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Best Hawaii Packing List: 21 Items to Take to Hawaii

Are you going on a Hawaiian vacation soon and packing for Hawaii? See what essentials you should add to your Hawaii packing list.

Hawaii is a renowned travel destination for good reason: the islands are paradise on earth. From the stunning beaches and rugged coastline to the lush rainforest and active volcanoes, Hawaii has something for everyone. But what do you need to pack for your trip to Hawaii? Check out our packing list of 21 essential items to help make your Hawaii vacation perfect. Aloha!

We’ve been dreaming about returning to Hawaii. Probably because it’s one of those places that as soon as you get off the plane, you’re wrapped in a blanket of relaxation. Okay, some of that may be humidity, but the zen vibe is there.

Who else needs some zen right now?

The feeling of anticipation before a great adventure can be exciting and nerve-wracking. The prospect of starting your vacation in an unfamiliar place makes you even more eager to get going! But don’t worry, we’ve got this Hawaii packing list for all the items that need packing.

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What to Pack for Hawaii

1. Sunblock

Anything less than 50 SPF is not enough. Normally, 50 SPF does the job, but in Hawaii, the sun will burn you without you realizing it.

So if you’re one to easily burn, invest in a good sunblock that is reef safe and 50 SPF or higher. You can also pick up sunblock at a local market or pharmacy after you land.

Did you know Banana Boat now has reef-friendly products? I didn’t know either until our trip to Hawaii. 

2. Rash Guard

With that said, I highly recommend investing in a rash guard. I was refusing to wear one and then I was all about them after getting burnt.  

A rashguard will provide some sun protection while out swimming, snorkeling, and-or sailing. You should still put on some sunscreen. 

3. Sunburn Relief

When the sunblock and rash guard fails or you forget to wear it, have sunburn relief on hand. You will thank me later.

I love Maui Vera.

4. Water Shoes

Water shoes are a great addition to your Hawaii packing list. Especially if you plan to hit some of the beaches with lava rock formations.

These water shoes are great, they are comfortable and feel like lightweight sneakers.

Beach Packing List

Planning to hit the beautiful beaches of Hawaii? Don’t forget your snorkeling gear and other beach items listed on our beach packing list.

5. Rain Jacket

Depending on which island of Hawaii you’ll be visiting, you may need to invest or bring a rain jacket

If you’re visiting Kauai, one of the rainest places in the world, a rain jacket is ideal for your packing list. 

Also, just because it rains a lot from Kauai, don’t let that ruin your plans. We enjoyed 7 wonderful days in Kauai. While it did rain sometimes, the showers did not last. You can always get in the car and drive to another part of the island where it’s not raining. 

6. Packable Winter Jacket

A winter jacket for Hawaii? It is highly recommended if you plan to go stargazing at the Big Island Maunakea Visitor Center.

Alecia from Leisure Lambie suggests wearing layers and a winter jacket as it can get cold from high altitudes. You may even experience snow.

7. Umbrella

No rain jacket? At least add an umbrella to the Hawaii packing list. Get one that is easy to store and carry around in your bag.

Our Airbnb in Kauai provided one, so you may want to check with your host or the hotel if they have one available.

8. Sun Hat

Last but not least in the sun protection department, bring a sun hat!

Shield your pretty face from the sun while hiking, sunbathing, and even riding a convertible.

9. Leave-in Conditioner

For anyone that has a lot of hair, you may want to bring a leave-in conditioner. It will help keep your hair moisturized and prevent it from getting fried so easily.

10. Mosquito Repellent

Repellent is great to have on hand, especially if mosquitos just love you. Wear it daily, but definitely if you plan to go hiking and to the beach.

Natrapal is my favorite brand. They also have wipes that are easier to carry.

11. Sunglasses

And, don’t forget a pair of sunglasses with UV protection. Combine a pair of cool shades with flip flops and you’ll start feeling right at home in Hawaii.

12. Refillable Water Bottle

One of the things I loved about Hawaii is the fact that the island is working hard towards being green. Bringing a refillable water bottle with you and using it when you go out for the day will help with their environmentally friendly endeavors.

