Why you should Visit Hawaii Right Now

Covid cases in the United States have been rising out of control over the winter, and most Americans are looking for some sort of a reprieve from the mandates and restrictions in their hometowns.

With Hawaii opening up for business and tourism in October, many have been trying to find a way to experience the islands for themselves.

We’ve just returned from a week on the islands, and without a doubt we can tell you that if you’ve been looking for a time to visit the islands, you absolutely should make right now the time to visit.

It should also be said, before we get too deep into the post, that you have to make your own choices of whether traveling or not is the right choice for you.

While we don’t condone nor condemn travel at this time, we realize that the choices you make as an individual or a family are yours to make, and we seek to provide you with an opinion of what we saw on our trip.

Tourists are Gone

As you can imagine, tourism has slowed to a crawl on the island. A once crowded and sprawling Honolulu has been replaced with a nearly empty Waikiki Beach, filled with locals and sporadic tourists from the USA.

International flights have all but stopped to Hawaii, so crowding is no longer a problem.

We called around for a snorkeling tour and found that if we wanted one, they were only with 1-2 people on the boats. If you wanted a tour, now’s the time to have virtually private tours with no one else.

On Maui, we drove around the island and barely saw any other cars on the road to Hana.

Rental Cars are cheap and plentiful

I can recall a time when rental car companies were charging over $100/day for Jeep Wranglers and convertibles would command the same price or even more.

For the dates of our trip, we found rentals with National Car Rental and Avis for only $17/day. We had considered saving up our free rental nights to use them for Hawaii, but with a weeks-long rental only setting us back $125, it seemed like a better option to pay.

You can see that this luxury Porsche had been parked so long at Honolulu airport that someone could write “wash me” on the hood. The parking garage was overflowing with vehicles.

Hotels are also Inexpensive

With the exception of the top end luxury hotels, hotels can be had for a song.

Rates for the main Waikiki hotels for our stay were only $109 a night, including breakfast and even parking.

If you’re looking to use your hotel points, chances are that the hotels will have rooms for you. Many chains, like Hyatt and Marriott, restrict some of their free nights to “standard rooms” only. With the lack of tourists, the hotels have plenty of rooms to go around.

We stayed at a Hyatt property and just casually asked the front desk what the occupancy rate was. For the dates we were there, the hotel didn’t get over 25% occupancy.

Beaches are Truly Secluded

Part of the allure of paradise is the “secluded beach.” Crystal clear blue waters and white sand are what people lust after, but because the beaches were always full in the winter with tourists, they’re nearly impossible to find.

On Oahu we headed east and found that the beaches there had a maximum of 40-50 people on them. Even Waikiki beach, with the exception of sunset, had plenty of space to relax, stretch out, and get some sun.

In Wailea, Maui, the beaches for the high end properties were nearly empty, considering the low occupancy for the hotels. Some of the hotels have not reopened yet, further adding to its true secluded nature.

Restaurants are Open

While you might find that many restaurants are closed in your hometown, many Hawaiian restaurants are open, especially with outdoor seating. Who wouldn’t mind outdoor seating when you have beautiful 82-degree weather?

Reservations are recommended, but not required. Hawaii’s economy is based so heavily on tourism that all the restaurants that we went to were beyond happy to see us, and we found that the food was even better quality. I imagine since there were less people to serve, more time and attention was given to the quality.

This won’t last for long

As people start to catch on, tourism will start to creep back up. Flights are going to start filling up again soon, so make sure that if you’re going to go, you should do it now.

It should be noted that there are special requirements to go, so head over to the Hawaii Tourism board website to see the steps required to get to the island without a 10 day quarantine.

Negative Covid tests are required before departure. You must wear masks at all times on the island. You must abide by local safety regulations.

Aloha, and enjoy your time in paradise!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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32 Comments

  1. Risking and spreading thr virus to other people to save some money. Got it.

    Folks.
    Don’t fly.
    Don’t travel.
    The virus spreads even if you don’t have symptoms. You can spread the virus without your knowledge.

    The post is irresponsible and deceptive.

    Post a Reply
    • Deceptive? No.

      Irresponsible? 100%

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      • You’re entitled to your opinion Dale. But I would venture that Hawaii is safer than the state where you live

        Post a Reply
        • The poster is not saying Hawaii is less safe than the mainland.

          The posters are noting that your presence traveling there increases the risk for the Hawaiian population. It’s not all about your personal risk.

          Interesting to see the nice time to be had there, but there is a risk involved not necessarily for the traveler, but for those already there.

          Post a Reply
          • There’s a risk involved with traveling to every city and state. At the end of the day I can’t convince people not to travel, and they’ll make that decision on their own. Am I to blame for writing the post, or are the airlines for flying there or is the governor for opening
            Up with limitations?

          • I wonder why anyone would subscribe to a travel blog if they are going to bash the author about travel. It was a factual article for those that are traveling.

        • Jon, safer because covidiots aren’t allowed or wanted. Wake the eff up and stay home until people have mass vaccinations. How hard is it not to be a tool for the next 6 months?

          Post a Reply
          • That’s a really good question. For some people, very apparently. Which is why we’re at tens of millions of cases

  2. I’m guessing the authors dont know what the word “boto” means in Hawaii.

    Post a Reply
    • What does that have to do with anything?

      Post a Reply
      • Nothing, it just made me laugh.

        Post a Reply
  3. Stop encouraging people to travel!! The US is in the midst of a massive surge of COVID-19 infections and long-distance travel will only serve to spread the disease further. People need to wear masks and move around as little as possible. Help is on the way in the form of vaccines BUT the US is still a number of months away from bringing COVID-19 under control. Please stop only thinking about raising revenue and have some concern about the greater good!

