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Hawaii Packing List

Hawaii Packing List

This ultimate Hawaii Packing List is exhaustive yet easy to personalize according to your tastes and needs. Useful to all Hawaii tourists, it also mentions a number of things specific to folks staying in Hawaii vacation rentals. You don’t have to take with you everything, mentioned in this guide! Just pick what you need.

Table of contents

How to Use this Packing List
Effective Planning Tips
Checklist 1: Items That Could be Waiting For You in Hawaii
Checklist 2: Things to do Before Vacation
Checklist 3: Necessities Packing List
Checklist 4: Electronics and Related Items
Checklist 5: Clothes Packing List

How to Use this Hawaii Packing List

  1. Look through all the information once. It can affect your choices.
  2. Print out all five Printable Vacation Checklists and cross out the items that don’t apply to you.
  3. Add your own items.
  4. Start packing.

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Effective Planning Tips

Tip 1. Pack light

If you can live without something, leave it home. If you are staying in a vacation rental, you will most probably have a washer and a dryer so you can easily wash your clothes. Ladies, it might be best to give your high heels some respite, and bring a pair of dressier looking sandals for special occasions. You might not want to wear expensive jewelry to the beach or to leave it at home while you are away, so choose wisely what jewelry is practical to take with you.

Tip 2. Ship to your vacation rental

You can order items to be delivered right to your vacation rental. Make sure to ask owners for the delivery address. Oftentimes the front desk at the resort or the manager will accept the delivery.

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Tip 3. Think out of the box

Buy new things in Hawaii. Maybe you could use a new beach towel at home, that you can bring from Hawaii? Of course, you can buy Hawaii prints on Amazon, but sometimes a more expensive item bought in a boutique shop can provide you with years of warm memories. And if you want to save, there are Ross stores on every island. Stop there to buy a couple of new dresses.

Leave your old things in Hawaii. You have that old fleece jacket that you’ve been thinking to donate – what about taking it to Hawaii to use on a boat or on a trip to higher and colder elevations? You can donate it in Hawaii right before heading back and make space for gifts to bring home.

Use the space creatively. Use a soft cooler as your packing box to put in your luggage. Bring a roomy beach bag as your personal item to take on the plane.

Tip 4. Follow TSA rules

Hawaii travel in most cases involves flights. With any questions about what you can bring and whether to pack it in carry-on or checked bags, refer to TSA Website.

Tip 5. Find out what items are already there for you

Before we get to actual Hawaii Packing List, let’s find out what you might not have to worry about. If you are staying in a hotel, check their website for your room amenities. If you are staying in a vacation rental, be sure to verify what the owners provide for their guests before packing your suitcases. Not every vacation rental will have all items listed below, but it doesn’t hurt to check. Many of these items are inexpensive to buy during your stay. You can always tell the owners what you need, and in many cases they will be happy to reimburse the necessities that you buy yourself.

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Checklist 1: Items That Could Be Waiting For You in Hawaii

For home comfort

  • hair dryer
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • specific or not-so-common cooking equipment, if you like to cook or plan to entertain
  • soap, shampoo, conditioner for longer stays.
    If you’d like to bring your own, we recommend TSA-approved silicone travel bottles. Different soft colors help identify the bottle, and the 3 OZ size can easily last a week or longer.

For the beach

  • beach towels
  • beach chairs and umbrella
  • beach mats
  • beach bag
  • cooler
  • boogie boards

For your children

IMPORTANT! While some vacation rental owners have baby equipment for their guests’ use, consider renting the equipment from local companies. They carry insurance, and that will be of use in any unfortunate event of malfunction or accident.

  • High chair
  • Crib
  • Play pen
  • Beach toys. Even if owners have some beach toys, you don’t know what you get. Besides, plastic gets scratched from use, and the sand can start sticking to older molds. Check out those popular beach sets and toys:

Hawaii is the land of dinosaurs, as featured in Jurassic Park, Jurassic World and other movies, filmed in Hawaii. Kids love dinosaurs, and your Hawaii trip is a great occasion to pack a compact inflatable present for your favorite small people. The inflatable dinosaurs are lightweight to take on vacation, they will provide hours of fun, can be used in theme parties, and will definitely attract attention to your kid. Then just deflate, and bring them home.

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Checklist 2: Things to Do Before Vacation

Your Vacation is approaching! Take care of the items below to have a really restful and care-free time.

  • Clear your calendar. Check your calendar(s) for commitments during the vacation dates and reschedule them.
  • Pay off your bills. Avoid late fees.
  • Call your bank/credit cards. Especially if you travel to Hawaii from abroad, you might want to let them know there will be charges coming from Hawaii.
  • If coming from abroad, get a plug adapter. Here is a comprehensive overview of  whether you need adapter or converter. In most cases, you will only need an inexpensive adapter (or two) to charge your electronics.
  • Record a new phone greeting. Let your friends and family know where you are going, Hawaii time zone, possible delays in your replies on vacation, etc.
  • Setup an automated Out of Office email response. Indicate the dates of your vacation, who to contact during your absence, and the date and time of your return.
  • Organize your wallet. Remove items you don’t need duting your trip.
  • Make copies of important items. Scan and save in your email or make paper copies of your passport, driver license, credit cards, auto insurance card, etc. You need to have access to those in case your wallet is lost or stolen.
  • Print out our Printable Version of  the Checklists, add your own items as needed and pack.
  • If taking liquids in carry-on bag, make sure to put them in TSA-approved containers and a transparent Ziploc bag.
  • Arrange care for your pets and plants.
  • Program your sprinklers.
  • Put your mail on hold. Sign up for USPS Hold Mail Service online or come to your post office to fill out the form.
  • Clean out any perishables from your fridge.
  • Take out trash.
  • Fully charge all electronics before packing away the chargers.
  • Learn how to take good photos in Hawaii. You’ll want your photo memories to show the real magic of Hawaii.

