An interview with Kevin Kaneshiro, Sales & Promotions Manager at Vacations Hawaii

How has interisland travel changed for Hawai‘i residents during the pandemic?

With frequent changes to travel requirements, make sure to check for updates  prior to your travel. As of April 5, 2021, Neighbor Island travelers entering O‘ahu do not need a test and no quarantine is required. If you are entering Kaua‘i or Maui counties, you can avoid a 10-day quarantine with proof of a pre-approved negative test within 72 hours of your arrival. For Maui, you will also have to  download the AlohaSafe Alert app ( For the Big Island, visitors can either do the 72-hour pre-test like the other islands or they can quarantine until negative test results confirmed from a post-arrival test.

How does the proof-of-vaccination process work for interisland, mainland and international travel?

Whether traveling interisland or out of the state, you will first need to set up your Safe Travels account at before your arrival to Hawai‘i. You will then need to get a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction) or NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test) from a State of Hawai‘i-approved testing site within 72 hours prior to your arrival. Most results take up to 48 hours, so you will want to take that into account when scheduling your test. Most COVID-19 test
sites will direct you to the valid test dates to book when you submit your arrival date.

Many testing locations require you to make a reservation online. Once you take your test, the company will email you a positive or negative test result in the form of a PDF. If negative, you can then upload the result to your State of Hawai‘i Safe Travels account or you can print a copy of your result to present upon arrival at your destination. I recommend both  uploading your result and printing a copy as a backup.

At your destination, present your negative test result on your Safe Travels account and you’re done. If you don’t already have it uploaded to your account, you would then need to process your negative test result at the airport with a representative. Lastly, within 24 hours of your arrival, you will want to fill out the 24-hour health questionnaire on the Safe Travels Hawaii site. Once complete, you will receive a QR code that will save you time at the airport.

What kinds of protections have been put in place for kūpuna visiting Las Vegas?

On Omni Air charter flights and at all Boyd Gaming Hotels, enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitization measures have been put in place. An electrostatic fogging sprayer further sanitizes the aircraft. Boarding protocols to allow for social distancing have been established. All flight attendants and passengers wear masks or face coverings during the flight. Pillows and blankets have been removed from the planes, so you may want to bring your own and/or warm outer apparel. Bottled water, canned soda, coffee or tea will be offered only with meal service. Customers are encouraged to bring their own beverages.

At Vacations Hawai‘i hotel properties, temperature checks are being conducted upon arrival. All guests are required to wear facial coverings. Hand sanitizer is available and complimentary for all guests. Guest spaces are cleaned and disinfected multiple times daily with EPA-approved products. This includes slot machines, chairs, table games, restaurants, kitchens, restrooms, doors, handrails, counters, ATMs, kiosks and Team Member areas. The frequency of air filter replacement and HVAC system cleaning has been increased. Slots, table games, and restaurant and bar seating are configured, and limited to adhere to social distancing recommendations. Guest occupancy limits are followed in retail shops, and banquet and meeting spaces.

Hawai‘i-bound travelers can bypass the 10-day quarantine by receiving a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of their return to Hawai‘i. Convenient COVID testing in Las Vegas provided by Worksite Labs is available at the Main Street Station for Vacations Hawaii and Hawaiian Airlines customers.

These PCR nasal swab tests do not require assistance. All customers must be scheduled no later than 72 hours before the departure of the last leg of the journey. The price per test starts at $90.

To qualify for a test, you must have an upcoming Hawaiian Airlines or Vacations Hawaii flight with a Hawaiian destination in the next 72 hours and proof of a ticket.

Hours of operation are 6am to 2pm, seven days a week. An appointment is required and can be made at

Walk-up testing will take place in the Main Street Station Social Club; drive-through testing will be held in the parking area immediately outside the Social Club (around the Main Street garage entrance).

Is there any way to arrange special meals?

Due to COVID restrictions, we cannot accommodate special meal requests at this time. Current meals consists of prepackaged items such as sandwiches, chips and candy. You may also bring your own food onboard for a long trip.

What accommodations can be provided for someone who requires a wheelchair?

You have the option of bringing your own wheelchair on Omni Air charter flights. There is no charge for transporting the wheelchair. Airport wheelchair service is available curbside; travelers will also receive assistance boarding the plane.

The same service in reverse will be provided upon arrival. Should you need a lift bus to eliminate walking up the steps of the bus or an aisle chair to be transported to your seat on the airplane, let us know and it will be arranged. We can also assist you with wheelchair rental.

What travel safety tips do you recommend for kūpuna traveling to Las Vegas?

Do your research prior to travel as to COVID restrictions and requirements for your destination. If you don’t have a mobile phone for uploading your test result, make sure you have access to a place to print a hard copy. Most hotels will assist or will direct you to a location that can help, like an internet café, FedEx or UPS store.

What changes do you foresee in your industry?

A vaccination passport, which would allow vaccinated people the ability to travel and interact with others with less  restrictions, is gaining support. As more become vaccinated, I believe this could work. After you get vaccinated, keep your vaccination card handy. That card may become a requirement for some venues.