    Post a Reply
    • The truth of the matter is that nothing I say or do is going to stop people from traveling. I will say however I find traveling to Hawaii much better than gathering as a family for Christmas. Many people did that and you didn’t have any testing requirements. That to me is the travesty of this pandemic.

      Post a Reply
      • > The truth of the matter is that nothing I say or do is going to stop people from traveling.

        The truth of the matter is entitling a post “Why you should visit Hawaii right now” is encouraging more people to travel.

        More people travelling = more contacts = more spread.

        inb4 “but you can’t get it on a plane”
        1. The airlines all say this, so take it with a grain of salt.
        2. You can still get it at the airport
        3. You can still give it to others at the airport
        4. 2 and 3 again, except for your hotel and rental car counter and the restaurants you go to and….

        Post a Reply
        • Do you not feel encouraged by quarantines and testing?

          Post a Reply
        • Is there a test required to visit california right now, the state with the highest number of cases? You can drive there and walk around no masks required. But in Hawaii masks are mandatory in all public spaces. Even walking around. Seems a bit different.

          Post a Reply
          • California has the highest infection rate, and the strictest controls. Makes you wonder. Hawaii did it right. They controlled their borders, got COVID under control, then lifted the restrictions, requiring a negative test for anyone who wanted to come in. They should be a model for California.

          • I agree – you’re kinda making the point of the post… why Hawaii is a great place to visit, right now.

        • Except that

          1) on vacation, I am in far less contact with others than at home. I don’t work, visit others
          2) all passengers are COVID tested before they get on the plane
          3] much lower incidence of Covid in Hawaii among Residents
          4) #2 and #3 make for a much lesser risk for everybody involved.

          Post a Reply
          • #3 is the bone of contention of some residents and posters here.

            They view discretionary vacation travel adding to the risk Hawaii’s low COVID incidence will rise, and ask travelers to consider the residents in their calculus.

            The state govt and Hawaiian Airlines is airing ads encouraging – so they are fine with it – but that doesn’t mean residents won’t have a differing opinion with its own merit.

            New Zealand for example isn’t letting tourists in at all, and only from Australia *after* mainland cases were effectively eradicated.

            Which is right – who knows. But if you travel just for a holiday from a place with very high COVID transmission to one with very low transmission expect people to air concerns even if you follow the law.

  4. I’ve always heard there are a lot of homeless people in Hawaii. Since the tourists are gone, were homeless people more noticeable?
    I think travelling is fine as long as people are aware of the risk and accept the consequences in case they do get the virus and it becomes a serious health issue.

    Post a Reply
    • I think that perhaps because there were less tourists you could see more of them. They blended in more before. Also, barely saw any on Maui.

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      • 100% agree with you Jon. Going to HI after a negative COVID test is not only responsible, but encouraged. When I went last month I was exposed to fewer people than I would have been in a normal week in my locked down COVID infested state of California, which by the way, has the worst infection rates in the nation, despite having the strictest controls. I flew 1st and Delta One, got a great fare, and felt far safer in the HEPA filtered environment of the plane than I did at the supermarket.

        Post a Reply
  5. Great article Jon!

    However you should not respond the people attacking you on the comments, I think you did a great article as always and comes down to each person to decide if they feel comfortable flying or not.

    Keep up the good work!

    Post a Reply
  6. Please stay home. Numbers are up on Maui , where I live. I haven’t gone to the beach in months…. since the tourist came back. My son cancelled his Christmas visit out of respect for the kapuna. He’s born and raised here and has cancelled 2 trips thus far. I haven’t seen him for over a year. Again, please stay home, us locals really appreciate it!

    Post a Reply
    • I hope you stay safe and healthy!

      Post a Reply
  7. Jon,
    Thank you for your post. Hawaii is a favorite.

    Post a Reply
  8. It is a great time to be in Hawaii. The Safe Travel program seems to be working. To get to Kauai you need two tests 3 days apart to avoid a 10 day quarantine.

    Sad to say it’s mostly the local residents that bring the virus back from the mainland and spread it amongst themselves, not the tourists. Tourists tend to not go to large gatherings with no masks or distancing.

    Post a Reply
    • Look at the outbreak in Maui right now from a Condo complex – they won’t let anyone come in from the state to test or clean! Sheesh!

      Post a Reply
  9. I think the article is fair, reasoned, and well written. Yes, some people will take issue with travel for any reason now (I don’t as I have been travelling for work since May 2020 every week by plane save 3 weeks.) Mask adherence on planes is nearly 100% whereas your local grocery store or big box retailer is less and the cleaning is far inferior to a plane or hotel. In addition, the activities that are causing massive spread are people getting together for gatherings UNMASKED at their homes. That is what is causing COVID spread, not people like me who are getting on planes, using hotels, getting takeout from restaurants while on my trips, and supporting the local economy. Its the narcissistic people who let people from outside their household enter their homes give hugs, share food, etc. So Jon is correct, now is the perfect time to stop having unmasked gatherings in your hometown and get on a plane to Hawaii while following the rules.

    Post a Reply
  10. I live in Honolulu. Besides the selfish residents who don’t wear masks correctly, many, many tourists think they are safe because they got a test before arrival and the numbers are lower here for COVID. We are still getting 10,000 arrivals per day and most are refusing to mask up or social distance. It’s a concern for us. I am an older (kapuna) and have heard that if I am concerned, I should stay home and away from people (easier said than done).

    I am one of the ‘wear a mask and social distance’ crowd. Many people don’t agree. But it is counter-intuitive to risk traveling during a pandemic in order to benefit from the lower vacation costs because most people are obeying the new normal safe practice edicts.

    Just my 2 cents…..

    Post a Reply
    • Shouldn’t the police enforce more
      Instead of stopping tourism altogether? Seems like a good revenue source.

      I do want you to stay safe though!

      Post a Reply

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