Packing List for Hawaii: What to Bring and What to Skip

Don’t let daydreaming about your upcoming Hawaii vacation get in the way of planning the details, like packing.

Before you go, get your ducks in a row so you can let the waves carry you away once you arrive!

The anticipation of a trip to a destination as exciting as the Hawaiian Islands could leave you forgoing some planning when it comes to a packing list for Hawaii. Whether you’re wondering what to bring to Hawaii for a week or just a few days, don’t be a beach bum and slack when you pack. Follow our ultimate Hawaii packing list to get started.

What to Bring to Hawaii

When traveling to Hawaii, it may be tempting to grab everything you see and cram it into your suitcase. Resist the urge to bring your entire closet and follow our Hawaii checklist instead. Here are the things to bring to Hawaii for your stint as a tourist.

Related Post: Hawaii for First-Time Visitors: 8 Tips to Know Before You Go

Packing List for Trip to Hawaii: Clothing

Come prepared with the right clothing to ensure your vacation will be free of any wardrobe snafus.

To meander through a tropical paradise, comfortable attire is one of our Hawaii must-haves. Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, and flip-flops are all acceptable when you’re living on island time in Hawaii.

However, if you want a less costumey look, here’s what you’ll need for hikes, beach days, and tours in Hawaii: 

  • Swimsuits
  • Rash guards
  • T-shirts and tank tops
  • Shorts
  • Sandals
  • Tennis shoes
  • Hiking shoes or boots, if desired, for extreme hikes
  • Jeans
  • Light jacket
  • Sun hat
  • Undergarments
  • Socks
  • Pajamas

Be sure to check the weather before you visit, and note that nights by the breezy shore could get a bit chilly.  To err on the safe side, stash a pair of jeans and a light jacket in your suitcase. 

cheap things to do in MauiWhat to Pack for Hawaii: Toiletries

Before jetting off, make sure you pack the Hawaii essentials:

  • Personal medicine
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Makeup
  • Face wash 
  • Moisturizer
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair products
  • Deodorant 

If you forget one of these necessities, no sweat! There are plenty of convenience stores to stock up on anything you may overlook when packing for Hawaii.

They have a bevy of toiletries, in addition to souvenirs and food items. 

Likewise, you can always ask the helpful front desk agent at your Hawaiian resort about the nearest store.

Things to Pack for Hawaii: Outdoor Gear

Unless you’re planning on camping on your trip, you can leave most of your outdoor gear behind. However, you’ll want to add these to your packing list:

  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Beach towels
  • Comfortable and supportive backpack
  • Beach bag
  • Dry bag
  • Reusable water bottle

Don’t forget the bags! Packing a bag in your bag may seem a bit redundant, but a backpack is essential for hiking trips, and a tote bag is a must for beach days. 

Related Post: Which is the Best Hawaiian Island for Kids?

And, if you searching for alternative ‘beyond the beach’ activities at these isles of paradise, we have tickets for thrill-seekers like a Maverick Helicopter Tour or Northshore Zipline Tour through the beautiful Maui backcountry.

There’s also the Delux Morning Snorkel & Dolphin Watch Cruise on the Kailua Kona, Big Island. While on The Big Island, you can’t miss Volcanoes National Park!

Three hula dancers in bright red and yellow costumes dancing on stage at Chiefs Luau in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
photo credit: Chief’s Luau via Facebook

Miscellaneous Items

Here are a few things to pack for a Hawaii trip:

  • Extra bag for souvenirs
  • Emergency cash
  • Credit cards
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Camera
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Underwater camera

Bringing an extra bag for souvenirs will help you place some limits on how much you can take back to the mainland.

Related Post: 10 of the Most Interesting Facts About Hawaii

A small duffel bag as an additional carry-on could help you stay within your shopping budget. If you’re planning a shopping spree, on the other hand, bring an entire suitcase to check.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more economic trip, we have plenty of ways to save. Read our 8 Fun and Free Things to Do on Big Island.

Pro Tip: A refillable water bottle is one way to help you stick to a budget while visiting Hawaii. Skip buying water bottles to spare some cash!

There will be more photo ops than you can count on your trip, so pack a camera if you want to take your photos to the next level. Or, don’t worry about this and just use your phone!

woman stuffing black suitcase full of clothes while sittingWhat to Leave Off of Your Hawaii Packing List

To free up some precious suitcase space, cut these items from your packing list. We’re looking at you, packrats. Use packing cubes to organize and streamline your suitcase as well!

Clothing

Here are some items your Hawaiian wardrobe can probably do without:

  • Extra dressy clothing
  • High heels
  • Bulky jackets
  • Scarves

Unless you’re heading to the Hawaiian Islands for a wedding or other upscale event, exploring beaches and tropical forests all day means you can leave your Sunday best behind. In general, a Hawaii vacation is a laid-back affair. 

