Hawaii is an all-time favorite destination amongst travelers of all types. There’s really no place like it on Earth, which, while absolutely thrilling, can make packing for your Hawaiian getaway or a Honeymoon in Hawaii, a little tough. Today, then, we’ve broken down some of our favorite packing tips to ensure you stay cool, calm and, yes, chic on the Islands.
Be clear about your trip’s purpose:
While this sounds like common sense, it’s a tip that is often forgotten. Before you pack, sit down and get a clear picture in your head about how you’ll actually be spending the majority of your time--not how you plan to spend it, but how you’ll actually spend it (i.e. you may have big plans to attend surf competitions and hike volcanoes but, if you’re a total beach bum, may just end up being perfectly content lounging all day and foregoing group activities). We often pack for trips by bringing a little of everything just in case, only to then arrive at our destination and realize we really just need a lot of one thing. Let us explain:
The majority of what you bring should coincide with the purpose of your trip. If you’re a beach-lover who needs nothing more than a good book and warm sand to enjoy the day, you’ll need more beachwear than anything else. You’ll be able to get away with packing mainly swimsuits and coverups and will need only one outfit for outdoor adventures or fancier affairs (like a five-star dinner). On the other hand, if you’re an avid outdoorsman who can’t sit still for longer than the time it takes you to finish planning your next adventure, bring mainly outdoors gear and opt for only 1-2 swimsuits.
Bring items that you can gets lots of mileage out of
In Hawaii, more than anywhere else, recycling outfits is such a critical piece of the packing puzzle. Because it’s likely you’ll be on a beach all day and at dinner at night, if you’re not strategic, you’ll end up packing at least two outfits per day (a casual beach dress, for example, and a nicer dinner dress). A great way to avoid this (and save valuable suitcase space) is to bring outfits and clothing that work for both beach days and dressier nights. For women, beach dresses, cover ups or linen pants that can be dressed up with jewelry for dinner are great. For men, we love the idea of short sleeve linen button ups and nicer quality t-shirts that can work both at the beach and at a nice restaurant.
Consider the climate
Again, this is another tip that sounds fairly obvious, but one of the biggest mistakes people make when packing for Hawaii is not accounting for the humid weather. Don’t bring anything--and we mean anything--that feels even remotely heavy. Even your jacket should be light weight. Maxi dresses for women are often made out of polyester blends that don’t breathe well and, although they may look perfect for Hawaii, they’re not actually functional pieces for the humidity. If a little wrinkle doesn’t bother you, bring lots of linen, as it’s great for the humidity (but if you’re someone who can’t stand wrinkly clothes, skip it--it will drive you crazy as it’ll constantly get creased). Bring super light-weight tanks, dresses, cover ups and pants. You'll want all of your clothes to be as breathable as possible once you arrive and feel that Hawaiian humidity.
Rain doesn’t mean cold
Hawaii sees an average of 17 inches of rain each year but, remember, rain doesn’t equal cold. You’ll want to pack one solid rain jacket, but make sure it’s lightweight and can be easily rolled up or folded down to fit in a purse or tote. Oftentimes, people think they need a heavier jacket for rainfall but, in a place like Hawaii, this simply isn’t the case. Find the lightest rain jacket you can find, as, even when it’s raining, you’ll likely still feel hot and humid.
Casual is king
In Hawaii, there are hardly any restaurants that men can’t wear shorts to. Always check online or by calling first, but, more often than not, men can get away with a nice pair of linen shorts and a short-sleeve collared shirt at even the nicest of restaurants. We tend to bring things “just in case” when packing for vacations, but these items end up just weighing our suitcase down and being of no use. If you know you’re fine in shorts at a restaurant, don’t bring a pair of slacks “just in case.” Likewise, even at the nicest of restaurants, women can get away with dressing up a casual beach dress. And, for women, there is no need to ever wear heels in Hawaii. Nice, pretty beaded flats are as dressy as you’ll have to get (though, truth be told, you could get away with plain flip-flops anywhere on the Islands).
There’s really no need to bring anything too fancy to Hawaii unless you’re attending a wedding or some other type of formal event. As much as it may make you nervous to pack all casual gear, know that you’ll fit right in with the locals. Hawaii is all about the outdoors and comfort--no one will fault you for not wearing a fancy cocktail dress to a steakhouse. In fact, you’d be overdressed if you did.
Those are our favorite Hawaiian vacation packing tips and tricks, but you can also check out the list below for a more comprehensive look at what to pack.
Sweat-Wicking Gear (if you’re planning on a hike)
Athletic Shoes (if you’re hiking or working out)
Rash Guard (if planning on surfing)
Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
Sunglasses (preferably polarized)
Jewelry (for women to dress up cover-ups for a night out)
Book or kindle
Sunscreen and/or Aloe
Lip Protectant (Chapstick with sunscreen)
Camera or Gopro
Toiletries, Vitamins, Etc.
More Tips on What to Pack:
What are your favorite must pack essentials for Hawaii?