What Should You Pack?

By Hawaii.com Team

Aside from that new bathing suit and beach towel, you may be uncertain about what to pack for your trip to Hawaii. Understandably so: Hawaii’s tropical climate commands a unique fashion strategy. Although we’ve geared our suggestions for travelers who plan to sample the pleasures of both city and country, we strongly recommend traveling light. Take only what you need and leave the rest!

To help you leave behind the things you WON’T need (and allow more luggage space for souvenirs), we offer this checklist:

Women Should Pack:

• Light, water-based skin moisturizer. This is a must; the sun and humidity will dry out your skin.

• Sunscreen: at least SPF 15

• Casual, sporty clothing: Three to four pairs of casual shorts, tank tops, t-shirts and other light-cotton shirts and skirts (skirts are generally shorter here, except for dining)

• Good walking shoes and/or sneakers (broken in before the trip)

• One to two pairs of dress shoes (one pair for dining, one pair for dancing)

• Hiking boots, if you plan to hike

• Bathing suit (Note: If you wear a bikini, be sure to hold onto it if you swim in surf larger than 2 feet; many a bikini top has been lost).

• Light jacket, plus a wrap you can use with a dress (for romantic star-gazing sessions on the beach)

• One nice dress for a semi-formal evening out

• Sun hat or other head covering

• Camera, film and/or video camera

• Small collapsible umbrella (you’ll run into a light shower almost every day in Hawaii, with the occasional downpour)

• Waist pack or backpack (something other than a purse) to carry with you when out and about

Women should leave behind:

• Hair conditioner. The combination of hair conditioner, humidity and heat may leave your hair flat.

• Socks (except to wear for sneakers)

• Heavy coats

• Sequins and taffeta. Most of Hawaii’s dining establishments are informal.

Men should pack:

• Casual, sporty clothing: Three to four pairs of shorts, t-shirts and other light-cotton shirts

• Swimming trunks. (Hint: They should fit well enough around the waist so they won’t slide down when swimming in the surf.)

• One sport coat if you plan to dine at a fancy restaurant (most restaurants in Hawaii do not require jackets, collars or ties)

• One pair of long pants

• Good walking shoes and/or sneakers (broken in before the trip)

• One pair of dress shoes

• Hiking boots, if you plan to hike

• One light jacket (for breezy moonlight strolls on the beach)

• Sun hat or other head covering

• Camera, film and/or video camera

Men should leave behind:

• Ties

• heavy coats

• socks (except for sneakers)

NOTE: If you’re planning a Hawaiian Island cruise, women may want to bring an evening gown or two, and men could pack a jacket and tie. Onboard dinners and events tend to be more formal than those on land.

Pack for children:

• One pair of sneakers

• Socks for the sneakers

• One pair of sandals (preferably good walking sandals)

• A sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt

• Light jacket

• Several pairs of long pants or leggings

• T-shirts, shorts (cotton is best)

• Bathing suit

• Baby wipes (these come in handy out on the beach or anywhere, and not just for the kids)

• Sunscreen, SPF 30-50

• Hat

• If your child weighs less than 50 pounds and you plan to rent a car, you can either bring a children’s car seat or booster seat, or arrange to get one through your car rental company. Hawaii has both a car/booster seat and seat belt law.

• If your child is younger than 5, we recommend bringing a stroller or baby backpack for walking, hiking and/or sightseeing.

Children should leave behind:

• Heavy coats

• Sweaters, sleepers and flannel pajamas (especially for babies; too much clothing will overheat a small child)

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