The first time I went to Hawaii I was so overwhelmed. I didn't know what to pack, I didn't know how to book my travel, I didn't even know what island to go to or what side of the island to stay on! When traveling to the islands there is a lot of information you didn't realize that you need to know. I got so worried I'd make a bad choice that I hired a travel agent to book my trip. She did a great job and we had an amazing time. Now that I've been multiple times, I've created a system that makes preparation a breeze!
In this blog post I'm going to walk you through what to pack, and how to decide what you need to take.
The first thing I do is decide how many bags we're going to check on the airplane. That can vary by the budget, which airline you're flying, or how long you're going to stay. We used to check a bag for every person but then I realized that you really don't need to take that much stuff especially if you're only staying a week. Now that we have the system streamlined a bit more we only check two bags for 5 people, and have everyone take a carry-on. If you Plan your flights out far enough that works out, but if you're flying last minute you might not be allowed to take a carry-on. So that's the first thing you have to figure out.
The next thing I do is find out if the place we're staying has beach towels to use and a hair dryer. You're going to need both! If your room supplies them that's a huge bonus. A few less things to take.
Its easy to find this out if you're booking through airbnb or vrbo, but almost impossible if you book through a travel website like Expedia or Travelocity. The hair dryer you can live without, but I would err on the side of caution and take some beach towels, because you can never have too many!
We usually stay at my daughter's now so we always take beach towels with us. Thats what goes in my second check bag :) another good thing about having beach towels along is you can roll up your souvenirs in them to get those precious things home safe.
Next on the list is to gather together a couple of beach bags. You will not regret having some beach bags to carry towels, lunch and everything else down to the beach, on a hike or even on a road trip. Bonus; the beach bags double as grocery bags when you go shopping for food. Hawaii doesn't have plastic grocery bags so you'll end up buying some reusable bags if you don't take your own.
I dig out my canvas bags that roll up really small, and I always take three, one xlarge, one large and one medium sized.
Don't forget a lot of reef safe sunscreen! That Hawaii sun can be scorching! You'll want to apply and re-apply a lot! If you get a bad burn it will most likely blister, so don't let that happen!
After those things are rolled up small and tucked in the suitcase, I grab my list of activities and make a plan for the apparel that we'll need.
Starting at the basics, there are a few things you'll need no matter what you do in Hawaii.
First, SWIMSUITS!! Rule of thumb, you need at least 2 and up to one for every day you are there! Just depends on how much you love swimsuits. I take 2, my second daughter takes one for every day! And don't forget the cover-ups for them. One cover-up per swimsuit is a good idea.
Next, is some shorts outfits and sundresses. I would take 3 or 4 for a 1 week vacation. You won't need more than that and may not even wear them all. Most likely you'll be living in your swimsuits, but for shopping and the occasional trip to a botanical garden, etc. you'll want some shorts. I always tell my kids, do not take denim! Its way too humid over there. Whenever they don't listen they regret it! You need some light, quick dry, hiking type shorts or even spandex. I swear local Hawaiians live in black spandex shorts! If they ever wear denim, their shorts are shorter than daisy dukes! So you can take some of those if you like them. As far as the tops, tank tops or light tshirts are good. Heavy cotton tshirts are way too uncomfortable.
Next basic is your flip flops! I always take at least 3 pairs but I live in flip flops, or slippers as the Hawaiians call them. Whatever other shoes you take though you'll want flip flops for the beach! No other shoe makes any sense at the beach.
Plan your shoes around your activities. I never take close toed shoes because I prefer hiking sandals, but if you like hiking close toed and plan to do that, you'd better take some hiking shoes and socks. And dont forget some sexy flat sandals to wear with those sundresses!
Now is when your activities list comes in handy.
If your planning to go upcountry on any island, you will need something warm. A light jacket, long leggings etc. It can get chilli up high. I usually wear both of those things on the plane because I freeze on airplanes! But if you don't, you'll want to pack some if you plan on a trip to the top of a volcano, like Haleakala.
If your going to dinner you'll want a pretty dress or skirt. I love to wear maxi dresses or skirts out to dinner. Planning a whale watching trip? That might be a great time to use one of your shorts outfits. Fishing? Also shorts. Snorkeling boat trip? Grab that swimsuit and a cover-up.
If you have some hiking in mind, you can wear shorts, or my favorite thing to wear hiking is short spandex, a tankini or bikini top with a tank top over. If you hadn't guessed, this is where my hiking sandals come in handy. It doesn't seem to matter where you're hiking in Hawaii, it usually ends at some water, and most likely you'll be ready to take a dip when you get there!
Now that your suitcase is overflowing. You are ready to take off! Whatever you do, enjoy the special island that you choose to visit, and go with Aloha, which means respect. Leave the island better than you found it!
-Reef safe sunscreen
- beach bag 1-3
- Beach towels
-Hiking pack, fanny pack
-4-5 sundresses, skirts/light shorts outfits
-1or 2 comfy outfits
-Swimsuits, at least 2
-Swim cover-ups/board shorts and t's
-One or two nice outfits for dinner out
-Sandals, hiking shoes and socks, water shoes. Its nice to have shoes that slip off easy when you get to the sand like flip flops.
-Light jacket and long leggings
-Ideas for flight; cards, download movies or shows on device, drowsy dramamine, book to read, neck pillow and light blanket, EMPTY water bottle you can fill past security, snacks.