Hawaii Packing List: What to Bring to Hawaii
Looking for a Hawaii packing list or wondering what to bring to Hawaii? Here’s a full list of what to pack for Hawaii.
As you likely know, I visit Hawaii quite frequently. My family lives on Oahu and I try to make it there at least once or twice per year. Over time I have gotten my list of what to wear in Hawaii down to science. In fact, it’s one of the easiest places to pack for, in my opinion. You’ll likely spend most of your days in bikinis and coverups with minimal makeup or haircare… the best kind of trip!
Hawaii Packing List: What to Bring to Hawaii:
Clothes To Wear in Hawaii
As I said above, packing for Hawaii is extremely easy! This is because how to dress in Hawaii is simple - you can dress however you want. Often times people are so casual that they walk around barefoot. You will spend most of your days in bikinis and coverups, nighttime in sundresses or perhaps something a bit fancier, with the occasional hiking outfit mixed in here and there.
SUNDRESSES. When packing for Hawaii I recommend bringing at least 3-5 sundresses! I personally live in these while there because they are so easy to throw on and they don't take up much space while packing. If dresses aren't your thing, swap these out for shorts and tops. Click here for my favorite sundresses. I also shop for them here, here, and here.
Looking for cute outfits for Hawaii? Here are some of my favorite dresses for Hawaii vacation as of lately:
SHORTS. When deciding what to bring to Hawaii, shorts are a no-brainer. Click here for my favorite pair.
TOPS. Casual for daytime, dressier options for night. Hawaii attire is pretty casual in general so don't go too crazy here.
JEANS. You might not need these when packing for Hawaii but at a minimum you will need them for the flight. Every time I go to Hawaii I wear jeans on the plane because I fly out of SF early in the morning which is of course cold. Hawaii itself is around 80 degrees year-round so you likely won't need these to wear there, except for maybe at night. Every single indoor place in Hawaii is air conditioned excessively which is why sometimes jeans are helpful! Click here for my all time favorites.
LIGHT JACKET. Like I said above, every single place in Hawaii is air conditioned like crazy! Because of this I never leave the house without a jacket - ever. When thinking about what to wear in Hawaii, do not overlook this item. Click here for the jean jacket I love! For a popular and highly recommended inexpensive option, click here.
NIGHT OUT DRESS. I would bring at least one nicer dress (non-sundress), depending on your agenda! If you don't need fancier Hawaii outfits, skip this.
BIKINIS/SWIMWEAR. The most essential packing list for Hawaii item. Bring as many as you have/can fit! I tend to bring one for each day depending on how long I am going for.
If you haven’t tried Boys + Arrows yet - you must. Their seamless bottoms are by far the most comfortable I have EVER tried (and I own over 50 bikinis). Click here for my favorite bikinis! I also love this brand (I have black + gold and the navy colorful one), this brand, this brand, and this brand.
COVERUPS. On the list of things to pack for Hawaii, coverups are non-negotiable. You will be spending a lot of time in swimwear and will need these to throw on over. You don't want to do that with your sundresses because you might get them dirty with suntan lotion.
COMFORTABLE LEGGINGS. Leggings are essential clothes for Hawaii if you plan to do some hiking! Because the sun is so strong in Hawaii, it is often best to hike in the morning before sunrise. However, before the sun is up it can be quite cold. This is why I recommend wearing leggings instead of workout shorts. Of all leggings, Alo’s high waisted ones are the very best! Since discovering them I have never bought another type. Click here for my favorite ones.
But now I just discovered Girlfriend Collective. I haven't tried them yet but - bear with me - they are made from recycled water bottles and fishing nets. Every purchase helps to remove waste from the oceans and a percentage of sales are donated to Healthy Seas. They are also very size inclusive and use models that look like real people, not models. Shop them here:
ACTIVEWEAR TOPS. While I think it's incredibly important to have quality bottoms and sneakers, I find it's fine to buy cheaper workout tops because quality deos not effect you as much there. Click here for where I often find mine. I've also been testing out and LOVING the selection of fitness tops from Amazon! Click here for my Amazon fitness essentials.
SLEEPWEAR. I am ride or die for PJ Salvage pajamas! I live in their sets at home but Hawaii is too hot for that, of course. Instead I recommend their soft slip. Click here to see latest prices.
SHOES for Hawaii
Also on the list of important things to bring to Hawaii - the right shoes!
ATHLETIC SNEAKERS. For hiking! If you’re in the market for sneakers and haven’t tried Adidas UltraBOOSTs yet you are in for a treat! They feel like you are walking on clouds. My favorite are the Stella McCartney x Adidas ones (click here for those) but the regular ones are just as good. Click here to see the latest prices. They aren't technically hiking shoes but I find them to be the best hiking shoes for Hawaii.
