Hawaii is, hands down, one of the most gorgeous vacation spots in the world. Between the white sand beaches, incredible waterfalls, and overall “Aloha” spirit, spending time there is nothing short of heavenly.
But traveling with your dog to Hawaii? Well…that’s kind of a nightmare.
Hawaii might be a part of the United States, but because Hawaii is a set of islands, traveling there with your pet can be more challenging than traveling within the continental US—especially because the islands are rabies-free (and very, very concerned with staying that way).
If you’re thinking about bringing your dog with you on your next Hawaiian vacation, here are a few things to consider before you go.
You will need the proper documentation
Traveling to Hawaii with your pet can be more challenging than traveling within the continental US because you have to complete a significant amount of testing and paperwork well before you arrive in paradise.
The requirements for bringing a dog into Hawaii include:
- Your dog must have been vaccinated for rabies at least twice, and each vaccination must have been at least 30 days apart (the most recent test must be completed no later than 30 days before arrival in Hawaii)
- Your dog must have a successful FAVN rabies antibody test, completed no more than 36 months and no less than 30 days before arrival
- Your dog must have a valid and working microchip
- You’ll need to complete Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-279
- Your dog must have a health certificate from your vet, completed within 14 days of arrival, that outlines relevant health information (including vaccination information)
- Your dog must be treated by a vet for ticks within 14 days of arrival
All documentation must be submitted at least 10 days prior to arrival in Hawaii. Note that Hawaii has strict quarantine policies—and if any documentation is incorrect, incomplete, or not submitted on time, your dog can be held in quarantine for up to 120 days (!!).
Note that requirements may change and vary by airport and destination within Hawaii; make sure to check the State of Hawaii’s Animal Industry Division website for up-to-date checklists on everything you’ll need to do, get, and submit in order to bring your dog into the state.
Expect to pay fees (lots of them)
Not only is bringing your dog to Hawaii for vacation a hassle—it’s also expensive.
Fees vary based on which airport you fly into and how long your dog needs to be quarantined. If you fly into Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu and your dog is eligible for direct release at the airport, you can expect to pay a $185 fee. If they have to be quarantined for five days or less, that fee jumps to $244.
If you fly into any airport other than Honolulu (including Lihue, Kona, and Kahului), you’ll also pay a Neighbor Island Inspection fee of $165. If you’re flying into a neighbor airport, you’ll also need to submit your paperwork 30 days prior to landing and arrange for a local veterinary hospital to perform your dog’s inspection upon arrival.
Read the fine print
There are a few other things you’ll need to consider before bringing your pet to Hawaii, including:
- Be aware of your arrival time! Inspection hours for dogs at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport are between 8 am and 5 pm. If you want your pet to be released to you at the airport, you’ll need to land in Honolulu no later than 3:30 pm. If you arrive any later than 3:30 pm, your dog will be held in quarantine overnight until an inspection can be completed the following morning.
- Processing your pet for direct release can take some time; allow at least four to five hours from your arrival time.
Puppies under the age of six months will not meet the rabies requirements to enter Hawaii—and, as such, will automatically be quarantined for 120 days.
- From Hawaii.gov: “Pet owners are responsible for transporting all pets released from the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility (AAQHF) to their vehicles or the Interisland terminal. Airport security regulations do not permit animals to be let out of the transport crate on airport property. Pets must be picked up and loaded into a vehicle or onto a baggage cart in their transport crate. Therefore, vehicles must be large enough to accommodate the intact crate with the pet inside. There are no baggage carts or porters in the immediate vicinity of the AAQHF.”
Even if you were to successfully jump through all the hoops necessary to bring your dog to Hawaii for vacation? Good luck finding a place to stay.
Hawaii has very, very few pet-friendly vacation accommodations—so before you decide to bring your dog on your next vacay, make sure to scout vacation rentals and make sure your pet is approved.
Bottom line—leave your dog at home (and book a pet sitter through Rover!)
We’re all for bringing your dog on vacation to places where it makes sense—but the truth is, Hawaii just isn’t one of those places. Between the strict requirements to the hefty fees, the lack of pet-friendly accommodations to the potential for a lengthy quarantine, if you’re headed to Hawaii for vacation, it’s probably better to leave your dog at home.
And if you’re going to leave your dog behind while you explore Hawaii, you’ll need someone to keep them company! Book a pet sitter through Rover so you can enjoy your vacation in paradise—knowing that your dog is well taken care of at home.