What to Pack for Hawaii: Packing List for Vacation

What to Pack for Hawaii: Packing List for Vacation

Wondering what to pack for Hawaii? Here’s a sample Hawaii packing list to help you prepare for your vacation!


What to Pack for Hawaii: Packing List


We’ve got insider tips on what to pack for Hawaii! For this packing list, I interviewed fashionista Erika Hollweg who attended university in Honolulu for four years and is originally from Los Angeles.

Sheila Beal is also sharing her advice on how to pack for the Aloha state. She’s a Hawaii vacation enthusiast that shares award-winning travel advice on her website GoVisitHawaii.com. Sheila’s a North Carolina native and resident that travels to Hawaii two to four times per year to stay up to date on all the latest trends and news that Hawaii vacationers want to know.


Here are a few of their tips to help you plan what to pack for Hawaii on your next vacation:


Hawaii Travel Essentials

what-to-pack-for-hawaii-packing-listReef Friendly Sunscreen / Nars the MultipleSwimsuit /  Polarized RayBans


When planning what to pack for Hawaii, don’t leave home without your sunglasses–preferably polarized–to cut out some of the glare on the ocean. Other beach essentials include two swimsuits, a cover-up, and flip flops.

And don’t forget sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Hawaii’s proximity to the equator makes the sun particularly strong. You can conveniently buy aloe vera gel if you get burned (as I did on my Hawaii vacation) but it’s better to avoid getting burned in the first place!


This solid sunscreen is incredible for your face and helps eliminate liquids!


Water SneakersPrana Chambray Cap / Slim Fit Travel Pants /  Prana Yoga Top

It’s a good idea to add at least one pair of long trousers to your Hawaii packing list if you plan on participating in activities like horseback riding or all-terrain vehicle tours.

For outdoor adventures, a good hiking sandal works great for the trails and crossing small streams. Hats are also a great accessory for adventures and hanging out at the beach.

For non-traditional hiking sandals, take a look at these water shoes for women. You might be surprised!

Island Vibe

vIpanema Sandals / Sun HatTropical Romper / Travel Beach Tote


When you’re planning what to wear in Hawaii, choose clothing that is casual and comfortable.

The islands invite you to relax. That attitude spills over into clothing for both locals and visitors. Flip flops are a staple in this chilled out paradise.


Check out my favorite flip-flop style sandals!


What to Pack for Hawaii: Packing List




1. Slub Linen T-Shirt 2. Ruffled Blouse 3. Striped Cotton Tank 4. Silk Tank Top 5. Maxi Dress 6. Cami Romper 7. Lace Shorts 8. Lounge Trouser 9.  Lightweight Wool Cardigan Sweater 10. Fringed Blouse 11. Off-the-shoulder Dress 12. Denim Short 13. D’Orsay Flats 14. Thong Sandal 15. Straw Floppy Hat 16. Tote Bag




The great thing about planning what to pack for Hawaii is that the weather doesn’t fluctuate significantly from season to season; however, it can vary depending on your elevation level and which island you’re on, so pack according to your activities.

It’s wonderfully warm year round–not cold and not too hot. Daytime highs typically average from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. Throughout the year, don’t be surprised if it rains a bit; it is a tropical island after all.

At the highest elevations on some of the islands, it can get quite cold, so do your research and if you’re heading that way, bring some layers!

Breathable fabrics and fabrics with cotton tend to be the most comfortable to wear in the somewhat-humid environment of Hawaii.


Find out how to choose the best fabrics for travel to Hawaii.


Winter evenings can sometimes have a bit of a chill, with temperatures dipping down to an average of 65°F. So, a light jacket or sweater is useful to bring any time you travel.

The rainy season is October through April, so pack your umbrella and a patient smile. The weather stays warm when it rains, so not many people wear rain jackets or boots. You’ll still see flip flops all around.


Daytime Outfits

When planning your packing list for Hawaii, choose breezy tops and casual shorts or capris. Swimsuits with cover-ups are perfectly fine for daytime wear beachside. Use one of these trendy one-piece styles on and off the beach with a pair of denim shorts for the day or with a nice skirt at night!


Take a look at some of our favorite swimwear for women!


Nighttime Outfits 

For dinner or luaus in the evenings, wear a pretty top with capris or casual skirts. If you’re a dress girl, go all out! Hawaii is the perfect destination for lovely summer dresses like these. Trade your basic t-shirt for a nice blouse.


Pack these dress sandals for an easy day-to-night look!


What Not to Wear in Hawaii


Avoid getting overly dressy in clothing like sequined dresses–you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Relax and get into the island vibe when planning your Hawaii packing list!

Avoid wearing a dress or skirt on boat tours (unless you have a swimsuit underneath that you don’t mind being seen). Once you’re on the water, the wind picks up and can easily lift a skirt or dress.

In general, short, flowy skirts and dresses are not a good idea as the trade winds are almost constantly blowing. Unfortunately, I can confirm this as my own knee length flowy skirt flew up and over while walking seaside. Oops.


