Hawaii Packing List

Packing for Your Trip to Hawaii

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

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Hawaii Trip Packing Suggestions

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- Most places in Hawaii have a relaxed 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 the 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 need it on the summit of Haleakala or Mauna Kea for those sunrise/sunset trips.
  3. Sunscreen- We cannot emphasize this enough: you 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 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 wear a wet suit. Take two, so you can wear one while the other dries.
  7. Footwear- Choose flip-flops, sandals, or other comfortable, 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 closed-toe shoes, as well. Do not buy new shoes 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 many pictures of your tropical getaway, so now's the time to invest in an excellent digital camera. Ensure your photos will be backed up somewhere if you lose your camera or phone. Of course, what equipment you choose to take may vary (a casual vs. professional photographer, for instance).
  10.  Flashlight- If the sun sets before your hike ends or for nighttime strolls along the beach, you'll appreciate having one. We prefer long-lasting LED-powered lights to traditional flashlights.

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

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. Remember that Hawaii is a huge tourist destination, so equipment rental is relatively easy. You may also wait to purchase most personal care and toiletry items upon arrival.

Here at Hawaii Guide, we avidly support preserving the precious marine environment around the Hawaiian islands. 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!

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