Hawaii Packing List

Packing for Your Trip to Hawaii

You’ve done your research, you know which island(s) you’ll be visiting, and you’ve planned your activities- great! But now you have to pack. And while that thought may elicit a *groan* from some people, we’re here to help!

No matter how much traveling you’ve done before, one tip serves as the "Golden Rule of Packing" for Hawaii: leave as much as possible at home. So what items should make the cut? Check out our suggestions on Packing for Your Trip to Hawaii to make sure you have exactly what you’ll need.

  1. Casual Warm Weather Clothing- With the exception of the most exclusive resorts, most places in Hawaii have a casual atmosphere. This means that shorts and a nice Aloha shirt are perfectly appropriate for dining out, even in the ‘fancier’ establishments. You’ll want several T-shirts, a few pairs of shorts, flip-flops or sandals, and a hat or visor. Cotton blend clothing is always a good option.
  2. Light Jacket, Long Pants, Raingear- It pays to be prepared for chillier weather, especially if you’ll be visiting some of the higher elevations. If you do, we suggest layering your clothing so you will always be comfortable. You’ll want a lightweight rain jacket or poncho (we prefer cheaper emergency ponchos since they are light and easy to transport), especially for rainforest and mountain hiking. Your winter coat can stay behind unless you think you’ll need it on the summit of Haleakala or Mauna Kea for those sunrise/sunset trips.
  3. Sunscreen- We cannot emphasize this enough: you absolutely do not want to ruin your dream vacation with a sunburn. Even if it is cloudy and rainy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to slather some on. Please choose a coral reef safe brand, as traditional sunscreen contains chemicals that damage and even kill the precious reefs.
  4. Backpack- To carry your necessities while out and about, especially when hiking. Here are some light backpack choices to consider.
  5. Water Bottle- Hawaii’s warm climate, combined with activities such as hiking, sunning on the beach, etc., make it very important to stay hydrated with a good water bottle.
  6. Swimsuit and Cover Up/Sarong- No one wants to put on a soggy suit. Take two, so you can wear one while the other dries.
  7. Footwear- Choose flip-flops, sandals, or other comfortable and lightweight shoes for beach/poolside and walking. If hiking is on the itinerary, you’ll need some sturdy hiking boots. Most zipline operators also require some sort of closed-toe shoe, as well. Do not buy new shoes right before you leave without breaking them in; you certainly don’t want blisters at the outset of your vacation.
  8. Bug Spray with DEET- Rainforest hikes can make you a mosquito magnet; head them off at the pass before they nibble on you. We prefer Repel Sportsmen Max.
  9. Camera- You’ll want to take lots of pictures of your tropical getaway, so now's the time to invest in a good digital camera. Make sure your photos will be backed up somewhere should lose your camera or phone. Of course, what equipment you choose to take may vary (a casual vs. professional photographer, for instance).
  10.  Flashlight- You’ll appreciate having one if the sun sets before your hike ends, or for nighttime strolls along the beach. We prefer long lasting LED powered lights to traditional flashlights.

Also Remember- Take any personal items that you cannot do without, such as medications, glasses or contacts, necessities for travelling with children, and the like.

Hawaii Packing Items

You may want to pack specialized gear based on your planned activities, such as hiking poles, snorkel and fins, and things of that nature. But remember, these items can take up precious space, so consider renting them when you arrive. Keep in mind that Hawaii is a huge tourist destination, so equipment rental is quite easy. You may also wait to purchase most personal care and toiletry items upon arrival, as well.

Here at Hawaii Guide, we are avid supporters of preserving the precious marine environment around the Hawaiian islands. That's why we support Be Reef Safe, a global campaign that empowers consumers and businesses to make positive choices for our oceans and reefs. We encourage you to learn more about their initiative and find some reef safe products to pack along for your trip. 

So remember: less is more when packing for your trip to Hawaii. Leave room for gifts and souvenirs; but most of all, leave your worries behind!

Article Edited/Contributed by: John C. Derrick & Michele Lopez
Published/Updated:

Terms of Use

The use of this website is your expressly conditioned acceptance of the terms, conditions, and disclaimers found within our Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability page without any modifications. Your use of this website constitutes your acceptance of all the terms, conditions, and disclaimers posted herein. If you do not agree with any part of these terms and conditions, you should not use this website.