All that you Need to Know when Traveling to Hawaii and/or Interisland Traveling
It's Kelsey here, at your service, with a blog that is quite different than the norm. But yet, it very much relates to the work we are doing thru Moi Moi Market. How so? Well bear with me and read on. I want to help with some questions that have been coming at me...and that is HOW DO I TRAVEL TO AND FROM HAWAII?
Why am I potentially the qualified individual to talk on this subject? Well in this season of pandemic uncertainty, I have traveled to and from Hawaii 3 times since March, and let me tell you the rules have changed EVERY TIME. So what I share is from my personal travel experience, but everything should be verified on the state's website.
(to see the updated rules to enter the state of Hawaii and/or inter-island travel click here)
Let me preface this blog to say I never realized how tourist dependent Hawaii really is. And for many of us to get back to work, it will require the arrival of tourists...safely. For countries, economies, and communities to thrive people need to work. For poverty to be fought, jobs need to be created. Over the last decade, as a society, we have made some ground in this area of employment worldwide. However, even with 2 steps forward, this pandemic has made us go 10 steps back.
And Hawaii has definitely felt the affects of economic shut down in ways most of the mainland has not, due to its very strict 14 day quarantine upon arrival. Who wants to spend loads of money to sit in a hotel room? I mean, an individual can't even go out and shop for food and it isn't like we have Uber Eats on the islands, well maybe in Oahu. My point is that 200,000 residents live below the poverty line, and in order for than number to NOT increase, Hawaii needs to safely resume tourism soon because the devastation will not be from the virus but the economic crumble of small businesses. We are seeing the same devastation in places like Kenya, Indonesia, and other countries who have made progress of fighting poverty through tourism, and when tourism stops people's livelihood stops; from tourist companies to small market businesses. And most of these countries don't have "stimulus programs" to keep families fed. Starvation is more of a fear, than the virus itself.
Hawaii needs you. Other countries and communities need you! People, worldwide, need to get back to work.
Let me share some of my travel experiences with you in hopes you can make the best decision for you and your family of when and how to travel.
As of October 15, 2020 Hawaii has "opened" but with requirements if you want to avoid the 14 day house arrest...I mean quarantine. (It's all about changing the narrative, right?)
FIRST: I have been in in over a dozen airports and several planes the last 8 months. Airports have never been cleaner and airplanes and staff have never been more focused on sanitizing than now. I don't think I've heard a sneeze, unless my own in the privacy of my own home, since March. Think about it? Haven't we all been conditioned to be so attuned to anything that would allude to sickness, never mind there are hundreds more viruses out there. I'm not sure the common cold could even be picked up from an airplane ride anymore. If someone dares not to suppress a sneeze or cough, thousands of heads turn and collectively the meanest societal stink eye is given. Guys, I write this lightheartedly, but in all seriousness as well. Traveling has not been more safe, and this is coming from someone who took her first flight end of April when we weren't sure if the virus climbed walls and teleported thru phone lines.
SECOND: Masks have to be worn at all times. If you find yourself hyperventilating from a more restricted airway, this will be a sacrifice you will need to be aware of and participate in. For 6-10 hours, you will have an suppressed air flow in the airport and on the airplane. Unless you are a smoker, you can take a breathing break in a smoke booth where one can finally breath real air again...I digress.
THIRD: A COVID test from one of the approved medical facilities from the Hawaii stamped list, APPROVED TRUSTED TRAVELER PROGRAMS ,needs to be taken and results in hand before boarding the plane. Folks, they ain't joking on the approved places to get a test, as I saw more than 1 person who was surprised by the news that their Hawaii vacation consisted of hotel room walls for 14 days (or less pending when their return flight home was) even though they had test in hand, just not an approved test. Now, let me talk to the procrastinator for a sec. This test is in HIGH demand. I personally had mine done at Walgreens, and had to exert the same Black Friday aggression, like that of sale shopping when Walmart is selling TVs to the public for $25 but they only have like 10 in stock), yea same dedication and drive is what is needed to secure an approved COVID test. In reality, one should make sure that they schedule a test 72 from when they board their flight. Don't wait, otherwise you won't get a test. Some airlines like Alaska, Hawaiian, and Southwest offer free testing but only from certain cities on the mainland. It could be worth flying thru that particular city if it saves you the headache of finding an approved testing facility with the approved test. However, call your airlines and discuss all your options with them. I have found that airline's customer service, especially Southwest Airlines, has been especially helpful and pleasant in this season (those are words you don't typically see in the same sentence). Like I mentioned before, I got my test from Walgreens, for free. For me, at the time I had to fill out a questionnaire which asked me if I had been in an area that had a high rate of COVID. With the whole world on a spike, I could honestly answer yes as I was coming from San Diego and it was just shutting down it's economy again. CVS offers the test, but they will charge you $140.
Interisland- Things may change faster than I can update this website, so I again emphasize check the sources (see links above). I had friends who came from Oahu for a small vacation mid-November. They had to take a COVID test 72 hrs upon arriving, however, as they returned home, a test was not required. COVID apparently likes Big Island better than Oahu, at least that is what our political leaders have concluded.
With all kidding aside, this is an unprecedented year. I hope that what I share is helpful. I don't have the answer whether you should travel or not, but I do believe quite strongly, that we need to return to work. We need to travel again. We need to understand the ripple effect our actions have and don't have to the world as a whole. For me, it's easy to get caught up in my own life's issues, but I'm reminded, it's a Big world out there, and what I do, don't do, buy, don't buy has consequences (good or bad) and directly impacts others. My hope, is that you can reach a decision that can positively impact you and the lives of others.
Former Captain of Adventure X Boat Tours
Founder/Visionary of Moi Moi Market
Host of The Talking Story Podcast