Hawaii calls back inessential travelers

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    Tourists can finally say “Aloha” to Hawaii as the state officially welcomes visitors for unnecessary travel.

    In August, Hawaii Governor David Ige urged visitors to postpone all non-essential travel until the end of October as the number of COVID-19 cases accelerated, which he believes has overwhelmed the state’s health facilities and resources.

    That certainly didn’t stop travelers from venturing into the state for pure recreational pursuits, but it did signal that tourists in Hawaii weren’t necessarily welcome at all. That changes now in November.

    “Our hospitals are doing better and seeing fewer patients,” Ige said in a statement on Twitter. “This gives us the opportunity to advance our economic recovery and safely welcome fully vaccinated domestic travelers back.”

    What You Need to Travel to Hawaii

    But that doesn’t mean the welcome by a long way Trip to Hawaii is a complete free-for-all. Travelers must continue to adhere to existing restrictions and requirements.

    Compulsory participation in the Safe Travels program

    You must enter certain personal and health information online on the state’s Safe Travels website. You will then receive a QR code by email 24 hours before departure. Show this code to the airport screener upon landing. Travelers without a smartphone or computer can get help once in Hawaii.

    Evidence of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to avoid quarantine

    If you have neither a vaccination certificate nor a valid negative COVID-19 test result, you will need to complete a mandatory 10-day self-quarantine. Otherwise, here’s how to avoid it.

    If you are vaccinated: Upload proof of full vaccination from the 15th day after graduation (for domestic travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the US or Territories) to the Hawaii Safe Travels website.

    If you are not fully vaccinated: Take a COVID-19 test from a trusted testing and travel partner in the state of Hawaii, taken no more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure time of the final leg to Hawaii. You must have your test results before you leave.

    COVID-19 restrictions still apply

    Just because tourists are welcome doesn’t mean you can fully recover from the pandemic as many COVID-related rules still apply. While the rules may vary by island, city, and business, expect restrictions including:

    Wearing a mask indoors: The state requires that masks be worn indoors, including in restaurants, except when you are eating and / or drinking.

    Not being able to visit all parks like in the past: Parks, beaches, and hiking trails are open, albeit with some restrictions. In national parks there is a mask requirement for everyone indoors, in overcrowded outdoor areas and in all closed public transport.

    Keep groups small: Gatherings across the country are still limited to a maximum of 10 people for indoor gatherings and 25 for outdoor gatherings.

    Easy Ways To Save Money When Traveling To Hawaii

    Once you’re there, island hopping is just as good if you want to cover as much ground as possible. Flights between the islands usually take less than an hour and can be affordable.

    Don’t overlook vacation rentals. Not only are they likely to be cheaper than hotels, but they often have kitchens so you don’t have to eat out and you typically don’t pay resort fees.

    Speaking of saving money on eating out, eating out can certainly be part of the Hawaiian experience, but beware of overpriced seaside restaurants. Many convenience stores sell freshly made poke, spam musubi, and other snacks that you can take to a beach picnic for a clear view and cheaper to eat than you would have eaten in a restaurant.

    As for the best time to go, now is generally weather-wise as the average daytime winter temperature at sea level is 78 degrees, which is cooler than the average summer daytime temperature of 85 degrees. Just avoid traveling when the kids are out of school (such as around Christmas and New Years) as the crowds tend to increase – as do prices.

    The bottom line

    If you want to visit Hawaii, there’s another reason now is one of the better times: airlines and hotels offer some of the most flexible cancellation and change policies ever.

    That said, there is no guarantee that the Aloha Islands will be open forever again.

    “As always, we will continue to monitor the number of cases and hospital stays on the islands and adjust them if necessary, while prioritizing the health and safety of our residents,” said Ige.

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