid the mandatory enforced 14-day quarantine.
Essentially, you need to have a negative COVID-19 test, from an approved partner within 72 hours of your departure from the mainland on your last direct leg to Hawaii to avoid having to quarantine.
Here are the steps you need to take to participate in STP and avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine:
- Create a separate account/login for every member of your traveling party on the Hawaii Safe Travels website: https://travel.hawaii.gov/.
- Once you know your flights, log each leg of your trip into the STP website in your account and for every member in your party.
- For example, if you are flying Chicago to LAX and then LAX to Maui, it requires two records, one for each flight per person.
- Choose an approved COVID rapid testing partner and get a test, as soon as your 72 hour window opens.
- The 72 hour window, from the example above, is from when your plane is schedule to leave LAX to Maui. If it leaves at 8:15 am, you can take your test, 72 hours prior to that time.
- Be sure to have the STP app on your phone for easy access before arriving in Hawaii.
- Be sure to have the COVID testing partner’s app and results on your phone for easy access.
- Print a hard copy of your negative COVID test prior to leaving. You are required to have a hard copy. Save a PDF version of your negative test to your phone and keep the original email from the provider as a back up.
- Upload a copy of the PDF results to your STP account.
- 24 hours prior to departure, fill out the STP Health Questionnaire. You will be emailed a QR Code. Keep these QR Codes, one for each leg of your trip, on your phone and where you can easily access them. Print out a hard copy of the QR code, in case your phone dies.
- You will need your approval for ‘admitted without Quarantine’ from your STP account multiple times. You will be required to show it upon landing at the Hawaii terminal, at the car rental service and at your resort. A shortcut on your phone’s home screen can make this process faster, easier and less stressful.
It is possible your test may not arrive before you leave on your flights. Many travelers have reported this situation, but have arrived in Hawaii with their results waiting for them upon turning on their phones. However, this is taking a risk. If you are positive or your tests do not arrive in time to show terminal agents, you will be mandatorily forced to quarantine at your expense for 14 days.
Has the Safe Travels Program Been Successful?
Yes. So far, as of November 11, only 18 visiting tourists out of over 15,000 tested, were positive for COVID. This rate, only 0.1% is much lower than in Hawaii or almost any other state.
Want to get away from the COVID blues? We currently have deals for Hawaii destinations. Feel free to call me about any of our other resorts for the end of 2020.
Tags: covid testing, traveling during covid, safe travels program, winter getaway, family vacation, beach vacation, Maui, Hawaii