Travel Nursing in Hawaii

Travel Nursing in Hawaii

Aloha! Travel Nursing in Hawaii

Many people turn to travel nursing in Hawaii in search of relaxation and their own piece of paradise. 

This string of islands is a coveted destination for both vacationers and a recent boom of travel nurses. 

With its lush green mountains and numerous gorgeous beaches, there are many reasons people want to come here. But what should you expect when you head to the islands in search of work and a home? 

Is island life all it’s cracked up to be ?

As I began my journey of travel
Nursing 3 years ago, I had my eye on a Hawaii contract. I’ve had the privilege of calling Maui home for nearly a year. I’d like to share 5 key things to keep in mind if your travel career has you taking a tropical turn. 

1. It’s more than money. But money is involved. 

It’s not very hard to goad nurses into travel nursing in Hawaii. Therefore from a business perspective of supply and demand, travel nursing in Hawaii doesn’t come with high paying contracts. At least not typically. I’m sure some specialties may be the exception. I have found that as I looked with many companies, numerous hospital contracts, and casual chatting with my travel nurse friends, that the average weekly take home to expect is around 1300-1500 USD weekly. This includes your stipend. Some things can change that total such as rental car, or company provided health insurance. But it’s just an estimated figure for you to keep in mind. 

The issue of expenses quickly comes into play. I was initially discouraged about travel nursing in Hawaii due to how many negative comments I received from the travel community warming of the horrors of “losing money by travel nursing in Hawaii.” 

I have not lost money yet. And you won’t either if you play smart. 

Average housing cost for a furnished, month-to-month place will cost at least $1000 and can range much higher if it’s a studio and not just a room in someone’s home. There are small guest houses on many properties called an “Ohana.” Those are often rented out for those travel nursing in Hawaii. Craigslist is a more reliable platform in Hawaii, although you should still remain cautious of scammers. 

Transportation on the island is necessary. On Maui, they have a public bus, but it’s not like a large city. Not having a car will limit what you do in your free time. If your company does not provide a car, look for a cheaper deal with local car companies. They will be much cheaper than Enterprise or big-name companies; And much more flexible. The average rental car will cost you $450-500/ month. For people staying longer than one contract, shipping your car, or an on-island purchase is common. Message me if you need a recommendation on Maui car rentals! 

To live we must eat. And food costs are higher in Hawaii. I would say they are comparable to L.A. and Bay Area for those familiar with California costs of living. 

On Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, there is a Costco. Worth 100% of the membership if you do most of your shopping there. Also looking for produce at local farmers markets. If you are not careful, food costs will be where you overspend. 

There are many great bars and restaurants in these vacation destinations. Set aside a budgeted amount of money and enjoy your time out. But once you’ve spent your limit, stick to eating at home. By meal planning and packing my own meals for lunches. I’ve managed to keep my food budget <$200/week.  

  1. Pushing Papers: Hawaii license. 

Hawaii is not a compact state and therefore you must apply for a license prior to travel nursing in Hawaii.  I got my license over a year before I had my contract. I knew I wanted to be here and I wanted to be ready when the right contract came along. It is possible to obtain a temporary license by employer endorsement. Since I did not do that, I am unsure of all that entails but your recruiter and employer should know that process. Recently fingerprinting was added to the license by endorsement. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the Board of Nursing Office is located only in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. You will have to make a flight to Oahu if you need anything signed and you are working on another island. So save time and money, you should consider doing this on the initial trip out to the islands. Aroundtripp flight island hopping is between $120-270 depending on the island.  Another issue to be aware of is the verification process can delay your licensing. For example, California takes 4-6 months to verify to Hawaii that you are in good standing with their board. This should not affect a temporary license but may be frustrating if you’re waiting for a permanent license. Be sure to includethe cost of license in your contract to negotiate your company to pay for as much of it as they are able. 

