Packing is usually the thing I hate most about a trip-I mean, how do you ever know exactly what you need? But hindsight is always 20/20 so once you’ve been to a destination you know EXACTLY what you need (or don’t need)! So I’m here to tell you (based on experience) what to wear in Hawaii.
The Weather: “It’s the beach so it’s warm all the time right?” Well, pretty much. If you’re staying down near the beaches and resort areas (pretty much anywhere on Kauai and Oahu), the weather will be pretty nice. It can get breezy at night so you might want layers and because you’re on an island and the weather can change in a minute, it’s usually nice to have some sort of lightweight rain jacket. If you’ll be visiting (or staying) in the upcountry areas of Maui and the Big Island, you’ll want to pack layers so you can bundle up, especially in the mornings and evenings.
Island Style: As far as the vibe of the island, everything in Hawaii is casual and laid back. Shorts and slippahs (flip flops) are respectable pretty much anywhere. If you’re wearing a swimsuit, most places will want you to have a cover up on. Even the fanciest restaurants will only have a “resort wear” dress code, which basically means “try not to look like you just came from the beach.” Khaki shorts and aloha shirts for men and sundresses for ladies are about as fancy as you’ll ever need to get in Hawaii.
- Shorts (these are some of my favorites)
- Tees and blouses
- Bikinis (at least two so you’ll always have a dry one. I love the brands Maaji, L Space, and Boys & Arrows)
- Cover up (my favorite kimono is from here)
- Flip flops (these are the ones I live in)
- Sunglasses (can’t go wrong with a pair of these)
- Beach bag
- Rash guard/sun shirt (these are my favorite)
- Hiking/athletic shoes
- Reef/water shoes (these are the ones I wear)
- Lightweight rain jacket (this is my favorite brand)
If you’re planning to go up to Haleakala (Maui) or Mauna Kea (Big Island), you’ll need to dress warm so plan to bring:
- Long pants
- Heavy jacket/coat
- Sunscreen (I like this kind)
- Bug spray (for hiking in the jungle)
- Binoculars (for whale watching and lava spotting)
- Snorkeling gear (if you’re planning to snorkel a lot, bringing your own is worth it)
- Motion sick medicine (If you’ll be on a boat or the Road to Hana)
- Flashlight (for exploring lava tubes or star gazing hikes)
- Waterproof phone case (this is the kind I use)
- Refillable water bottle (I never leave home without this one)
- GoPro/camera/charger/memory card
- Guidebooks (I like these for Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Big Island
The good news is that Hawaii is pretty developed so if you leave anything at home you’ll be able to easily pick it up at Walmart/Target or CVS.
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