What to Pack for a Trip to Hawaii

The ultimate packing list for women going to Hawaii (in the Fall and Winter)

hawaii-packing-listThe awesome part about traveling to Hawaii is it’s a pretty laid back place, and you don’t need to pack a whole lot, so you don’t need a lot of luggage, either. I love to pack light, so I was good to go with my leather Tumi duffel bag. Seasons don’t change too much in Hawaii, although some months are warmer or wetter than others. I went in mid-November.

Read: The Best Time to Go to Hawaii

This trip was surreal and a dream come true for me. But since I had never gone to Hawaii before, I wasn’t sure about what to bring. It was a 14-day trip so I made sure all of my clothing was light and casual-but as it turned out, I ended up with a lot more than I needed. Some items were never even worn. I learned from this trip that making all of my clothes interchangeable as a “capsule collection” is important. And a simple black dress goes a LONG way. It can be dressed up or down so easily.

Hawaii is a tropical island. So make sure you keep in mind the weather: It’s warm, sunny, it rains a little bit almost every day and it’s humid. So expect what I call: Beach Hair. And not that pretty, intentional beach waves hair we all love to recreate. Everybody’s hair acts different. So expect anything. Mine went from straight to this weird wave and by day 7, it was a crazy, curly mess.

(So you’ll want to bring a anti-humidity hair spray or something to tame those tresses)

Everyone’s Hawaii trip is different. Depending on what you’re doing, how long you’re there for and what activities you’re planning for will help you to determine what to pack. Some visitors are happy to spend their entire trip at the beach with umbrella drinks, but for us, we were in Oahu for 14 days and we spent a lot of time sightseeing, shopping..and well, eating.


Ginza Sushi in Honolulu

There is a lot to do in Hawaii, so if you are a more adventurous traveler, you’ll want to tailor your packing list to match whatever activities you’ll be doing such as hiking the volcanoes and national parks, rock climbing at waterfalls, shopping, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, museums, and visiting the villages or plantations. I have created a very simple packing list that should be suitable for two weeks during your stay in Hawaii if you are more of a laid back sightseer and less of a thrill seeking adventurer.


Hawaii Packing Checklist:

  1. Sunscreen. C’mon, you don’t want to burn your first day there! Try Alba Botanica
  2. A hat for beach days or for hiking
  3. If you plan to go in the winter months, take a light sweater or scarf. It will drop to mid 60s at night. For me, this is “cold,” but I’m a lightweight when it comes to cool weather.
  4. Sunglasses – plastic, cheap ones are my preference because I won’t take expensive glass lens sunnies to the beach.
  5. Waterproof and sandproof phone carrier. The ESoul case works well for iPhone and Sumsung. I like the pink one, but they have other colors, too.
  6. A small umbrella to keep in your purse. Remember: it rains when it wants, where it wants. The Tioga umbrella is windproof up to 60 MPH ($14 Amazon)
  7. Hair oil, beach waves spray or an anti-humidity spray to combat the frizzies (I found a Monoi Tiare oil while I was in the north shore that I fell in LOVE with!) But you may want to go with a smaller travel size like Oribe humidity spray or Gold Lust. Also, throw in a few hair ties if you have long hair (it can get really windy in Hawaii)
  8. Small travel size aloe vera gel (on the off-chance you forget to wear sunscreen and burn). If you burn, using Lavender essential oil helps to heal burns!
  9. Cloth beach tote and market tote bag. I love the LeSportsac line. They are easy to clean and lightweight. Many styles have a lot of pockets, too! A zippered top is nice because: rain.
  10. Travel Size Makeup with a waterproof mascara and SPF lip balm.
  11. Personal toiletries
  12. A small first aid kit with things like Advil, Immodium and whatnot is a good idea.
  13. Inflatable travel neck pillow. The push-button inflatable DayDreamer is awesome. These pack nicely and they don’t take up any space. The flight can be a long one and you may want to catch some Zzzzs.
  14. Earbuds to drown out any outside noise on the plane if you want to get some rest. I can’t travel without my earbuds and an iPod loaded with my favorite music.
  15. 1 pair of sandals or rubber flip-flops suitable for the beach. My faves are Havaiana flip flops ($22 ) in a neutral color I can wear with shorts or a sundress.
  16. 1 pair of comfy walking shoes or sneakers
  17. 2-3 lightweight, easy dresses. One that is knit and casual and the other for evenings out if you plan on dinner or drinks.
  18. 3-4 tops or tees, 1 button up shirt
  19. 1 skirt – solid color or a playful floral is versatile. You can wear this with almost any top or tee.
  20. 2 pair of shorts. I took a pair of denim cut offs and board shorts.
  21. Underwear and socks. Use your own discretion. I took 7 undies and 2 ankle socks.
  22. 2 swimsuits. You can do well with just one swimsuit if you aren’t planning to be at the beach every day. Two suits are good to have for rotating out while one is drying.
  23. Cardigan, Hoodie or Wrap Kimono. The evenings might get chilly!
  24. Consider bringing a small digital camera if you don’t want to use your phone for photos. I know, everyone uses their phone these days, but a dedicated camera for all of the photos you’ll take could be nice in that you won’t be taking up space on your phone with oodles of photos. These Canon PowerShots are good little cameras, and with 20 MP and $100, it’s worth it. I took almost 300 photos in my 14 days in Hawaii on my phone, and had to worry with the battery going dead. But I also have the Shutterfly app, so I uploaded all of them to my Shutterfly account and voila! I can now order prints anytime I want.

Beach Tote Packing List:


Oribe Gold Lust Oil (travel size) – $37
Rad + Refined ‘Beach Please’ Round Sunglasses
Spitfire Round Sunglasses – $35
LeSportSac Black Tote – $63
FRiEQ FRiEQ Waterproof Case – $6
COOLA Organic Suncare – Pina Colada -$18
The Body Shop Aloe Toner – $16
Fallon & Royce Beach Sequined Tote Bag -$58  Southmoonunder.com
Totes Umbrella – $13
Las Bayadas La Lucia striped beach towel – $46 selfridges.com
MINKPINK Bloomin Beach 1-Pc Swimsuit

Have I forgotten anything??


Lonely Planet Hawaii Travel Guide

The Book of Joy

Bliss Spa Travel Essentials


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