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COVID-19 has change how we operate. Now more than ever, we have to make safety a priority. If you plan to visit Hawaii, some measures have been put in place to protect the Hawaiians and the people visiting.
On this episode, we’ll be looking at how to travel to Hawaii safely. I will be sharing five steps on traveling safely to Hawaii, and I will answer some of the frequently asked questions.
Listen in and learn.

Steps on Safe Travels to Hawaii

  1. Select a COVID test option: Before taking a Covid test, make sure the site is one of Hawaii’s approved testing sites. To get a list of the approved test sites, visit https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/
    • To avoid a 10-day quarantine, you’re going to need a first test negative to COVID 19.
  2. Take the test no more than 72 hours before the last leg departure
    • This step can be a little confusing. When booking your test, make sure you book it for 72 hours before the last leg departure. If you’re connecting flights, it is essential to make sure that you consider your last flight. You do not want to risk getting stranded. It’s important to note that every person traveling needs to have an email account to receive their test results. Children 5 years and old are not exempt.
  3. Create an account on the state of Hawaii Safe Travels website https://travel.hawaii.gov
    • Every adult traveling to Hawaii needs to have an account on https://travel.hawaii.gov If there are children traveling, you can lump them into one of the parent’s accounts.
    • Input your flight information: Be sure to input your travel details so you’ll be ready to upload your test results.
  4. Upload your negative test results to your Safe Travels account
    • Once you have your negative results, it’s essential to upload them to your account(s) so that you can be exempt from the 10-day quarantine. Once you get your exemption status, be sure to print and bring a physical copy of your test results before your flight. You will be asked to show your test results once you land.
  5. Present the QR code from your phone of your test results once you land
    • You will be required to show your QR code once you land. Be sure to keep the QR code of your negative test results handy because rental car companies will ask for it. The hotel you’re staying at will more than likely ask for it. So, stay logged into your https://travel.hawaii.gov account and have it ready. Also, have a hard copy just in case, and always have your ID ready, your state-issued government ID ready.
  6. Bonus Point: Be sure to shop small, support local, be respectful, and travel with Aloha. 


Interview with Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor Josh Green
Safe Travels Account

The Vault At-Home COVID Test
The Vault – Best Practices

Leave Bryan a message about any questions you have about Hawaii.
Hawaii’s Best Instagram
Hawaii’s Best Facebook Group
Bumper music, Ukulele, and Chill, provided by Coby G (used with permission)

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Bryan Murphy 0:00

On today's episode of Hawaii's Best, I am answering your top questions on how to travel to Hawaii right now through the state's Safe travels program. Let me give you five steps on how to do that and break down each step. So stay tuned. This is an important one a lot of stuff to cover, but it's gonna be worth it if you are dreaming of traveling to Hawaii anytime soon. So let's go.

Hawaii's Best 0:24

Welcome to Hawaii's Best travel podcast where we help you prepare for your next trip to Hawaii. Discover the experiences businesses and stories that make Hawaii the Aloha state. And now your host Brian Murphy.

Bryan Murphy 0:39

Hello and welcome to Episode 50 oh my goodness 50 of Hawaii's Best. so pumped for this one and I just want to say thank you so much for tuning in today and Hawaii's Best we help prepare you for your next trip to Hawaii. I'm your host Brian Murphy the owner of Hawaii's Best. And on this podcast and our blog we offer resources and local and culture insights so that you can get the most out of your stay on the islands. Today's episode is brought to you buy shaaka guy talking guide is a tour guide right on your smartphone. Chuck guide uses GPS to guide you to interesting places along the way. Automatic audio tours with turn by turn directions means all you need to do is turn on the tour and Dr. Shaka guys self guided tours give you the freedom to explore the beautiful Hawaiian islands and know where to stop and what to do to go to Hawaii's Best travel.com slash Shaka and download that today. So I have a question for you. If you were able to travel to Hawaii safely right now, would you go? And probably for the majority of you, the answer would be yes with an exclamation point. And for some of you maybe right now is not the right time. And that is okay, I don't want you to feel pressure to like have to want to go to Hawaii right now. And