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Checklist 3: Necessities Packing List

Absolute Necessities

Pack everything, except sunscreen, in your personal bag to keep with you at all times.

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport (not needed if you have a US Driver’s license)
  • Flight confirmation number
  • Wallet (cash, credit cards, medical insurance card, car insurance card)
  • Confirmation of your vacation rental with directions, access code(s) and contact phone numbers
  • Confirmation of your car rental
  • Medications – bring all your prescription medications and supplements for the duration of your stay plus 2-3 days more just in case.  Some medications may require special care or screening to pass the security. Check TSA rules for medical conditions
  • Sunglasses. You may read in depth about which sunglasses you should wear in Hawaii and why, or trust that this guide recommends polarized sunglasses with a G-15 tint (grey and green mix). Mirrored lenses work well. In the intense Hawaiian sun, glaring off water and sand, cheap non-polarized sunglasses, or ones with insufficient tint, will damage your eyes more than wearing no sunglasses at all!
  • If you travel with kids, pack something for them to do on the plane
  • If you want to read something specific while on vacation, pack it with you. But sometimes a change is good, especially on vacation, and you can pick up a bestseller in the airport to read and then leave it in the vacation rental for the next guest
  • Sunscreen – you might need a lot of it and the best price is usually in Costco. But we urge you to consider reef safe sunscreens, because the chemicals in the regular sunscreens are harmful to Hawaii corals, turtles and all marine life.
  • Toiletries – your vacation home will most likely have some travel size shampoo, conditioner and soap. If you are staying longer than a couple of nights, put some of your favorite shampoo, conditioner, body wash into small travel bottles and don’t forget your dental care and shaving items and a hair brush.
  • First aid. An easy DIY solution: throw in a Ziploc a few alcohol wipes, a small-size antibiotic ointment and a few band-aids, and always carry with you. This will be very useful if you cut yourself in the ocean or on a trail.
  • Refillable water bottle. We like collapsible BPA-Free water bottles
  • Bug repellent. We like repellent wipes – light and hassle-free.
  • Backpack
  • Binoculars
  • Hawaii Revealed Guidebook. They are indispensable for tourists with all the insider tips and hidden gems they reveal. The books are available for 4 largest islands – Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai.

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Checklist 4: Electronics and Related Items

  • Pack all electronics and expensive items in your carry-on
  • Chargers for all your electronics
  • Smart phone – can’t leave it at home! Or can you?
  • Waterproof phone case to protect your phone from sand and water
  • iPad or Kindle
  • Headphones
  • Camera, that you can take everywhere and use every day
  • Underwater camera or a waterproof GoPro
  • Flotation strap for your electronics if you take them with you on a boat or even a paddle board, where they can fall into the water
  • Extension cord – could be very useful anywhere to reach that far-away power outlet or plug in more devices

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Checklist 5: Clothes Packing List

Each Hawaiian island has its wet and dry sides. The south and west sides are usually dry and the north and east can get rain every day. It’s always summer in Hawaii! The coolest months are December, January and February with approximate lows 65°F and highs 75°F. The warmest – July, August and September – have lows and highs around 72°F and 88°F respectively. The quoted temperatures are near the ocean; it’s cooler at higher elevations.
Check the average temperatures by month, island and town
Check the average rainfall by month, island and town

Try to pack casual and comfortable outfits. Cheerful colors are fun! Cotton, natural fibers, lightweight moisture-wicking fabrics are best. Tight synthetic clothing doesn’t pair well with warm and humid climate. The exceptions are swimsuits and sporty outfits.

Finally, let’s go through the last checklist of our Ultimate Hawaii Packing List.

Clothes to Pack for Both Him and Her

  • Underwear
  • Socks for plane, sports and hiking
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeve rash guard wetsuit
  • Flip flops
  • Hats
  • Sweatshirts for higher elevations or snorkeling boat tours
  • Tennis shoes for hiking, sports, higher elevations
  • Sandals for all occasions
  • Water shoes. You can use them for walking on lava and tide pools and on the hikes. Light and washable.

Clothes for Her

  • Swimsuits – 2 or 3; it might be your everyday outfit in Hawaii!
  • Swimsuit cover-up or sarong wrap
  • Tank tops
  • Sun dresses
  • Linen pants for outings

Clothes for Him

  • Dress shorts or light pants for outings
  • Short-sleeved collared shirts

Clothes for Children

We listed just the most important items here. You know better what to pack for your kids. Plan to do some shopping and update your kids’ wardrobe in Hawaii!

  • Swimwear
  • Hats
  • Long-sleeve rash guard
  • Waterproof sandals or crocs

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Wrapping up the Ultimate Hawaii Packing List

We have spent a number of hours writing this comprehensive Hawaii Packing List and we would love to hear your feedback! What can you recommend to change, add or remove from our list? Have you used any of those products? Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

Thank you! May you have wonderfully organised and successful vacations. Always.

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