Be cautious about telling friends and coworkers that you'll be spending 10 days in Hawaii, especially if it's cold and drizzly in your hometown; their jealousy will be intense. Instead, channel that excitement into the task of preparing for the trip of a lifetime. Ten days' worth of belongings can be hard to fit into a standard suitcase. Luckily, though, your bulky sweaters and boots can stay behind.
To prevent the panic of realizing you forgot something important upon opening up the beach bag, this article will serve as your Hawaii packing list.
Start with Shorts and Tanks
With temperatures averaging in the high 70s and low to middle 80s all year, Hawaii is not a place where people dress in lots of layers. Pack several versions of your favorite comfortable summer outfit. For some people, that means walking shorts and a long-sleeved tee; for others, it's cutoffs and a tank top. No matter the style, pack five pairs of shorts and plan to wear each pair twice. Bring seven or eight casual tops. Exploring Hawaii can be sweaty, so some of your shirts may only be good for one wear during the trip.
Add Underwear, Swimwear, PJs and Socks
Don't count on having easy laundry access while vacationing in Hawaii, and don't waste any prime sightseeing time stuck in a laundromat. To that end, bring 10 to 12 sets of underwear, two sets of pajamas, and two to three bathing suits. Women may want to bring one or two bathing suit cover-ups, too.
Pack ankle socks made of synthetic materials, which are better than cotton when it comes to blister prevention. For a relaxed beach vacation, only a few pairs of socks may be necessary. But if you're planning to explore Hawaii's cities, hike to Oahu's waterfalls, or otherwise be active, pack a pair of socks for each of the 10 days.
Go Light with the Layers
It's a mistake to pack nothing but shorts and T-shirts for a trip to Hawaii. While the weather is notoriously consistent and warm, rain is always possible, especially on the northeastern part of any of Hawaii's islands. Early mornings and nights can be cool, especially close to the ocean and at higher elevations. For a 10-day trip, one or two pairs of long pants should be sufficient. Pack one light sweater and a lightweight, hooded, water-resistant jacket too.
(Maybe) Dress Up
Golfers have to plan ahead when packing for Hawaii. Mesh shorts and a T-shirt won't cut it at many of the state's golf clubs, so bring a polo shirt and dress pants or shorts if you plan to hit the links. Better yet, check the dress code at any club you're hoping to visit.
Big cities like Honolulu and Oahu have tons of upscale restaurants and clubs. Consider packing more dress pants and polo shirts for nights out, or bring just the dress pants and buy an aloha shirt – what mainlanders think of as Hawaiian shirts – when you arrive. People really do wear them everywhere. Women may also want to pack a few sundresses or other dressier attire.
Pack Three or Four Pairs of Shoes
Flip-flops (called slippers by the locals, or usually just "slippa") are the quintessential Hawaiian footwear. They're comfortable, casual, and perfect for wearing to the beach. Pack a pair of those, plus a pair of more durable and supportive sandals for walking around town or popping into a restaurant. Walking or hiking shoes are must-haves. Serious golfers, bring a pair of golf shoes. Consider bringing a pair of dress shoes if your sandals and sneakers are too casual to pair with a dressier outfit.
Finish With Assorted Accessories
Sunglasses and a brimmed hat provide necessary protection from Hawaii's nearly ever-present sun, and sunscreen is equally as important. If suitcase space is limited, it's easy to pick up these things after you arrive. Likewise, toiletries like razors, deodorant, and shampoo are readily available in Hawaii, but you may prefer to bring your own from home.
Don't bother bringing beach towels, even though you'll almost certainly need them because they take up a great deal of suitcase space. Many visitors to Hawaii take the towels from their hotel rooms down to the beach. If your hotel forbids that, pick up a cheap towel from one of the souvenir stands that crowd Hawaii's popular beach areas. Remember to bring a small backpack or other day bag to cart your magazines, sunglasses, and snacks down to the sand.
Additional Items to Consider Packing for Your Hawaii Vacation:
- Maui, Big Island, and Kauai are must-visit Hawaiian islands, so make sure to include them in your itinerary.
- Don't forget your swimsuit for snorkeling and enjoying the beautiful beaches of Hawaii.
- Consider packing your essentials in a carry-on for convenience and to avoid checked baggage delays.
- Use reef-safe sunscreen to protect Hawaii's delicate marine ecosystem.
- Water shoes are handy for exploring rocky areas and protecting your feet from sharp coral.
- Consider purchasing travel essentials, such as packing cubes, rain jacket, sun hat, rash guard, bug spray, and snorkel gear, from online platforms like Amazon.
- Research and visit the best beaches in Hawaii for memorable beach days.
- Pack clothes suitable for year-round Hawaiian weather, including bras, leggings, and a rain jacket.
- Don't forget to bring your charger, conditioner, GoPro, and a dry bag for water activities.
- Keep your valuables safe with a waterproof phone case and carry a reusable water bottle for hydration during your adventures.
- Explore Hawaii's natural beauty by hiking with comfortable hiking boots and enjoy laid-back activities like kayaking.
- Avoid overpacking and focus on essentials like SPF, a packing checklist, and a tote bag.
- Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for an awe-inspiring experience.