🏝 Hawaii Packing List: Essentials + 25 Overlooked Items (2024)

What to pack for Hawaii packing list blog post cover.  Text overlaying an image of two girls in a hammock on a white sand beach between palm trees.

Creating your own Hawaii packing list can be stressful if this is your first visit to the Rainbow State.

Between the hundreds of small, essential items and all of the little things you hadn’t thought of (or didn’t know you needed), you may need a vacation from planning your vacation!

To make things easy, we have created this guide to help you plan and organize your packing list for Hawaii in a way that ensures you won’t forget anything important.

We have even created a printable checklist with the essentials, information on which travel documents are required, and 25 items you probably hadn’t thought of that could make your life easier and/or make for a better holiday.

In addition, you can find the answers to most of your travel and packing-based questions, as well as more Hawaii resources, at the bottom of this guide.

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post likely contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links πŸ™‚

🌺 Printable Hawaii Packing List

Printable Hawaii Packing List

The first thing you will want to do is download and print the essential Hawaii checklist if you do not already have your own version.

This will ensure you do not forget any of the little things you will need for your vacation.

Simply click the button below.

Next, peruse the list of the 25 things to bring to Hawaii you may not have thought of. You will find links and descriptions for each item of interest in the next section.

The most important things you need to pack for a Hawaii vacation are:

  1. Reef-Safe Sunscreen
  2. Quick-Dry, Sand-Resistant Beach Towel (with Hidden Zipper Pocket)
  3. Waterproof Phone Case
  4. Motion Sickness Bands
  5. Long Sleeved Rash Guard
  6. Mesh Water Shoes
  7. Reef-Safe SPF Lip Balm
  8. Flotation Strap
  9. Snorkel Gear
  10. Dry Bag
  11. Body Glide
  12. Mini First-Aid Kit
  13. Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
  1. Portable Cell Phone Charger
  2. Underwater Camera
  3. Underwater Dome GoPro Housing
  4. Travel Hammock
  5. Compression Packing Cubes
  6. Backpack Cooler
  7. Reusable Water Bottle
  8. Costco Membership Card
  9. Packable Grocery Bag
  10. Travel Adapter
  11. Waterproof Kindle
  12. National Parks Pass

If you are a visual person, we’ve also made all of these items available on Amazon within one easy-to-browse Amazon Hawaii Packing List.


🀿 Hawaii Packing List: 25 Things to Bring That You Likely Haven’t Thought Of!

Sophie Clapton on a white sand beach in Hawaii.
Make sure you have everything you need for your perfect Hawaii vacation before you go!

While our downloadable Hawaii checklist above has EVERYTHING you need to pack for Hawaii, let’s face it, we all know to bring a swimsuit and toothbrush on vacation!

Rather than provide you with 101 things to pack, below are just the 25 things to bring to Hawaii that you might have forgotten, not yet thought of, or flat out didn’t know existed!

These are some of our favorite travel items that we always have in our suitcase.

Traveling with kids? We’ve also included five bonus items for packing for the family!

Wondering what to wear in Hawaii? We cover that below too πŸ˜‰

🧴 1. Reef-Safe Sunscreen (REQUIRED!)

We Dream of Travel writer Sophie Marland is photographed applying reef-safe sunscreen on a beach in Hawaii.

Hawaii is the first state to require the use of reef-safe sunscreen. Accordingly, reef-safe sunscreen is perhaps the most important item to pack for Hawaii.

It is estimated that 4,000-6,000 tons of sunscreen pollute our reefs yearly. Help protect our reefs by ensuring you have reef-safe sunscreen.

We recommend Stream 2 Sea sunscreen as it’s free from harmful chemicals, and its bottles are made from either sugarcane resin or recycled milk jugs.

Māmalu Sunscreen on Etsy also offers natural reef-safe SPF30 sunscreen, handmade in Kauai. This is an excellent option for protecting your skin and the ocean while supporting a local Hawaiian business.

πŸ– 2. Quick-Dry, Sand-Resistant Beach Towel
(with Hidden Zipper Pocket)

Sandproof Turkish beach towel with a hidden zippered pocket is an essential when packing for the beach.

