Hawaii will forever be one of the most incredible places that I’ve ever gotten a chance to visit. If you are planning your first trip to Hawaii, it’s important to take into account the essential items that you’ll need to pack for your trip. That’s why I’m here to help you create the best Hawaii packing list. Hawaii became a very popular tourist destination and there are a lot of stores that you’ll find to get anything you might need, however, it’s always good to be prepared, so you don’t waste your time doing unnecessary shopping. So without further ado let’s get to the list of the most important things you’ll need to pack for your trip to Hawaii.

1. Reef-safe sunscreen

In Hawaii, you need to use reef-safe sunscreen, as it’s good to be conscious about the environment and the marine life that call Hawaii home. Whenever you are swimming in the sea there, you’ll need to use reef-safe sunscreen, which will protect your skin while also not damaging the ocean and its residents. Starting 2020 Hawaii will stop selling unsafe sunscreens on the islands.

If you are picky about the SPF or brand of sunscreen, I’d recommend buying this in advance to save money upon arrival.

2. Hiking shoes

While I usually prefer to leave bulky and unnecessary items at home, one item you’ll definitely need in Hawaii is a good pair of hiking shoes.

I’m sure you’ll want to make the most of your time on the islands, and by including hiking into your plans of discovering Hawaii, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the area’s beautiful nature and see sights you would never be able to access by car.

Make sure you’ve worn the boots before your trip, otherwise you might have a very uncomfortable time during your first hikes.

3. Reusable shopping bag

Since 2020, plastic bags are banned in Hawaiian stores. You’ll want to bring a couple of reusable shopping bags with you. Especially if you’re staying in an Airbnb and will be doing grocery shopping for cooking in an apartment. Play your part while visiting to help with the cause of taking good care of our planet.

4. Reusable water bottle

For similar environmental reasons as reusing your shopping bag, you’ll want to bring a refillable water bottle for your trip. This is also a fantastic way to save money, instead of buying single-use plastic bottles each time you’re thirsty. The weather in Hawaii is pretty hot at any point of the year, so you’ll need to keep hydrated, especially if you are sitting on the beach in the boiling hot sun all day long or hiking on one of the many trails.

5. Swimsuit

A staple activity of any trip to Hawaii is a visit to one of the many beaches. You can’t go to Hawaii without taking a dip in the ocean, and with the clear, turquoise waters, you’ll want to make the most of your time here. Also, Hawaii offers many fantastic water sports, so be prepared for your visit and pack your swimsuit.

If you are planning to base your vacation around spending plenty of time in the water, pack a spare swimsuit, so you don’t have to deal with soggy and damp clothing the next day.

6. UV-protective Sunglasses

The sun is incredibly strong in Hawaii, so pack your UV-protective sunglasses for your trip. As you’re bound to spend plenty of time sunbathing by the pool or on the beach, you’ll want to protect your eyes if you are reading or looking at your phone. While you can easily replace them in the shopping areas in Waikiki, sunglasses can be a costly purchase that will add additional dollars to your spending budget for your trip.

7. Hat

Another hot weather essential is a hat, which will stop your head from overheating when you are out and about exploring the island. Some excursions and attractions will involve you being outside in the blazing sun for hours on end, so keep yourself protected and cool at all times on your trip. While you may think that an area you are visiting looks cooler or quite shaded, looks can be very deceiving, and there’s nothing worse than feeling terrible later in the day after being out in the sun for too long. Or even worse getting a heat stroke while on your vacation.

8. Small hiking backpack

In Hawaii, expect to spend full days out exploring the islands during your trip. For this reason, you’ll want to find a good comfortable backpack that’s the perfect size for days out. You don’t want it to be too heavy or bulky for carrying around for a long day, but just big enough to carry all the essentials you need such as your water bottle, swimsuit, sunscreen, and a towel. It’s worth buying this and trying it out in advance of your trip, to ensure the backpack you are bringing will be comfortable enough to wear every day of your trip without putting too much pressure on your back and shoulders.

9. Light jacket

While you might not think to add a jacket to your suitcase, the weather can change very quickly when you’re in Hawaii. While many days are filled with beautiful sunshine from morning until night, sometimes you’ll be out and about, and a sudden rainstorm will occur. Make sure you are prepared for all eventualities and pack a light jacket that can easily fold up and be put into your backpack.

Find one that can be reduced to as small a size as possible, so that it doesn’t take up too much precious space if you are carrying it around all day with you.

10. Waterproof phone case

If you’re anything like me, there’s no way I’m traveling to somewhere like Hawaii without capturing some great photos on my phone to remember my visit. If you are planning days out at the beach or going hiking to waterfalls, make sure you invest in a waterproof phone case before your trip. Some of them will even allow you to take underwater photos or videos, which will be an amazing memory of your time on the islands. Phones can easily get damaged by sand or water, so keep yours protected so that you don’t have another expense to add to your vacation.

11. Rash Guard

Throughout the year, the Hawaiian sun is very strong, and you’ll see many locals wearing rash guards on the beach.

If you have more sensitive skin, you’ll want to keep yourself protected, especially if your skin hasn’t been subjected to the sun for a long time. You can get rash guards with sun protection of up to 50, and they are perfect for water-based adventures such as stand up paddleboarding and kayaking. If you are planning to be out on the water for hours at a time, it is a great investment to make before your trip, and they dry off super quickly after use. Another plus is that you won’t need to reapply your sunscreen all the time.

12. Insect Repellent

When you’re heading to Hawaii, I’d highly recommend carrying a good insect repellent with you, especially if you are planning to hike and explore the tropical areas of the islands. As with any liquids over 100ml, make sure you put it in your suitcase when traveling so that it doesn’t get confiscated by security at the airport.

13. Waterproof dry bag

For those endless days on the beach and fun water activities, a dry bag is a handy item to add to your packing list for Hawaii. These bags will keep your valuable items protected, and especially if you are scuba diving or snorkeling, it’s a handy way to keep your personal belongings safe on the boat while you’re in the water. You can buy these inexpensively before your trip online, and it won’t take up much extra space in your suitcase.

14. Leave-in conditioner and dry shampoo

While this may be something that only women consider packing, I still decided to include these in my packing list, as they have saved my hair several times. Leave-in conditioner is essential for anyone planning to spend time in the pool or the ocean while in Hawaii. After multiple days in a row subjecting your hair to so much chlorine and salt, even the healthiest locks will start to get damaged.

15. Quick dry towel

While most hotels will offer you towels for use at their pools, I’d recommend packing a small, lightweight towel that you can take with you on days out. Find one that won’t take up much space in your backpack, and that will dry off quickly after use. You’ll use this almost every day of your trip, between hiking to waterfalls and spending time at the beach it’s an essential item for a trip to Hawaii.

A trip to Hawaii is an exciting adventure for anyone, especially if it’s your first time visiting the islands. By planning in advance and packing the most important essentials for your visit, you’ll save money and hassle when you arrive in Hawaii. It can be quite expensive to replace basic items in Hawaii, so by preparing before your trip, you’ll have everything you need to head out and explore as soon as you leave the airport!

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