The Ultimate Hawaii Packing List

The Ultimate Hawaii Packing List

The Hawaiian Islands are an incredible destination, and one that invites visitors to rest and really take in all the beauty of this tropical paradise. And that laid back attitude can definitely spill over into how you pack for your trip to Hawaii, too, by making sure to bring relaxed clothing and just a few essential accessories that’ll help you have a great time.

12 Items to Bring to Hawaii

1. Comfortable Sandals

While you could probably roam the island(s) in a cheap pair of flip flops, why not opt for some more comfortable walking sandals instead? The key is to choose a color or style that’ll go with several different outfits, meaning they’re somewhat casual but can still be dressed up when the occasion calls for it. The ReNew Sport Sandal from Everlane fits these qualifications to a T — they’re super comfy and sturdy (yet still sleek), and they come in black, tan, and white!

Price range: $$

2. Travel Dress

Whether you’re planning to wander the streets of Honolulu, put in a few hours at a local coworking center, or get dolled up for a night on the town, having a cute dress is a must. The best dresses are easy to pack, and can be paired with your favorite jewelry or handbag to switch from a daytime to evening look. There’s doubt SiteSee’s Sonora Dress will become your go-to travel dress, thanks to its five pockets, versatile sash, and stretchy Lyocell fabric

Price range: $$$

3. Swimsuit

What’s a trip to Hawaii without a swimsuit in tow? Opt for a suit that’s fun, functional, and makes you feel confident — plus, bonus points if it’s sustainably produced and/or uses earth-friendly packaging. In fact, that’s why we’re such big fans of Youswim. Not only is their swimwear made with premium quality nylon yarn, but they’re committed to reducing material transportation emissions in a big way. We love the cut and colors of this Verve suit especially!

Price range: $$$

4. Swimsuit cover-up

Sure, there are tons of flirty cover-ups out there to choose from, but we’re proponents of a nice pair of pants you easily slip on after your beach day has wrapped. The best part about the Palazzo Pant from Summersalt is its flattering high waist and working ties at the waistband. But what’s more, these pants have been redesigned to be wrinkle resistant, anti-microbial, and anti-static — which makes them perfect for throwing on over your favorite one piece or bikini.

Price range: $$

5. Hiking shoes

In addition to a quality pair of sandals, you’ll probably want to take some hiking shoes with you, as well. That’s because Hawaii has *hundreds* of hiking trails to choose from, so this gives you the option to explore a few for yourself. The KEEN Newport H2 is an ideal choice for Hawaiian hikers who want a water shoe that's lightweight and versatile. This pick is as airy as a sandal, as comfortable as a hiking shoe, and even has the toe protection of a hiking boot!
Price range: $$

6. Reusable bag

A reusable bag can help you tote around all your money and identification, not to mention your beach finds or small souvenirs. The good news is, there are plenty you can purchase from the islands themselves — but if you’d rather have one ready ahead of time, we’d recommend looking into Baggu. Their bestselling reusable bag comes in over 50 fun colors and patterns, and can haul just about anything (i.e. two to three grocery bags worth of goods).

Price range: $

7. Waterproof jacket

Rain might not be at the top of your mind as you’re preparing for your Hawaiian getaway, but it’s definitely something you’ll want to take into account. Regardless of what time of year you’re traveling, you might experience rainfall during your stay, which is why a good rain jacket should make the trip with you. The Torrentshell 3L Jacket from Patagonia boasts exceptional waterproof and breathable performance, for all-day comfort and incredible durability. 

Price range: $$$

8. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a *must* when traveling to Hawaii, and because they’re so lightweight, you’ll totally have enough room for them in your carry-on. Look for a pair that’s polarized to ensure your eyes are well-protected while you’re out enjoying the sun and sand. Sunski has awesome designs, like the Camina, that are polarized and have recycled frames. And they even have plastic-free packaging, which means you can feel good about this purchase all the way around.

Price range: $

9. Lightweight sweater

A lightweight sweater is a great layering piece you’ll be happy you included in your packing list. If you venture out to higher elevations, or you feel the temperature drop in the evenings, a cozy sweater is the perfect thing to toss on. We’re pretty keen on the Saltwater Sweater from Outerknown; it’s a nice mid-weight, and features a slight crop that’ll go on easy over everything. Plus, it comes in the color Pacific — which means it’s practically *begging* to join you in Hawaii!

Price range: $$$

10. Refillable water bottle

Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, and going on vacation is no exception. Hopefully you’re well-versed in how bad single-use plastic bottles are for the environment, so you understand the need to bring a reusable option along for the ride. 

This stainless steel bottle from S’well is equipped with triple-layered, vacuum-insulated construction that promises to keep beverages colder or hotter longer than all the rest.

Price range: $

11. Quick-drying towel

A quick-drying towel is a wonderful accessory to have on hand in Hawaii, especially if you’re hitting up the beach or hiking out to a waterfall. The DryLite Towel from Sea to Summit has everything you could need in a travel towel; it’s soft, but compact, and its microfiber material dries in a snap. On top of that, it’s available in five sizes (from hand towel up to beach towel), which means you can cover all your bases no matter what kind of adventure awaits. 

Price range: $

12. Sunscreen

We hope the last item on our list goes without saying, but sunscreen is super important to use while you’re visiting Hawaii. Using sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin and avoid a nasty, unwanted sunburn (which could really ruin your trip). While there’s tons of sunscreens out there to choose from, we’re sold on the Mineral SPF 50 Lotion from Sun Bum. It has a lightweight, non-greasy formula, and can help you still feel as natural as possible.

Price range: $

Hawaii Packing List FAQs

What kind of clothes do you wear in Hawaii?

For most activities you’ll do in Hawaii, casual dress is absolutely appropriate (and can help you fit in with the locals). That means you can get away with loose-fitting pants or flowy dresses, and stick with a comfortable pair of sandals or walking shoes for the duration of your visit.

How much money should I bring to Hawaii?

It’s tough to say exactly how much money you’ll want to bring to Hawaii, but there are a few factors you can take into consideration to make the decision a little easier. For example, what’s the length of your stay? Are you planning to take guided tours, use public transportation, or buy souvenirs? All of these are solid reasons to carry a little extra cash with you as you’re traveling. 

How do I not look like a tourist in Hawaii?

The last thing you want to do in Hawaii is stick out like a sore thumb, which is why it’s so important to slow down and put your phone away from time to time. Hawaiians embrace a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, so what better way to blend in than by taking the same approach and savoring each and every moment on the islands.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


More From the Blog

The 12 Best Travel Clothes for Women
The 12 Best Travel Clothes for Women
When we’re traveling for weeks or months at a time, ideally we’d pack clothes that look good and perform well, too. F...
Read More
9 Best Travel Clothing Brands & Companies
9 Best Travel Clothing Brands & Companies
Curating the perfect travel wardrobe can feel like a never-ending quest, especially when you’re trying to find pieces...
Read More
8 Best Groups for Solo Travelers (And Why We Love Them)
8 Best Groups for Solo Travelers (And Why We Love Them)
Solo travel offers amazing freedom to explore at your own pace and spend as much time as you like taking in all the s...
Read More