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For those planning trips between the U.S. east coast and the idyllic Hawaiian islands, understanding the time difference is key to catching flights and making reservations at the right local times.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Eastern Standard Time is 5 hours ahead of Hawaii Time. So, for example, noon in New York would be 7am in Honolulu.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the time zone difference between EST and Hawaiian Time, including some tips for easily tracking the time difference.

Understanding Time Zones

What are time zones?

Time zones are regions on Earth that observe a uniform standard time based on their longitude. Each time zone is typically 15 degrees wide and observes the time at its central meridian. This allows areas in close geographical proximity to have the same time despite differences in longitude.

There are 24 main time zones around the world, which correspond to the 24 standard meridians (every 15 degrees of longitude). Major time zones include Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), Pacific Standard Time (PST), Alaska Standard Time (AKST), and Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST).

Why do time zones exist?

Time zones exist to provide a standardized method of accounting for the passage of time as the Earth rotates. They became necessary in the late 19th century due to the development of rapid communication and transportation, which made precise time coordination essential for travel, trade, and communication across long distances.

Without time zones, locations a few miles apart longitude could have several hours difference in local time. This would cause significant confusion in activities requiring coordination across distances.

Time zones enabled people to standardize their timekeeping based on longitude to facilitate better national and global coordination.

Today, time zones have enabled seamless travel, trade, and communication worldwide by allowing different geographical locations to observe a synchronized local time while taking Earth’s round-the-clock rotation into account.

The Eastern Time Zone observes Eastern Standard Time (EST) and follows UTC-5 during standard time. This means EST is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. It spans from Maine down to Florida and across the US to cover states like New York, Washington D.C., Ohio, and Michigan.

Hawaii Time observes Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST) and follows UTC-10, putting it 10 hours behind UTC. As its name denotes, the Hawaii Time Zone covers only Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands.

Therefore, the time difference between Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Hawaii Standard Time (HST) is 5 hours. When it is 12 noon EST, the time in Hawaii is 7AM HST. Similarly, 5:30PM EST translates to 12:30PM in Hawaii.

12 noon in New York City (EST) 7 AM in Honolulu (HST)
5:30 PM in Washington D.C. (EST) 12:30 PM in Maui (HST)

The Continental United States has four main time zones, with Hawaii lying farthest west in its own standard time zone five hours behind the East Coast. This allows better logistical coordination and synchronization within each geographical region despite being longitudinally far apart.

The 5-hour time difference enables smooth daily business across the two distant regions of the US while allowing proper observational timekeeping based on sunrise and sunset on either end. Whether it is coordination between financial markets or scheduling conference calls, the structured 5-hour gap makes inter-communication between EST and HST straightforward.

Key Details on EST and Hawaii Time

EST basics

Eastern Standard Time (EST) is the time zone observed in the eastern United States and Canada. It is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). EST begins observing daylight saving time, shifting to become Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), on the second Sunday in March.

Clocks are set forward 1 hour to 4 hours behind UTC. EDT ends and EST resumes on the first Sunday in November when clocks are set back 1 hour to 5 hours behind UTC.

Hawaii Time basics

Hawaii Time is the time zone observed by the state of Hawaii in the United States. It does not observe daylight saving time and is 10 hours behind UTC year-round. This means that when it is 12 pm in Hawaii, it is 10 pm the previous day in UTC.

Exact time difference

The exact time difference between EST and Hawaii Time depends on whether daylight saving time is in effect:

  • When EST is observing standard time, it is 5 hours ahead of Hawaii Time.
  • When EST observes daylight time as EDT, it is 4 hours ahead of Hawaii Time.
Time Zone UTC Offset
Eastern Standard Time (EST) -5
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) -4
Hawaii Time -10

More details on time zones in the United States can be found on the Time and Date website.

Planning Trips and Scheduling Calls Between EST and Hawaii

Booking flights with the time difference in mind

When booking flights between the East Coast and Hawaii, it’s important to factor in the 6-hour time difference. This can help you avoid arriving at inconvenient times like 3 AM local time.

For example, an evening 8 PM departure from New York City would arrive around 2 AM Hawaii time. For a better adjusted arrival, aim for late morning or early afternoon East Coast departures.