COMFORTABLE YET STYLISH SNEAKERS. My favorite shoes of all time are M. Gemi’s white leather sneakers. I literally never travel anywhere without them. If you plan on walking around a fair amount, which you should, these are THE best of all time and the perfect choice for Hawaii shoes. Click here to see latest prices.
I love them so much that I even have a post dedicated solely to them! For more info: click here for why they're the most comfortable and stylish walking shoes for travel!
FLIP FLOPS. An obvious item on the list of what to take to Hawaii :) Click here for the ones I wear (I have numerous colors).
SANDALS. You could technically just wear flip flops 24/7 if you want but I don't love the look of flip flops so I bring plenty of sandals. Click here for my favorite pair right now or click below for more options!
ACCESSORIES For Hawaii
SUNGLASSES. No outfits for Hawaii will be complete without the right sunglasses. You'll be in these all day everyday so maybe bring a few! A pair of colored lens ones are a great option for the white party (you know, since everyone is wearing all white)! For classic options, click here for my favorite Quay aviators (I have numerous pairs), click here for my round Ray-Bans, and click here for my all time favorite black on black Ray-Bans that are often hard to track down because they sell out consistently.
For fun inexpensive options, click here.
BEACH TOWEL. An important but often forgotten Hawaii checklist item: the beach towel. Do not forget to bring a beach towel! They will cost much more in Hawaii than they do if you bring your own. Click here for my favorite quick drying colorful travel beach towels.
HAIR ACCESSORIES. You won't want to do your hair so round up some scrunchies, hair scarfs, headbands, and more! They are the perfect way to spice up your outfits for Hawaii vacation. Click here for my favorite ones.
For more hair recommendations, including my favorite products and tools, click here for my post on how to get shiny, healthy hair!
HATS. What to wear in Hawaii? Hats! To help protect your face from the sun, to help you avoid having to actually do your hair, because they make a cute photo prop, etc. Click here to see the latest prices.
STYLISH CAMERA BAG. I never go anywhere without mine! It is incredibly important to protect your camera gear but I don’t think you should sacrifice your style to do it. Don't forget to include this on your list of things to take to Hawaii. Click here for my stylish camera bag roundup.
NON-CAMERA BAG. I love the bamboo Cult Gaia bag trend (but not the price)! Click here for a totally reasonably priced dupe from Amazon. I also love the straw Bali bags. Click here for my favorite one.
OTHER WATER TOYS. Man do they have some fun water toys these days! Click below to shop my favorites.
TOILETRIES & Beauty Products
SUNSCREEN. How to pack for Hawaii? Sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen. Face, lips, body, you'll need it all! The sun in Hawaii is incredibly strong (even when gloomy) so you need to put this on every morning and reapply all day. Click here for the face SPF I have been loving lately (it doubles as a primer). I also always carry a mineral powder sunscreen brush with me at all times to put on top and lock in the SPF. Click here for the one I use and recommend.
I have especially been loving Supergoop since discovering their hand cream with SPF. Click here if you want to check that out - I love it so much.
Here are some other products from them and other skincare brand I love:
SKINCARE. When I'm on the road I tend to use things outside my normal SkinCeuticals. I'm excited to test out this Drunk Elephant collection on my trip to Hawaii. I love it already because most travel collections don't come with a full lineup of all the necessary skincare products. But this eight piece collection does! It even lasts 30-45 days which you'd never know from the size of the products. Click here for more information.
LIPSTICK. Since you won't be wearing much if any makeup, lipstick is a fun way to spice up your look a bit. For Hawaii the brighter, the better in my opinion! Click here for the one I've been loving from Sephora (especially because it’s called “First Class” and it seems like good upgrade karma, haha).
I also love this plumping gloss from Buxom in the shade Kanani. Kanani is my middle name (that is where "ckanani" comes from!) so of course I am going to love it, but even if it wasn't I would. It's a great bright strawberry pink color. Click here to see latest prices.
Despite the name, I don't actually find it to be very plumping. If you do want one that is plumping, Too Faced's works extremely well. Click here for that.
For an extra hydrating treatment, this lip sleeping mask is one of my new OBSESSIONS. I cannot get enough of it. Technically you are supposed to apply it at night before bed but I am using it around the clock! Click here to see latest prices. If you need a good lip exfoliant, this is my go-to.
Some of my other favorite lip products for any tropical vacay:
MAKEUP. Keep it minimal. Click here for the hydrating and brightening primer I bring (it's called "The Hangover", what could be more perfect?!).
