Hawaii can be a fun an exciting place to visit. From hiking to scenic waterfalls or trying some of the best local food the islands have to offer, perhaps the only thing that can make the experience better is having packing the right items for your Hawaiian getaway.

Here’s an extensive list of things you may want to consider bringing to the islands. If you don’t end up bringing reef-safe sunscreen, for instance, and decide to do some snorkeling, there’s always the opportunity to purchase it nearby. This list aims to save you from any unnecessary distractions so that you can maximize the time exploring all that Hawaii has in store.

hawaiian shirts

Clothing

  • Dresses. Bring two or three dresses for smart casual occasions. Dresses can also provide quick cover over a swimsuit.  
  • T-shirts. Pack t-shirts that will keep you cool during the day. Bring tees with long sleeves for chilly evenings.
  • Hawaiian shirt. Want to look smart when taking your significant other out to dinner. Look the part with a classic Hawaiian print shirt. 
  • Light jacket. For cold nights along the Hawaiian coast, wear a light jacket or cardigan. 
  • Waterproof jacket. A waterproof jacket or windbreaker protects you from the wind and rain. 
  • Pants. Pack a pair of jeans you can wear if it gets cold and windy
  • Shorts. Bring at least two pairs of shorts for warmer days. 
  • Women’s undergarments. Ladies, skin-toned underwear is your most flexible option. If you plan to work out or play outdoor sports, don’t forget to bring sports bras and socks. 
  • Men’s undergarments. If you plan to work out or play outdoor sports, don’t forget to bring and socks. 
  • Swimwear. Bring two sets, so that you have one to wear while the other is out drying on the lanai. 
  • Rashguard. Dress like a local at the beach and protect your arms from the harsh sun rays with a long-sleeved rashguard.
  • Sleepwear. Get a good night’s sleep in your favorite pajamas. 
  • Workout wear. Do you like jogging on the beach or practicing yoga in the morning? Or maybe you want to hit the hotel fitness center? Stay healthy while traveling by bringing workout clothes.
flip flops

Accessories and Footwear

  • Sarong. This flexible piece of fabric can be used as a cover-up or beach blanket. 
  • Flip flops. Perfect for a day at the beach. 
  • Flat sandals. Great for a romantic dinner or a night out around Waikiki. 
  • Aqua shoes. Aqua shoes or water shoes are a practical choice when at the beach. A sturdy pair of sandals that you don’t mind getting wet or sandy will also do.
  • Walking shoes. Hiking the trails or trekking the mountains? Then you’ll need a pair of hard-wearing walking shoes. 
  • Simple fashion accessories. Keep your earrings, bracelets, and other fashion accessories simple. Leave the expensive jewelry safe at home.

Toiletries

  • Shampoo and conditioner. Bring your tried and tested brands in travel-sized bottles.
  • Bath soap. Most hotel and resorts offer this, but it doesn’t hurt to pack a small bar.
  • Facial wash and moisturizer. Keep your face clean and supple throughout your trip. If you have a skin care regimen, carry travel-sized bottles of your skin care products.
  • Lotion. Protect your skin after a day of sun and sea with moisturizing lotion. 
  • Cotton swabs and cotton balls. Not all places to stay provide this, so bring your own, just in case.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste. You’ll be surprised how many forget to pack this.
  • Deodorant. Stay fresh all day and night with your trusted deodorant. 
  • Razor. One sharp razor should last you the entire stay.
  • Shaving cream. This is a nice to have, but not a must. I just use soap, but some might also call that barbaric.
  • Hairbrush or comb. Luxury resorts and hotels offer complimentary combs, but it’s best to bring your own pocket-sized hairbrush.
  • Hair ties. Downpours can happen. This helps keep your hair where you want it to be in cases of rain or high wind, like the area around Nuuanu Pali Lookout.
  • Hairstyling products. Whether you use wax or gel, mousse or sea spray, you want your locks to look their best. Make sure your styling products do not use aerosols.
  • Feminine hygiene products. Expecting your monthly period during your Hawaii getaway? Bring your preferred feminine hygiene products so you don’t have to rush to the local pharmacy or convenience store when the time comes.
  • Birth control. Always be prepared.
  • Lip balm. Prevent chapped or sunburnt lips with a good lip balm with SPF. 
  • Hand sanitizer. Keeps your hands germ-free with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Cooling wipes. These wet wipes with refreshing menthol are great for hot and humid days.
  • Insect repellent. Mosquito and other insect bites can be very itchy and irritating. Drive those pesky bugs away with a mildly scented insect repellant. Anti-mosquito bracelets are also a popular option.
sunglasses beach

