Hawaii Packing List | Vacation Checklist of 25 Things to Bring

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If you’re unsure about what to bring on your next island escape, don’t fret. You’ll find a comprehensive Hawaii packing list in this guide to help you prepare. So, all you’ll have to focus on is enjoying the Aloha spirit.

Hawaii is a breathtaking U.S. state filled to the brim with natural beauty, from cascading waterfalls to serene shores. Whether you’re heading to Maui or Kauai, the islands of Hawaii promise an exhilarating stay.

But, knowing what to pack for a destination you’re unfamiliar with can be challenging. For this reason, we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow list that covers the clothes and essentials you’ll need for your exotic getaway.

How to Pack for Hawaii

Hawaii comprises 132 islands with eight major islands that offer thrilling adventures for all. These include Maui, Oahu, Kaui, Molokai, Kaho’olawe, Lanai, Ni’ihau, and Hawai’i (also known as Big Island).

When packing for Hawaii, it’s important to check the weather conditions in advance. The state is renowned for its pleasant tropical climate. And it experiences consistent weather with slight changes throughout the year.

Another vital factor to consider is the duration of your trip. It’s best to avoid overpacking, but you should make sure you have enough clean clothes. You can also check whether your accommodation offers laundry services. Additionally, keep in mind the kinds of activities you’ll be engaged in, such as water sports and hiking.

Regardless of when you choose to visit this spectacular spot, these packing tips will help you prepare for anything. You can find the ultimate guide on what to pack for a Hawaii vacation below.

Quick tip: Packing cubes are an excellent way to keep your smaller items organized and neatly tucked away. And some come with laundry bags so you can separate your clean and dirty clothes.

basket of travel goods

What to Pack for Hawaii Checklist – Clothing & Accessories

No matter the duration of your vacation, you’ll need suitable clothes for a Hawaii trip. It should be similar to any other island holiday. But be sure to keep in mind how long you plan to stay as it will affect the items and quantities needed.

It’s always best to pack versatile outfits to save on luggage space. Here are some essential clothing items to add to your packing list for Hawaii vacation.

Swimwear

Of course, no island getaway is complete without a fair amount of swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a number of beach days. Be sure to pack at least one comfortable swimsuit and cover-up.

Hawaii is renowned for its splendid surfing conditions year-round. So, if you’re keen on catching some waves, adding a full wetsuit to your Hawaii packing checklist would be worthwhile. But if you’re low on space, you could rent surfing attire and equipment on the island.

Tops

You’ll want to pack a decent number of tops or t-shirts that are comfortable and match with the bottoms that you’ll be bringing. We recommend packing clothes that can be worn together. So, try to choose tops that you can mix and match to get the maximum number of outfits with fewer clothes.

We advise packing lightweight t-shirts and tops made with breathable materials such as organic cotton. Additionally, UV protective clothing is an excellent option for tropical vacations.

Bottoms

Make sure the clothes for your Hawaii trip include casual long bottoms for the nighttime, as well as summer shorts and skirts for the daytime when it can get pretty warm.

Sneakers and Flip-Flops

During any island holiday, you’re sure to spend hours touring the towns and exploring the beautiful beaches. As such, you’ll need a few pairs of comfortable shoes. Be sure to add sneakers and flip-flops to your Hawaii vacation checklist.

sunset beach views in Hawaii

Hiking Shoes

The archipelago is home to some of the most incredible hiking trails. You’ll even be able to hike the world’s largest dormant volcano, Mount Haleakala, in Maui. Packing lists should include a good pair of hiking shoes, boots, or sandals that can weather all terrains. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the unforgettable views because you left your shoes at home.

Water Shoes

If you’re planning on clambering over rocks and exploring the rugged shorelines, a pair of water shoes would be good to add to your packing list. Hawaii offers plenty of climbable rocks and stunning shores. Canyoneering shoes also offer great protection and grip when you’re traversing waterfalls and rocky cliffs.

Whether you’re looking to climb or swim in the glistening waters, water shoes will provide you with extra support, breathability, and protection. And it’s an excellent choice if you’re planning to tackle a rainforest hiking trail.

Hat

A sunhat can often be overlooked when compiling a packing list to Hawaii. With the sun’s rays beaming down on you, a wide brim sun hat is an excellent option to protect your face. A peak cap is another great pick and takes up less space in your bag.

Jacket

While it doesn’t generally get cold, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Packing a light jacket will make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities.

Lightweight Pyjamas

Some nights can be a bit warm and humid on this tropical island. So be sure to pack a few pairs of pyjamas that are lightweight as you wouldn’t want to overheat during the night.

Underwear

The number of undergarments that you’ll need will vary depending on your trip. We advise packing one or two pairs of underwear and socks per day.

Quick tip: You can also use your underwear to protect difficult-to-pack items, including shoes and hats. Simply stack socks and underwear in any gaps between your clothing items.

