Your Hawaiian Plannner Packing List

When planning a trip to Hawaii, you will find it extremely useful to make sure you have a good packing list. Unless you’ve been to Hawaii before or live somewhere with a similar climate and geographic isolation, you might not remember or think of everything needed for a safe and enjoyable trip. It’s also possible to over pack, taking too much on the plane and paying excess baggage charges.

Buy this when you get there - Beach hat
Cover your head

While a cap helps to keep sun out of your eyes and face, a wide-brimmed hat can also help minimize UV exposure to your neck and ears. Consider one with a UPF rating for even more protection.

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Buy this when you get there - Beach towel
Beach Towel

Although it’s a good idea to take towels, you can also buy them on the island for some great souvenirs.

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Buy this when you get there - Beach mat
Beach Mat

Why rub yourself down with sand when it’s time to dry off? Take a separate mat to put between you and the sand.

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Buy this when you get there - Snorkel Gear
Mask, snorker, and fins

Hawaii has some of the best snorkeling in the world. If you are going to Maui, check out Molokini as the most popular snorkel location. You might want to leave these home and just rent them on the island to save room in your suitcase.

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Buy this when you get there - Shirts
Shirts

Pack a few, but these are also great souvenirs to pick up during your trip.

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Buy this when you get there - Sarong
Sarong

If you have one, bring it. If not, buy one on your trip and enjoy this traditional clothing as a dress or use it as a swimsuit cover-up.

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Buy this when you get there - Food
Food

If you are planning to get a place with a kitchen, be sure to stop by the ABC store, grocery store, or Costco when you get there.

Buy this when you get there - Water Shoes
Water Shoes

A good pair of water shoes can be worn in the water or while walking around. These can protect your feet on hot sand, from unexpected glass, thorns, or other item on the beach, and from threats in the ocean.

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Buy this when you get there - Sunscreen
Sunscreen

The sun can be brutal in Hawaii, make sure that you bring protection or your vacation may end being more painful than you would prefer, but make sure it’s waterproof. Even out of the water, it’s a safe bet you’ll do some sweating. In the water, please consider nature and make sure your sunscreen is coral safe.

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Buy this when you get there - Anti Burn Cream
Anti Burn Cream

Of course you’ll remember the advice your mom gave you, and wear a good sunscreen, minimizing sun exposure. Of course, on the off chance you still spend too much time in the sun, take some kind of cream or gel to soothe the burn.

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Buy this when you get there - Swimsuits
Swimsuits

If you’re planning to swim every day, take at least 2 suits to avoid that all-too familiar sensation of climbing into a wet bathing suit.

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Packing for your home away from home - Pants
Pants

Plan ahead when you go out. An air-conditioned restaurant and shorts isn’t a combination that makes a comfortable dinner for everybody. Pants for hiking, biking, and other activities are desirable.

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Packing for your home away from home - Shorts
Shorts

You probably don’t need to be told why to bring shorts. Just put the checkmark on the packing list as you pack several pairs. Pro tip: If you have children, the presence of and threat that you might wear a visually unpleasant and ill-fitting pair of shorts can serve as a great deterrent to poor behavior!

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Packing for your home away from home - Undies
Undies

Bring enough to avoid wearing them more than once. Contrary to popular belief, turning them inside-out doesn’t actually count as changing into a clean pair.

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Packing for your home away from home - Socks
Socks

While the no-sock look might be good at meal time, lounging around, and beach time, socks can sure help your feet on extended shopping jaunts and while hiking.

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Packing for your home away from home - Jacket
Jacket

Needed if you end up going up country. It can get pretty cold when you get up 8-10 thousand feet.

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Packing for your home away from home - Slippers
Sandals or Flip Flops

These are the standard footwear in Hawaii. It also makes removing your shoes before you enter a home much easier. These are also good souvenir opportunities. However, don't call them flip flops, in Hawaii, they are Slippas.

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Packing for your home away from home - Toiletries
Toiletries

Make a list of what you use in the morning and be sure to pack it. In case you forget, your list should probably include a brush or comb (if you have and take care of hair), deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss, mouth wash, shampoo and conditioner, a razor (and shaving gel or cream), and whatever electrical hair styling appliances you use.

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Packing for your home away from home - Lip Balm
Lip Balm

Even if don’t normally use it, lip balm is probably a good thing to have when you’re going to be exposed to the sun. Many are available with SPF protection.

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Packing for your home away from home - Makeup
Makeup

If you’re the type of person who can’t leave the house without makeup, then you probably don’t need to be reminded to bring it. You might want to include an SPF rated foundation for your time in the sun.

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Packing for your home away from home - Medications
Medications

Don’t ruin your vacation by neglecting to take your regular medications. Also, don’t forget to take something for muscle pain, headaches, and motion sickness.