that is a definitely a personal choice. But on this episode, I want to break down how to do that. And how to do that responsibly if you do want to travel to Hawaii anytime soon, and I say anytime soon probably for the remainder of 2021. Now as of right now, Hawaii is about four months into reopening to Trans Pacific travel again, and the gatekeeper into Hawaii has been the state's Safe travels program. And that's what we're going to be breaking down on today's episode is how to navigate the Safe travels program and in the different steps to do that, as with implementing any new program at scale, especially this type of scale, it has had its issues and it's had tons of questions. And I don't even think that we're going to be able to answer all those questions today. Because there's a lot of nuances to your maybe your specific situation, I want to share with you what our personal experience was and any tips that we can offer. And I also want to give you some of the frequently asked questions that we've been given. And I've been able to talk with people and do some research and I want to give you those answers today. But some of those issues that were initially there a few months ago have been for the most part smoothed out. However there are there's still quite a bit of confusion and questions about how to travel to Hawaii right now and and how to avoid the 10 day quarantine. So let's go ahead and dive in and unpack the five steps to travel to Hawaii safely. Alright, step number one is probably no surprise, but you need to select a COVID test option. Now one of the probably most confusing things at first when Safe travels was launched was people were getting tested at reputable test sites but they weren't approved by the State of Hawaii. And I know that can be confusing. But the COVID test has to be approved by one of Hawaii's approved testing sites from the get go. I've been you know, probably reiterating this website probably way too many times. But it can't go enough without saying go to Hawaii COVID-19 dot com slash travel and right there you'll find all the information. Also Hawaii's approved testing sites. In order to avoid a 10 day quarantine, you're going to need a first test negative to COVID 19. Now I want to share with you what our experience was traveling from Southern California and we traveled on Hawaiian Airlines. That's who we fly with and we love them and have had great experience with Hawaiian air. And Hawaiian Airlines has a partnership with a testing facility called the vault The Vault is an at home test. So basically, you buy the kit, they send you the kit, the zoom call, and you spit in the tube, and you send it back, and then they test it and you get your test results within for us was within 48 hours. And with the volt, you need to order one test per person, it's important to know that everyone needs their own email address, even your children, we have three kids, ages five to 11, all of them had to test each one of them needed to get set up with their own email account, because that is how they, you know, track the test. And, and that's how they, that's how they sent the test results. So you need to have that setup. Even for your kids or whomever you go with as far as your testing, obviously, your state approved test site, you want to make sure and you confirm that your test provider can meet the 72 hour timeframe for Trans Pacific travel basically traveling from the mainland of the US to Hawaii. Step two probably could have been lumped in with step one, but it's important to talk about because this has left some people stranded and had to return back to their place of departure. And that is to take the test no more than 72 hours prior to the last leg departure. So with this one, there's going to need to be some math involved. But that's not the main thing. The main thing is just knowing and knowing is half the battle GI Joe. So it's important to take that in consideration. Let me give you a for instance. So say you're traveling from Florida, let's say your first flight is leaving Florida at 8pm. local time. So that's 8am. Eastern, your connecting flight is in Los Angeles, California, that flight leaves at 1pm. Pacific. So your test needs to be 72 hours prior to the 1pm. Pacific flight, because that is the last leg of your departure from Los Angeles to Hawaii. Unfortunately, there have been reports of people who have not taken that into consideration or didn't know that because it can kind of be unclear. So people have been denied because their test was longer than the 72 hours, they didn't take into account their connecting flight being the last leg of their journey. So be sure you take that into consideration, because that is super important. Step Three of five is to create an account on the state of Hawaii Safe travels website, and that's by going to travel.hawaii.gov. So what you do is first you create an account for each adult. So if there's mom and dad has some kids, Mom and Dad need to have their own account. And then what we did is we put all of our kids under my account so you can put minors underneath a parent's account and then one parent just has their own. So you create the account. And then you input your your travel information, your your flight number and travel dates and all that good stuff. It's pretty self explanatory once you're in it. So fill that account out. So all your information is there. And once you get your your test results back, you'll be able to upload it there and get your QR code but I don't want to get ahead of ourselves yet. But this third step, just create that account input your flight information, your travel details, I would do that at the same time on the same day that you test just so you have it and it's ready to go so you can upload everything when you get your test results back.

