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 pack for Hawaii.
First off, it’s helpful to know a bit about the weather and what the “vibe” of the island is. “It’s a 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.
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 cam 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.
So of course you’ll want all the beach basics:
- Tees and blouses
- Bikinis (at least two so you’ll always have a dry one)
- Cover up
- Flip flops
- Beach bag
- Rash guard/sun shirt
If you’re planning to hike/be adventurous, you’ll also want:
- Hiking/athletic shoes
- Reef/water shoes
- Lightweight jacket (preferably waterproof)
If you’re planning to go up to Haleakala (Maui) or Mauna Kea (Big Island), you’ll need to dress warm:
- Long pants
- Heavy jacket/coat
And of course, there’s the miscellaneous gear that you always end up forgetting:
- 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
- Refillable water bottle
- 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.
Grab a FREE printable packing checklist by clicking the graphic below. It’s going to make packing a breeze!
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