Traveling to Hawaii During COVID. What You Can & Cannot Do.

The traveling itch is getting to everyone. After a long year of rarely leaving home, people are finally feeling confident and, most of all, safe to travel. Hawaii sounds like the perfect first place to visit when you’ve been cooped up indoors for so long. Palm trees, Mai Tai drinks, clear blue warm water, and overall beauty everywhere you turn. 

Since we got married in Nov 2020 during a pandemic, we couldn’t take a honeymoon right after, primarily because at that time, things were still pretty much closed, and travel restrictions were still in place. Then February rolled around, and we saw that Hawaii was open and only required a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before flying over. We immediately booked our trip! So I’m going to go in full depth (as much as I can) on what is needed to visit Hawaii during COVID and what you can do and not do. 

Disclaimer: Things might have changed. Please always research and talk with your airline and hotel for more accurate information.

Pre-Travel Tips

Forego the 10-day self-quarantine by taking a pre-travel test

  • The test must be from a state-approved testing provider.
  • The test must be administered no more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure time of the final leg to Hawaii.
  • For trans-pacific travel, test results must be received before the flight departure.

Find a state-approved testing provider here.

For my bay area/San Jose people, here’s the list of steps to follow

  1. Select a COVID-19 test option
  2. Take the COVID-19 test 72 hours before the last leg of the departure
  3. Create an account on the state of Hawaii’s “Safe Travel” website.
  4. Upload your negative test results to your “Safe Travels” account.

Ok, so now you’re ready and booked to visit Hawaii. Now what? We did some things and some things we wish we would have done if we were to have booked things earlier.


We flew with Hawaiin Airlines because we had flown with them before and enjoyed the experience, so why not. The price was so reasonable as well. 


Our first stay was at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. 


In the Waikiki area, which is super popular and beautiful. There are numerous stores and restaurants everywhere within walking distance. If you walk 10-15 minutes, you reach the Waikiki Shopping Plaza that gives me major Santana Row/Rodeo Drive vibes but with palm trees. So beautiful!!

Since you’re a guest at the resort, you can enjoy renting chaise lounges and umbrellas and have them carry it out near the beach and have it from 9-5 pm. 


I love this resort. And overall the price is soooo affordable compared to other alternatives. You get a lot without having to pay an arm and a leg for a room you’re barely in because if you’re in Hawaii, you hardly spending time in the room anyway.


Since it’s in a bustling popular area, there are many homeless, which can get very crowded. 

The rooms aren’t as “luxurious,” a little outdated in my opinion but still, really nice. Tyler says I have super high standards, but hey, I like what I like, lol. 

Expensive AF.

The room itself is not as expensive, but the money you spend buying 20 dollar drinks tends to add up. Throw in some food and snacks, and you could easily spend hundreds of dollars in just one day. 

Tip: buy a big bottle of alcohol and make your drinks if you want to get buzzed or drunk. Lol.

The Kahala Beach Resort

OMG, where do I even begin with this beautiful resort? It’s truly unique, and I can see why it cost so much to stay here. They have a wall filled with celebrities that have stayed there, and it’s pretty fascinating. 


It’s a beautiful clean resort, and since it’s not in a super populated area, you get no homeless people or random people just walking in. 99% of the people are guests. 

The beach is more private, and you truly feel secluded and get that premium “resort” feeling I was longing for. Again, Tyler says I’m just too boujee sometimes, lol. 

Another pro is that they have the dolphin quest, which we did and loved! The experience was beyond incredible and definitely one we will remember forever and ever. I think it was one of my favorite things we did on our honeymoon.


If you don’t have a car, you’re stuck at the resort, and there are no stores nearby or within walking distance. So we were stuck eating and drinking at the resort daily!! The restaurant is pretty pricey. I think breakfast was $60, and dinners were $80 ish sometimes more if we got two drinks.

Water shortage.

Since there are no stores nearby, we had to keep going to the front desk asking for water bottles, and they give us some standard-sized ones that we will drink so fast. That was annoying.

Tip: maybe rent a car or keep your car rental longer if possible.

Speaking of cars


Renting a car was a great idea but renting a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport Edition was AMAZING and the best decision ever. We rented ours at Avis, located inside the Sheraton Hotel. 

We drove for four days with the top off, and it was magical. I’ve always wanted a Jeep Wrangler and driving one just reassured me I was destined for one. 

Being mobile allows you to visit new places. The thing about Hawaii is there is so much more to see than your typical tourist spots. Here is a list of things we did and the places we visited. 

Waikiki Area Places & Restaurants

  • Eggs N Things
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise
  • Sky Waikiki
  • Tommy Bahama Bar
  • Rocky Teppanyaki Japanese Steakhouse
  • Sunset Cruise
  • Dolphin Quest at the Kahala Resort- swim with the dolphins.

North Shore Places & Restaurants

  • Horseback Riding at Gunstock Rance
  • Polynesian Cultural Center 
  • Kayaking & Snorkeling at Kailua Beach-you island-hops on this tour. It’s fun and stunning. 
  • Waimea Valley and Falls-a quick 20-30 minute hike to the waterfall. So beautiful and worth it. You have to rent a lifejacket to be able to get in. Trust me, it’s worth it, and you won’t regret it. 
  • Cliff jumping at Waimea Bay Beach 
  • Seven Brothers Burgers-best food we had
  • Shrimp Shack
  • Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Things to book in advanced

Hawaii is there is plenty to do, and perfectly ok doing absolutely nothing but lounging at the beach, drinking, and relaxing. 

I hope this was somewhat helpful. Feel free to message me on Insta if you have any questions.


As always, thank you for reading. I appreciate you and your time.

– Damaris Dover


Voted #1 Bay Area Realtor on Social Media

Damaris Dover | realtor®

408.857.7789 | bre#01929839

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