Hawaii Packing List: 6 Essential Items

October 23, 2018 4 min read

Hawaii Packing List: 6 Essential Items

October 23, 2018 4 min read

If you’re reading this, that means you’re probably planning a trip to Hawaii – how exciting! Below you’ll find TravelShack’s top recommendations for what to bring on your trip to prepare you for island adventures, straight from us locals to travelers like yourself.

Pack efficiently for your Hawaii trip so you can sit back and relax with peace of mind.
1. Basic Essentials: Sunscreen, Aloe Vera, & Bug Spray

Hawaii’s close proximity to the equator means warm and sunny weather year-round, which necessitates a good sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. We recommend SPF 50+, and it’s also imperative that you bring a reef-friendly sunscreen with you. Not only because it’s better for the environment, but also because a bill was passed earlier this year that banned certain sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate (common in name brand sunscreens) that are harmful to marine life.  Aloe Vera is also useful for those inevitable sunburns, and bug spray will help ward off pesky mosquitos in the wetter areas of the island. All are sold in stores around the islands, but the prices can be considerably more expensive here due to having to import products to these remote islands.

2. Comfortable Activewear & Footwear

Hawaii is full of adventurous activities, and some of the best spots around the islands require working up a bit of a sweat to get there. You’ll want to be comfortable on the wide variety of waterfall hikes, viewpoint hikes, and other activities, so you should pack your suitcase with a couple comfortable t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, and a pair of gym shoes. You can put these to good use on our Ziplining Tour, our Kohala Waterfalls Tour, or our Hilo Waterfalls Tour, all of which are located on the Big Island and packed with adventure. Water shoes can also be helpful for waterfall swims and rockier beach access points. If you plan on venturing off the beaten path, hiking boots or shoes you don’t mind getting a bit beaten up might be best for the sharp lava rocks (“`A`a”) that blanket the Big Island, including most of the Kohala Coast where the Waikoloa Resorts are located, or if you do a hike at Maui’s Haleakala Volcano. 

Sensible activewear & footwear makes waterfall adventures a more comfortable experience.
3. Swimsuit & Coverups

A swimsuit and coverup are both obvious but necessary items on any packing list for Hawaii in order to make the most out of the ocean, marine life, waterfalls, and surfing, and then effortlessly transition into sightseeing on land. This combo is perfect for days at the beach or by your hotel’s pool, and then heading to lunch or sightseeing later with a casual and breathable coverup or t-shirt to throw on over your swimsuit. Hawaii’s laid-back atmosphere means that it’s widely acceptable to go about your day in a swimsuit and coverup without much second thought.

4. Waterproof Phone Case and/or Underwater Camera

Those epic turtle selfies, underwater videos, and waterfall shots that you saw while planning your trip to Hawaii – they all require an underwater camera, or at the very least, a waterproof phone case. With so much of Hawaii’s natural beauty off land and beneath the surface of the ocean, we highly recommend bringing these from home so you can capture and remember Hawaii’s vibrant marine world for years to come. These items would be especially useful on snorkel cruises like the ones we offer on the Big Island and Maui, as well as Manta Ray Night Diving and Scuba Diving (both on the Big Island).

Capture those bucket list underwater experiences, like swimming with green sea turtles, with an underwater camera or waterproof phone case.
5. Light Jacket & Pants

While Hawaii does have a favorable climate year-round, the islands still have a ‘winter’ season which can see slight drops in temperatures especially in the morning and at night, and also at higher elevation when hiking or sightseeing on top of mountains/volcanoes. A light jacket & pants (preferably with waterproof material for any possible rainy moments) will come in handy for those rare, slightly cooler days in the islands. If you’re planning on taking either of our Mauna Kea Summit Tours (which we highly recommend for a unique Hawaii memory), these items will come in handy – though the tours do offer hooded parkas, gloves, and other warm-weather items for your added convenience.

6. Aloha Shirts and/or Smart Casual Outfit

In true Hawaii spirit, aloha shirts (also known as Hawaiian shirts) are a staple in both tourists’ and locals’ wardrobes. Locals may wear more muted prints and colors to work and for special occasions, while tourists can wear these to upscale dinners or to Hawaiian luaus like we offer on Maui and the Big Island. It’s recommended to bring at least one smart casual outfit on your Hawaiian trip for such occasions, and the aloha shirt is a perfect option to get into the aloha spirit.

Aloha shirts are standard Hawaii apparel for nicer events, especially luaus.

Pack all of the necessary items from home so that your time in Hawaii can be maximized on exploration and fun activities, not on rushing to the store for forgotten items.


TravelShack makes it easy to find and book Hawaii’s best things to do. We hold responsible tourism as a top priority and carefully select our vendors and activities. We ensure your vacation will not impact your destination in a negative way. 

With highly-rated tours & activities, you can plan highlights for your trip all in one place. Enjoy discounts and cashback, flexible cancellations, no booking fees, and verified traveler reviews. Visit our website to line up some incredible experiences for your Hawaiian vacation!

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