Packing For Hawaii: Eleven Tips

Packing For Hawaii: Eleven Tips

Packing for Hawaii can be easy. Here are our top 11 suggestions plus several shared by visitors. Please let us know if you have anything else for the list. We think the main rule to go by is, “Keep it Simple.”

1. Leave the turkey at home. Well it’s Thanksgiving after all. We once met a visitor who brought a turkey from the mainland for Thanksgiving dinner.  Just remember there’s nothing much you can’t buy here if you need it, including food and medications. So don’t loose sleep if you should forget something.

2. Roll your clothes. Pack things that don’t need a lot of care. Stay away from dry cleaners and you won’t pay $10 or more per garment.

3. Pack carry-on snacks for the trip and some for after you get here and are tired and hungry.

4. Unlined Goretex type shirt/jacket is helpful for rain and wind protection without making you steam. Something warm for the plane and nights, like a sweatshirt or light sweater, might be good too.

5. Hiking boots are useful and can be worn to lighten your baggage. If you have old shoes/boots, consider wearing those and leaving them behind to have even more luggage space on the return.

6. Limit T-Shirts you bring. There are so many great shirts to buy in Hawaii. Even living here, we all have a plethora of Hawaii t-shirts.

7. Snorkeling gear can stay home. Why not rent, or purchase inexpensively in Hawaii.

8. Finding the internet. There is a lot of free wifi to be found in Hawaii. You can also purchase a visitor library card and use the Internet and a computer at locations throughout Hawaii.

9. Avoid checked bag fees entirely by sticking with limited clothes in a carry-on.

10. Travel with a luggage scale and know your carrier’s limitations.

11. Dufflebag or Tote for the return trip. Consider either bringing a nylon dufflebag or buying a Rubbermaid tote for the return trip. After you go shopping, you may need it. Yes you will pay for the checked bag, but it will likely be far cheaper than shipping all that stuff home.




  1. rikii lee (1 year ago)

    I can not wait to go op shopping as we call it in Australia. Can not wait for My girlfriend and I to be in Hawaii in two and half weeks!!!!!!

  2. Terri (1 year ago)

    I agree with the thrift store idea. It’s a great way to get items without spending top price. We did this on our trip to the big island and them donated them back before we left. Everybody wins.

  3. Alice (1 year ago)

    My Last trip to Hawaii, I got smart, I looked on the Internet for thrift stores in the we were going to be in.
    Previously when we went to Maui, We went to a very cool thrift store and Found Nice snorkel gear there! My Son-in Law is a fish and got lots of use. Plus, loads of grass mats are there, etc.
    We went real cheap in Kauai and our room didn’t even have a coffee pot- Thrift Store! Mugs too. Brought home the Mugs, left the coffee pot! We Always have a Blast!

  4. Joe Sapinski (1 year ago)

    Just returned from 2 weeks iin Kauai – Sheraton, Poipu -umpteenth time. USPS Priority Flat Rate boxes have been a great way to send back heaviest items (guava jelly, Anahola granola, etc) back home to NJ rather than carry them on plane.

  5. Karen (1 year ago)

    I’m not sure if Keoki Smith has ever actually tried taking the “mini liquor” bottles she suggests, but the airlines don’t allow any alcohol to be carried on board. You can pack wine and a limited amount of hard liquor in your checked bags, but I doubt the TSA would just laugh at liquor being carried on board.

    As for clothing, I usually pack a foldable bag and take minimal shorts and tops since Hawaii is where I buy most of my summer clothing. I pack everything in the folding case for the trip home and check it through. I have at least saved the luggage charge one-way.

  6. Heather Walker (1 year ago)

    Cotton, cotton and more cotton, especially for ladies at or near the menopause. Talke comfy shoes and a great hat, but you can buy the best clothes, cosmetics and homeward there, leave lots of room in your a beach mat there, and loads of sunscreen. As an Aussie, I find the shopping there the best in the world.

  7. Keoki Smith (1 year ago)

    Stock up on single shot liquor bottles (correctly placed in a one quart zip lock bag) of you favorite libations. You can carry on unlimited amounts if packed correctly, TSA just laughs. Order cups of free ice, club soda, tonic, ginger ale, whatever your mixer of choice from the drinks cart on board.. Imbibe responsibly and be descreet, and you’ll enjoy a relaxed trip at a fraction of the cost; the rest instead of $8 – $10 dollar charge from the hotel stocked mini fridge.

    • Amanda Elliott (1 year ago)

      Kevin–Can you really get away with carrying those small bottles on the airplane? What’s the size limit? Sounds great but I thought they didn’t allow liquids like that!

  8. Val (1 year ago)

    For condo renters:
    Small baggies each w/ 1 load’s worth of detergent and maybe a laundry sheet or two. Just so you don’t have to say “Really! $1.50 for detergent and another $1.00 a laundry sheet “. And that’s before you even start the washer!

    • Dana (1 year ago)

      Good idea Thanks Val

    • CJ (1 year ago)

      There’s a lot you can pack if you’re a condo renter. Since groceries at Foodland or Safeway is a lot higher than we are accustomed to on the mainland, I always pack spices I cook with and coffee. We mostly shop at Foodland stores and use the Maika’i card for extra savings.

  9. Patricia Shields (1 year ago)

    One tip I dispute is leaving snorkel gear at home because by buying cheaply made gear on the islands, it adds to the rubbish and therefore the landfill. Besides, isn’t using your own reliable gear better than something that might not last your trip? Wouldn’t you rather use your money on a luau or a great show?

  10. Kestie (1 year ago)

    Sunglasses, water shoes and flip-flops.

  11. mary meinert case (1 year ago)

    my deal is that you can ALWAYS find shampoo etc on /in the islands,. there is nothing you can’t get there, so LESS is MORE. i WOULD say, for ladies, a COUPLE of bathing suits, flip flops and you’re done.