On return flights, an early Hawaii departure gets you back to the East Coast in the afternoon or evening. Just be wary of red-eye overnight flights where you won’t get much sleep.

Scheduling business calls across EST and Hawaii

Coordinating meeting times for colleagues in Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Hawaii can take some planning.

With the 6 hours between EST and Hawaii Time (HST), an 8 AM call in EST would ring phones at 2 AM in Hawaii – likely inconvenient timing.

Instead, schedule meetings for EST afternoon hours, like 2-5 PM, when Hawaii colleagues would be online between 8-11 AM.

Lunch meetings and calls aren’t well aligned due to the time zone difference. An EST 12 PM (lunch time) call would reach Hawaii at 6 AM.

EST Meetings Corresponding Hawaii Time
8:00 AM 2:00 AM
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
12:00 PM (lunch) 6:00 AM

For smoother collaboration across time zones, schedule core meeting hours when both regions overlap in their business day. Being flexible on timing also helps account for the time difference when coordinating between EST and Hawaii.

Daylight Saving Time and Its Impact

How daylight saving time works

Daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the warmer months of the year. The general idea behind DST is to make better use of daylight hours. By setting clocks ahead one hour in the spring, sunrise and sunset times shift from standard time.

There is more light in the evening hours instead of the early morning hours.

In most parts of the United States, DST begins on the second Sunday in March. Clocks move ahead one hour at 2:00 AM local standard time. DST ends on the first Sunday in November when clocks move back one hour at 2:00 AM local daylight time.

The impact is that sunrise and sunset are about 1 hour later on the clock than the day before for both DST start and end. The actual amount of daylight does not change, only the number of daylight hours leading up to the sunset.

DST in EST but not Hawaii

The U.S. Eastern Time Zone observes DST with clocks moving ahead 1 hour in spring and falling back 1 hour in fall. This means that during DST, it is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) instead of the standard 4 hours behind UTC during standard time.

Hawaii does not observe DST at all. This means Hawaii has a consistent UTC offset of -10 all year round. So in terms of standard time, Hawaii is always 5 hours behind the U.S. Eastern Time Zone.

During DST (from mid-March to early November), the time difference increases to 6 hours between Hawaii and the Eastern Time Zone. When the Eastern Time Zone returns to standard time each fall, the time difference goes back to the normal 5 hour difference.

Location DST Observed? Time Difference with Hawaii
Hawaii No N/A (Baseline)
Eastern Time Zone Yes 5 hours during standard time
6 hours during DST

So in effect, daylight saving time widens the time gap between Hawaii and the Eastern time zone by 1 hour in the spring/summer, then returns it to normal each fall/winter.

Tips for Tracking the Time Difference

Math tricks

Hawaii does not observe daylight saving time, so the time difference between EST and Hawaii is simple math. During standard time, Hawaii is 5 hours behind EST. Here’s a nifty trick: take the last digit in the EST time, subtract 5, and that’s the Hawaii time!

For example, at 3:15 PM EST, just take the 5, subtract 5 to get 0, so it’s 10:15 AM in Hawaii. Easy peasy!

Using time zone converters

Online time zone converters like Time and Date and Greenwich Mean Time make tracking time zones a breeze. Just plug in the EST time and set the target location to Hawaii. These tools even account for daylight saving time automatically.

For frequent travelers or those with contacts in multiple time zones, these sites are real time savers!

World clock apps

Apps like World Clock and Clock Widgets put world clocks at your fingertips. Add EST and Hawaii time to your list, and the app will instantly display both anytime. Many let you set alarms across time zones too.

So if you need to schedule an early morning video call to Hawaii, these apps take the mental math out of the equation.

With a few simple tricks, tricks, it’s easy to track the 5-hour difference between Eastern Standard Time and Hawaii Time. No more math blunders!


With cross-country and international travel, time zones will always complicate plans. But being armed with the key details on the 5-hour time difference between Eastern Time and Hawaii Time zones means you can show up on time for that flight to Honolulu or schedule meetings with your west coast colleagues.

Bookmarking a helpful time zone conversion site also makes juggling time zones a breeze. Now aloha! Time to book that Hawaiian vacation.

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