Hawaii has been open to Canadian travellers since December 2020; however, its stricter entry requirements and intra-island travel restrictions have still kept many travellers at bay.
Following the US fully opening its borders on November 8, Hawaii has aligned its entry requirements accordingly, and will no longer require additional testing for US travellers.
Meanwhile, for those of us in Canada, travelling to Hawaii has gotten a lot simpler as of the same date, allowing us to enter Hawaii with a cheap and simple rapid antigen test.
Hawaii Travel Restrictions
Entry to Hawaii is only slightly more complex than entering the US mainland, with an additional Health Form required as part of the process.
How Can Canadians Enter Hawaii?
Travellers are allowed to enter Hawaii through all international airports and by sea via a cruise. As of October 2021, when departing Canada by air, travellers are required to present proof of vaccination.
Travellers coming from Canada must fulfill all of the following conditions before entering Hawaii:
- Present evidence of a full course of COVID-19 vaccines 14 days prior to arrival.
- Mixed vaccines are permitted.
- A negative COVID-19 test taken three days prior to departure.
- Either a PCR or an antigen test will suffice.
- Complete the Hawaii Safe Travels Form prior to departure.
The Safe Travels Form requires uploading a COVID-19 test result or a vaccination record in order to obtain a QR code, which you’ll need to present upon landing.
A negative COVID-19 test result is required regardless of whether you fly non-stop to Hawaii or take a connecting flight:
- If you fly directly to Hawaii from Canada, a test result will be required prior to your flight.
- Meanwhile, if you connect through the continental US on the way to Hawaii, you’ll still need a test result to enter the United States on the first leg of your journey.
Testing & Quarantine Upon Return
Travellers must complete a negative molecular test within 72 hours of boarding their flight back to Canada.
This is fairly easy to obtain on all the Hawaii islands, although it can certainly be expensive.
Outside of Oahu, where the capital of Honolulu lies, expect COVID-19 testing appointments to be booked up in advance and cost around US$150. In Oahu, the usual suspects of CVS and Walgreens are available for free NAAT tests.
As of October 2021, Switch Health’s RT-LAMP Test Kit can also be ordered prior to your trip and self-administered within 72 hours of your return flight to Canada.
We’d recommend purchasing a Switch Health RT-LAMP Test Kit for the smoothest travel experience on your return journey. At $149 + tax, this is the same price if not cheaper than most testing options in Hawaii.
Fully vaccinated Canadians can return to Canada by air without undergoing quarantine, upon completing a negative test at the airport on arrival into Canada. Canadians are considered fully vaccinated if they’ve received a full series of one of (or a mix of) Health Canada’s approved vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson – at least 14 days before entering Canada.
Current Health Requirements in Hawaii
Technically, each of Hawaii’s islands is allowed to impose their own restrictions; however, current restrictions are generally in line with each other. Masks are required in all indoor settings and not required in outdoor settings.
There are no capacity or lockdown restrictions to speak of, from social distancing to masking indoors to restaurants.
Since June, testing was no longer required for travel between the islands, either, meaning that island-hopping is well and truly back.
How to Get to Hawaii
Travelling to Hawaii on points has largely been a point of frustration for Canadian travellers, especially on the East Coast.
For the winter travel season, Air Canada will be operating the following routes:
- Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver to Honolulu
- Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto to Maui
- Vancouver to Kona
With Aeroplan, these routes will cost 25,000 Aeroplan points one-way in business class from Vancouver, and 35,000 Aeroplan points one-way in business class from everywhere else.
However, these prices correspond to the lower end of Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing on Air Canada flights, and it’s relatively rare to find flights that actually fall at the lower end of the spectrum.
Therefore, a trip to Hawaii would be an optimal use of eUpgrades earned as part of Aeroplan Elite Status, under the “Latitude Attitude” strategy. You could book the much more reasonably priced Economy Latitude flight and then apply eUpgrades to upgrade into business class.
In addition, Hawaii would also represent a great opportunity to use your Priority Rewards if you have any, allowing you to receive a 50% discount on eligible Aeroplan points redemptions.
For those on the West Coast, using British Airways Avios to fly Alaska Airlines’s routes to Hawaii is also a sweet spot, costing just 13,000 Avios in economy class each way from Seattle to Honolulu.
For those who seek a higher-value award booking, consider using Turkish Miles & Smiles to fly to Hawaii from anywhere in North America for just 10,000 miles one-way in economy class.
Turkish miles are best earned from Citi ThankYou points in the US, transferring at a ratio 0f 1:1, or by converting Marriott Bonvoy points at an optimal ratio of 60,000 Bonvoy points = 25,000 Turkish miles.
Hawaii has aligned its entry requirements to those of the United States at large. For Canadian travellers, this means that the testing and vaccination requirements for flying to Hawaii are now exactly in line with those of flying to the continental US.
Proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 antigen test will suffice, along with a Health Form to complete.
However, PCR tests are relatively expensive to obtain outside of Honolulu, and travellers may want to plan a few days in Honolulu for a free test or bring along their Switch Health self-test kits for a smoother return journey.
With travel restrictions now as loose as they have been since the start of the pandemic, I’m sure many Canadians will be making Hawaii their destination of choice during the upcoming winter and Spring Break holidays.
As always, you can refer to our Travel During COVID-19 Resource for Canadians for the most up-to-date information on travelling in the pandemic era.