If you have never used a travel towel, they are life-changing for beach days! The material repels sand rather than collecting it so it doesn’t end up everywhere, packs small, and dries quickly.

This Turkish towel is 100% cotton, sand-resistant, quick-drying, and even has a secret zipper pocket to hide away your phone and keys.

Alternatively, this oversized beach blanket is perfect for packing for the family. Made from parachute nylon, it is also quick-dry, sand-resistant, and has zipper pockets, plus anchors to secure it.

We also love these Nomadix travel towels, made from 100% recycled plastic and have great designs.

πŸ“± 3. Waterproof Phone Case

A black and a light green waterproof phone pouch.

Even if your phone is waterproof, you should include a waterproof phone case on your Hawaii packing list!

Saltwater is highly corrosive and can begin destroying your phone from the inside out without you even knowing it.

No matter which Hawaiian island you visit, you will undoubtedly be near the water. Bringing a waterproof phone case will help protect your phone on the beach, by the pool, and on boat rides.

It’s also great for storing cash, documents, credit cards, etc., that you need to take with you but don’t want to get wet!

⛡️ 4. Motion Sickness Bands

Root'd Wristbands acupressure wristbands for nausea relief.

If you’re susceptible to motion sickness, like I am, you will want to bring some acupressure wristbands.

Whether exploring the twists and turns on the Road to Hana or bobbing up and down on a boat tour of the Na Pali coast, they’ll come in handy!

Root’d wristbands are the most effective I’ve found and are nicer looking than most.

If you prefer a motion sickness tablet, then Bonine is what I use. Our dive instructor friend recommended it as it’s less drowsy than Dramamine.

β˜€οΈ 5. Long Sleeved Rash Guard

Sophie Marland from We Dream of Travel walking along a tropical beach in a black long-sleeved swimsuit.

I highly recommend packing a long-sleeved swimsuit or rash guard.

With a 50+ SPF, it will provide protection from the sun so you can use less sunscreen.

They’re also great for kids and save you from having to chase them around quite so often to reapply sunscreen!

Personally, I have three of these long-sleeved swimsuits and absolutely love them!

πŸ‘Ÿ 6. Mesh Water Shoes

A pair of blue mesh water shoes - an essential for packing for Hawaii.

Whether traversing lava rock, hiking through lush vegetation, taking long strolls along the beach, or staying poolside, a good pair of water shoes is essential.

They protect your feet and provide grip on rough terrain and hot surfaces while being breathable, quick-drying, and easy to clean.

After cutting my foot on a stray piece of lava rock (on an otherwise white sand beach), I wouldn’t visit Hawaii without them!

πŸ’„ 7. Reef-Safe SPF Lip Balm

Two sticks of All Good brand SPF30 Coconut Sunstick reef safe sun protection.

It’s easy to overlook packing SPF lip balm, but sore, sunburned lips are not a fun way to start your Hawaii vacation!

As with your sunscreen, ensure you choose a reef-safe option.

This SPF50 lip balm on Etsy is entirely natural and organic and produced in the USA by a small business.

πŸ›Ÿ 8. Flotation Strap

Two brightly colored flotation straps to attach to a phone or camera.

Phone overboard!!

While the waterproof phone case will protect your phone, it will still sink if dropped into the water!

Ensure your phone or waterproof camera stays afloat with a flotation strap in the event of a drop.

🀿 9. Snorkel Gear

An underwater selfie of Adam and Sophie Marland snorkeling in Hawaii.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of snorkeling while in Hawaii, it is cheaper and easier to bring your own snorkel gear than renting it each day.

Many rentals cost upward of $15 per day and come with the hassle of arranging it each day. Pack your own and be ready to jump in the water any time!

⭐️ Pro tip: Full-face snorkel masks are considered dangerous and have been banned by many Hawaii tour companies. These are different from the ones we recommend above.

Travel blogger Sophie Marland collects her snorkel gear from the back of our van in Hawaii.
Don’t forget to pack your snorkel gear!

πŸŽ’ 10. Dry Bag

10 liter waterproof dry bag and waterproof phone case.

An inexpensive dry bag is an invaluable item when packing for Hawaii.

Not only does it keep your belongings dry while on the beach, kayaking, or on boat tours, it also floats! So if it takes a spill overboard your things will remain dry and easy to retrieve.

