What to Pack for Hawaii – Ultimate 2023 Hawaii Packing List
This is the ultimate Hawaii packing list and shares everything you need to know about organizing yourself for a Hawaii vacation. This article focused on what to pack for Hawaii and also includes a free printable checklist and Hawaii travel tips.
Regardless of which of the Hawaiian islands you are traveling to, you’ll want to make sure you pack the essentials! My Hawaii packing list includes clothes, beach essentials for traveling to the islands, and my favorite tropical outfits. Are you ready for some fun in the Hawaii sun?
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If you are curious about what to pack for a week in Hawaii or what to pack for 10 days in Hawaii, most importantly keep in mind the types of activities and excursions you are planning.
Hawaii weather is gorgeous year-round, and even the coldest month of January has an average low of 68°F and a high of 79°F in Honolulu.
While daytime temperatures at the beach in the Aloha State will tend to be gorgeous and warm, rainforest hikes, quick tropical rain bursts, and exploring areas of higher elevations will call for extra layers and rain gear.
So, as you plan for days at the beach, waterfall hikes, catamaran tours, snorkeling excursions, and evening luaus keep in mind the different clothing and layers (even a light sweater for a luau) for your Hawaii vacation.
No need to worry though, because this Hawaii packing list will make sure you stay organized and arrive prepared. Make sure to scroll to the end for information on Hawaii’s weather and seasons and other Hawaii travel tips.
We’ve also included a free Hawaii packing checklist you can pin to use later when it’s time to load up the suitcase. This list works for visiting Oahu, Maui, Kauai or the Big Island.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on some of the links in this post and purchase something, I might receive a commission (a good thing)! There is no additional cost to you and this is how I help support creating free content for you!
How to Pack for 1 week in Hawaii (This also works for longer trips)
Before we jump into the Hawaii packing list, I always recommend looking into travel insurance, especially, with the way travel has shifted in the last few years. Having a travel insurance policy is truly peace of mind. Below are my three favorite travel insurance companies. Take a look to see which is best for your travel plans.
1) Travel Insurance
In today’s today’s world, travel insurance is my top suggestion to everyone currently traveling.
It’s never fun to think about what could go wrong on a trip. A good plan can ensure that emergencies that may come up – medical trouble, stolen items, damage to your belongings, etc. – are easier to handle, and at little to no extra expense to you.
I highly recommend checking out World Nomads before you travel. World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover trip essentials and is very reasonable.
What to Pack for Hawaii 2023: My Favorite Beach Necessities
Whether you are looking for what to pack for 10 days in Hawaii or a week in Hawaii, this Hawaii packing list shares exactly what to pack for Hawaii vacations, with a free checklist and Hawaii travel tips.
Packing for a Hawaii vacation involves much more than throwing a bathing suit and a few items into your suitcase. These items are absolutely essential for a fun, worry-free vacation.
You might think it’s warm year-round in Hawaii, but the temperature does fluctuate. Even in the warmest months, you’ll want to pack a light jacket or sweater. The last time I visited was February and during the week, we had 5 beautiful warm days, one chilly day, and one day of rain.
A waterproof phone case is a must in Hawaii. Whether you are snorkeling or simply enjoying the pool the waterproof vacuum seal on the DryCASE will keep your phone safe and dry.
DryCASE is a flexible, crystal clear waterproof case that allows complete use of your phone or camera while keeping it dry and clean. Crystal Clear for taking Photos. Works with any Phone or MP3. Tested to 100 Feet for 1 Hour.
3) Snorkel Gear
There are plenty of snorkeling opportunities on every Hawaiian island. Traveling with your own mask and snorkel can save you quite a bit of money if you plan to do this activity several times on your vacation. I tend to leave my fins at home as they are so bulky, but always try to bring my own mask when I travel somewhere tropical.
The ProDive mask also comes with a waterproof bag, which is great for holding everything you might need on a boating excursion.
4) Biodegradable SPF 50 Sunscreen
Be sure to wear sunscreen! This sunscreen is 50 SPF and coral safe, as well as biodegradable. There is a huge problem occurring in parts of the world with coral reefs. With so many people wearing sunscreen with chemicals, it is killing the coral. Wearing a sunscreen that is reef-safe is the best solution.
Some of the snorkeling boat excursions won’t allow you to wear regular sunscreen in the water, and that means a sunburn. So do yourself, and the coral, a favor by choosing biodegradable reef-safe sunscreen!
5) Water Shoes
Water shoes always make it into my suitcase for beachy vacations, and they are definitely on my Hawaii packing checklist. They’re great for snorkeling, beaches with rocky water, and boat trips.