Shopping for the Necessities


If you forget to add an item to your packing list for Hawaii, you can find Walmart and Costco on each of the four major islands to purchase anything you’re missing or if you want to stock up on some essentials.


Whether you’re planning a trip in the winter or summer, this Hawaii packing list should be of help! To learn more about customizing our guides to meet your needs, please read this.







 What are your tips on what to pack for Hawaii? Comment below!

We also recommend these packing tips for Hawaii:

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on what to pack for Hawaii vacations. Please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

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  1. I tried using the ‘sign up’ for free packing downloads. It asked me to enter ‘the password’ here–but there was no password….?????
    I was going to print the ‘what to pack for Hawaii’ but it was 10 pages long and I couldn’t edit out all the extra stuff.
    How do I get a short, concise, printable list for traveling? Thanks!!

    • Hey Bonnie, there is a technical error with the site, I apologize. If you check the email account you signed up with there should be an email with the password in that. I hope this helps :)

      • Hi, I can find a password in my email.

        • Hi Jodie! Sorry for any inconvenience, we are changing email providers so this may affect the emails. If you have received the email, the password will be contained within it :) Thanks

  2. Thanks so much …… Really helped me

    • Happy to help :-)

  3. Leaving for Hawaii in a couple of hours and your packing list was so helpful as I finally start packing from the mounds of clothes on my bed. Thanks!

    • Yay! Have a great trip :-)

  4. Perfect advice. However, imperfect grammar. Please correct spelling of “beckon” in the “Island Vibe” paragraph. A beacon is a light that guides you. However, to beckon means to encourage one to follow. As you are using the word as a verb, not a noun, I’m guessing you meant beckon. :)

    Respectfully submitted.

    • Thanks Deb :-) Will fix it asap

  5. Leaving for Hawaii this week. So excited. Thanks for the advice.

    • Have a great trip!

  6. This is pretty good. Two things though. I would take a light rain jacket instead of an umbrella. Most of the islands can get a little breezy and an umbrella will be difficult. Also if you do a whale watching or snorkel tour, it leaves very early in the morning and is chilly. It can also get a little chilly in the evening. I would also take comfortable hiking/water sandals. There is wonderful hiking and site seeing that requires more substantial shoes than little sandals. Also many beaches can be rocky and many excursions require water shoes. AND don’t forget that sunscreen!

    • Awesome tips Claire, thanks!

  7. I’m confused. There are more than 10 items in your 10 piece time capsule. You have 16 items listed underneath the photo. Which are the 10 essential items you are recommending?

    • Sorry for the confusion – the clothing not the accessories always make up the capsule wardrobe

  8. Hi Alex….question: How many days for the 10 piece packing list for the Hawaii trip?

    • Hi Julie, you can use all the capsule wardrobes for anywhere from 3 days to a year. all that happens when you travel longer is that you do laundry more often :-) I would take any 10 piece capsule I make then add up to 5 extra pieces of your own to customize according to your plans. hope this helps!

      • Thanks!!! I am so glad I found your page! I usually pack WAY to much or WAY to little. I’d really like to get this right…. :) 50th Birthday here I come….ORGANIZED….lol

        • Glad to help! Have a great trip and happy birthday!

  9. Perhaps she was referring to Hawaii Pacific University, in Waipahu?

    • Not sure…

  10. Thanks!!! If you can offer any more fashion tips for a September Hawaiian vacay that would be awesome!

    • I think the weather is pretty similar year round :-)

    • Starting in September, the humidity is up, winds are a little stronger, weather just a little cooler, and there may be some rain. But most of the summer crowd has left and you feel as if Hawaii belongs to you.

      • thanks for the feedback :-)

  11. Hi my husband and I will be going to hawii in February and we would like any and all info if we were going to renew our wedding vows while there

    • Hi Deb, I only offer packing info here but you can check out GoVisitHawaii.com for travel tips. Thanks!

    • we are leaving 2/3 4 Honolulu what clothes do I need? thank u so much!!!!

      • Hi Theresa, if you just follow the suggested clothing guide above you should be good to go :-)

  12. I’m going to hawaii tomorrow and I didn’t know what to pack. And the I fount ur list and it REALLY Helped. Thanks bye:)

    • That’s great to hear! have a great time :-)

  13. I am heading to Hawaii at the beginning of May. Your posts are always super inspiring Alex!

    • Thanks Kate! I’m glad you like them :-)

  14. First off I want to say that I love your site! But as someone who works in the travel industry and lives in Hawaii, born and raised, I am compelled to point out a few things in this article.

    There is no such thing as Honolulu University so I wouldn’t trust the advice from someone that did.

    I’ve never seen or heard of Kauai having snow. The highest elevation that does get snow is Mauna Kea which is on Hawaii, the Big Island.

    • Thanks Lyn! I think the errors are on my part for misreading the info I was given but I’m sure she went to a university (maybe got the name wrong) as I went to visit her several times. I’ve also removed the snow part due to several conflicting sources as I’ve added it and removed it now a couple of times so I’ll just leave it out.

      I would love to get more information from a Hawaii resident, though if you’d be willing to help out? I’ll send you an email! Thanks :-)



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