Well, I just want to pause real quick and give a listener shout out. On this little quick segment we call spread Aloha.

This listener review comes from Apple podcasts and it is from will be steam. I think that's how you pronounce the username. I love the usernames. But I think this is from will the bee sting and if I get that wrong, please message me. This review is titled feeling the Aloha energy already and it goes on to read. I'm going to visit Hawaii for the first time and half a month and I've been playing this podcast religiously. To get travel tips and hear stories of the locals I can hear kindness and a deep love for Hawaiian culture and the nature from Brian and the guests. I'm grateful to the team for teaching visitors to respect the people culture And environment. Honestly, that is what it's all about, I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to, to leave that rating and review, because that is exactly why we do this program is exactly that is to help educate, help prepare, help prep people to visit Hawaii visit responsibly. Now more than ever, it is super important to do that. And I really think that people are wanting that a more authentic and true experience. And that is really about first and foremost being in a posture of respect for the culture and for the land. And that's why we do what we do. So I just wanted to say thank you again for taking the time and spreading Aloha, leaving that review.

Now back to the steps on how to travel to Hawaii safely and we are on Step four, in step four is to upload your negative test results to your safe travels account. This is the PDF with the Hawaii State seal through the vault, there was a couple of different documents that we were able to download. But the one you want to make sure that you upload to your your safe travels account is the one with the state seal, probably in the top left corner. So upload that one, you're going to want to make sure that it's a negative test results. So you don't have to quarantine after you upload, your result will be verified and your quarantine exempt status will be reflected on your account. And for us it was almost instantaneously once we uploaded all of our results, I would say within five minutes, we were already given our exemption status. Once you get your exemption status, be sure to print and bring a physical copy of your test results prior to your flight, you will be asked we guarantee you to show your test results. Once you land. That was another confusing thing. You don't show your test results boarding the plane, for example, you land in Honolulu, and you get queued up right away right after you D plane you get queued up in this line. And you have to show your negative test results. Your QR code to the officials there takes about for us it took about 30 to 40 minutes standing in that line. I guess what was kind of cool, by the time we got the baggage claim, like our bags were already off the the term belt and we're just sitting there so we didn't have to like wait around for that. So I guess that was kind of a plus. So that is just part of doing the dance is you're gonna have to stand in this line show your negative test results. So that kind of leads into Step five is you know, you need to present your QR code of the test results upon arrival. Results must have already been uploaded to your safe travels account like you mentioned, and also just backing up a little bit within 24 hours of departing evening and make sure you fill out a health questionnaire on your safe travels accounts. So within 24 hours, be sure you do that. You can kind of do that all at the same time. Once you upload your negative test results, you'll get your QR code and at that same time go ahead and do the the health questionnaire that you also need to fill out within your safe travels account. Going back to the QR code thing. Keep your QR Code of your negative test results handy because rental car companies will ask for it. The hotel you're staying at will more than likely ask for it so have it on your phone but also have it printed out have a hard copy just in case and always have your ID ready your your state issued government ID ready. That's going to be important and though this you know kind of save time and hassle kind of going through checking into your rental car and hotel. What was what was a bummer was what we were getting our car and the gentleman next to us. He had a negative test result. But it wasn't through an approved testing site. So he wasn't able to rent his car. So he had to go into a 10 day quarantine, which was a big bummer and keep that handy. Keep your logins handy for Safe travels. Also, just be aware that as you're going to different restaurants, you might be asked to fill out a contact trace form Don't be alarmed by that is kind of like name, email address phone number. So just be aware that could be a thing. Just have your QR code printed out on your phone. Id ready your logins for your safe travels account for us. It never logged out which was kind of cool. So if we needed to show it at the rental car company and at the hotel we were staying at, I didn't have to log back in, I just had the web page on my, on my iPhone already there. And I was just able to bring it up right away. And we didn't have any issues or any problems with that people were pretty chill. So just keep that in mind. Now qyp is kind of its own world right now they're doing this resort bubble thing. Honestly, that's like a whole episode in itself. I'm curious to see if that's going to be shifting. And if quite, we'll need to kind of get on board with what the other counties are doing. But as of right now, Hawaii is still doing this resort bubble thing. And I call it a thing, because there's a lot of different questions around it and how to do it. That's something that we just haven't looked too much into, because it's changing so much. If you are planning on traveling to Hawaii, go to hawaii.gov slash COVID dash 19. And you'll be able to find all the info that you need there. Alright, so before we get into the rapid q&a, a frequently asked questions, I would say Step six would be like a bonus step. And that is a few notes here is to be sure to shop small and support local. We were there we met up with some friends. Over in Kailua, there was a it's called aloha home market. And that was going on at the time we were there. And we were able to meet up with some friends there, but also meet some new vendors. And here's how their businesses are going.

