The "Nice To Have" Hawaii Packing List
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You already know all the stuff you need to pack for Hawaii: Swimsuit, sunscreen, flip flops…. Check. Check. Check. This is a list of all the things that you’ll be just fine without, but oh-so-friggin happy that you brought them.
Hawaii Travel Hacks
Baby Powder. (That’s right. Bring some baby powder to Hawaii.)
This sounds crazy but if you dust yourself with baby powder when you’re getting ready to leave the beach, it’ll dry up the sand and you can wipe it right off.
Garbage Bags or Wet / Dry Bags
Store wet clothes or muddy shoes after hikes or a trip to the beach. Wet / Dry bags are great for storing wet stuff until you get back to your hotel (and without getting the rest of your stuff wet).
These come in handy, especially if you plan to hit up some garlic shrimp food trucks (where a few napkins just won’t do the trick). Wet Ones sells them in travel size packs.
Hawaii has a ban on plastic bags and charges at least 15￠ for plastic or paper bags. Mesh ones are great for food and swim gear (but not great if you don’t want people to see what’s in your bag). There are endless canvas bag options — beach themed, crossbody, you name it.
Packing cubes make it so easy to keep things organized in your suitcase (electronics, shoes, clothes, etc) and they stay organized in your hotel room or Airbnb. You can also turn one into a laundry bag to bring things home.
Downloaded Google Maps
Wi-fi isn't great everywhere so it's good to have those maps handy...even when an internet connection is not.
For The Gram
Cool Pool Floats
It’s not hard to find floats for sale in Hawaii. And you’ll definitely be on the hunt for one after you see everyone bobbing around on theirs in the ocean. But if you don’t want to be limited to the ABC store selection, pack a more Instagrammable one for the trip, like this palm leaf print one.
And let’s not forget the kiddos on this one. The shark attack tube is our favorite, but this infant pineapple float with a sunshade is a close second.
Waterproof Phone Pouch
Let’s be real, the bulk of your photos will be taken on your camera phone. But that doesn’t mean you want to dangle it over the water while kayaking or playing in the ocean. A waterproof phone pouch is inexpensive, but keeps sand and water away from your phone. Look for ones with a lanyard so you have the option to wear it around your neck. This one lets you still use the touchscreen to take pictures, even while it’s in the case.
Selfie stick, remote, and / or tripod for your phone
Yes, selfie sticks feel super touristy. But if you’re on an epic hike, looking like a tourist is a small price to pay to capture the moment. If you’re selfie stick averse, a compact phone tripod will get the job done. Just make sure that whatever you get is compatible with your phone.
Go Pro + Memory Card + Accessories
No, you probably don’t neeeeed a GoPro to go to Hawaii. But you sure as hell will be jealous of everyone who has one. Especially if you’re planning any outdoor adventures, like hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, SUP, surfing, and so on. (And even if you’re just floating around the ocean all day.) The HERO10 is the best on the market right now. Don’t forget a Memory Card. There are also GoPro mounts for surfboards, SUPs, kayaks, etc.
When you’re ready to step up your camera game, the Sony A7ii is the way to go. It's as good as an SLR, but it’s way more compact and lightweight. It’s great for everyone from beginners to pros. They have an app that can connect to your smartphone so you can immediately send pics you take to your phone if you want to share them right away on social media. Don’t forget to get a good size Memory Card so you don’t have to worry about running out of space. (I like to keep a backup in my bag, just in case.) You can swap out lenses for different types of photography.
Polarized Camera Lens Filter
It reduces the reflections from the sun on the water. It’s great for taking pics of the ocean or waterfalls and is really great in Oahu.
Waterproof Phone Pouch
Yes, we already mentioned a waterproof phone pouch one under photography, but if you’re planning to be around water or sand (duh, it’s Hawaii) it’s worth the 5-10 bucks. It keeps sand and water out of your phone. The lanyard keeps it around your neck so you don’t have to worry about it dropping into the ocean. And you can still use the touchscreen and take photos from your phone while it’s in the case.
Phoozy Phone Case
This is a little different from the waterproof phone pouch. A Phoozy Phone Case keeps your phone from overheating in the sun at the beach. It also floats if you drop it in the water. (FYI: It’s water resistant, not waterproof.)
Charge your phone or laptop when you're on the go. If you’re away from your hotel for the day or draining your battery with navigation all day, you’ll be glad you can recharge anywhere.
Universal Power Adapter
If you’re bringing a bunch of things that you’ll need to charge every night (phones, tablets, cameras, etc) and don’t want to rotate things through the limited number of hotel outlets. This one charges up to 6 devices at once (and it’s a universal adapter so you can use it over 150 countries).
Refillable Water Bottle
Opt for a vacuum sealed one to keep your water cold all day. Something you can throw in a backpack and take to the beach or on a hike. Hydro Flask keeps things super cold and it’s more compact than other insulated water bottles. Wide mouth bottles are great because they’re the easiest to throw ice cubes into.
Mini Personal Fan
A good idea if you’re worried about not being able to cool off during the summer or planning some intense activities. There are some cute rechargeable handheld ones that look a bit like bears, ones that sit around your neck, and everything in between.