The great thing about this dry bag is that it also comes with a waterproof phone case, so you get two for the price of one!

πŸ„πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ 11. Body Glide

Body Glide Anti Chafe Balm.

Let’s face it, in the hot and humid weather in Hawaii, sticky, sweaty skin likes to rub together… particularly thighs!

Body Glide is a game-changer and will make a welcome addition to your Hawaii packing list. Originally designed for surfers in California, the anti-chafing balm prevents friction on the skin.

It’s also great for preventing blisters on your feet, just apply some before putting on your socks and shoes.

You can also find a 100% biodegradable, handmade anti-chafing stick on Etsy.

β€οΈβ€πŸ©Ή 12. Mini First-Aid Kit

Travel Mini First Aid Kit Packing List Essential

We always pack a mini first aid kit in our bag, just in case. This is particularly useful to have if you plan on doing any hiking in Hawaii.

You never know when it may come in handy (particularly as I’m clumsy)!

🎢 13. Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Anker Soundcore 2 portable bluetooth speaker.

Listen to your favorite songs on the beach, by the pool, or on the lanai of your hotel room with a portable Bluetooth speaker.

After returning several, we finally found “the one” with the Soundcore 2 by Anker.

It is among the most affordable options, the sound quality is excellent, and provides 24 hours of playback battery life.

It is also waterproof so you can enjoy music wherever you go in Hawaii!

πŸ”‹ 14. Portable Cell Phone Charger

An Anker portable charger power pack.

It’s likely you’ll be using your phone to navigate, take photos, and more! Bring a power pack with you to keep your phone charged on the go.

This portable charger by Anker is the one I use as it offers wireless, USB, and USB-C charging.

However, it doesn’t work with iPhone 15 models. Therefore, I’d recommend this one instead for any users of the newer phones.

This is now a must-have on any packing list!

πŸ“Έ 15. Underwater Camera

GoPro HERO11 Black - Waterproof Action Camera

With so many incredible waterfalls and snorkeling adventures, an underwater camera is a great addition to your Hawaii packing list.

Yes, you could use your phone in a waterproof case. However, if the case fails you risk saltwater damage to your phone which could destroy everything you have on it!

There are many different underwater cameras you can get depending on your level and interest in photography. However, the GoPro, or similar adventure cameras, are small, easy to use, and reasonably priced.

🐒 16. Underwater Dome Housing

Sophie Marland of We Dream of Travel photographed snorkeling while holding a GoPro with Fifty Fifty Dome.

An underwater dome housing allows you to capture photos with part of the frame above water and part underwater.

This inexpensive item allows for a lot of creativity and is probably one of the things we had the most fun with in Hawaii.

Just make sure you order one for the correct GoPro model!

🌴 17. Travel Hammock

Sophie and a blonde friend hanging out in a hammock on a Hawaii vacation.

A travel hammock isn’t exactly an essential on your Hawaii checklist but it does make a really fun addition.

This lightweight, packable hammock is great for pitching between palm trees for the ultimate laidback island vibes.

🧳 18. Compression Packing Cubes

Well Traveled compression packing cubes are a great packing hack and a must on any packing list

Compression packing cubes are the ultimate packing hack. When it comes time to pack your suitcase for Hawaii, you will absolutely want to use them.

As well as keeping your clothes organized, they’re a time saver. Ready to hit the beach as soon as you arrive? Don’t waste time digging around in your suitcase, simply pull out the cube with your swimwear, and you’re ready to go!

The compression ability is also great for maximizing your space.

We’ve used many different brands of packing cubes, but none have matched the quality and functionality of Well Traveled.

⭐️ Pro tip: If you’re packing for the family, we recommend getting different colored cubes for each family member.

❄️ 19. Backpack Cooler

A waterproof backpack cooler is a versatile addition to your packing list.

Whether you want to keep your food and drink cold on the beach or in the car as you explore the islands, a cooler is a must on your Hawaii packing checklist!

This backpack cooler is the one that we use. After a lot of research, I landed on this one as the leakproof interior also doubles up as a waterproof dry bag making it super versatile!

The backpack design also makes it a lot more comfortable to carry around.

πŸ’¦ 20. Reusable Water Bottle

A teal and purple stainless steel insulated reusable water bottle.