So it's important to shops small, I think a lot of people have no matter where you live, I think that's been a reality is you know, always supporting local as much as we can. Under this step as bonus, Step six would be just be respectful and travel with Aloha, you're on vacation, you're going to Hawaii, one of the most beautiful places in the world. So just try to take a few breaths and have a little extra grace, because there is this tension of opening this beautiful place responsibly. If you just kind of travel with Aloha, having a little bit patience, kindness, wherever you go. For the most part, people are so hospitable. And if you just show that same Aloha, you're going to give it right back probably tenfold take wearing your mask seriously. Because that is something that Hawaii is serious about. So just just know when you're traveling there, no matter you know, what part of the country that you're traveling from, in Hawaii, they take wearing your mask very serious. So just be mindful of that. And also know that a lot of hotels, a lot of a lot of airlines are offering 24 hour cancellation notices. So if you do get a negative if you do happen to get a negative test result back, you kind of have that as a I guess escape hatch to be able to, you know, cancel your flight and hotel. So just be aware that Hawaiian Airlines is offering that the places we were staying, you know, we're offering that so that's something just to be aware of if that is something that is kind of keeping you on the fence from going ahead and booking a trip. So here are a few rapid QA around travel to Hawaii. Question one is I got my COVID-19 vaccination, am I exempt from quarantine? and answer that is presently proof of vaccination is not a recognized exemption to the Hawaii travel quarantine. Currently, there's talk about a vaccine passport. I'm not exactly sure how I feel on that. I haven't done enough research or x enough questions to see but I know that is a thing that is being talked about. Just be aware of that as well. I'd be responsible for testing cost. Yes, all individuals required to complete pre travel testing must pay for testing costs. And for us it costs about 554 around that for five of us to test. Number one are adults and minors required to complete pre travel testing adults and minors five years of age and older who successfully complete a pre travel test will not be subject to the state's 10 day quarantine program. Well, I know there's probably hundreds of more questions and I we probably just scratched the surface here. I'm available to answer any of your specific questions you can email us contact at Hawaii's Best travel.com and we'll be sure to answer your questions. To take your love of Hawaii to the next level. We recently started a Facebook group and you can find that by going to facebook.com slash groups slash travel to Hawaii. We'll link that in the show notes and record quest to join and I'll be sure to let you in. And we can talk all things Hawaii over there. And if you made it this far, I would love for you to be like, will there be sting and go leave a review and rating on Apple podcasts if that's where you're listening to this, and just takes two minutes to do that. And it would it would mean the world to us because that just helps other people love Hawaii as much as you be able to find this podcast. So thank you so much for incredible 50 episodes already on Hawaii's Best looking forward to 50 more this year. And until next time, friends be well. Aloha.

Hawaii's Best 20:43

Thanks for listening to Hawaii's Best travel podcasts. To stay up to date on future episodes. Be sure to subscribe. For more information to help you plan your next trip to Hawaii visit Hawaii's Best traveled.com

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Bryan Murphy
Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy is the owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel and is a recognized authority on responsible travel to Hawaii. Combining years of on-ground experience with insights from the top-rated podcast, Hawaii’s Best, he connects with a broad online community, offering a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.