For face coverage, I love It Cosmetics' CC cream is great. It's anti-aging and has SPF 50 physical sunscreen. It too is hydrating and brightening! Click here to see latest prices.
For eyes if you want to keep in super natural and basic, Urban Decay has a good travel sized basic palette. Click here for that. If you want to not keep it natural and basic, this definitely-not-travel-sized palette is my favorite.
In Hawaii you definitely need waterproof mascara because of the water! Click here for my favorite one.
For blush, I love this inexpensive drugstore one by Milani. Click here for that.
And of course a highlight is essential! I don't personally love the ones that look unnatural, powdery, and too intense, especially in Hawaii when I am going for a natural glow. Since discovering Lancome's radiant smoothing powder there is nothing I love more in my makeup collection! It is beautiful and worth every single penny. Mine is in the color "Absolute Peche". Click here to see latest prices.
WET BRUSH. Not to be dramatic but this is one of the best purchases I've ever made (especially for less than $8). There is nothing better for brushing your hair out, especially after you have been in the ocean. Click here to see the latest prices.
BODY MOISTURIZER. Click here for the one I bring! It smells like absolute heaven and is perfect for the sunshine. I first bought it when I went to Greece and now every time I smell it it takes me right back!
AFTER SUN CREAM.
LEAK PROOF TOILETRY BOTTLES. These are an absolute must. I cannot even tell you how many travel containers I went through before I discovered these. They are completely leakproof, so easy to fill due to the large opening, and they are even food safe! Use them for shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, salad dressing — anything! Click here for the ones I use.
HANGING TOILETRY BAG. I keep this filled at all times with every toiletry I need for any trip. That way it’s so easy to just grab and throw in my bag without any thought or worries of forgetting something important. This one in particular is the absolute best I have ever found. So much so that pretty much anytime I travel to visit a friend and they see this toiletry bag they ask who makes it and go buy the same one themselves immediately! Click here to get one yourself.
Interested in see everything I pack in it? Click here for how to organize your travel toiletry bag to ensure you never forget something!
SELF TANNER. I personally don’t love showing up in my bikini white as a ghost so I always self tan prior to arrival! I would do it before you go and also bring it with you to reapply. Click here for my favorite bronzing mousse. If you don’t have a tanning mitt (you’ll need one to apply it), click here for my new favorite. For your face, I am loving these self-tanning drops that you mix into your moisturizer. Click here for those! I use the dark ones.
FACE MASK. I always bring Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask on all travels because the container is perfect for travel, it’s ultra-nourishing, and doesn’t look crazy when on. You can even apply it as a primer under your makeup if you are extremely dry! Click here to see the latest prices.
BEACH WAVE SPRAY. Because you won't be able to do your hair in any other way really!
CURLING IRON. In case you do want to do your hair! Click here for the one I use.
HAIR STRAIGHTENER. When I travel I don't want to lug around a full size straightener so I always bring a travel sized one. T3 makes a good compact one that is perfect for travel. It even has auto-world voltage! Click here to see latest prices.
CAMERA. To document your adventures! Click here to see the latest prices for my Sony a7II. If you don't need a full frame camera (if you aren't sure what that means, you don't need one!), I recommend the Sony a6500 instead. Click here to see the latest prices.
GORPO. Great option since it is waterproof, of course! Also because it is small and therefore easy to transport. Click here to see the latest prices.
CAMERA FLOAT. Unless you want your camera(s) to sink, grab one of these! Click here to see the latest prices.
SD CARD. Always bring back up! Make sure they are at least class 10 so that your camera can keep up. Click here for the ones I use.
CHARGERS. For cameras, phone, other electronics.
EXTERNAL CHARGER. To help keep your phone alive all day. Click here for the one I use - it charges your phone seven times!
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE. I always bring an external hard drive (or two) on each trip I take and make sure to back up my photos at least every night. You never know what might happen. Click here for my external hard drives.
WATERPROOF PHONE CASE. I am an incredibly organized, responsible adult (I've basically never lost or broken anything in my life) yet I have still dropped my phone in a pool. Bring a waterproof case! Click here to see the latest prices.
Other Hawaii Trip Planning Resources
If this is your first time visiting Hawaii, click here for facts about Hawaii to know before you visit.
If you will be visiting Oahu, we have everything you need to plan your trip! Starting with the free downloadable guide above.
FOR WHERE TO EAT… click here for a local’s guide to the best places to eat.
FOR WHAT TO DO… click here for my top 10 recommendations. My number one recommendation is to swim with dolphins in the wild. Click here for a detailed post about how to do that!
FOR A GUIDE TO THE FAMOUS NORTH SHORE… click here.
FOR THE BEST PHOTO OPPS… click here!