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Can I Bring Flower Leis Home From Hawaii?

Once you wear a beautiful flower lei in tropical Hawaii, you will want to hold onto it for as long as possible. Likely you've been to a special occasion like a wedding or cultural event and have precious photos of yourself wearing your lovely lei. It is also nice to take it home as a memento of your amazing Hawaiian vacation.

So you might be wondering, can I bring flower leis home from Hawaii?

The answer is yes. But you need to follow some steps to make sure your lei makes it home looking fresh and beautiful.

Rules and Regulations

If you live in America, you need to check if your flower leis are made of products allowed in the country and specifically your state. Immigration inspectors will check your Hawaiian leis to make sure it isn't made from any prohibited materials. For example, you cannot take citrus plants out of Hawaii, and these are sometimes used in leis. There is also a type of vine and fast-growing lily sometimes used in leis that aren't allowed out of Hawaii.

They will also check that you are not mistakenly carrying any bugs or plant diseases on the lei. Always declare your leis so they can be checked by professionals who know what to look for. While your lei will more than likely be fine, it is best to be sure and avoid any fines or issues at the other end when you land.

You can also ask the person you are buying from if any fresh botanical fruits like berries and pandanus fruit are in the lei. Also, check to make sure the lei doesn't contain any citrus or flowers from citrus plants or a plant called Mauna Loa, as well as the aforementioned items.

Checklist - Make sure your lei doesn't contain any:

  • Citrus

  • Citrus plants or flowers

  • Vines

  • Lilys

  • Bugs

  • Diseased plant material

  • Fruit including pandanus fruit

  • Berries

  • Mauna Loa

The reason citrus is banned is due to Asian citrus psyllid, which could damage the American farming and agriculture industry. This pesky insect can carry a citrus disease that can be very damaging. Once it infests a crop, area or country, it is very difficult to irradiate. This pest loves citrus, fruit and ornamental plants. Some leis are made using citrus or leaves from citrus plants, so you can expect your precious lei to be checked carefully at the airport.

At the same time, be aware that most fresh fruits and vegetables from Hawaii are banned from the United States due to a strict pest control strategy. The exceptions are fresh coconut and pineapple, which must first be inspected. Some other exotic fruits, including rambutan, starfruit, and lychee, are allowed but only after they are treated at a USDA-approved facility and sealed in specially marked containers. It is a lot of effort, so maybe it is best to leave those tropical flavors as a sweet vacation memory rather than try to take them home. One reason holidays are so special is because we can experience indulgences not possible at home. Eating local food is one of those treats.

For More Information

Learn more about what you can bring to the

U.S. mainland from Hawaii on USDA’s “Agricultural Information for International Travelers” Web page at

How To Travel With Flower Leis

If you are buying flower leis especially to take home, buy them right before you depart, so they remain fresh. You can store them in your resort fridge to have them last longer. If you don't have a fridge, keep them in an air-conditioned room and/or put them in some cool water. While keeping them cool is important, don't let them get too cold. Putting them in the freezer, for example, isn't a good idea

Orchid leis can last for up to a week when treated with care. So you can enjoy them at home when your Hawaiian vacation is over and you are dreaming of the next time you can return. Or you might have a special someone in mind that you want to give a lei to and it really does make a lovely gift.

Make sure your flower leis are packed properly with a gel ice pack and insulation placed carefully in your bag, wrapped in tissue paper or plastic and not squashed. Also, keep leis on top so immigration can inspect them easily. Remove your leis from your bag as soon as you can when you arrive home. If you can, you should take your leis in your carry-on luggage, so they are not tossed around roughly by any baggage handlers. It will be ideal as they are fragile.

  • Check out How to care for your leis here

  • Check out 8 of Hawaii’s most popular Hawaiian leis here

Disposing of Hawaiian Leis

There is a special way to dispose of used flower leis. To be respectful, you should return the lei to Mother Earth by burying them or scattering the flowers in a natural environment like the ocean or a garden. Never throw them in the trash. Many people like to hang and dry their Hawaiian leis to enjoy them for as long as possible.

In Hawaiian tradition, the gorgeous floral lei symbolizes hospitality, love, respect and aloha. For this reason, they need to be treated with respect at all times. You might have received one on arrival to Hawaii, during a special occasion or you may want to buy some as a special souvenir of your wonderful trip. If you love leis, you can wear them any time and locals certainly will be glad to see you wearing one.

More Lei Etiquette

To follow proper lei etiquette, you should always accept a lei when it is given to you and not remove it if you are still with the person who gave it to you. The exception would be if your love gave it to you during your wedding ceremony because you will be with that person all day, all night and forever!

Who knew the meaningful and beautiful flower lei had so many details to follow, including taking it home and saving or disposing of it? We hope this article helps you understand the best way to travel with your lovely leis. If you live outside of the States, check with your airline, travel agent or government authority to determine the rules and regulations that apply (including many places you might be stopping over).

Where to get the best flower leis in Hawaii?

Ship flower lei
Packaging of 10 leis

Let us take care of the packing and preparing of your fresh flower lei. You can check out our website for more varieties of Hawaiian leis Here. Best prices & Best service with Aloha. Just click buy from our website to get our beautiful fresh Hawaiian leis. We can also ship local within Hawaii or make a call to pick up. The easiest way if you’re on the mainland is have your fresh lei shipped direct to you. Our High-quality leis can last long and hold up beautifully for your special day.

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