Please Read if You’re Planning a Trip to Hawaii!
These reminders, tips, and experience is shared by Vince Balistrieri on our Maui Facebook Group, Visit Live Love Maui. I, along with many group members thought this is very helpful that I asked Vince’s permission to share it here on A Maui Blog. And he said yes!
So here it is:
After a much needed night’s sleep, I wanted to give you all some insight over my wife and I’s experiences getting to Maui yesterday in hopes it will better serve anyone making this trip to the islands.
1st – Get everything done BEFORE you get to your first airport.
We all know you need a negative Covid19 test no less than 72 hours prior to your departure to the first island you land, but I was amazed at how many people in the airports (Phoenix, Honolulu and Kahului) did not have their Health Questionnaires complete OR even an account through the Safe Travels Website OR didn’t even know it was required! If you have multiple flights, you need all, inbound only, logged on the Safe Travels Website and your Negative Test uploaded to each flight.
I also recommend uploading a current picture of yourself to each flight as well (I’ll get to the picture). Get this all done before you even leave your home for the trip.
*remember, you have to have the negative test in-hand before you even board your flight to your first island, if not, you’re in the 14 day quarantine, even if the results came when you landed.
2nd – Go digital as much as you can.
I do understand that there is sometimes a gap in understanding technology, but all of these systems were designed with the digital platform in mind. Keep you boarding passes on your phone and put a bookmark on your browser to the Safe Travels website for easy access. You will need access to this several times throughout the journey to your final destination.
Have everything you need, Boarding Pass, QR Code, reservation info, etc, printed as a back up just in case you don’t have cell service. I even recommend taking a screen shot of everything too, so you have a back up of the back up. If you have to go with all printed, keep it close and easily accessible and organized.
3rd – Have everything you need, in hand when you arrive to your check points.
Honolulu Airport is much bigger than Kahului, therefore they had a lot more space and people working. You were directed to the checkpoints and multiple people were there to help get you through and it went pretty fast. Kahului had about 4-5 people right before the stairway down to the baggage check.
It bottlenecked very quickly and did take longer than we would have liked, but I was able to link this to those that were not prepared with their documentation. Have it ready, not only for yourselves, but those working to try and get you through the line as fast as possible and those in line behind you. We arrived and got to this checkpoint around 4:15pm Friday Afternoon.
The super nice gentleman in the Steelers face-mask who helped us at Kahului, told my wife and I, we were his first arrivers that had everything ready and done correctly! Think about that, 4:15 in the afternoon and his first. While waiting in line we watched as it took some individuals 10-20 mins to get through this checkpoint. Rummaging through their paperwork, trying to quickly create a safe travels account, etc. It took my wife and I a total of 3mins to get through each checkpoint (Honolulu and Kahului).
Being prepared not only helps you save time, but it also helps the people checking you in AND everyone else behind you gets their turn that much faster.
4th – What you’ll need in hand when you arrive and beyond:
When you arrive in line to the airport check points, have the following out and ready: your ID, Your QR code with your negative test result AND picture uploaded to that flight. If you have an additional flight to another island, have that boarding pass ready as well.
*having your picture uploaded to your Safe Travels account is optional, but when when you have your QR code scanned at the airport, that picture pops up for the individual helping you and they reference that to your ID really quick. I realize that you’re also standing right in front of them, but remember, you’re wearing a mask. This way the individual helping you doesn’t have to take too long to make sure you are you! Renting a car?
Keep your QR code associated with that island ready. You cannot rent one without it, so don’t put it away just yet. Arriving at your hotel – yep you guessed it, QR code again. They have to log it so they know whether or not you’re in quarantine. The receptionist at our hotel also told us to make sure we had a screen shot of that QR code at the ready at all times. She said that there may be places throughout our stay that require to see it prior to letting us in, such as restaurants.
5th – Wear your Facemask
I don’t care what your thoughts are on this. It’s required by the state and this is the state you decided to visit. Wear it and don’t argue with anyone that reminds you to wear it. Just put it on and go about your business. It is a matter of high importance amongst the locals and they will not have issue telling you to put one on. Remember you’re visiting here, they live here.
6th – Most Importantly, be kind and relax.
Traveling is never easy or fun and with these new requirements it can be overwhelming and frustrating. Any individual you encounter during this process did not make these rules, but they are required to uphold them. Do not take your frustration out on them or others.
Remember, you’re IN Hawaii! You made this trip for a reason, don’t let anything take away the magic of these islands. I’m ashamed to admit that while waiting in line at Kahului I did have to remind myself of this. It was very easy to get frustrated at those, that I felt, did not prepare properly.
However, I had to remind myself that I am an OVER preparer for everything. I don’t like loose ends and need to make sure everything is signed, stamped and sealed. Not everyone is like that and Hawaii is a great place to be reminded that I’m allowed to relax, take it easy and just go with the flow!
Spread Aloha to everyone and, if this post helps you, reach out to anyone that could use it as well. It’s all about enjoying your time here and respecting all that are here too.
Mahalo for reading and if this information helps just one, it was worth the time. It’s now time to enjoy Maui!