Remain hydrated in Hawaii without wasting single-use plastic bottles.

Hawaii is known for its excellent tap water as it’s naturally filtered through porous volcanic rock and lacks the chlorine taste found in many other areas of the US.

We love these reusable bottles as they come in a range of colors and sizes, and keep your drinks cold for 24 hours (or hot for 12 hours – but that’s less useful in Hawaii!).

If you don’t mind your water not staying cold, these collapsible reusable bottles are a great option for saving space in your suitcase.

⭐️ Pro tip: Many hotels in Hawaii have started providing guests reusable water bottles, so call and inquire!

πŸ›’ 21. Costco Membership Card

Costco Wholesale Membership Card shouldn't be missed off your Hawaii Packing List

This card pays for itself very quickly in Hawaii, where gas can be more than $1/ gallon less expensive at Costco!

While this may seem like a strange addition to your Hawaii packing list, it will save you a lot of money on food and fuel.

Costco now has stores on all four of the main Hawaiian islands (Oahu, Big Island, Maui and Kauai).

πŸ‘œ 22. Packable Grocery Bag

Foldable Reusable Grocery Bags with Handles and Zippers

Hawaii was the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. Make sure you include some reusable grocery bags on your Hawaii packing list for any shopping you plan to do!

I love these ones with a zipper as they’re also great for use as a laundry bag, beach bag, or anything else you may need.

✈️ 23. Travel Adapter

Worldwide All in One Universal Travel Adapter

On Hawaii, the power plugs and sockets are type A and B, the same as mainland USA.

If you’re visiting Hawaii from the mainland, you won’t need an adapter. However, if you’re traveling internationally to Hawaii, make sure you pack a travel adapter.

We prefer a universal travel adapter as you can use them everywhere so you’re guaranteed to always have the right one in your bag!

πŸ“• 24. Waterproof Kindle

A hand holding a kindle e-book reader at the beach with the ocean in the background.

There’s nothing better than sitting by the pool or on the beach and getting lost in a book. The Kindle Paperwhite allows you to do just that without having to pack bulky books.

It is also waterproof so you can enjoy your favorite book by the water without worry.

For those of you who have non-waterproof e-readers, this waterproof case is great for adding protection.

Finally, sign up for a Kindle Unlimited 30 day free trial before you go to make the most of access to over 2 million books.

🏞 25: National Parks Pass

Image of the America the Beautiful Annual National Parks Pass

If you are visiting Maui or the Big Island and have an Annual National Parks Pass then it is worth packing it.

Haleakala NP on Maui and Hawaii Volcanoes NP on the Big Island are both spectacular and your annual pass will allow you free admittance to both.

Additionally, it will allow access to some National Historic Sites, such as Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau on the Big Island.

However, if you plan on visiting the parks via a tour you will not need your pass.

πŸ₯₯ Bonus: Leave Some Empty Space

Empty suitcase ready to pack for Hawaii

When packing for Hawaii make sure you leave some empty space!

You’ll undoubtedly want to bring home some Hawaiian souvenirs to remember your vacation and you want to make sure you have the space to do so.

Not got your suitcase yet? Check out our Level8 luggage review.

πŸͺ£ Hawaii Packing List for Kids

While most parents will have all the obvious things ready for a family vacation in Hawaii. Here are a few things to pack for Hawaii that you may not yet have considered.

πŸ“· 1. Waterproof Kids Camera

A kids robust waterproof camera.

This waterproof camera comes in a robust, drop-proof case designed for kids aged 3+.

Not only does it help to keep the little ones entertained, but also allows them to capture and treasure their own vacation memories.

πŸ““ 2. Kids Travel Journal

Front cover of The Ultimate Travel Journal for Kids by Rob Taylor.

Get the kids excited before the trip and keep them engaged throughout with this travel journal. It is full of fun prompts and activities and has space for four trips.

It is ideal for keeping them occupied on the plane and while out at restaurants.

This Hawaii travel activity book and journal is highly recommended. It is full of fun facts about Hawaii and specific island activities.

πŸͺ£ 3. Collapsible Buckets

Three brightly colored collapsible sand bucket toys for kids.

