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Complete Packing List for Hawaii: What to Bring and What NOT to Bring

My family and I have been to the Hawaiian Islands countless times over the years. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s what to bring and what to leave behind. Packing for Hawaii means you can pack light and probably fit everything in a carry-on. The Hawaiian Islands’ tropical weather is usually sunny and warm. But depending on the time of year and the island you’re visiting, you might need some light rain gear!

No matter which Hawaiian island(s) you visit, you can pack more or less the same things. From swimwear and hats to beach bags and waterproof gear, this packing list for Hawaii ensures you’ll have everything you need.

However, each island has unique features, so keep that in mind when packing. For example, Oahu has great hiking trails, so comfortable, lightweight sneakers are a good idea. Waikiki is also a good place to learn to surf, so we pack water shoes and rash guards. Known for its many rivers, Kauai is great for kayaking and SUP. Maui’s road trips lead to Haleakala and Hana, so expect a lot of time in the car. And while you can snorkel nearly anywhere in Hawaii, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island offer fun snorkeling cruises.

At the top of our packing list: packing cubes. They really do keep things organized in our carry-ons and in the hotel. There are many kinds, but our go-to packing cubes are these by Ebags.

Anti-Covid-19 Hygiene Items to Pack

COVID-19 changed the way we travel and although mandates fluctuate, certain items will always make sense for good hygiene care.

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Masks (While mask mandates are changing, many places in Hawaii still require visitors to wear masks in public, at the beach and in restaurants.)

Personal Items to pack for a Hawaii Vacation

  • Drivers licenses
  • Debit and credit cards
  • Cash
  • Health insurance cards
  • Auto insurance cards
  • Vaccination cards (or have them handy on your phone)
  • Rental/hotel confirmation information

Keep all of these items close by on the beach with a cell phone case that holds cards. TravelingMom Nasreen Stump recommends Smartish card holder phone cases. With price tags on most under $16, it’s a worthwhile buy for beach or every day.

Mimi Slawoff gives more ideas on what to pack for a trip to Hawaii, you can find it here

LAST UPDATED

May 19, 2022

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Traveling Mom

Media Mentions from Traveling Mom

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MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

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MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

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