6) Beach Bag
A large beach bag really does make days around the pool or beach easier. This is one item I tend to forget and regret not having with me. It’s so nice to be able to throw a book, sunglasses, sunscreen, a bottle of water into one bag instead of carrying it to the pool or beach.
I like the Bulex beach tote because it keeps your items separated and also has an inside zippered pocket. The bag is collapsible and mesh, so you can easily shake the sand out after a day at the beach.
7) Swimsuit Cover-Up
A cover-up is an important thing to add to your Hawaii packing list. If you are simply headed down to the pool or beach, a coverup cute and comfortable. This one is soft and lightweight and will keep you cool on hot days in Hawaii.
8) Sunhat and Polarized Sunglasses
It can be quite hot in Hawaii, especially in the summer months. Even in the cooler months, if you are spending time at the pool or beach, you’ll want to protect yourself from the glare of the water.
A packable sun hat (that doesn’t crush in your suitcase) and a good pair of sunglasses are incredibly important to protect yourself from the heat and sun.
9) Day Bag
A mini backpack that can fit a water bottle, phone, camera, sunglasses and sunscreen for excursions. A backpack or medium-sized, cross-body bag are both great options. If you’re able to find a bag that folds flat so that you’re able to pack it flat in your suitcase is the best. I love the Baggallini anti-theft backpack.
Did you know? Every word in the Hawaiian language ends with a vowel.
Before we jump into the full Hawaii packing list, if you’d like a printable copy of the full list, I’ve created a FREE downloadable pdf you can use to check off each item for your tropical Hawaii vacation.
FREE PRINTABLE PACKING LIST
Get this Packing List!
Get a free, printer-friendly version of this packing list that you can use while packing (so you don’t forget anything important)!
Hawaii Packing Checklist: The Essentials
Wondering what to wear in Hawaii? It’s more than likely you’ll be spending most of your time in a swimsuit and flip-flops (which the locals call slippers), which is great news for your packing list!
When traveling to Hawaii, there are essentials you will also want to pack. For women, sundresses or shorts are perfect daytime wear. Resort wear like maxi dresses with sandals are a perfect evening look. For men, shorts or lightweight pants and a t-shirt are great for daytime and chino or linen pants with a button-down shirt are an ideal choice for the evening.
Some of the luxury resorts have dress codes and don’t permit sandals of any kind for dinner. Most restaurants range from very casual dressy casual. While sandals are essential for a trip to Hawaii, you’ll also want to make sure you have one pair of dressier shoes for dinner. If you enjoy outdoor activities such as zip-lining or rainforest hikes, you’ll want to be sure to pack a pair of sneakers.
Here’s a sample Hawaii packing list to help you prepare for your vacation!
What to Wear in Hawaii
We recommend comfortable shoes for walking, shorts, sundresses, and t- shirts. In the evening most people switch over to dressy casual – slightly dressier than their daytime attire – khaki shorts or trousers, polo shirts, aloha shirts, skirts, sundresses, etc. Below is a list of what to wear in Hawaii for a week vacation.
Locals and tourists are dressed in casual summer attire most of the time. In general, Hawaii is laid-back and dressy casual is the most you need to pack, even for a luau, dinner show, or restaurant.
- Underwear (nude and black)
- Bras (beige and black)
- Tank tops (white & black)
- Jacket or Sweater
- 2-3 pairs of socks
- Workout gear
- Rain Jacket
Beach and Swimwear
- Bathing suit
- Bathing suit cover-up
- Rash Guard
What to Pack for Hawaii: Women
Hawaii Sightseeing and Daytime Outfits for Women
Sundresses or shorts are perfect daytime wear. Resort wear like maxi dresses with sandals are a perfect evening look.
I always try to include shirts & tops that can be worn with several shorts, pants or skirts. This allows you to have more looks and less packed items.
- Tops (you can interchange with pants & skirts)
- Shorts or Skort (I love the Anatomie Suzzette Sport Luxe Skort. They have lots of pockets and are great for travel) Use Alexa10 for 10% off your order.
- Capri or casual loose-fitting pants
- Jeans (one pair of jeans is a necessity for all travel)
Evening Outfits for Women
Dinner Shows, Restaurant Dinners & Dinner Cruise – “Dressy casual.” Ladies: Slacks and blouse or dress shorts, casual dresses/ maxi dresses, skirts or Aloha evening wear, etc.
- 2-3 Beachy Vacation Dresses (here are some really cute options on Amazon)
- 2-3 pairs of light pants or skirts
- 2-3 shirts that can be worn with pants or skirts
What to Pack for Hawaii: Men
Hawaii Sightseeing and Daytime Outfits for Men
For men, shorts or lightweight pants and a t-shirt are great for daytime, and chino or linen pants with a button-down shirt or Hawaiian shirts are an ideal choice for the evening.