Is there anything more quintessentially reminiscent of a beach vacation than building sandcastles?!

These collapsible buckets make it easy to pack these favorite beach toys.

⭐️ Pro tip: Many hotels and resorts will provide beach toys for kids so call in advance.

🌊 4. Inflatable Arm Bands

Two blue inflatable Speedo arm bands for kids.

While puddle jumpers are great, they are bulky to pack. Instead, consider a pair of inflatable arm bands.

⭐️ Pro tip: Check first with your accommodation as they may provide life vests or floaties for children.

πŸ’‘ 5. Night Light

Two Plug in Motion Sensor Dimmable Night Lights.

Sleeping in a new place can be difficult, even for the older family members.

A night light can help the little ones feel secure, while also making it easier to navigate new surroundings at night.

🧩 6. Travel Games

A Travel Reusable Games Wipe-Off Activity Pad for Kids.

If you’re traveling to Hawaii with kids, make sure you pack at least one or two travel games.

These will prove invaluable whether on the plane, in the hotel room, in the car, or at a restaurant.

Some great options include:

πŸ‘— What to Wear in Hawaii

🌀 Weather in Hawaii

Sophie poses in a swimsuit with a flower in her hair on a tropical white sand beach with jagged mountains behind in Hawaii.
Expect warm, tropical temperatures in most places in Hawaii!

Hawaii is known for its tropical, warm weather year-round with daytime temperatures ranging from 78Β°F in the winter to 88Β°F in the summer. While the temperatures don’t fluctuate too much between islands, you will find microclimates within each. Did you know that Hawaii has 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones?

During the winter months (Nov-Feb), expect cooler weather at night and a higher chance of rain. Accordingly, you’ll want to pack a sweater and a light rain jacket.

In the summer (Jun-Aug), it can get very hot so you’ll want to ensure you have light, comfortable clothing.

However, as mentioned, there are many microclimates. This means the weather can vary greatly on different parts of the island and throughout any given day, particularly at areas of higher elevation such as Haleakala National Park on Maui or Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island.

In other words, you will want to make sure you to pack several light layers to add and remove as necessary.

⭐️ Pro tip: Wear your sweater on the plane to save space in your suitcase. Plus the plane is usually on the cooler side!

πŸ‘— Fashion in Hawaii

A sundress is a great addition to your Hawaii packing list.
As well as being comfortable, a white cover-up or sundress makes for great photos in Hawaii!

When it comes to what to wear in Hawaii, think breezy island vibes! The laidback aloha lifestyle simply requires casual outfits, so you can leave the formalwear at home.

You’ll see plenty of signs on shops and restaurants saying “shorts and shoes required” but that’s about as far as it goes for dress codes in Hawaii!

Sophie and a friend sitting in activewear overlooking the Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii
Don’t forget to pack some activewear for any hikes or activities.

During the day, swimwear (with a cover-up available) plus shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and flip flops are the most you could need. If you’re hiking or doing other activities, you may want to also pack some activewear.

In the evening, you may want something a little dressier. However, we’re talking flowy sundresses and sandals, or a button-up/aloha style shirt with shorts. Nothing too fancy!

Leave the high-heels, suit jackets, and accessories at home!

πŸ‘™ Clothing Packing Lists for Hawaii

Below are suggested clothing packing lists for women and men for a week in Hawaii. If you have longer in Hawaii consider doing laundry while there to limit how much you need to take.

One Week Hawaii Clothing Packing List for Women

  • Swimsuits (2-3)
  • Long Sleeved Rash Guard (1)
  • Sundresses (1-2)
  • Cover-Ups (1-2)
  • Shorts (2-3)
  • T-Shirts/Tank Tops (2-3)
  • Activewear (Leggings/Shorts, Sports Bar, Tank Top) (1 set)
  • Light Sweater (1)
  • Rain Jacket (1)
  • Underwear (7)
  • Bras (2-3)
  • Socks (2-3 pairs)
  • Pajamas (1-2)
  • Water Shoes
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • Sandals
  • Sunhat
  • Polarized Sunglasses

One Week Hawaii Clothing Packing List for Men

  • Swim Shorts (2-3)
  • Long Sleeved Rash Guard (1)
  • Shorts (2-3)
  • T-Shirts/Tank Tops (3-4)
  • Smart/Casual Long Pants (1)
  • Aloha Shirt (1)
  • Short-Sleeved Button Up (1)
  • Light Sweater (1)
  • Rain Jacket (1)
  • Underwear (7)
  • Socks (2-3 pairs)
  • Sleepwear
  • Water Shoes
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • Summer Shoes (ie. boat shoes/espadrilles)
  • Baseball Cap
  • Polarized Sunglasses

πŸ‘  What NOT to Pack for Hawaii

Now we’ve covered all the things you need to bring for Hawaii, here are a few things you should leave at home!