Even if you have a dinner cruise planned, a nice sundress or shirt and tie will suffice. No need to impress — beach vacation time is a time to kick back and relax!

For incredible Pacific Ocean views, dancing, cocktails and delicious cuisine, try a sunset cruise on Hawaii’s largest, award-winning Star of Honolulu!

We mentioned you might want a jacket at night earlier, but keep this on the lighter side. Don’t waste space with a winter coat!

It may be common sense to forget scarves when traveling to a tropical climate, but we wanted to remind you even a thin scarf worn as an accessory could leave you a little extra sticky.

What to Take to Hawaii: Toiletries

One of the nicest things about staying at a resort is the abundance of complimentary amenities. Take advantage of all your hotel has to offer during your stay! Don’t worry about grabbing these items:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Hairdryer
  • Bath towels

Why pack these items when they’re waiting for you in your Hawaiian hotel room?

This will make your travel days smoother, too, as you can eliminate some liquids to worry about in the airport security line!

Outdoor Gear

Save yourself some trouble and leave these outdoor items off of your Hawaii packing list:

  • Snorkeling and scuba diving equipment
  • Surfboards and boogie boards
  • Beach toys
  • Beach chairs

If you’re a pro surfer, by all means, skip these tips and hang ten! However, if you’re a tourist, you won’t want to mess with juggling any of these items.

Opt to rent or purchase inexpensive gear once you get there. You’ll thank us later when we save you a Hawaiian hassle going through airport security. 

Hula dancer performing at Paradise Cove Luau in Oahu, Hawaii, USAMiscellaneous Items – Hawaii Packing List

Here are a few more things to cross off your packing list:

  • Items in violation of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Regulations
  • Expensive technology

Here is the official list of things you can’t legally bring with you. Unfortunately, you’ll have to leave your fur children with a pet sitter during your trip.

And keep in mind you’ll have to eat any golden, juicy pineapples you find on the Islands before you go.

When it comes to laptops, we’re doing you a favor. Use this list as an excuse to forget about your work email for a while. This will help you fully rest and recharge. Ah… true paradise. 

Woman snorkeling through a group of orange fish in Maui, Hawaii, USAFollow Our Hawaii Packing List for the Best Vacation Ever

Now that you have a list of what to pack and what to pass over for your Hawaii packing list for your family vacation in Hawaii, it’s time to start planning your trip itinerary! Head over to Tripster so you can fill it with activities and bundles that will help you pack in the fun while sparing some dough. 

Ready to get lost in paradise on earth? Grab your sunnies and your floppy hat. It’s time to say, “Aloha!” If you’re feeling overwhelmed on which great island destination to explore first, maximize your time on the island with our Big Island 5-day Itinerary

What Did We Miss?

Anything else we should add to our Hawaii packing list? Anything we should leave at home? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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Written by Michaela Satterfield

Michaela is a journalist who views every story she writes as an adventure, leading her to explore new places and meet new people....


9 comments about “Packing List for Hawaii: What to Bring and What to Skip”

Leslie

December 20, 2021 at 11:53 am

Aloe Vera-you’re bound to get some sunburn!


Teresa

December 30, 2021 at 6:13 pm

Absolutely! Great suggestion, Leslie! ☀️☀️☀️


Danna

August 26, 2022 at 8:01 am

I need to know the appropriate size luggage/suitcase to buy. 24”? 28”? 30”???

I have no concept of size/volume so I don’t know how much each size will carry. ☹️


Danna

August 26, 2022 at 8:02 am

For one week trip to Oahu I forgot to mention.


avatar of Teresa in blue tripster shirt

Teresa

August 31, 2022 at 8:21 am

Hello Danna! For a week in Oahu, a 29″ suitcase should work nicely. Enjoy your time in the ‘Paradise of the Pacific!’


Ann

August 29, 2022 at 6:15 pm

Bug repellant?


avatar of Teresa in blue tripster shirt

Teresa

August 31, 2022 at 7:58 am

Hello Ann! An excellent suggestion; thank you!


thomas hartman

September 2, 2022 at 12:01 pm

i wANT TO bring my laptop to hawaii not for business for looking up things and play my games on line. i have other thing to pack hearing aid charger and cell phone charger. you say dont bring laptop why


avatar of Teresa in blue tripster shirt

Teresa

September 19, 2022 at 9:25 am

Hi Thomas! When traveling to Hawaii, only you know what is best for packing! We simply offer suggestions on how to make the most of a relaxing vacation. Enjoy the Paradise of the Pacific with your laptop in tow!


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