When I go to Maui I only pack my backpack and it will last for a week. Here’s what I’m doing.
1. I make sure I have a common “color” for the whole week. This way I can mix and match my clothes and look good. It also guarantees that I will look good in ONE pair of flip flops all week and will always look good. Shoes take up a lot of space, so I always carry (at most) two pairs of shoes with me. For you, it would probably be your hiking shoes and flip flops.
2. Don’t interfere with washing clothes while you are there. It will save a lot of space in your suitcase.
With those two things in mind, here’s what I’m preparing.
2 pairs of shorts
2 tank tops
2 top "più belli" da abbinare ai pantaloncini
2 dresses that do not require ironing
1 long-sleeved shirt (thin)
1 beach / pool cover
4 pairs of panties
1 pair of flaps
THIS IS! and you can wash as the week goes on. Trust me, that’s all you need! Hawaii has a lovely climate, so don’t worry about the cold unless you’re about to watch the sun rise. If so, then you really need to pack. It’s getting cold.
While you are going hiking, I will also bring ONE pair of pants, 2 pairs of socks and ONE T-shirt. You may need a long sleeve top, but make it thin.
Finally, choose similar colors. I opted for neutral colors: browns, military green and black. The color of my slippers was gold, so they went with EVERYTHING, including my bathing suit and clothes (I brought a black dress and a brown strapless dress). Of course, gold and silver sandals / flip flops fit pretty much everything.
Many people are really confused about how to pack for a weekly or fortnightly trip to Hawaii, often thousands of miles from home. We hope these few ideas help you.
- Remember that Hawaii has a tropical climate. Temperatures fluctuate only 10 degrees. If you visit the windward (eastern) side of the islands you will see some rain, so plan accordingly. If you’re visiting the leeward (western) side of the islands the temperatures will be much warmer and the weather much drier. Check out our Hawaii weather feature.
- Evenings can be cool, especially when the wind blows. Be sure to bring a sweater or light jacket.
- If you plan to explore the higher elevations such as Haleakala on Maui or Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island, you may wish to bring a warm sweater and windbreaker also. Summit temperatures can drop as low as 30 degrees.
- Swimwear, shorts, short-sleeved shirts, light clothing, sandals, flip flops, and good walking shoes are essential. Be sure to bring jeans, heavy boots, and a hat if you plan to go horseback riding.
- A dress is not necessary in Hawaii. Even in most trendy restaurants and nightclubs, a nice tee (including a nice printed Hawaiian shirt) and a pair of khakis or dockers will suffice. A sports jacket is enough only in the most exclusive restaurants.
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and a hat are essential. The sun is intense in Hawaii and you don’t want to burn yourself to ruin your vacation. Be very careful on your first day in the sun, it’s when you’ll burn most easily. Check out our How to Avoid Sunburn feature.
- If you’re planning to explore Hawaiian waters, bring a snorkel and mask, or better yet, wait for your arrival. They can be hired very cheaply and are often available for free at many hotels. If you wear glasses, basic prescription masks are available in most locations.
- Leave plenty of room to bring things back. Most tourists buy some aloha-wear and other souvenirs that you won’t find on the mainland. Remember that you can also ship items home, which is often a lot easier. The post office now has flat rate boxes, making shipping most packages very easy and inexpensive.
- Hawaii is the most beautiful place on earth. Remember your camera, memory cards and charger. You will also find many uses for the camcorder.
- Important documents (tickets, booking confirmations, travelers checks), all medicines, spare glasses, change of clothes and any other valuables must be placed in hand luggage.
- Don’t forget your favorite travel book. You’ve probably bought one or two to help you plan your trip. Moon Hawaii Travel Guide is the perfect all-round travel guide. Most travel guides are now also available in digital format, which you can access from your smartphone or tablet.
- Remember to bring binoculars. If you’re planning and nature adventure such as whale watching, these are a must.
- Do not overdo it. Travel as light as possible.
- Leave plenty of room in your suitcase for everything you bring home.
- Make a list of items to bring and check the list before you leave the house.
For more in-depth help, check out our Hawaii vacation packaging feature.