Too Many Clothes

A swimsuit is likely all you need for packing in Hawaii.
You’ll likely spend most of your time in Hawaii in a swimsuit!

Hawaii is a very casual place and you’ll likely spend most of your vacation in a swimsuit and cover-up. You really don’t need too many outfits, plus if you run out you can always do some laundry… or shopping!


Packing your own hairdryer takes up unnecessary space. Most vacation rentals and hotels will provide a hairdryer.

Regular Towel

Your accommodation will almost definitely provide towels for use on the property. While it is absolutely worth packing a quick-drying, sand-resistant towel for the beach, you don’t need to pack a regular towel.

Soap, Shampoo, and Conditioner

Unless you have soaps and shampoos that you prefer to use, save space and leave them at home. Nearly all hotels and vacation rentals will provide these.


Leave your food at home! Hawaii has a wealth of delicious food, from tropical fruits to food trucks, along with many grocery stores (including Costco) on all four major islands.

You can also find a list of plants and food items that are restricted or prohibited from being brought into Hawaii.

High Heels and Formal Clothes

Adam & Sophie Wearing Flower Leis at Toa Luau Oahu Hawaii
Pack casual evening wear for Hawaii; a light shirt for men and flowy summer dress for women.

Not only is Hawaii very casual when it comes to attire, many of the events you may want to dress up for such as luaus will take place on the sand.

So leave the high heels and formal clothes at home and instead pack a nice pair of sandals to pair with a flowy summer dress for the evenings. Or for the men, leave the suits and dress shoes behind and instead, pack a light button-up shirt and smart shorts.

Heavy Sweaters or Jackets

It is worth packing a light sweater and rain jacket for winter evenings or visits to higher elevations (or even the air-conditioned hotel rooms if you get cold like me!). However, you can leave the heavier ones at home. After all, you’re heading to Hawaii for a tropical vacation.

Better still, just wear a light sweater and jacket on the plane to save space in your suitcase!


Rather than pack heavy books for your vacation reading instead, consider a Kindle or other e-reader. These will allow you all the joys of relaxing with a good story, without the inconvenience of bulky, heavy books.

🧳 Baggage Allowance for Hawaii

Sunset at Wailea Beach in Maui, Hawaii

The luggage allowances for Hawaii will differ slightly based on the airline you’ve chosen, your ticket, and where you’re flying from.

Some cheaper, economy fares will not include checked luggage and may limit carry-on luggage to one personal item. Conversely, business and first-class fares may include multiple checked bags with a higher weight allowance.

Level8 luggage ready for a trip to Hawaii.

Regardless of whether you plan to travel with only carry-on or checked bags, we recommend investing in high-quality luggage as it will protect your precious belongings while traveling. We personally always travel with our Level8 luggage.

You can find out more about it in our detailed Level8 luggage review.

Checked Luggage

Checked luggage typically has a maximum weight and dimensions allowance:

  • Maximum Weight: Up to 50lbs (23kg)
  • Maximum Dimensions (length + width + height): 62 linear inches (157 cm)

Ensure you weigh your bags prior to traveling to avoid extra charges. You can do this with an inexpensive suitcase weight scale.

Alternatively, if you have bathroom scales, weigh yourself with your suitcase, then just yourself. Deduct your weight from the combined weight to work out the weight of your suitcase.

Carry On Luggage

Airlines also restrict the size of carry-on luggage to ensure it fits safely under the seat in front of you or in an overhead compartment. The dimensions for these are standard across most airlines and include the wheels and handles:

  • Maximum Dimensions: 22” x 14” x 9” (56cm x 36cm x 23cm)

If your bag exceeds the required dimensions you may be required to pay to check the bag. Many airlines do not readily disclose a maximum weight limit for carry-on luggage. However, carry-on bags are typically limited to 22-25 pounds (10-11 kg).

