How and What to Pack for Your Hawaii Vacation Trip

Tips and tricks on the most efficient way to plan and pack for your holiday to the Hawaiian Islands.


What to pack | What not to pack | Packing tips


Get Packing!

Suitcase Manwoman with luggageAre you packing for your Hawaiian vacation? If you're like me, I always seem to pack way more than I even use or need. Pack light because you're on your way to the tropics after all and the warm weather doesn't require a lot of layers. But don't forget to bring along the sunscreen and a pair of UV sunglasses. Hey Hawaiian tourists, be sure leave some room in your suitcase for the return home. You'll no doubt be loaded up with aloha shirts and other types of things you purchased in Hawaii that you can't get anywhere else.

Certain items are essential no matter where you're traveling. You need your travel documents such as driver's license, airline and rental car reservation confirmation, clothing, footwear and other home goods. Things like socks and underwear are simply necessities. It's important to make a list of the items that are most important to you and also necessary for a full vacation. Make a secondary list for non-essentials and cross off anything that's just taking up space.

What to Pack:

things to packFor your clothing, you will want to pack lightweight garments that are made of breathable fabrics. You might even consider "sun protection clothing." If you easily burn in the sun, a high UV rated sunscreen is a must. But if you need that extra protection, it's a good idea to protect yourself even further with a high UV rated fabric.

Some women enjoy wearing sheer gowns of varying lengths. Sundresses are always very appropriate for Hawaiian weather. Other comfortable options are t-shirts, tank tops, shorts and capris. Men will find that most days are spent in breathable shirts and loose fitting shorts. Everyone will want to bring at least one bathing suit, but two suits are ideal.

Most Hawaiian restaurants don't have a dress code. You'll find even fine-dining establishments are more relaxed than they may be in the big cities. But feel free to bring along a lightweight suit or dress to wear to on that special night out. But you may be more comfortable in your comfy dress-down clothes. Hawaii is simply a laid-back place with no real conformity in dress.

You might want to bring a variety of footwear if you'll be partaking in the variety of activities that Hawaii has to offer. Pack sturdy shoes for walking around while you're being a tourist, hiking and driving. But you'll definitely need flip plops / sandals for the beach. If you're planning on renting a car, bare feet or flip flops are not the best option to be driving with, so you'll definitely want those shoes. You'll also want hiking boots or at least some tennis shoes that you don't mind getting muddy to hike the rainforest trails and find yourself face-to-face with Hawaii's beautiful hidden waterfalls.

What Not to Pack:

fiull suitcaseCertain items don't require packing. Avoid packing thick coats and sweatshirts because they'll only take up a lot of room in your luggage. These items won't be used often and over packing isn't recommended. One sweatshirt or light jacket or sweater per person should suffice.

You want to be certain you have ample room for your return trip. While vacationing, you'll likely pick up souvenirs and gifts. These items need a place in your luggage in order to avoid being left behind.

It's important to also consider the rising cost of additional baggage charges. So if you have to check more bags for your return trip, you may find you're hit with an additional fee. Many airlines have increased their additional baggage charges making checking bags unaffordable for many. It's important to check with your airline about their baggage costs. That way you'll know beforehand how many bags you're willing to pay for, how much you can bring, and what you're willing to pack for the return trip home.

Some items can be left at home simply because they can be purchased in Hawaii. If you're staying in a hotel or upscale vacation rental, you really don't have to bring items like soap, shampoo, conditioner or body lotion. An never bring towels because no matter where you stay, they are usually always provided. You can pick and choose between your most necessary items and purchase the rest from a local Hawaiian grocery store. Certainly pack food snacks for the plane ride but don't over pack food. Like toiletries, food items can be purchased once you've arrived.

Packing Tips - How to Pack:

happy couple packing for tripWith the airlines assessing a surcharge for extra luggage or overweight bags, it's always best to keep the number of suitcases to a minimum. So pack as efficiently as possible. Only take what is absolutely necessary. Take advantage of special packing tricks like stuffing shoes with socks and underwear. Keep shoes in plastic bags to all else stays clean. To keep shirt wrinkling to a minimum while taking the journey in your suitcase, with or without them being on hangers, lay each shirt flat and stretched out on a bed, one on top of the other. Then cross/fold the arms of all the shirts over the chest of the entire stack. Then fold all the tails up to the chest. And then the neck/shoulder parts of all the shirts down over the tails. Then place the entire bundle into your suitcase.

minivanIn order to ensure there's ample room for all of your luggage when you're going to and from the airport to your accommodations, consider renting the most appropriate rental car model or size that's best for you. Rental cars can be picked up directly at car rental locations such as the Honolulu Airport or by taking a free shuttle bus provided by each agency. If you rent an SUV or minivan, you'll be treated to more storage space. You'll need the space, especially if there are more than two people in your holiday party. You won't have to depend on an expensive cab because your rental has you covered.

Check out our Hawaiian car rentals to find and book a car that fits your luggage needs.

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