Evening Outfits for Men
Dinner Shows, Restaurant Dinners & Dinner Cruise – “Dressy casual.” Gentlemen: Slacks, Dress shorts, polo/knit/dress shirt, or Aloha attire. Jackets are not required, but you may wear one if you choose.
- khaki shorts or trousers
- polo shirts
- Aloha shirts (aka “Hawaiian” shirts)
- Flip flops
- Water shoes
- Hiking shoes – I love my Keen sandals and closed in Merrell hiking shoes.
- Exercise shoes
- Evening wear shoes
Accessories & Necessities for Hawaii Travel
- Packing cubes – the perfect way to keep an organized suitcase. They are the best things for packing and using them make it so easy to find what you want and eliminates chaos.
- Hanging Jewellery organizer can change your life! I love the Tidybagz Jewelry Roll Bag that hangs so I can easily choose jewelry to match my outfit.
- Swimsuit bag – Super useful on a beach vacation. Even if you only use it on the last day packing to go home. There is nothing worse than a wet bathing suit getting the rest of your suitcase wet!
- Toiletry bag
- Silicone Collapsible Travel Cup (why I NEVER drink out of glasses in a hotel room)
- A book or Kindle
- Sun Hat
- Polarized sunglasses
- Evening purse
- A purse that can double as beach or pool bag
- Cross-body day bag for excursions and shopping. I like the Baggalini, which stays secure to your body.
- Jewelry (A great way to dress up day looks to evening looks. If you prefer to pack light, jewelry takes up little space and can really make an outfit more dressed up).
- Rain jacket (You should bring this no matter what month you plan to travel. Rain happens in Hawaii a lot…. but it’s usually followed by a rainbow!)
- Reusable water bottles
Cosmetics & Toiletries
Most hotels will provide shampoo, body lotion, soap, and a hairdryer. Check in advance to see if they also provide conditioner or other toiletries. Many of the luxury resorts provide a considerable amount of extra toiletries.
- Sunscreen (I love Monda. It’s reef and ocean safe as well as organic)
- Bug Spray
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Body lotion
- Face wash
- Face serum
- Face lotion
- Eye cream
- Lip Balm
- Makeup remover
- Makeup bag
- Hair straightener/curling iron
- Hair ties and accessories
- Hand Sanitizer
Packing Tip: Pack all toiletries that can spill or leak in a Ziploc bag. Unpacking to find toothpaste on your black skirt or pants is never fun!
- Government issued ID or driver’s license
- Credit/debit card
- Travel insurance policies
- Documents for visas if you need them
- Hotel booking information
- Pre-booked tour information
Gadgets (non-clothing items)
- Laptop, mouse & cord
- Camera (I use a Sony Mirrorless.. A great mid-range camera for a good price!)
- Tripod (I like the Gorilla Pod)
- Selfie Sticks
- Charging cords & USB cords
- Electronics / Camera Bag for Charger and cable bags
- Snorkel & Mask
First Aid & Medications
- Mosquito/Bug repellent
- Sunscreen or spray
- First Aid Kit
- Medications – carry any required medications
- Aspirin / Ibuprofen
- Hangover Cure
- Seasickness prevention (I like Bonine)
- Probiotics – the number one best thing you can do for your health, especially when you travel, is to take probiotics. I recommend Travelan.
Food (Snacks & Breakfast Items)
Food is not normally on my packing list, but if you are on any kind of budget, you want to bring a few food items with you.
Why? Everything including groceries are more expensive in Hawaii because just about everything is shipped from California.
So, pack some of your favorite snacks for hikes, road trips, excursions or even for a midday snack. You can also bring food items that cover breakfast. Some of my favorite items to pack:
- Granola or nut bars (my favorite are Kind bars)
- Beef jerky
- Dried fruit and nuts (which can also double for breakfast).
- Box of cereal and almond milk (if you aren’t doing carry-on). Tip: place the almond milk in a large Ziploc bag.
- Chocolate and other sweet treats.
- Any other favorite snacks.
- Reusable snack bags (you can fill these with your daily snacks or take on a hike or excursion)
Did you know? The Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters: Five vowels and seven other consonants: H, K, L, M, N, P and W plus the okina symbol, which is considered a consonant.
Where is Hawaii?
Hawaii is a group of volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean. There are six main islands to visit in Hawaii: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaii.
The islands lie 2,397 miles from San Francisco, California, to the east and 5,293 miles from Manila, in the Philippines, to the west.