Most airlines will also allow one personal item, such as a purse, briefcase, or laptop bag. The dimensions for these are not always defined, although for United Airlines these dimensions are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm), to give you a rough size.

πŸ“ƒ Essential Travel Documents

A drone image of our tour group on a boat tour of the Na Pali Coast, Kauai
Don’t forget to bring your itinerary and tour details.

While almost everything else on this Hawaii packing list could be bought in Hawaii, your travel documents cannot be replaced and should be packed safely before traveling! Additionally, it is a good idea to have digital versions on your phone or on the cloud should you have to present or replace them.

We’ll go into more detail for some, but first here’s a quick overview of all the travel documents you’ll require for Hawaii:

  • Passport or valid government ID
  • Valid ESTA/Visa (if required)
  • Travel insurance policy
  • 24-hour emergency travel insurance contact and policy number
  • Flight e-tickets
  • Your travel itinerary
  • Booking information for tours
  • Photocopies of important documents
  • Cash/credit cards
  • A small amount of USD cash
  • Youth/student/seniors cards for travel discounts
  • Drivers License/International driving license (if renting a car)
  • Scuba diving license (if needed)

Do I need a passport or ID for Hawaii?

For US residents visiting Hawaii from the mainland US, you will only need to pack a valid government photo ID. Check on the TSA website for a full list of accepted IDs.

International visitors will require a valid passport. Depending on your country of citizenship you may be required to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from the United States.

Do I need an ESTA or Visa?

To travel to the USA from abroad, you will need to ensure you have a valid ESTA (visa waiver) or visa. Check your eligibility for each on the US government website.

For those eligible for an ESTA, ensure you apply online at least 72 hours in advance.

Do I need Travel Insurance for Hawaii?

Travel insurance is highly recommended, even if you are a US citizen or resident. There are many benefits to using travel insurance. 

Not only does it provide healthcare for medical emergencies but will cover unforeseen circumstances such as missing bags, damage from natural disasters, stolen goods, or even trip cancellation.

For most US citizens or residents, healthcare will be covered by your health insurance provider. However, it is worth checking your coverage before traveling.

Always read your policy carefully when booking travel insurance to ensure you have one that suits your needs.

✈️ Traveling to Hawaii in 2023

Turquoise waters and white sand beach surrounded by black lava rock as sen by airplane when traveling to Hawaii

Impact of 2023 Wildfires in Maui

Much of the island of Maui was tragically impacted by wildfire in August 2023. However, the island has been completely open since October 8, 2023, with the lone exception of Lahaina which will remain closed indefinitely.

Domestic Travel to Hawaii

There are no current domestic restrictions for domestic flights to Hawaii. Additionally, the REAL ID enforcement date has been pushed back to May 7, 2025 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Travel to Hawaii

For those traveling from international destinations with direct flights to Hawaii, you will only need to follow federal requirements for international visitors to the USA. There are no additional State of Hawaiβ€˜i requirements.

As of May 12, 2023, visitors to the U.S. no longer need to show proof of a negative test or proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

You will need to ensure you either have a valid ESTA or visa for entry.

β˜€οΈ Final Things to Consider Before Packing for Hawaii

Sophie stands on the edge of the cliffs in a red sports bra and leggings overlooking the Na Pali Coast from the Kalepa Ridge Trail.
Consider the activities you’ll be doing in Hawaii before packing. If you’re going to hike the Kalepa Ridge Trail in Kauai or other hikes, you’ll want to bring activewear.

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Before you decide what to pack for Hawaii, you’ll need to consider your plans! The things you plan to do in Hawaii and the time of year you visit will possibly impact what you need to bring.

⭐️ Pro Tip: Check clothing requirements for activities. For example, horseriding and zip-lining both require closed-toe shoes.