What to Bring to Hawaii

So now you see, what to wear to Hawaii isn’t that difficult. Be sure to pack the essentials and clothes you’ll use in warm weather. But your Hawaii trip packing list is only just starting. Here are a few more things you should be packing for your archipelago adventure.

backpacking through a river

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

On an island holiday, you need to keep your skin safe from the harsh sun. But it’s also your responsibility to do it in a way that’s safe for the environment. Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs, and recent studies have shown that regular sunscreen is damaging to coral reefs.

As such, we advise using reef-safe sunscreen. And if you’re planning on spending time in the sea, you can opt for a waterproof option.

Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes is another essential while on your island holiday. Be sure to bring along a pair of UV-protective sunnies while you’re packing for Hawaii. This way your eyes will be comfortable even when the sun is at its brightest during midday.

Towel

You’ll need to dry off after your beach swim, but it’s best not to take up too much space in your bag with a towel. So, a small towel is one of the most convenient things to bring to Hawaii.

Additionally, you can opt for a sand-resistant beach blanket. It does not take up much space and offers a lightweight and quick-drying alternative. Most sand-resistant beach blankets feature a secure pocket to store your belongings.

beach in Oahu, Hawaii

Refillable Water Bottle

If you plan on tackling a hiking trail or touring the island on foot, you’ll need to have water on hand. It’s best to bring a refillable water bottle on your trip rather than buying bottled water. In this way, you’ll be saving money and the environment.

Backpack

If you’re going to be away from your hotel or resort, having a small backpack on hand makes it easier to carry all the items you’ll need. Although you could use other kinds of bags to hold the necessary items, a backpack offers convenience during outdoor activities.

Emergency Cash

While paying with your card is a lot more convenient nowadays, having cash-on-hand comes in very useful. You may find yourself in a cash-only situation, especially at street markets. It’s always best to have extra cash with you for any emergencies that may arise.

Mini First-Aid Kit

When thinking about what to pack for a trip to Hawaii, a first-aid kit may slip your mind. But it’s always best to have a small one on hand in case of emergency. It should include bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, surgical tape, pain relief medication, and small scissors.

Snorkelling Equipment

Hawaii is home to spectacular snorkelling spots. The islands offer crystal-clear waters, protected bays, and vibrant marine life that’s perfect for year-round snorkelling adventures.

If you have your own snorkelling gear, it would be worthwhile adding it to your Hawaii travel checklist. But there are also plenty of rental shops where you can hire the necessary equipment.

Camera

A device to take photos with is one of the most beneficial things to pack for Hawaii. Having a camera is perfect for capturing those memorable moments. The islands offer plenty of spectacular views to get Instagram-worthy photos.

Although you could take these on your smartphone, a camera allows you to live in the moment without distractions from everyday life. And an underwater camera is great for keeping memories of your diving experiences.

snorkelling in Maui, Hawaii

Smartphone and Accessories

Your Hawaii trip checklist would not be complete without a few essential electronics. These include your smartphone, charging cords, and a power bank. Additionally, a phone stand or tripod may come in handy as well.

Headphones

Although you could compile the perfect packing list, some aspects of your journey can’t be planned, like a noisy passenger on the flight. As such, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones would be beneficial for a relaxing trip.

Waterproof Phone Pouch

A waterproof pouch is great for protecting your phone during adventurous photography. So, if you’re planning on taking underwater selfies or epic photos of marine life, you’ll want to add this to your Hawaii trip packing list. It will also protect your device from shocks and drops.

Passport and Travel Documents

A passport, valid ID, and travel documents are essentials for a Hawaii trip that you certainly should not forget. Imagine arriving at the airport for your well-awaited vacation only to find out that you’ve left it at home. So, don’t forget to slip the necessary documents into your carry-on before you head out.

Quick tip: You can also use a wallet-passport holder to keep all your airport essentials organized and safe.

Travel Journal

A travel journal is a superb way to document the endless memories created on your trip. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of essentials to pack for Hawaii. But, a journal helps to keep things organized as you can store your itineraries. And it also boosts your creativity and promotes awareness, discovery, and self-reflection.

travel journal

Toiletries

While it’s better to leave a few toiletries off your Hawaii vacation packing list, there are a few essentials that you should bring on your trip. Your travel toiletries should include items that you typically use daily.

Travel size and dual-purpose items are great for saving space. Here is a printable packing list for Hawaii that consists of the basic products that you’ll most likely need:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Deodorant
  • Soap or body wash
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Facial cleanser
  • Make-up
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Hair removal supplies
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Nail clippers
  • A hairbrush
  • Contact lenses and contact solution
  • Medication

Although you won’t have to bring your entire skincare collection with you, it’s important to keep your skin healthy and glowing. For more information, check out this guide on healthy skin while travelling.

Wrapping Up Your Packing List for Hawaii

Now that you know what to take to Hawaii, you’re all set to start packing those bags and head to the famous islands. If you go prepared, a wonderful archipelago adventure awaits you.

Be sure to double-check your Hawaii packing list before you leave to make sure you have all the essentials, as well as a little extra room for bringing home a souvenir or two. It’s not every day you get the chance to travel to a new destination, so remember to take it all in and enjoy the trip.

Looking for additional planning tips for your island vacation? Check out this guide on where to stay in Kauai for splendid spots to unwind.