Besides, these water bottles will keep your water ice cold all day long.

13. Waterproof Phone Case

This is a lifesaver for your phone! When you go to the beach, sailing and any other water activity. It’s cheap and easy to use. Also, packs easily.

14. Waterproof Camera

You can’t go wrong with the Olympus Tough or a GoPro. These are two cameras are the best waterproof cameras. they are both waterproof up to 50 feet.

The Olympus Tough is more of a point-and-shoot camera that can withstand drops and rugged beach environments. While the GoPro is more for action shots and video but works just as great. They both produce quality photos and views.

If you go snorkeling, kayaking, or surfing, you’re going to want to have one of these on hand.

Best Things to do in Kauai, Hawaii

What are the best things to do in Kauai? Here are all the things we thought are must-see and must-do in Kauai. You can plan your vacation and choose which things to fit within your itinerary.

What to Wear in Hawaii

You will live in swimsuits, cover-ups, sundresses or long skirts (if you’re a girl), shorts, shirts, and tanks. Possibly, some linen pants.

Jeans? It’s too hot! 

That’s just my take. Hubby wore a pair of jeans on the plane and never wore them again until the day we left. He’s not one for shorts and flip-flops, but on a trip like this, he wears what the locals wear. 

  • The vibe is very laid-back and casual.
  • Bring items that are light and comfortable.
  • Try to stick to a color theme that will allow you to mix and match outfits, so you’re not overpacking.
  • Take into consideration what you have planned for your week in Hawaii, you’ll probably change twice a day (activities during the day and then dinner out at night).

15. Swim Suits

You can’t visit Hawaii and not bring a swimsuit. I expect you to be beachin’ it for a good portion of your vacation.

Bring at least a few sets of swimsuits. While one is drying back at your hotel, you can wear the other set to the beach.

16. Sun Dresses

Ladies, comfortable and light dresses are easy to wear over a swimsuit and to dinner at a luau. You’ll want to bring a flowy dress or two that won’t stick to you and when you get sunburnt. 

For a week in Hawaii, add at least 3 dresses to your packing list. 

17. Cover Ups

Cover-ups are great to quickly pull on and off over a swimsuit. They are light, easy to pack, and there many choices to choose from.

I love to have one with me by the pool or at the beach. After a swim, I can easily put it on if I need to head to the bar or grab lunch.

18. Shorts | Skirts | Light Pants

Shorts or skirts, and light pants are your best bet when hitting up warmer climate destinations. You’re not going to wear jeans. You can take a pair, just in case, but I promise you, it will be the last piece of clothing you’ll look at when it is warm and humid outside.

Cotton & linen shorts are great options.

Where to Eat in Kauai, Hawaii

Don’t miss out on these delicious local eats in Kauai, Hawaii.

19. Shirts | Tank Tops

Pack several options. A mix of t-shirts, tank tops, and button-down shirts.

Stick with breathable fabrics.

20. Sandals | Flip Flops

When you visit a Hawaiian home, you should leave your shoes at the door. Most have a shoes-off policy. It’s easier to just be in flip-flops or sandals as they are easy to slip on and off. 

If you are staying in a vacation rental, the host may ask for you to leave your shoes at the door. 

Sandals will be your preferred shoe to wear while in Hawaii. So make sure to bring a couple of ones you like walking in. I suggest a pair of flip-flops and a pair of sandals that match everything you wear when you dress up for more than the beach.

21. Sneakers | Hiking Boots

If you’re a hiker and planning to hit a few trails, you may want to bring a pair of sneakers or hiking boots with you. It’s the best option to keep your feet safe. Especially if you plan to hike a volcano.

I suggest wearing your sneakers on travel days, so you save the room in your luggage. Keep flip-flops handy in your travel backpack and then just change them out once you land.