Sun Protection

  • Hat or sun visor. You wouldn’t want the sun’s harsh rays to burn your scalp or get into your eyes. Protect your eyes with a wide-brimmed hat or visor.
  • Sunglasses. Look for a UV-protected pair that you can use during adventurous activities.
  • Sunscreen. Apply sunscreen all over your body (and apply a milder one on your face) every two hours. 
  • Aloe vera gel. You will need this to relieve the pain and itchiness that comes with sunburn. Avoid scented variants, as they might cause more irritation.

First Aid

  • Adhesive bandages. This first aid basic can protect small wounds and cuts. Make sure to bring the waterproof and flexible kind.
  • Prescription medications. Especially if you are taking maintenance medications (e.g., for hypertension, diabetes, mental health), bring enough prescription medications, plus one or two extra days’ worth. Bring copies of your doctor’s prescriptions, to be sure.
  • Motion sickness medicine. Does your itinerary include a cruise, boat ride, or flight to a distant island? Be prepared with motion sickness medicine.
  • Other medicines. If you or your travel companions are the type to get sick while traveling, pack some anti-allergy, pain relieving, cough and cold, and stomach care medicines. 
smartphone beach

Technology

  • Mobile phone. Need we say more?
  • Chargers and power banks. Don’t forget to bring the chargers for your various devices. If you are bringing power banks, make sure that they are fully charged beforehand. 
  • Camera. Do you enjoy taking extraordinary snapshots? Pack your DSLR, video, or action camera—and the necessary chargers, memory cards, batteries, or adapters—with you. 
  • Extension cord. Older hotel rooms tend to have limited electric outlets, so bring an extension cord to quickly charge all your gadgets. 

Travel Essentials

  • Wallet with credit cards and IDs. For identification purposes, bring your wallet with the credit cards you used to make reservations, as well as government identification. 
  • Passport and tourist visa. Traveling from overseas? Make sure you have the proper travel documentation beforehand.
  • COVID-19 test results. A must-have in the new normal of traveling. Check with your airline and hotel if you need to take a test before you fly in and out of Hawaii. 
  • Extra cash. Bring an extra amount of cash for emergencies. 
  • Keys. Leaving your house or car keys under the rug or in a flower pot by your home’s front door is highly discouraged. 
  • Flight information and hotel reservations. Carry both paper and electronic copies (i.e., saved to your phone and uploaded to cloud storage).
  • List of emergency numbers. Keep a printed and electronic list of emergency numbers from your bank, airline, hotel, etc. in case something goes wrong. 
  • Insulated water bottle. Minimize your use and disposal of single-use plastic bottles. Bring an insulated water bottle with you at all times. 
  • Books. Stick to paperbacks or a fully charged e-reader.
airport lugagge

Bags

  • Suitcase and packing cubes. Check with your airline for the appropriate weight and dimensions. Packing cubes, on the other hand, keep your clothes and other belongings from mixing up in your suitcase. 
  • Carry-on bag. Keep your valuables and important documents close to you in your carry-on, especially when at the airport. 
  • Crossbody bag. A crossbody or messenger bag keeps your hands free when traveling. 
  • Dry bag. You will need a waterproof or dry bag to protect your valuables and gadgets from the elements. 
  • Beach bag. A must-have on a day by the ocean. Pick one that can get wet or sandy, and is easy to rinse off.
  • Extra bag. Bring a foldable bag or two for shopping or for packing items you simply can’t stuff back into your suitcase. 

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Hope this packing list for Hawaii helps make trip planning a little easier! If there’s anything you would add to this list, let me know. If you do make it to the islands, don’t forget to check out my top shave ice places on Oahu.