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What to Pack for Hawaii

Headed to Hawaii for some fun, sun and relaxation? You’ll need the right supplies, clothing, travel documents and other necessary items to ensure an enjoyable trip overall. Before leaving, it’s wise to come up with a checklist of things to bring so you don’t miss out. Check out our tips for what to pack for your Hawaii trip.

The Basics

If you’re like most people and want to do some sightseeing, beach visits, shopping and exploring around town, you’ll need the basics. When it comes to clothing, keep in mind that most restaurants are fairly casual so don’t bother bringing fancy outfits or stuffy dresses and suits. Even the fanciest of restaurants allow sundresses and slacks. Most restaurants, you can get by with shorts and a nice top. For men, you can’t go wrong with khaki pants and collared shorts; for the ladies, sun dresses, capris or casual skirts are just fine. Here are some other basics you should bring, such as sweatshirts and pants for chilly nights or if you’re headed on hikes up to higher elevations.

• Swimwear: two per person
• Cover-ups
• Flip flops
• Long pants if you plan on going horseback riding or zip lining
• Sun glasses
• Sunscreen with a strong SPF
• Hat/visor
• Map of the island or download an app such as Hawaii which gives you maps of the island you’ll be visiting, along with info on flights, car rentals and reservations. Hawaii Traveler is another good one.
• Guide books, in print or on your phone
• Print-outs of your itineraries, reservations and hotel confirmations
• Wet wipes and travel-sized hand sanitizer
• Empty beach bag that you can fill later for outings
• First aid kit
• Medicines and prescriptions
• Rain coats or ponchos
• Phone chargers and battery chargers for cameras
• Memory cards


For every excursion you take while in Hawaii, you’ll need to pack accordingly. Hopefully, you have booked your tours and activities before leaving home. In that case, don’t forget to bring the following items if you’re going on a hike:

• Bug spray
• Hiking sneakers
• Back pack that folds flat in your luggage or fanny pack
• Moisture wicking clothing
• Dress in layers so you can add/take away as the temperatures change
• Energy bars and plenty of water
• Wind-proof jacket, thermal underwear and gloves if you’re going to extremely high elevations

Water Sports

Want to go snorkeling while in Hawaii? What about kayaking or other water sports? You’ll need a few things such as:

• Waterproof case to hold your money, keys, credit cards and phone
• Water shoes
• Water shirts with built-in SPF
• Your own snorkeling gear to save the rental fee every day if you have the space in your luggage
• Your own tubes for any resorts and hotels with lazy rivers
• Life vests and water wings for the kiddos

Handy Tips

As on every trip, there are extras you should pack to make everyone’s experience just a little more enjoyable.

• For the flight, pack your kids’ favorite snacks. Give them each a small backpack so they feel in charge, and allow them to fill it — within reason — with comfort items, books, electronics, travel games and coloring books.

• If you are traveling from another country, secure your passports a few months ahead of time to be safe. Bring copies of birth certificates rather than the originals in case they get lost.

• Buy souvenirs, clothing and other items in town rather than at the airports and super malls. You can always get a good deal at the local markets, knowing you’re getting something that’s a bit more unique than what’s in the touristy boutiques.

• Always pack the important stuff first — anything that allows entry into Hawaii and could potentially deny you entry should be at the top of your list, such as valid photo ID, birth certificates and passports. You’ll also need insurance information, flight information, rental car info, cell phone with password protection turned on, hotel confirmations, and plenty of cash and credit cards.

• Bring plenty of shoes, and pack them first. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and hiking, presumably, so don’t forget comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing, flip-flops for the beach, sandals for shopping, and hiking shoes for hiking mountains and volcanoes.

• Whether you’re going on a week-long, 10-day or two-week trip, pack enough underwear for each day. Sounds easy but especially with little kids who may have accidents, you can never have enough. You may even want to pack for a couple of changes per day in terms of outfits and undies, as you may go on a hike in the morning, come back to the hotel sweaty, then want to change for dinner out.

• Bring a list of phone numbers of emergency contacts in the unfortunate event you have to contact family back home due to emergency. Bring your insurance card in case you land in the hospital. Hopefully that will never happen but it’s best to be prepared.

Personal Items

When packing before you leave, make a checklist of items each person in your family should included in his or her bag. These basics include:

• Toothbrush/toothpaste
• Dental floss
• Deodorant
• Hair accessories/gels/shampoos
• Soap
• Brush
• Shaving cream
• Razor
• Multi-vitamins
• Medications and prescriptions such as epinephrine pens and multivitamins
• Empty tote for filling with souvenirs on the return trip.

While you certainly want to be prepared for your trip to Hawaii, it’s important not to over-pack to avoid extra baggage fees. This is not a third-world country; it is Hawaii after all and anything you forget from home — aside from crucial documents — can be purchased relatively cheaply here at Wal-Mart or ABC Stores.

It’s wise to book all your tours before leaving home, but you can call Hoku Hawaii Tours at any time to book the perfect excursion for you.

Heed these tips and you are sure to have an enjoyable Hawaiian vacation!