Hawaii Packing List

  1. Sunblock
  2. Rash Guard
  3. Sunburn Relief
  4. Rain Jacket
  5. Packable Winter Jacket
  6. Umbrella
  7. Water shoes
  8. Sun Hat
  9. Leave-in Conditioner
  10. Mosquito Repellent
  11. Sunglasses
  12. Refillable Water Bottle
  13. Waterproof Phone Case
  14. Waterproof Camera
  15. Sundresses
  16. Shorts
  17. Swimsuits
  18. Cover ups
  19. Sandals / Flip Flops
  20. T-Shirts / Tanks
  21. Sneakers and Hiking Boots


  1. Print this list.
  2. Make sure you have everything you need or make notes on what you'll need to buy once you land.
  3. Pack.
  4. Have a fabulous time in Hawaii.

Find this list helpful?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Now, I don’t think I need to tell you to pack undergarments and your favorite toiletries that you can’t live without.

You will absolutely love your time in Hawaii, no matter which island you choose to visit. It’s a beautiful state with plenty of things to do and a fantastic destination to spend some time in.

Is there anything you would add to this Hawaii packing list? What do you have planned for your Hawaii vacation?

If you need help with your carry-on backpack, check out our must-have travel essentials list.


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Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

We used those waterproof phone cases for the Blue Lagoon, lol!! They actually work really well. The only thing we didn't really account for was the STEAM, which fogged them up for pics. I don't think Hawaii-goers will have that problem, though. They definitely kept the water out. People were totally eyeing our cases, like DAMN, why didn't we think of that?!

Omg, we always forget to pack sunscreen and bug spray. It costs so much more money abroad, too, and then you end up with a brand that you aren't sure will work or not (or may work better). I always get burned, and I always get the crazist bug bites while traveling!

I still need to find a better pair of hiking boots. I tend to hike in my running shoes, which is going to make me break my tailbone one day. Whenever we travel, I don't have the right shoes or enough shoes.


Monday 27th of July 2020

The waterproof cases are great! We used it going river tubing in Kauai. The iPhone may be water-resistant but why risk it? Also, it keeps it around your neck and from falling into the water. Then what? We go diving?

Sometimes I bring the bug spray and still forget it back at the hotel. HA. I love the Natrapel. WE were in Costa Rica and everyone around us at the bar was getting bitten, spraying OFF and hubby and I were sitting pretty with little to no bites. Since then, I always bring it with me on every trip. And yeah, all this stuff ends up costing soo much more abroad.

I wear my sneakers, too. If I were an avid hiker, I'd have to invest in hiking boots eventually. Maybe. Lol


Friday 17th of July 2020

Great list, Kathy! My travels to Hawaii have taken me to Oahu once, and Big Island twice. I would go back now if I could. If visitors to Big Island plan to visit the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center for the wonderful star gazing opportunities it presents, I would recommend dressIng in layers and bringIng a packable winter jacket. The temperatures at that altitude can easily get to freezing or below. If the summit is open to visitors, they may witness snow during their visit! I would also add mosquito repellent to the list. It’s great to have it on hand during hikes.


Monday 20th of July 2020

Hi Alecia - Thank you so much for reading and your suggestions! I added the packable winter jacket as that is a great idea. I would never have thought of it because I usually kind of stay away from anywhere cold HAHA. Joking. However, I had added it to the link and a link back to our site. I truly appreciate it. I can't wait to go stargazing on the Big Island one day.

Also added the mosquito spray becuase it is so true, a must. Sometimes I think adding things that I may have on another blog post is redundant, but the truth is that it probably is for me but not for others who may miss or not remember other posts entirely.

Thanks again!

Lauren Elena

Sunday 12th of July 2020

I really want to go to Hawaii!! Can I go now please? This is a great list. I definitely will use it when I packed for my Hawaiian vacation. Now, how big is your suitcase? That’s what I’m wondering!


Wednesday 15th of July 2020

I am dying to go too! They just extended their 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers. Sad, but I understand.

Haha, this list can fit in my carry-on suitcase. I might have to buy certain toiletries when I land. Its easier to pack traveling to warmer clients as the clothes are lighter and easier to roll up into the suitcase. The only thing I might not take with me or I'll wear on the plane is the sneakers. Hubby will travel with a medium-size suitcase that gets checked as his stuff usually is bulkier.

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