Kauai Will Reopen Next Month; My Experience With Safe Travels Hawaii

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Kauai will rejoin Hawaii’s Safe Travels testing program on April 5th.

The island originally was part of the program, but opted out, which led to hotels like the Westin, Grand Hyatt, and Sheraton closing their doors. The Westin and Grand Hyatt now plan on reopening on 4/5 and the Sheraton plans on opening on 5/5.

Safe Travel Hawaii requires a negative COVID-19 PCR or other NAAT test from select testing partners within 72 hours before your flight to Hawaii. Also acceptable is a positive COVID test from 11-90 days before your flight along with a Doctor’s letter clearing you for travel.

I flew to Hawaii last month with a couple DDF members who have also recovered from COVID-19 and had to find the best way to get a test.

I knew from experience that PCR tests from CVS would take far too long to get the results. While the Cleveland Clinic could get results back on time, they aren’t a partner in Hawaii’s program.

My flight was from Dallas to Maui on Sunday at 3:30pm CT, so I had to take my test after Thursday at 4:30pm ET.

In the end, I took the ID NOW test from Walgreens, which is a NAAT test. Many places that officially require a PCR test, such as Canada, also accept other NAAT tests like the Abbott ID NOW.

The test was free, and it only required that I stick the swab half an inch up my nose, unlike the brain matter required on my PCR test last March. Best of all, I got the negative results back just 2 hours after taking the test! With the results in hand I was able to upload them to the state of Hawaii and I got back a QR code with my negative status.

Another DDF member that took a PCR test from Walgreens didn’t get his results back on time to travel. They didn’t offer the ID NOW in his state, so he drove an hour to take the ID NOW test in another state and was able to travel to Hawaii the next day.

In the end, our flight to Hawaii was cancelled. But we were told that Hawaii would be extending our Safe Travel window to 6 days as the airline cancelled our flight.

When we arrived in Maui we hustled to the Safe Hawaii line and made it before the masses started lining up behind us. They scanned the QR code, asked us if we were feeling OK, checked our temperature, and sent us on our way. Another couple next to me in line didn’t have their QR code and test results in order, and it appeared they were going to be sent back to the mainland. Ouch.

The QR code was required to rent a car and checkin at the hotel.

Island hopping with Hawaii is a real hassle as all airports besides Honolulu require negative test results from within 72 hours, even on intra-Hawaii flights.

We flew on a day trip form Maui to Molokai, which required another Safe Travel QR code, but as that flight is within Maui County, which encompasses Maui, Lanai, and Molokai, we didn’t need to take another COVID test.

A word of warning to people with connections though, a friend flew to Molokai with a connection in Honolulu last week, which triggered the requirement for a COVID test within the past 72 hours. While the Safe Travels site implies that people connecting can use the test from their Transpacific flight, he was denied entry into Molokai as his test was now more than 72 hours old from the time of departure from Honolulu to Molokai. He was forced to sign a quarantine order and sent right back to Honolulu. Luckily for him, Honolulu doesn’t have Safe Travels requirements for intra-Hawaii flights, so he was able to spend his vacation there.

Have you flown to Hawaii under their Safe Travels program?

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30 Comments On "Kauai Will Reopen Next Month; My Experience With Safe Travels Hawaii"

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Harley Kesselman

Thanks so much for the info! So if I am going from Florida to Maui with a connection in Honolulu, I have to make sure the covid test I take is within 72 hours of the connection flight departure time correct?

Harry

What if you have the vaccine?

Traveler718

What are the best testing options in the NYC area (Brooklyn preferred)?

Abey

Please post if you find ! The best I was able to get is Centers urgent which was 24 hours (not guaranteed but consistent in the many times I used them) Walgreens has nothing in Brooklyn

BBPAPA

Is Centers urgent care on the Hawaii trusted partner list-I didn’t see it when I looked.

BBPAPA

GoHealth Urgent care is part of Northwell.
Located on Flatbush Ave near 7th ave.
Be specific and ask if they have the ID Now test.
If not available, may have to travel to one of their other locations.

