((***Editor’s Note: Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe will be available for live and taped interviews from Hawaii from March 1 to March 5.))
The Hawaiian Islands are welcoming visitors back just in time for the spring and summer travel seasons. Now that Omicron cases are on the decline worldwide and fears of the variant are easing up, the State of Hawaii is inviting travelers from the mainland United States, as well as international travelers, to return to the island chain’s colorful sandy beaches, jagged coastline, lush forest reserves, and majestic volcanoes.
Hawaii Entry Requirements:
- Hawaiian state officials recently announced that travelers are not required to have a COVID-19 booster shot to enter the state.
- U.S. citizens traveling to any of the islands, who wish to bypass the state’s 5-day quarantine mandate, must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or have had a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
- Before your departure for Hawaii, if you are an adult (age 18 years or older) you will need to create an online user account and register with the State of Hawaii Safe Travels Hawaii program. This applies only for domestic passengers from the U.S. and its territories.
- Once you create your Safe Travels Hawaii account, you will then need to enter your traveler information and trip details on the program’s application form. It is important to get the correct test and upload the correct form or vaccination record document.
- Completing the State of Hawaii’s Safe Travels Hawaii program application form, uploading COVID-19 test results or vaccination record document (if applicable) and obtaining your QR code PRIOR TO departure will significantly reduce your airport screening and processing time at arrival.
- The Department of Health is currently working on criteria and conditions that would allow the state to eventually end its Safe Travels Hawaii program.
Hawai’i Statewide Mask Mandate:
Governor David Ige’s Emergency Proclamation requires individuals across the state to wear a face covering when indoors in public places unless they are actively eating or drinking.
- The Hawaiian Island of Oahu has announced that it will drop its “Safe Access Oahu” program on March 6th, ending many restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gyms. This means patrons will no longer be required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entering businesses.
- As of Feb. 21, proof of vaccination or testing is no longer required for indoor service at restaurants, bars and gyms. Maui County’s indoor mask requirement will remain in place until lifted by the Governor.
“Other requirements which vary from island to island have either ended or will soon be ending, which makes now an ideal time to book a trip to Hawaii,” said Auto Club Corporate Communications Manager Doug Shupe. “However, it is important to work with a reputable travel advisor, like the ones at AAA, who can help you avoid any confusion before traveling and ensure you don’t encounter entry problems into any of the islands that you wish to visit.”
Traveling to Hawaii in 2022 is more affordable than in previous years. According to AAA Travel Advisors booking data, roundtrip flights to Hawaii from California start at $240 and the average roundtrip flight from across the U.S. is $625. Rental car costs in Hawaii average between $70 to $100 per day.
There are six major islands to visit in Hawaii: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Island of Hawaii, Molokai and Lanai. Each has its own distinct personality, adventures, activities and sights.
- Attend a Luau with live music, drums, the fiery drama of four fire knife dancers on stage as well as traditional Samoan, Tahitian and Hawaiian dance. Indulge in a feast of unforgettable tropical flavors created with traditional island ingredients.
- Visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu to see beautiful grounds and scenery and learn about its military historical significance.
- Take a Majestic Circle Island Tour. Visit Diamond Head crater, the explosive water spray of Halona Blowhole and explore Dole Plantation to learn about Hawaii's iconic pineapple industry.
- Snorkel in the serene Kaneohe Bay to explore amazing shallow coral reefs and see exotic sea creatures.
- Visit Waimea Bay to watch seasoned surfers during big-wave season (November through February).
- Explore Honolulu’s Chinatown neighborhood for shopping and markets.
- Take an ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch, also known as “Jurassic Valley.”
- Kayak the majestic Wailua River. Learn about the flora and fauna of Kauai's most sacred area.
- Hike to enchanting Secret Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that descends into a refreshing pool.
- Visit Waimea Canyon State Park.
- Take a bike tour along Lihue’s coastal bike path.
- Take a guided tour of Makauwahi Cave Reserve (a limestone cave known for its paleo ecological and archaeological value).
- Snorkel on Poipu Beach.
- Hike the trails of Kokee State Park.
- Zipline above Kauai's lush valleys.
- Learn about paniolo (cowboy) culture in Upcountry Maui towns like Makawao, Kula, and Pukalani.
- View magnificent sunrises and sunsets at Haleakala National Park (reservations required).
- Explore the art galleries and shops of the historic fishing village of Lahaina
- Experience the enchantment of a romantic dinner cruise at sunset.
- Marvel in sweeping coastal scenery along the Road to Hana as you wind your way by bamboo jungles, roadside fruit stands and other slices of Maui life.
- Enjoy an aerial tour (helicopter or plane) of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see snow-capped heights of Maunakea, the lush valleys of the Hilo and Hamakua Coasts, and the jet-black sands of Punaluu Beach.
- Swim with manta rays, take a horseback ride and go whale watching
- Visit Kalaupapa National Historic Park, site of Saint Damien’s legendary work with victims of Hansen’s disease.
- Visit Papohaku Beach Park in West Molokai, one of the state’s largest white-sand beaches.
- Drive rugged back roads in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to explore off-the-beaten-path treasures, including Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach) to capture views of Molokai and Maui.
- Enjoy luxurious resorts and indulge in world-class amenities and championship-level golfing.
When planning a trip to Hawaii, the Auto Club recommends the following:
- Work with a trusted AAA travel advisor who can help you navigate the complexities of traveling these days and help you find the best rates on airfare, car rentals, accommodations and excursions by building a Hawaiian vacation package through Pleasant Holidays. Pleasant Holidays has been sending travelers to the Hawaiian Islands since 1959.
- Purchase travel insurance to protect your investment, choosing one that provides coverage for travel interruption and additional expenses associated with COVID-19.
- Notify credit card providers of your travel details (specify location and duration) to reduce the risk of cards being frozen due to unusual activity.
- Pack masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes (sanitizing hand wipes are a good alternative) and disposable gloves in your carry-on bag.