  • Activities: Zip lining? Kayaking? Consider any additional things you’ll need specifically for the activities you have planned.
  • Hiking: If you’re planning on hiking in Hawaii make sure you have appropriate footwear and clothing.
  • Snorkeling: Consider packing your own snorkel set if you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water. This will save a lot of money and time on rentals.
  • Relaxing: Make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable. Books, headphones, whatever it is you need to truly let go and relax.
  • Weather: Hawaii is known for its year-round tropical weather. Pack light, breathable clothing, along with a light sweater and rain jacket.

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ FAQs About What to Pack For Hawaii


What is Hawaiian dress code?

In Hawaii, you’ll find the dress code is very casual. The closest thing you’re likely to find to an actual dress code is “shorts and shoes required”! Although some restaurants’ dress codes may require “resort wear”.

For most activities in Hawaii, flip flops, shorts, aloha shirts, and flowy summer dresses are typical and acceptable attire.

Can you wear jeans in Hawaii?

Yes, you absolutely can wear jeans in Hawaii. However, you’ll likely be hot and uncomfortable in them, particularly if visiting in the summer. Instead, consider looser-fitting, lightweight pants like chinos.

What do ladies wear in Hawaii?

During the day women will wear swimsuits and cover-ups, shorts and t-shirts, or loose-fitting summer dresses. In the evening, many of the restaurants’ dress codes will require resort wear. This means slacks or dress shorts and a blouse, or casual dresses, skirts, or Aloha evening wear.

What do you wear to a luau in Hawaii?

Luaus in Hawaii typically do not have dress codes. However, men will typically wear neutral-colored shorts or pants with an Aloha shirt, and women will wear floral dresses. Many luaus take place on the sand so flip flops, or “slippers” as they’re known in Hawaii, are common footwear.

Adam & Sophie Wearing Flower Leis at Toa Luau Oahu Hawaii
What should I wear on a plane to Hawaii?

For the plane to Hawaii wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Wear your longer clothes, including a lightweight sweater, so you don’t have to pack them. Additionally, the plane is often chilly.

Should I bring a raincoat to Hawaii?

It is worth packing a lightweight raincoat for Hawaii, particularly if visiting during the rainier winter months or visiting Kauai, the wettest island. If you’re visiting between June and August you can consider leaving your rain jacket behind.


How do I not look like a tourist in Hawaii?

To not look like a tourist in Hawaii, embrace the laidback island lifestyle! This means moving at a slower pace, wearing flip flops (or “slippers” as they’re known in Hawaii) everywhere, and colorful, floral prints.

For men, aloha shirts are common for Hawaiians to wear, and for women, colorful summer dresses. Don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen too to avoid the “tourist lobster” appearance!

Do I need mosquito repellent in Hawaii?

Yes, you will absolutely want to pack insect repellent for Hawaii. Although not endemic to Hawaii, mosquitoes are now present on the islands.

Should I bring a water bottle to Hawaii?

Yes, you’ll want to bring a reusable water bottle to Hawaii. The tap water in Hawaii is excellent and lacks the chlorine taste found in many mainland locations, having been naturally filtered by volcanic rock.

Should I pack a beach towel for Hawaii?

Yes, you should definitely pack a beach towel for Hawaii. However, don’t pack a regular, bulky towel. We recommend bringing this lightweight, quick-drying, sand-resistant beach towel with a hidden zipper pocket!

🏝 More Hawaii Travel Guides

Black sand beach in Hawaii at sunset with lush green vegetation and palm trees.
Discover more about Hawaii in our travel guides.

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below πŸ™‚

We hope you’ve found this Hawaii packing list helpful. If so, you may also enjoy some of our other guides to the Hawaiian Islands as you plan your vacation.

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Sophie's passion for travel and photography are outweighed only by her love for animals! Originally from London and now living in the Pacific Northwest, Sophie has traveled to over 30 countries across all seven continents, many of which as a solo female traveller.

6 thoughts on “🏝 Hawaii Packing List: Essentials + 25 Overlooked Items (2024)”

  1. Hawaii is my happy place. I’m looking forward to my next visit and will ensure I have reef safe sunscreen. Thanks for the packing suggestions.

  2. Love this packing list for Hawaii! As a frequent traveler to the islands, I can attest to the importance of including the essentials like sunscreen and comfortable shoes. But the overlooked items like a waterproof phone case and a hammock are also great adds. Definitely saving this post for my next trip πŸŒ΄πŸ–οΈ


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