Traveling has always been subject to mastery but with new restrictions, due to COVID-19, it got a bit harder to navigate. Let me be your tour guide to the Hawaiian islands, this beautiful 2021, to make your future pandemic travels a little simpler.
The state of Hawaii has strict requirements to ensure that no one brings COVID-19 from the mainland, or elsewhere. You must get a State of Hawaii approved COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to your flight from one of the sites listed here, as well as make an account on travel.hawaii.gov to register your trip. This applies to everyone! Even if you’re fully vaccinated.
Once your trip is registered and you are tested, you must upload your test results for a QR code that approves your negative result. You must also complete a health questionnaire 24 hours prior to your flight.
After you’ve gotten past the paperwork and are finally at the airport on the day of your flight, you go through security as normal, check your bags and go to your gate.
At your gate, you are given an option to get a wristband to approve your negative COVID-19 result before landing in Hawaii using the QR code I mentioned earlier. I highly recommend doing this. If you don’t, you’ll have to stand in a line later in Hawaii, not only taking up your precious vacation time, but the line is twice as long there. Trust me when I say: get it done sooner rather than later.
On the plane itself, the flight attendants make it abundantly clear that passengers are only to take off their masks when actively eating or drinking. This keeps everyone safe. Don’t worry – you still get your in-flight meal.
Now that you’re in Hawaii, things are similar to pre-COVID-19 – aside from the masks and social distancing, that is.
Now that we’ve covered traveling to Hawaii, let’s get into what’s different when you’re there:
Some things that felt normal before just feel wrong now. For example, asking a stranger to take your photo, speaking to strangers, seeing people without masks even when they’re six feet from the next person, all feels weird.
They feel like things that I can’t believe we ever did.
Making friends out of strangers has become a difficult task. Many people are hesitant to converse with people they don’t know during COVID-19 due to personal boundaries. They are even more hesitant to get to the point where each party trusts another enough to remove their mask around them. You may never know what the other half of people you meet’s faces look like.
At the resorts, there were many restrictions due to the pandemic, such as having to reserve the hot tub for 30 minute intervals and the activities center allowing for less equipment to go out at once.
In my personal experience, the staff weren’t exceptionally uptight about when you must wear a mask outside on the resort’s property, but other resorts weren’t quite so lenient. Some resorts enforced mask-wearing even when just walking from the hot tub to the pool.
Onto the ambiance of the island:
There are many food trucks available daily for meals, which is becoming increasingly more popular considering that there is no seating capacity for outdoor establishments. Then, when it comes to businesses based out of buildings, they have small capacities that make it difficult to accommodate many guests.
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, a restaurant chain, and Snorkel Bob’s are just a few places I attended that met their capacity of four guests inside at a time and required my family to wait outside for assistance. However, both establishments were well worth the wait.
As for shops, Front Street is a great place to walk around during the day. There are many beautiful art establishments showing off their pieces (watch out for the sales reps, though – they know how to catch your attention), the ABC store has trinkets and snacks (and a free gift if you spend $100), a ton of local shops selling souvenirs to bring home to your friends, and niche shops such as a pineapple themed store.
The islands are much more open than I had been anticipating and offered surf lessons, helicopter rides over the island, scuba diving, and so much more. With plane tickets so cheap to the islands right now, I would recommend a trip to Hawaii to anyone that is COVID-19-free and can afford it.