I’m a packer (and I’m proud of it) and I’m still amazed at how SMALL I wear what I pack. I went for two weeks (3 islands) and wore a very small fraction of what I took. I stayed in hotels, bungalows and resorts and practically wore swimwear, shorts and t-shirts every day and 2 different outfits for nice dinners. I like different swimwear. Plus, a tropical vacation is the only kind of place where I can take whatever I actually carry in my hand luggage. If you have access to laundry, you can manage it for less.
I’d get away with the “dress for the day” mentality. I don’t need much for the beach or the adventures around the island.
Nannymer, A LOT, A LOT too much!
I went for 2 weeks and that’s what I brought. I thought THIS was too much. I try to stick to 4 colors so that all the tops match all the bottoms.
2 pairs of shorts
2 linen capris cuffs
1 pair of gaucho style capri
4 tanks (sometimes I put them in layers)
1 x sun dress
1 pair of clogs (my most comfortable shoes)
2 pairs of sandals
1 set of travel pants and a casual jacket worn with one of the tank tops
1 pair of cheap flip flops I bought there
If you are leaving in a month I can almost guarantee that you will NOT wear jeans in Hawaii, so I would only take a pair to San Francisco. I put it in a 19 inch carry-on bag with plenty of space. There, I took home some cute skinny shirts and tanks. We did our laundry once.
Thank you all … you helped me a lot. I limit myself, and so does my friend Kat, who comes with me. I also try to stick to 4 colors: white, tan, black and yellow! I KNOW I won’t carry much of what I carry and packing lightweight items is SO DIFFICULT for me, but this time I’m determined to do it!
19 days and countdown. We came to Hawaii. Thanks again!
In line with all of the above. For 1-2 weeks in Hawaii I do the same and it all fits in a suitcase with 24 “wheels. If you really want jeans, wear a pair on the plane. I wouldn’t wear them in tropical places, they are too heavy. Here’s my list:
1 sneakers or walking shoes
4 short films
7 tank tops or t-shirts
2 dresses (without pants)
1 x dress / sheath to rest
Wear things more than once, step away from a fresh outfit every day. She buys a beach towel, sunscreen, straw hat on arrival.
I am happy to announce that I have reduced my packaging from my large 50lb bag (boxed) to a medium sized bag which now weighs around 25lbs. I have really limited myself and I am very happy. Thanks for all the advice.
Tata Jan (12 days left!)
I’ve been to Hawaii four times
and I take less and every time
less. and STILL it is too
A small package. I have never done any makeup
I LOVE it and you wear the same
at dinner every night (you have it
on for 2 hours?)
My first trip, I made a mistake
camicette di poliestere "carino" vietate!
AU! So hot! Get some cotton or
things that will breathe.
I wore flip flops everywhere.
A pair of the most beautiful sandals for
If you pack too little, you
you can always “shop”! I take
two half-empty suitcases, then
that I can take things home.
Do you know what I learned on my last trip to Hawaii?
Pack every damn thing you think you need, step back and look at it for a long time. . . and throws AT LEAST half on the bed.
In the end, I haven’t used a single drop of makeup or hair product (other than shampoo and conditioner), I’ve worn ANY of my finest clothes, and I’ve never worn the same pair of flip-flops I wore on the plane.
I have shrunk my packaging to the following for 2 weeks or more:
3-4 shorts, pants, skirts, or a combination of these
5-6 jerseys to fit all pants, usually short sleeves, unless it’s a winter trip
1-2 light jackets and / or sweaters
3 pairs of shoes – 1 walking shoe, 1 casual sandal (flip flops etc.), 1 elegant sandal for the evening
For beach vacations, replace 1 bottom and 1 top with 1-2 swimsuitsand a coverup. For winter holidays, replace 1 light jacket / sweater with a thick coat and sandals with closed shoes.
I don’t make clothes because I can wear separate clothes. Also I don’t do white or khaki / light cream: they require more frequent washing. Dark and / or light.
Another trick for flying to San Francisco is to bring a pair of leggings with you. Throw them in your hand luggage for your return flight to San Francisco and, upon arrival at the airport, put them under your pants / skirt. So you don’t have to wear heavy pants, but it’s still hot. You can do the same with a subtle turtleneck. It doesn’t take up much space, but it keeps you warm.