Packing Tips

5 stars from 3 reviews
Pointers on what to pack for your Hawaii vacation along with helpful tips.

• General: DIY / How-To • General: Educational

Full Description
It's a common question when traveling to Hawaii, "What should I pack?" As we cover in our Hawaii Weather article, the weather here is fairly constant year round. While it can get a bit chilly at times, or even downright cold in certain places and elevations, those are the exceptions and not the rule.

So What Should I Pack?

Pack with warm weather (probably even hot weather) in mind. Many people could pack a bathing suit and never need anything else. For everyone else you'll probably want to pack a bathing suit and then mostly warm weather clothes. We're talking about shorts and t-shirts for the most part.

Guys, let's skip the tank tops and leave them for the ladies. They don't look good on any male, period. If you are a guy and it doesn't have sleeves then just skip it.

Ladies may want some pants and a sweater or jacket for night events and restaurants that run the air conditioning on the freezer setting.

Unless you plan to attend some sort of formal event or dressy restaurant you can leave the fancy clothes at home. Keep it casual. That doesn't mean you can dress like a bum and walk into a nice restaurant. At the same time, a bikini cover-up might be fine for lunch in a fast food restaurant but wouldn't be appropriate for a nicer table service restaurant. There are exceptions to this, especially beachfront restaurants which have easygoing dress codes, but casual can be taken too far even here in paradise.

As for shoes, we wear slippers here. Slippers are also known as sandals, flip flops, and thongs (not that kind of thong). Unless you are attending some higher end dining or formal event then slippers are usually all you need. If you are hiking (or doing a lot of walking) then you will want real shoes. If you want some foot protection in the ocean then consider some aqua socks / reef shoes.

Packing Tips

Want to lighten your luggage a bit or just make packing easier? Then try these top packing tips:

Save Old Clothes
When you have clothes that are nearing the end of their useful life (underwear, t-shirts, shorts, bathing suits, slippers, etc) set them aside for travel use. Assuming they aren't worn down to a few threads you can pack them, wear them on vacation, and toss them before you head home. This is a great way to make room for souvenirs on the way back.

Save Old Consumables
Similar to our tip above, you can use the same logic for toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, makeup, hairspray, and so on. When these items are getting near a low level just set them aside for travel. Use them up while on vacation and toss the empty container. It saves weight and space in your luggage, especially on the way back.

Do Laundry
If you are on a longer trip bring enough clothes for half the trip and do laundry in the middle of your trip. Many hotels offer an onsite laundry room of some sort so if yours does just do laundry in the middle of the trip. This saves a lot of luggage space and you can do a few loads of laundry in a couple of hours. I see that time as an excuse for another Mai-Tai.

Load Up On T-Shirts
Consider bringing a few extra t-shirts. It gets hot here. A lot. After a day of being out and about you may come back in a pool of your own sweat and the last thing you want to do is get cleaned up for dinner and have to put on a sweaty shirt again for your night adventures. So bring a few extra, plan to do laundry, or simply buy a few souvenir shirts when you get here.

Don't Over Plan
It's easy to pack everything you can thinking of for every situation you might run into but why bother? Hawaii is full of stores that sell pretty much anything you can buy anywhere else. If you end up needing something you will most likely be able to find it here. If you are traveling to a small island like Lana'i Island or Molokai Guide then that may not be as easy, but for the main islands we have access to pretty much everything everyone else does.

Vickey W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 123
Likes Received: 46
Okay I used to pack everything but the kitchen sink. But now with luggage fees I have had to pack wisely. Basic tips for me is one basic pair of shoes that will go with most outfits and when traveling the islands I pack several pairs of flip flops and usually wear tennis shoes as they are heavier and take up more room.

As for clothes, I now look for places to stay that has washer and dryer in condo or at least an in house laundry facility so less clothes to pack but simple tricks like several tops per pair of shorts/pants so you can alternate. I pack things inside of things to save room. I roll our clothes as to me it seems to take up less space. I collect sample sizes all year round and take less to bring back when returning and less space to take up.
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 237
Likes Received: 33
Pack light! I know that the first year, you will want to pack everything, at least we were. The more you go, the less you pack. All we take now is a carry on. Rent a condo where there are laundry services so you can do laundry as opposed to packing for clothes for everyday you are there. Hawaii does have Wal-Mart and Target stores to get your toiletries. Pack your medicine of course. Also, another tip, send your souvenirs home via US Mail. It is sometimes cheaper than getting charged for a check in bag.
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 426
Likes Received: 12
I have this problem every time I travel. Packing! My advice, don't take a lot. I always over pack and every time I'm there I hardly wear half of it. So pack light there is also so many affordable stores around to buy stuff. So I bring light and buy most of my clothes when I go. Bring beach attire, maybe a few dinner options when out at night. Sneakers is what you want for a hike or workout. A day wear shorts and tank tops. You really don't need a lot.
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