How much do you miss travel? Enough to put a cotton swab up your nose and take a chance on the negative? Maybe this pandemic has given you the blues heading into a depressing winter. What to do and where to go?
Hawaii has started to open up for travelers from the continental US. Wait, there are some restrictions though. A process is involved before you are sticking those toes in the sand. The state is taking extra precautions in making sure that they don’t have another outbreak on the islands. Hopefully with the actions they are taking, it will start to allow all of us to get away for a little while during the winter.
The biggest part of their requirements is that you have to take a test within 72 hours of your departure from the airport. They have partnered with specific testing facilities to make sure that they are doing their best to get you your results in time. The tough scenario is, that if you don’t get the results, you still have to quarantine in your hotel until you get negative results back. I don’t think anyone wants to even waste one day, waiting in their hotel room ordering room service while in Hawaii!
I will say that we recently planned a short trip back and it was fairly easy to get our results. We went to two different testing sites, as a little reassurance that we would get results back in time. Both Color labs and CVS did a wonderful job making the process simple with self testing. They also both got our results back to us quickly. Color in 24 hours, CVS in 48 hours. The only difference was that Color cost $100, while CVS was free with insurance. These results then need to be uploaded onto the safe travels website for Hawaii, there it auto confirms your negative results and lets you move to the next step.
The next step is taking a health survey 24 hours before boarding the plane. Very simple survey that most people are probably used to now. After you finish a short questionnaire, you then get a QR code for when you head to the airport. As you make your way through the airport at your departure city, there is no difference. Honestly, there were many employees for United that couldn’t even answer our questions on what to do, because of it being such a new scenario. Either way, it was simple to get onto the plane at SFO and head off to the island of Oahu.
When we landed, we walked a single file line through various areas of airport until we came upon someone finally asking questions. She separated people that had taken the survey and the test, from the people that had not completed the necessary requirements to enter the island. The final step of the process was meeting one on one with a lady that scanned your QR code and verified you had everything needed. It was actually a pretty simple process at the airport. We assumed it was going to take much longer, but Hawaii has done a wonderful job with making this process as smooth as possible.
The other thing that they require from restaurants is tracking information. Before you sit down at the table to eat, you’re required to give them your name, address and phone number. In the case of an outbreak, they can narrow down the people that have been exposed. I love the idea and I’m surprised there aren’t more states that require this from their businesses.
Regardless, the overall process that takes place before and after your airport experience is fairly simple. The anxiety of getting your test results back in time is the biggest pain point. Being that the airlines have partnered with these companies, you can assume they are going to be back in time for the most part. Other than that it’s just making sure that the things you want to experience, are open during your stay. If you’re looking to take some time away and experience a brief vacation from the constant pressure of the pandemic, head out to the Hawaiian islands. Take your precautions and plan out your itinerary accordingly and you will be saying aloha and mahalo before you know it!