SM

Kind of ridiculous that they extended the window for a cancelled flight, but then again, 72 hours is nonsense to begin with – plenty of time for someone to be infected.

farmbochur

We flew to KOA in late Feb. Our experience matched yours except they surprised us with a rapid antigen test upon arrival. BH results came back negative. Otherwise we would have been subject to 10 day quarantine in our hotel room.

Ash

Any talks of allowing vaccine records being enough to enter?

BBPAPA

Spring 2021 has been mentioned.
No info on how they will verify traveler vaccinations.

Cressida

No wonder people aren’t traveling. The amount of hassle and headache one must endure just to “enjoy” themselves is immense. I’ll pass until the Plandemic blows over (which it may never!).

Chaim

Flew to koa and hnl in Jan.
In end all was fine, but 72 hr test prevented me from booking accommodations till last minute. And unannounced rapid test upon arrival gave me a scare.

BBPAPA

Can you complete your trip report as I plan on traveling in May.
Thanks.

John

Will it be an issue if I’m planning to stay on Oahu fro 11 night but splitting with two different hotels?

chaim

42 minutes after taking the walgreens test i had my results
also for those wanting to know where the locations are check the walgreens site its a lot more reliable then what someone said

Respiratory Compromised Nana

We arrived in Maui Feb 23rd from Florida. We used Walgreen’s ID Now and it was perfect. We had our results within a couple hours and our insurance covered the cost. After enjoying 3 weeks in Maui our trip to the Big Island almost didn’t happen. It was near impossible to get COVID test results within within 72 hours in Maui! I had followed the link for interisland travel from the safe travels site. I set up a Saturday appointment at Longs (CVS) that would work with our Tuesday flight to Kona. We had to drive from Hana to upcountry to make the appointment only to find out it takes 3 to5 business days to get the results!! That would never work! The only workable option was Minit Medical in Kihei-an urgent care facility. Unfortunately all travel covid test appointments had been filled. We tried going there and pleading our case but was told “sorry, cancel your vacation.” I saw a sign saying where their drive thru tests were done, and decided to take a chance and try pleading our case there. Fortunately, the nurse showed us Aloha and administered our test. $350 and 1 1/2 days later, my husband and I had our results! We arrived today (along with only 32 other Southwest passengers)and fortunately were not given a 2nd COVID test….others were selected to receive a second test. So be warned, interisland travel with the exception of Oahu can be challenging! We initially had planned a weeks trip to the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, but unfortunately their reopening was can delayed again. So sad!

Kamehameha

I’ve been three times for business. First time in sept I applied for and got essential traveler status which took many emails but it worked fine for entry at HNL.

In November I clicked through Safe travels and bought a vault home test kit, but then was able to get a Walgreens appointment aboutvhalf hour away- my locals were not offering. The drive up lady said 5 days although web site said 3, so I went home and used the vault test and pushed my travel off one day. Both tests came back when I would have been boarding which was too close. I got my QR code and since I was in United business class I was one of first off the plane and clears in seconds. (One of my coworkers got his results while waiting on line- but that’s cutting it too close for me!)

In January United started offering approved rapid tests at EWR terminal B so I did that the day before, as I couldn’t get an appointment before my flight and wasn’t sure how long I’d really have to wait in line, and then wait for printed results. (It was coup hours so just as well) it cost $200 but I was reimbursed and it was very convenient.

I’m flying again mid April and will do the same thing although I have anothe vault test on my desk.

Twice I tried to get to Maui- also for business- but I couldn’t get another local test before an inter island flight so I had to cancel. I’m hoping they pass the legislation to standardize as reported so I can do several flights this time.

For those who don’t know Chabad of Hawaii reopened at 2241 Kapiolani many months ago and they have an excellent leil Shabbos dinner- just make a reservation and remember to pay for it- and a nice Yom shabbos kiddish/ones/lunch too. Make a big donation as Itchell and Perel have been living in the islands and hosting for over 30 years and they are the best! A restaurant may open soon if not already!

I shop at Don Quixote which is a local place and they do have some good hechsher. I usually stay at the ala Moana but now the ilikai is reopening. Both easy walks to Chabad!

J Z

Hi Dan. I have a 1200 american airlines voucher which can be used to purchase plane ticket(s) for anyone. Any idea on how I can redeem that?

John

Do I need to have a covid test returning back from Hawaii to mainland?

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