Hawaii isn’t like many other destinations.

Islands such as stunning Kauai are rarely matched in beauty, and for American travelers looking for an incredible option, sans fear of testing abroad, it’s been a consistent winner all year.

It’s all the beauty and exotic feel, without officially crossing an international border. But now, the government in Hawaii is asking people to consider going elsewhere, at least until October.

Hawaii dropped pre-flight testing restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers in July, but rising cases on the islands, mostly among unvaccinated locals, are causing the islands to ask visitors reconsider travel plans. It’s not a mandate, but a request – and one that may complicate travel plans which are already booked.

Here’s what you need to know, if you have some, or are considering a trip.

Hawaii Asks Visitors To Postpone Trips

Will your airline play ball? That’s the first question. Hawaiian Governor, David Ige, is asking visitors to consider staying away for a bit, while the island deals with a variety of logistical challenges, from limited rental cars to hospital beds and a water shortage.

He’s politely asked tourists to stay away for a while, asking for any leisure trips to be postponed and sticking to essential or business travel only.

“I think it’s important. I’ve stressed with the airlines and the visitor industry that now is not a good time to visit Hawaii,”

“We have limited capacity in the restaurants. We see continuing case counts here… I’m asking even residents to restrict travel to essential business purposes only.”

David Ige, Governor, Hawaii

Indoor gatherings are being limited, and capacity restrictions reintroduced for all bars and restaurants. In other words, the travel experience may not be as free flowing as it presently is, outside of hotels and resorts. If experiencing “local” Hawaii is the goal, it may not be the time.

Hawaii has fewer hospital beds per capita than many US states, which is a key reason the Governor is asking visitors to stay away. ICU beds on remote islands are incredibly limited, which makes large visitor groups a challenge.

Hawaii’s requirement that all trans-Pacific visitors who wish to skip quarantine must be fully vaccinated means visitors are unlikely to take up hospital beds, but unvaccinated locals could still be at risk of transmission.

What To Do With Trips Already Booked

The Governor has made his opinion clear, but at this point it remains a request. Travel is not banned, and no changes to “quarantine free” travel to Hawaii for fully vaccinated people have been made. People must do what they believe is right.

The news creates a conundrum for many who face losing reservations without any cancellation flexibility or refunds, and will undoubtedly be a crushing blow to the many hotels which just managed to reopen and remain desperate for visitors.

Airlines and hotels may add flexibility, based on remarks from the Governor, but no crystal clear flexibility policies exist for pre-booked trips at this point, outside of wider flexibility options currently offered on a domestic or global level.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. I just cancelled and Hawaiian air gave me a credit, I would suggest all to do the same, let’s give Hawaii a chance to get well again,,,
    Prayers to Hawaii !

  2. The Andaz Maui let us cancel within the 21 days, but future rates are insane – almost 3x what we had confirmed for the same suite on any dates in the future. Wish they’d consider honoring our rates since we are doing what the Governor has requested and staying home.

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