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
- 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.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.