Save Your Hawaii Vacation With This Video + These Still Overlooked Tips

The State of Hawaii wants to make it easier to visit and here are two things you can do as well. One thing that is clear, is that Hawaii’s Safe Travels quarantine exemption program isn’t going away anytime soon. You will need to comply with the very specific testing or vaccination rules, and below you’ll find tips to accomplish that.

First, the State of Hawaii has produced a new video that better details the rules of the Safe Travels program. See it below.

Second, we have mentioned taking advantage of the Pre-Clear wristband program many times before. Somehow, however, we may not have been quite “clear enough.”

As commentor Mila said, “Just got back from Hawaii! Wish I read your write-up before we left, especially about the wristband. We stood in line for over an hour for Safe Travels.”

But then Linda wrote, “We flew Alaska & pre-cleared to get to Maui. We were given a wristband when we boarded & when we landed, we walked straight out of the airport.”

What is the Pre-Clear Safe Travels wristband program?

It started back in 2020 and has since been adopted by almost all airlines that fly to Hawaii. When you are provided with a Pre-Clear wristband before the flight, it signifies to authorities in Hawaii that you have successfully completed the Safe Travels protocols. You will not be required to adhere to other procedures and are free to walk off the plane largely as you would have pre-Covid.

Those passengers who are not Pre-Clear certified and do not have the wristband so indicating will be required to have their completion of Safe Travels requirements manually verified after landing in Hawaii. Depending on the circumstances, that can take from minutes to hours.

The wristbands do not change the requirements of Safe Travels; it just moves the process to before travelers get on the plane. Travelers can skip the State’s mandatory 10-day self-quarantine by obtaining Hawaii-approved PCR testing from a Trusted Partner within 72 hours of departing on a flight from the mainland to Hawaii. The other option is to have proof of completed vaccination in the US.

Here are some of the participating airlines.

Alaska Airlines.
All Nippon Airways
American Airlines
Delta Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines.
Japan Airlines
Southwest Airlines.
United Airlines.

Guests of those participating airlines will be pre-cleared before departure and thus bypass very long wait times upon arrival in Hawaii.

How to qualify for Pre-Clear and obtain your wristband.

1. Create a Safe Travels account for every adult traveling.
2. Add all flight and accommodation information to the account.
3. Complete the mandatory health questionnaire within the account within 24 hours of travel.
4. Upload either 1) negative test results (PDF format) from a Hawaii-approved testing partner. It is also suggested that you bring a copy of your negative result or 2) proof of complete vaccination within the U.S. at least 14 days before travel.

The pre-clear program should be available at all mainland gateways to Hawaii of the participating airlines. If you are starting at a connecting city, you will, in all likelihood, need to wait until you arrive at your Hawaii gateway city to obtain your wristband.

Note, as others have pointed out, be sure to ask where the wristbands are being provided when you check in or when you arrive at your mainland Hawaii gateway. It could be at the departure gate or it could be located elsewhere in the departure terminal.

Updated 12/10/21.

61 thoughts on “Save Your Hawaii Vacation With This Video + These Still Overlooked Tips”

  1. Thank you for this very informative post. Here’s a question for which I cannot find an answer:

    When applying for exemption from quarantine for a trip to HI, how do we upload the California Digital Vaccination SMART card info? There aren’t any explicit instructions for this scenario. We do not have the little cards that came with each vaccination course, so we rely on using the SMART California Vaccination digital record from (with QR Code).


    1. Hi Ellit.

      We don’t know the answer but perhaps someone else from California in the same circumstances will lend a hand.


  2. Yes its not to difficult to fill out the Hawaii Safe Travels info that is mandatory for travel to Hawaii. Just follow the instructions on the website. Make sure all your info is correct. It’s best to get your wristband at your airport of departure rather than waiting to get to Hawaii.
    Aloha Guys, we had a wonderful trip to Maui.

  3. Thanks for keeping us all up to speed with travel requirements in these ever changing times. To clarify, Hawaii is accepting vaccinations from all WHO approved vaccines. Foreign vaccination is allowed. The CDC website lists all of the WHO accepted vaccines.

  4. Aloha, BOH,
    It’s been 2 months since we’ve returned from Kauai and I can’t thank (mahalo) BOH enough for the incredibly valuable pre-trip information regarding Safe Travels and the requirements for Hawaii travel. As your reader Linda commented, we also flew Alaska Air although to Kauai. We did all the preprep, although had a couple of very small glitches, with the help of AK airline staff at SJC, we were able to secure the valuable wristband which also saved us time when landing in Lihue.

    1. Hi Jim.

      Thank you! We’re so glad everything worked well for you and appreciate you letting us know.


  5. Have an upcoming trip to HNL (first time since Covid). My kids will not be fully vaccinated by our trip so I’ll have to apply for a testing exemption for them. I’m worried our results won’t arrive in time for our flight, any tips to avoid that?

  6. I definitely recommend doing the steps for the wristband. Give yourself a week before your flight so that you can fully understand the steps to get your Safe Travels questionnaire completed. Took me a few tries.once you get the green check mark you are good to go. Also take a picture of your QR barcode on your phone and a picture of your boarding pass barcode before you board. It saves time. Also make yourself a sandwich or bring snacks as the sandwich on Hawaiian Airlines is not very good. Chee

  7. If you travel at a busy time (like between now and mid-Jan), allow at least 30 minutes extra time at your departure airport for the airline pre-screening where you get the wristband. When you check in, ask an airline rep where the Hawaii pre-clearance center is and go there right after getting thru security. Also have your vaccination certificate or copy of your negative Covid test with you – you may be asked by the pre-clear staff for this documentation. (Advice based on Dec 6 experience).

  8. I recently heard that Denver has done away with the pre-clear because they don’t have enough employees to do it at the Denver airport.

    1. We just went to Oahu a month ago from Portland and that’s what they told us. They said they didn’t have enough staff to go through all the names to provide the wristbands. Fortunately there was almost no line when we got there so it was maybe a 5min delay. Will find out again in March if it’s the same story as we’re heading back.

  9. Aloha,
    What if I choose self quarantine instead of the PCR test as an unvaccinated person? Do I get a different wristband or do I wait in line for my next step. I live on the Big Island and I’m planning a trip to the mainland.


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