Do I need a passport to go to Hawaii? To answer the question simply, if you are a legal US citizen, then you may fly to Hawaii without needing a passport, just like flying to another state. If you an illegal US citizen, then you probably have no business flying in the first place. If you are not a US citizen, or if you will be flying in from a different state, the law requires that you show a valid passport from wherever you are from.
Here are the general requirements for a flight to Hawaii, a bit of information about the place, and some travel advice.
As mentioned above, if you are flying from the United States over to Hawaii, you will not need a passport for entry. However, you will need a valid ID to present before boarding the plane. Ideally, your ID should have a recent photo just for identity confirmation.
If you will be flying from outside the United States, or if you will fly to another country once you depart from Hawaii, you will definitely need a valid passport. This also applies for legal US citizens. Canadian citizens once enjoyed the flight without needing a passport, but not anymore.
As for a visa, there is something called the VWP- the Visa Waiver Programme. Please note that not everyone is eligible for this program, and those who are still have to submit other requirements. Visitors from the United States or Canada will not require a visa in order to enter Hawaii, however, if you are from somewhere else, you will need a visa or be under the VWP.
The main airport of Hawaii is the Honolulu International airport located in Oahu. This is the entry and exit point of most places in and out of Hawaii.
The time of Hawaii follows Hawaii Standard Time, which is GMT -10. Hawaii is one of the only places where you will not have to adjust your watch! It does not observe daylight savings time.
Not only do you need a passport to go to Hawaii, but you also will also have to pack properly. The island life is very different from mainland living, so the best thing to do is toss out what you are usual expectations will be for packing.
- Take into account the fact that everything in Hawaii is shipped from the mainland. If you are planning on staying for a long time, make sure that your supply of necessities will not run out within the first week. Of course, there are convenience stores and groceries there, but once those run out of stock, you could be waiting weeks or months to get your hands on the product again.
- Casual is the name of the game in Hawaii. It is very seldom that you will see anyone in a suit and tie, so unless you will be attending business meetings or other formal occasions, pack mostly casual. Also, as you may have noticed, Hawaii is a hot place. Bring pairs of shorts, light colored shirts and flip flops, which are called slippers there, by the way. Slippers are very commonplace in Hawaii, and most people go around wearing them. Just remember: what you would usually wear in results will go by just fine in Hawaii.
- As for cash, the US dollar works just fine here. You do not have to pack wads of cash, of course, because ATMs dot the landscape plenty enough. Credit cards are also widely accepted there, so you will not have to take too much time worrying about your payment methods.
- Make sure to bring sunscreen and rash guards. The place is an island, and the beach will be hot with the sun high in the sky. Unless you want to go back to the mainland looking like a cooked lobster, protect your skin with sunscreen that has a higher SPF than what you would normally use.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
- The traffic is pretty bad in Hawaii, but everyone is quite chill about it. Coming from the mainland of the US where time is gold and everyone tries to do what they need to in the least amount of time, this is a jarring experience. Nobody seems to be rushing in Hawaii, and it would be best for you to go with the flow. Also, drivers are very polite to those they share the road with, including runners and cyclists. Everyone is pretty relaxed there, so if you end up beeping your horn angrily during traffic, you will stick out like a sore thumb.
- You’re on an island. This is as obvious as it gets, but some people still get quite a shock when it finally sinks in that they are surrounded by water. Of course, you can still fly out, but road trips are quite nonexistent. You can’t get everywhere as easily as you could in mainland USA, so just go with it and relax in your own little slice of paradise.
- You will get by just fine with English, though you might get a little confused with the dialect. Most of the time, you will hear a combination of English and a local dialect in the same sentence, which may or may not make it easier for you to pick up what they are saying. However, speaking plain old English will get you mostly anywhere you need to go. At the very least, know what Aloha means.
- If you don’t feel like swimming at the beach, you can go and ski. Hawaii has all of the climates available there, which you will find simply while driving around the island. This is definitely just as jarring as the traffic courtesy, so prepare yourself. It will be dry, wet, hot and cold with places to ski and snowboard as well as surf and swim.
- There are sacred sites that you will find in Hawaii. The purpose of these sights can be burial grounds or meeting places, so if you find yourself in such an area, be as respectful as possible. Don’t litter or make loud noises or run around. Try not to go there in general, unless you are with a local so you can observe what the proper actions should be.
WHERE SHOULD I VISIT?
1. Peal Harbor
This may be starting on a somber note, but if you are in Hawaii, there should be no reason for you to miss one of the quintessential sites of American history. You will see the site of the Japanese attack, and there will be notes of information for you to read. The USS Missouri is also here, and you will be allowed to walk on the battleship’s deck.
This is probably one of the most important places to visit once in Hawaii- of course, you want to try the surfer experience, right? There is a crescent shaped beach, with a big city right behind the shore for you to have access to whatever you need.
3. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island
For a complete 180 from Waikiki, make sure to visit 2 of the most famous volcanoes in the entire world. Kilauea is the most active volcano of the world, while Mauna Loa is the most massive. There are a lot of hiking trails and places for camping.
4. Maui Ocean Center
While it is generally much more fun to experience Hawaii’s oceanic life through the free waters, the ocean center is one of the best places to get a close up look without risking life and limb. You will see sharks, huge turtles and rays up close.
5. Polynesian Cultural Center
This is probably the best place to end a long vacation, where you can settle down and simply appreciate the colorful differences in culture. There will be portrayals of what can simply be called their island life in Hawaii, for you to better understand how everything runs. The performers mostly portray where they come from, which makes everything more natural. Once you leave Hawaii, you can say that you understand the culture a lot more than when you first got there.
Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The culture is rich, the people are friendly and the landscape is pretty much what you could call magnificent. The experience will be like no other, jarring at one point, but always something you would end up remembering years after.
You will find out just how different island life is as compared to city life, and you may be challenged by the cultural differences that you will find there. The important thing is to act with respect and appreciate the opportunity to be visiting such an amazing place- the locals are almost all friendly to tourists, and so you should feel right at home.
Make sure to pack appropriately, act appropriately, and have all of your papers and documents on point to enjoy your stay.