Also, pay attention to the expiration date of your certifications. Some of the classes are limited in Hawaii and you will have to fly to another island or the mainland to get re-certified. Be sure to include coverage of your certifications in your contract. I learned that the hard way !

Familiarize yourself with the process of licensing before you decide to look for contracts. Below is the link to the board of nursing.

3. Know Before you Go 
There are some things you should know before travel nursing in Hawaii to make you a good tourist and an even better caregiver. 

I knew a bit of history about Hawaiian islands, but nothing in comparison to what I know now. 

It’s important to recognize that although the islands are part of the United States, there are old wounds about how that took place. 

Especially with the older population, there was a time when their Hawaiian heritage was shamed. Hawaiians are proud of their history and they wanted to remain their own kingdom. The rest of the states are still referred to as “the mainland.” Read through this history so that you’re prepared to be culturally respectful. (

Hawaiian is both a race and its own language. Pidgin is a dialect of English that is like local slang. 

Family is “Ohana” and is most important in Hawaiian culture. Most family homes are multigenerational. They are generally a people who have great respect for each other and for the land. 

A few of the many words you will learn: 

Aloha :hello, goodbye, love, way of life

Pau: finished, done

Pau Hana: done with work 

Grindz: food, eat

Da Kine: means just about anything, used to describe something. Or categorize it. 

She-she: urinate, pee, void, you get the picture. 

Puka: hole, gap

  1. All Good Things are Wild and Free

I’ve given you lots of information. But it’s all to help you get here. And be ready to enjoy the magic these islands have to offer. 

Most days are spent in the water, on the water, underwater and finding the best sunset spots. 

Hawaii is known for its great surf, amazing diving spots, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. 

I’d encourage you to get scuba certified while you’re here. It’s a great investment that is worth a lifetime. I’ve already used my certification again internationally. 

The hikes are amazing and include sweeping island views, waterfalls or both. 

Make friends on the islands with people who like to hike. Many hikes are not marked and best shown by someone who has been before. Stay smart and safe while hiking. Rainy conditions are known to leave hikers stranded or dead from flash floods. 

Pick up a surfboard or stand up paddleboard. Travel nursing in Hawaii isn’t complete until you at least take a lesson. Rent or buy a snorkel. Once you pick up some skills and equipment. Enjoying the island is mostly free! 

  1. Aloha will Change You 

As this article is almost pau, And so is my time on the islands, I am reminded that this place is special. It brought out some of the best and some of the worst in me. I was taught patience as I experienced “island time.”  I was taught respect as I learned the moods of the ocean which has humbled me on many occasions. I’ve watched the sun dance along the water rivaling the captivating hula dancers.  I’ve seen the sky dance along and paint colors that I don’t even know how to describe to you. The islands are wonderful.  But it’s the people that make it home. I have friends who are travelers and also friends who are locals. There is something about island life that creates a space where you must live authentically. And making friends is making family. I’ve seen myself become braver, stronger, more friendly, more loving, more forgiving, and more adventurous than I’ve ever thought possible. 

I have been changed by aloha. And I invite you to do the same. 

Click here if you want to read Florida’s Licensure Checklist

Travel Nursing in Hawaii Licensure Checklist


335 Merchant Street, Room 301

Honolulu, HI  96813

Phone (808) 586-3000


Requirements and application:


*Hawaii is not a walk-thru state *No transcripts required

 Temporary License: 3-5 business days (Good for 90 days)

 Permanent License: 15-20 business days

Looking to work in a place where you feel like you’re on vacation on your days off?  If the answer is yes, look no further and expand your horizons in the tranquil surroundings of Island life in the beautiful state of Hawaii.  Sometimes, the little things we overlook can be the most important.  This statement rings true when completing your Hawaii RN License application for licensure.  The Board will be looking to make sure these following key items are completed correctly before they process your file any further.  First, you want to make sure you answer all questions listed on your application.  If there is an item not applicable, please indicate N/A where appropriate. Next, please must submit your full Social Security Number on your application, not just the last 4 digits. Remember to complete all prior disciplinary action and conviction questions (yes or no questions on application).  Sign and date your application (you would be surprised how often this doesn’t happen-per the Board). As nurses, you know that nothing is considered valid unless properly signed and dated.  Incomplete applications will cause a delay in processing and will ultimately, hold up full licensure of your Hawaii RN License.