The capital of Hawaii is Honolulu which is located on the island of Oahu.
Hapuna Beach State Park on the Big Island of Hawaii was recently named by Forbes as the number 1 beach in the United States in his annual Best Beaches awards.
Hawaii is one of the most popular United States vacation spots for families, solo travelers and honeymooners. It has so much to offer: beaches, snorkeling, famous Oahu nightlife, a wide variety of resorts and all-inclusive hotels, shopping, and many islands to choose from.
All of the Hawaiian islands offer options for families as well as those looking for a romantic getaway. Kauai and Maui are especially romantic islands. Kauai tends to be more on the quiet side. The Big Island and Oahu offer endless opportunities for family fun including biking, hiking, beaches, waterfalls and so much more!
Did you know? Hawaii is the Rainbow State.
How Far is it to Fly to Hawaii?
It’s a six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Oahu. It’s about 9 hours and 30 minutes from New York to Oahu and about a 7-hour flight from Tokyo.
Top Hawaii Travel Tips
Beyond what to pack for Hawaii, I wanted to share a few helpful island FAQs. Below are some of the most asked questions about traveling to Hawaii.
Do I need a plug adapter for Hawaii?
Hawaii uses the same electrical plugs as the mainland US. Voltage is 120/140 at 60 Hertz. So, you don’t need a voltage converter in Hawaii, if you are traveling from the United States with electronics purchased with the same plugs.
What is the best time of year to visit Hawaii?
There are really only two seasons in Hawaii: summer from May to October and winter from November to April. The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is 85° F (29.4° C), while the average daytime winter temperature is 78° (25.6° C).
The coldest month of the year in Honolulu is January, with an average low of 68°F and high of 79°F.
There is also a rainy season and a dry season in Hawaii. The dry season is in spring, summer and early autumn and temperatures are slightly warmer during this time.
The wet season starts in late fall through winter.
Another thing to factor in is that summer and winter are the busiest seasons to visit due to school vacations and folks looking to escape snowy weather.
Spring and fall are generally the best time for lower prices and fewer crowds, as long as you avoid school holiday times like spring break.
Which Hawaiian Island Should I Visit?
There are six major islands to visit in Hawaii: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii.
Each Hawaiian island has its own distinct personality, adventures, activities, and sights. Only you can decide which island/s to visit on your Hawaii vacation, but we can give you a cheat sheet to help you decide.
Oahu has a variety of resorts in Waikiki and offers a combination of a city experience plus the opportunities for many tropical adventures. Waikiki has beautiful, white sand beach and fun nightlife. Oahu is a popular stop for many, making Waikiki more crowded than other islands in general. Oahu also has the North Shore for those interested in surfing and offers a quieter part of the island.
Kauai is considered the most beautiful Hawaiian island by many. It is known at the Garden Isle. In general, Kauai is known as a quiet, laid-back island and popular with honeymooners. Kauai is more of a tropical paradise that you probably envisage if you haven’t visited Hawaii yet.
Maui is the second largest of Hawaii’s islands, adored for its world-famous beaches, whale sightings, fresh cuisine, and amazing views of both sunrise and sunset. Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second-largest Hawaiian island. The island is beloved for its world-famous beaches, water activities, the sacred Iao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine, and the magnificent sunrise and sunset from Haleakala.
The Big Island is the largest Hawaiian island (officially called Hawai‘i) is an adventurer’s dream! The Big Island is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Kilauea. The island has black-sand beaches, green sand beaches and of course white sand beaches. It is filled with waterfalls, rain-forest valleys, lava deserts, and snow-capped mountains.
Molokai has a variety of oceanfront hotels, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfasts in the central town of Kaunakakai and the village of Maunaloa. The island does not have any resort options. Molokai has mostly paved roads to many area beaches, making it fairly easy to navigate.
Lanai is known as the Pineapple Island and is about half the size of Molokai. The island has two high-quality resorts including the Four Seasons and very good dining options. You will have to rent a 4wd (Jeep or Hummer) to reach any non-resort beaches. This is the least developed island in Hawaii. The island is uncrowded and offers some of the most pristine coral reef snorkeling in the Hawaiian Islands. If you want to relax, golf, spa, and hang out at the pool or beach, this is a great option.
FREE PRINTABLE PACKING LIST
Get this Packing List!
Get a free, printer-friendly version of this packing list that you can use while packing (so you don’t forget anything important)!
I hope this was helpful and lived up to The Best Hawaii Packing List and What to Wear in Hawaii This Year article you found! If you still have questions about What to Pack for Hawaii please let me know in the comments below.
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