Buy this Travel Pillow Buy this Travel Pillow
Pillows

Not everybody is comfortable with hotel pillows. There’s no shame in bringing yours.

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Packing for your home away from home - Alarm Clock
Travel Alarm Clock

Don’t miss out on that early morning timeshare appointment! Also useful for making sure you get up early for that sunrise or other excursion.

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Packing for your home away from home - Zip Lock Bags
Zip Lock Bag

These can be lifesavers. Keep them with you. You’ll know when you need them. In case you don’t, here’s a tip – non-waterproof phones and electronics live longer when they don’t get wet, and vacations are happier when you don’t lose jewelry.

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Packing for your home away from home - Power Strip
Power Strip

Plug-in devices and chargers add up quickly. Unless you’re trying to escape from technology on this trip, bring a power strip. Take an inventory of all the electronics you’re planning to bring and make sure their chargers are all going with you.

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Packing for your home away from home - Earplugs
Earplugs

Does your partner snore? If you need earplugs at home, you’ll probably want to bring them with you. If you are prone to ear infections, consider swimming with earplugs. Also note that there are some night noises, such as the Coqui frog which can interrupt sleep for a few nights if you are not used to it.

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Packing for your home away from home - Sleeping Mask
Sleeping Mask

The sun comes up awfully early when you’ve been out late. Why fight it for sleep when you can just ignore it?

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Packing for your time on this island - Itinerary
Your Itinerary

This might just be a matter of bringing a phone or tablet with everything on it. Even with the modern electronic planning tools, it’s a good idea to bring paper copies.

Packing for your time on this island - Boots
Hiking Shoes or Boots

It’s not all about lounging around. The islands have many beautiful and historic hikes. If you’re getting new footwear for the trip, break it in ahead of time.

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Packing for your time on this island - Sneakers
"Trashable" Sneakers

Take a pair of sneakers for hiking that don’t have to make the trip back. Also useful for biking.

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Packing for your time on this island - Hiking Stick
Hiking Stick

Hiking paths can be steep and rocky. There are many lightweight and collapsible options available.

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Packing for your time on this island - Gloves
Gloves

Gloves might be one of the last things you think of, but there are many uses for them on your trip to Hawaii. Gloves for hiking, camping, or even shooting, if you get into that. Also, if you are renting a motor scooter you'll want gloves, and finally if you are headed to the top of the mountain on Maui or Big Island you'll want gloves to keep your hands warm (yes it gets cold up there).

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Packing for your time on this island - Camera
Camera

If you’re bringing a camera, bring plenty of memory for it. With the prices of flash memory, there’s no excuse to not take enough pictures. If you’re planning to use your phone for pictures, make room ahead of time by deleting unnecessary apps and backing up old photos. Nobody likes being told to hold that cute pose while you figure out if Candy Crush or Words With Friends is more important to you.

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Packing for your time on this island - Warm Clothes
Warm Clothes

Again, it’s not all about the sand and sun. The mountain peaks are markedly colder than the beach. Locals even snow ski on the Big Island.

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Packing for your time on this island - Junk Clothes
Junk Clothes

Don’t ruin good clothes when you don’t have to. These are good for hikes or for use on any biking tours. Even those that aren’t overly athletic like the Bike Down Haleakala. In addition, the red mud doesn’t want to come out of clothes, so bring clothes you don’t mind just leaving behind.

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Packing for your time on this island - Raincoat
Light Rain Jacket

Hawaii is green and lush for a reason. It does actually rain, in some seasons, a LOT. The good news is that in most cases it stops pretty quick. Short bursts are most common. A simple, inexpensive poncho can do the trick while taking up minimal space or a light weather proof jacket.

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Packing for your time on this island - Umbrella
Umbrella

What could be more romantic than sharing an umbrella with a loved one? Staying dry is also a plus.

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Packing for your time on this island - Flashlight
Flashlight

There’s no need to bring the skull-cracking mega-flashlight, but a small one can sure make trips into caverns easier without burning up phone battery life.

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Packing for your time on this island - Backpack
Backpack

A small nylon one does a perfect job of carrying essentials to the beaches. We do not recommend leaving valuables in your vehicle. Having a backpack allows you to easily bring all your stuff with you on any stops.

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Packing for your time on this island - Mosquito Repellent
Mosquito Repellent

If you don’t want to be bitten, make sure it has DEET.

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Packing for your time on this island - Binoculars
Binoculars

Whether you’re on a whale watching trip or enjoying the sights, get a closer view with a good pair of binoculars. Rugged ones might not be a bad idea, either.