FeesSend appropriate amount made payable to Commerce & Consumer Affairs (checks must be in U.S. dollars and be from a U.S. financial institution).  The Hawaii Board will accept a personal check, money order, or cashier’s check. 

 *If your license will be issued between JULY 1, ODD-Numbered years (2019, 2021) and

JUNE 30, EVEN-NUMBERED years (2020, 2022), the fee will be $234.00.

*If license will be issued between JULY 1, EVEN-Numbered years (2018, 2020, 2022) and

JUNE 30, ODD-NUMBERED years (2021, 2023), the fee will be $166.00.

Nursys – When completing your application, be sure to provide the date your License Verification was requested. If your state uses NURSYS to verify their licenses, please use their website:  and request a verification of your license. If your original state of licensure does not participate in Nursys, please complete the provided License Verification form on the website;

You will complete the top portion and your state will complete the bottom half.  Electronic verifications are not accepted at this time.  License Verifications are only valid for one year. If no Hawaii nurse application is received within that 1 year, a new verification of license will be required. 

 *Insider Licensing Tip* When mailing your License Verification form to your appropriate state to be completed, include a self-stamped/self-addressed envelope to the Hawaii Board of Nursing with tracking number information (this small step will ensure that your verification gets delivered to the Board and processed quickly).


This is a rather new requirement for the state of Hawaii. All new applicants for a Hawaii nurse license (LPN, RN, APRN or Prescriptive Authority) will be required to submit a full set of electronic fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining federal and state criminal history record checks.  Please visit Fieldprint Inc., at: to make an appointment, or to inquire about other available site locations in the Continental United States, you can call (877) 614-4361.

All fingerprint processing fees shall be paid directly to Fieldprint.  *Please Note: You must file your license application within thirty (30) days of your fingerprinting to ensure that the results can be obtained.  If the Hawaii RN Board of Nursing is unable to obtain the results, you will be required to submit to the fingerprinting process again.

*Insider Licensing Tip* Fieldprint code that you must enter online is FPHIBrdNursing (not case sensitive)

 Temporary LicenseTo obtain a temporary permit, the following items must be completed and submitted:

  1. Completed Application for Licensure by Endorsement with a separate $50.00 fee.
  2. A photocopy of a current U.S. nursing license indicating the expiration date of the license.
  3. A completed original “Verification of Employment” form (NSG-05) which must first be signed by your employer in Hawaii. Letters of hire will not be accepted.
  4. Proof of mailing the “Verification of License” form (NSG-03) OR NURSYS verification (receipt of certified mail, a copy of the cancelled check for the verification fee).

 A temporary permit can only be issued once and is good for (90 days). You can practice nursing only if employed by employer indicated on the “Verification of Employment” form (NSG-04). Once your permit is issued, no other will be reissued in care of another employer.


Now that all your I’s are dotted and all your T’s are crossed, you can sit back and relax, knowing you’ve completed all the necessary requirements for your Endorsement for Hawaii licensure. Please allow some time for the Hawaii Board of Nursing to process your application before you call them to check on application status.

*Please note* Applications usually take a minimum of 15-20 days to process.  When the completed application is received, please allow the Hawaii RN Board of Nursing at least 7 business days for the receipt before checking your pending status online. Once your license has been issued, you will receive a “hard card” in the mail. You can also verify licensure by going to their License Search, on the following website:


Happy Hawaiian travels…Travel nursing in Hawaii will bring you the Aloha way of life. Don’t miss out!






















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