The Hawaiian islands are one of the most beautiful places on Earth, full of natural wonders and spectacular wildlife.
They’re also home to some of the prettiest beaches in the world and are a popular vacation spot.
If you want to visit Hawaii, do you need a passport to go there?
Even though Hawaii is 2,500 miles from the US mainland, all flights from the US are still considered domestic travel. US citizens don’t need a passport for any domestic flight, as long as they have a REAL ID. International travelers will need to provide a passport upon landing in Hawaii.
Traveling to Hawaii, What You Need to Know
For US citizens, you can fly to Hawaii as easily as in any other state. You just need a REAL ID (driver’s license, passport, or military id) and submit it to airport security.
While it’s very far from any mainland part of the US, all flights there from US cities are still considered domestic travel.
Any international traveler will need to provide a passport when they land in Hawaii. The same customs screenings are required in Hawaii as in the rest of the United States.
This includes US citizens that fly to Hawaii from another country, like Canada, Mexico, or Japan. These international flights will always require a passport and customs screening.
If you take a cruise ship to Hawaii, you’ll need to bring a passport. These ships make international stops and passengers are required to carry passports in almost all cases.
Aside from what ID you need to go to Hawaii, there are a few things you’ll need to know before your trip.
Sunscreen is a must any time you visit a tropical beach destination, but most forms of sunscreen are illegal in Hawaii.
You’ll need to purchase reef-safe sunscreen while you’re there or in preparation for your trip.
Like most forms of sunscreen, plastic bags are banned in Hawaii. You’ll be expected to bring your own bags on any grocery trip you make.
Sea life is protected in Hawaii, hence the bans on most sunscreen and plastic bags.
You’re likely to see stunning wildlife while in Hawaii but keep your distance. It’s illegal to approach, feed, or touch a lot of the wildlife in the area.
There are no bridges between the islands and there usually aren’t ferryboats running either. If you want to visit multiple islands, you’ll need to book additional flights most of the time.
Hawaii is a great place for surfing, but the waves and currents that create those conditions are also not the safest places to swim.
Always try to swim on beaches with lifeguards and avoid turning your back to the ocean.
Does Hawaii have travel restrictions due to COVID?
Currently, travel restrictions on domestic travel are lifted for Hawaii. Flights departing from the US and landing in Hawaii don’t have COVID-19 restrictions in transit or upon arrival.
Internation flights are still regulated by the US federal government and some limitations are in place. Due to the fluctuating nature of these regulations, check the US government’s website prior to booking your trip to Hawaii.
Is Hawaii safe for tourists?
For the most part, Hawaii is a very safe place to travel to. Many guests spend their entire vacation inside one of the fabulous resorts across the islands.
Like anywhere you go, there is of course the chance for crime in Hawaii. Tourist hotspots always attract pickpockets because the tourists that visit have money.
The best thing to do any time while traveling is always keep your valuables in a safe place or within your site, avoid going out too late at night, and follow any safety guidelines you can find.
There are also some dangerous places to go in Hawaii that have nothing to do with crime. The volcanos on the islands aren’t the safest place to be, even though they are spectacular.
Watersports aren’t too safe either and there is dangerous marine life that calls Hawaii home.
Generally, these things won’t be an issue as long as you follow safety guidelines while on the islands.
There is always the chance that something may happen while traveling, but Hawaii is one of the safest places you can visit.
Where can you travel without a passport?
A US passport will get travelers into 173 countries around the world without the need for additional visas and background requirements.
You may need some travel documents, but it’s always much less than expected.
US citizens can visit quite a few places outside of the 50 states without a passport, including all of the US territories, many closed-loop cruises, and Canada or Mexico with the right ID.
The US controls Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Wake Island, and Navassa Island as their territories.
Not all of these are populated, but quite a few can be visited by travelers, and US travelers can visit without a passport!
These include amazing travel destinations like Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands.
Visiting Mexico and Canada is also easy for citizens of the US who live near the borders.
NEXUS cards, SENTRI cards, passport cards, and enhanced driver’s licenses can all allow you to cross the borders for short trips without needing a passport.
Closed-loop cruises are cruises that depart from and return to the same port.
US citizens can sometimes travel to other countries on these cruises without needing a passport to stop over in those countries or to return to the US.
Passport requirements vary depending on the country the cruise stops in.
Mexico allows US citizens to visit port cities and their immediate areas without requiring a passport, though passengers must stay in those areas.
US citizens that fly from the US to Hawaii do not need a passport, as those flights are still considered domestic flights.
All international travelers or US citizens that fly from another country to Hawaii will be required to present a passport upon landing in the state.