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Underwater Waterproof case Underwater Waterproof case
Underwater case

You probably have some things you don’t want to lose or get wet. If you don’t have a case, the ziplock bags mentioned above can sometimes do the trick. However, be 'VERY' careful, we've lost a phone because the seal wasn't perfect. Double bag might not be a bad idea, don't stuff the bag too tight, and test before hand using a paper towel. A better idea might be to buy or rent a GoPro and keep your phone dry.

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Packing for your time on this island - Fancy Clothes
Fancy clothes

If you REALLY want to bring these, go ahead, but in Hawaii you'll be out of sorts. So unless you have something specifically planned, it's okay to leave these at home.

Hawaii Travel Guide Hawaii Travel Guide
Travel Guide

If you haven’t already picked activities and sights to see, a 6-hour plane ride is a perfect place to do so.

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Packing for the Flight Over - Hawaiian Music
Hawaiian Music

Get into the spirit on the way over. Load up your phone with (hopefully legal) music to set the mood. Easy options include Spotify or Pandora. The free versions are fine when you have a connection, but you might want to consider purchasing for your trip so you can download the music. There are places where you won't have cell connection and predownloading the music may be your best option.

Packing for the Flight Over - Books
Books

How many times can you read the Skymall catalog? Why find out when you can bring your own reading material. Also useful while at the beach.

Sea Bands Sea Bands
Sea Bands

These simple wristbands actually work for many people to prevent both airsickness and seasickness. Look for them at your local drugstore or order them online.

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Packing for the Flight Over - Documents
Important Documents

Check with your airline or the TSA and make sure you bring whatever documentation is required for travel. The airline won’t hold the plane while you drive home to get papers.

Packing for the Flight Over - Driver's License
Driver's License

You probably won’t make it far without this one. Even if you catch a cab to the airport, you’ll need some kind of ID. If you’re planning to rent and drive a car, then hopefully you don’t need to be reminded of this.

Packing for the Flight Over - Insurance info
Insurance Info

Make sure you have your auto insurance information handy for the car rental. Also, don’t forget medical insurance cards. Although accidents and illnesses on vacation aren’t fun, most people find having to pay cash for treatment even less fun.

Packing for the Flight Over - Reservations and Confirmations
Reservations and Confirmations

Most of this can be done online and through apps, but it’s a good idea to have paper backups of hotel, flight, activity, and car rental confirmations.

Flight Pillow Flight Pillow
Flight Pillow

While there may be pillows available on the plane, a small one doesn’t take up much space and can make sleeping on the plane much easier.

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Refillable Water Bottle Refillable Water Bottle
Refillable Water Bottle

Why buy a new water bottle every time you run out when there’s plenty of water available for free? Empty it before the security checkpoint and refill it on the other side. Most airports have filtered water-bottle-filling stations.

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Packing for the Flight Over - Cash
Cash

Contrary to what you might have seen in old movies, the local currency isn’t seashells. You’ll want to bring some cash. Avoid carrying it all in one place and don’t count it in public.

Packing for the Flight Over - Snacks
Snacks

Airline food isn’t as plentiful or free as once it was. Bring your own snacks.

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Collapsible Duffel Bag Collapsible Duffel Bag
Empty/Extra luggage

If you’re planning to bring home souvenirs, make sure you have room in your luggage. If not, collapsible duffel bags fit easily into luggage and can be used for the trip home when you might need room for souvenirs, extra clothing, purchased snorkel gear and more.

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If you have children, don’t forget to pack their necessities. While you will find stores who sell these items, they may not be as inexpensive as you’re used to.

Packing for the little children - Diapers
Diapers

Bring enough for the trip. Plan on using more than usual since proper hydration can result in more urine than normal, and the stress of the trip plus new foods can sometimes result in diarrhea.

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Packing for the little children - Blanket
Blanket

If your child has a favorite, make sure you bring it. This also goes for stuffed animals and toys. If you’re not sure whether something can be left home, try doing nap time or bed time without it before the trip.

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Packing for the little children - Porta Crib
Porta Crib

Check with your hotel or rental to see if one is available. Even if it is, these can provide shade while keeping your baby off the sand.

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Packing for the little children - Carseat
Carseat

Your child’s safety should be as important while traveling as it is at home.

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Packing for the little children - Stroller
Stroller

Even if your child walks, there might be more walking than normal, and a stroller might make life easier.

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Packing for the little children - Baby Carrier
Baby Carrier

Front packs and Backpacks can be easier than carrying tiny ones around all day. Some offer shade and even mosquito netting.

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Packing for the little children - Pictures
Pictures

Even though nobody wants to think about it, children do sometimes get separated. Bring pictures for identification if necessary. Our suggestion is to always take a picture of your family first thing in the morning, so you have a record of what everyone is wearing that day.

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