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What People Forget To Pack For A Trip To Hawaii


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Aloha all,

There are a ton of travel check lists already out there telling you exactly how many pieces of underwear you need to pack for your next trip, whether it’s in Hawaii or on the other side of the world.

By now, I think you’re adult enough to know how many pieces of underwear you should be packing.

In order to make this list the most helpful to you, here are my personal list of things to pack for your next trip to Hawaii. Not all of these items will be useful to every reader, but I hope at least a few things on this list will convince you to rethink your packing strategies.

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It’s Hawaii…Do I Even Need A Jacket?

Rather than a jacket, bring a long sleeved button up. I especially love those thin plaid shirts because they’re so versatile and fashionable. For Hawaii’s weather, I find these to be just perfect when the night (or AC) becomes a little too chilly.

They’re perfect for a breezy midnight walk on the beach and because the sleeves roll up so conveniently, you can wear this top at a casual party or even a nice dinner in Waikiki.

The best part is that you probably have one of these lying around in your closet!

Local Tip: You can go with something slightly thicker from mid-October thru January.

Can’t I Get Mosquito Repellent In Hawaii?

Honestly, yes, you can.

But! If you’ve got sensitive skin like me (my skin tends to sting when I put on sunscreen), then you’ll want to be a little picky with your bug spray.

If you’re looking for something for you and the kids to share, this Herbal Armor is great for sensitive skin.

Do You Get Motion Sickness?

If you’ve signed up for a helicopter or boat ride and you’re prone to motion sickness, be ready and have these in your hand before the tour. The last thing you want to be doing on your Hawaii vacation is wasting precious relaxation time searching for dramamine, patches or wristbands.

A lot of visitors forget that Hawaii has a lot of winding roads in some areas. If you get nauseous in the car, these are a must.

Small Flashlight For Sand Crabs!

Sure, bring it for safety, but this local girl is telling you to bring a strong and small flashlight to the beach at night!


Sand crab hunting is best done at night. These guys creep out of their sand holes and zigzag their way across the sand. Nighttime is also when the BIG ONES come out!

I grew up chasing these guys at the beach and for little kids, this will absolutely be one of those unique memories that they’ll never forget.

Simple, fun and free.

Local Tip: If you’re headed to the Big Island, definitely bring your own flashlight so you can study the lava tubes up close.

Maui – Hand warmers

For those headed to Maui, I’m sure you’ve got plans to find your way up to Haleakala. It’s a definite must see that you can read about here.

The first time I learned about hand warmers was in Japan at Disney Sea in Tokyo. I hadn’t seen snow until I was 18 (shave ice doesn’t count, Dad) and my friend handed me a pair to last me the whole day.

My hands were in heaven.

Interestingly enough, I’ve never seen (or actively looked for) hand warmers being sold in Hawaii. If you know a place on Maui or the Big Island, let me know so I can stock up before I climb those mountains.

Otherwise, I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done: beg my friends to bring some over whenever they come to visit me!

Visiting A Local Family?

Will you be meeting with local friends while you’re in Hawaii? If so, you’ll want to bring souvenirs that can’t be found on the islands.  We only have limited space here, so many mainland stores just don’t make it to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which explains why we crave these gifts so badly!

If you’ve got a special store or product available only near you, then you have it easy! We love gifts that aren’t easy to get on the islands.

Here are a few more souvenirs that locals will love!

  • Any snacks from Trader Joe’s. The nut butters are always a hit!
  • IKEA products
  • Harry & David treats – especially the chocolates
  • Gourmet Coffee that’s different from Kona coffee

Another thing that’s popular as a “souvenir” is to bring back items that don’t ship to Hawaii. Despite the awesomeness that is Amazon.com these days, people in Hawaii (and Alaska) still get those awful notifications that the item we’ve chosen cannot be shipped to our state.

It’s perfectly OK to ask your Hawaii friend if they have anything on their “Does Not Ship To Hawaii” list!

Muddy shoes

Your Dirtiest Shoes

Hawaii is full of muddy hikes.

If you plan on hiking your way to a waterfall or through a heavy forest, you can be sure that your shoes will come out looking like this. The mud will cake all over your shoes and will not only be difficult to clean, but also take forever to dry!

If you don’t have old and dirty shoes or just don’t have any room in your luggage, just make sure your shoes are easily washable and quick to dry.

Bring Two Swimsuits

I don’t just have one swimsuit. I have a random collection of assorted tops and bottoms to keep me stocked if I have to wear a swimsuit several days in a row (it happens).

If you plan on spending a lot of time on the beach, you’ll want to pack at least 2 sets of your swimsuit. While one gets washed and dried in the hotel room, you can wear the clean one around town or enjoy yourself at the beach.

If you won’t have daily access to a nice balcony breeze or a dryer, you may want to consider bringing a few more just in case they don’t dry well – they’ll start to smell if you don’t dry them out before wearing them (true story).

Guys can also get into this swimsuit tip by bringing at least two board shorts with them to the islands. These “surf shorts” are casual and are worn comfortably even in restaurants here.

Local Tip: Hey ladies! Have you heard of Kaikini? They’re my absolute favorite swimsuit company based in Hawaii! They’re incredibly comfortable with a lot of support and are absolutely stunning!

I have another post all about the right clothes for Hawaii. Everything from beach clothes to winter clothes is covered and it’s one of my most popular posts!

Need More Aloha With Love?

Visit the Aloha With Love homepage! There are plenty of resources, posts and tips to help you get started on planning your trip to Hawaii.

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Visit Hawaii Activities to see all the tours and activities that Hawaii has to offer.

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