Aloha! I made it to Hawaii!!!! It’s unreal to be typing this from paradise! Right now I can see the beach from my desk view and it’s breathtaking. After a super long travel day to Oahu and adjusting to the time zone (I’m 6 hours behind here), I have been able to unpack all my bags and settle in for the next month. Life in Hawaii is in-describable. It’s tropical, perfect 80 degree weather, the clearest water I have ever seen, mountains in the background, super interesting architecture and just so different from anything I’ve ever experienced. Everywhere you turn, the scenery is breathtaking. I absolutely love the beach mixed with mountains!!!
So far my friend and I have swam in the beautiful blue ocean, explored around Laie (the town we’re staying in), ate shaved ice on the North Shore, hiked a waterfall and visited the famous Waikiki beach. Today we have plans to go jump off a rock at a Waimea Bay, which was on my Hawaii bucket list! Can’t wait to share my travel guide with you all and give you a list of everything you’d want to pack for a beach vacation!
What I was not expecting to find was that my rental has no AC. Actually, the majority of those who live in Oahu in have no central AC. Yes, I’m serious. I was a bit shocked at first. I’m used to hot and humid weather but it totally brought me back to my youth and summer cheer camp days where we stayed in non-air conditioned cabins. Can any one relate!? We’re definitely a step above cabin life but we have like 5 fans blasting at all time.
When I was planning for my trip, I knew there were items I had to bring with me in order to save money and also adjust to life in Hawaii. To save money I did not rent a car and decided to take the public bus everywhere. This saves money but I had to keep in mind I’d be without a car and needing to carry everything with me at all times. At home I’d bring a cooler full of water and food, pack my car with towels, clothes, a swimsuit, my raincoat and extra shoes. Here I am literally traveling around the island with what I have on my back. Keep in mind, we’ve been having 12 hour exhausting traveling days and I need everything on the list below! I When I started packing, I kept in mind it would he hot, rainy and I’d have to walk everywhere. This list is my top 10 packing essentials you will want to bring for a trip to Hawaii or any tropical, warm-weather vacation.
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I know I’m in Hawaii and this list is exactly what I packed for my Oahu trip but all of these items work perfectly for any tropical beach vacation or warm-weather trip. For those who missed it, read my story on why I came to Oahu for a month! Your always going to want a swimsuit, sunscreen and backpack to carry everything no matter what activity is planned. I use most of these items at home in Florida on a constant basis and am glad I did not have to buy so many new items for my trip.
My Top 10 Hawaii Packing Essentials
ONE // Waterbottle – A water bottle is a must have! I always have water on hand with me at all times no matter what. Being in Hawaii, I knew I needed to carry a water bottle with me everywhere. No way do I want to pay $5 every time I need to buy a water bottle. This Swell wood bottle was a gift from my sister and I literally use this bottle everyday, here in Hawaii and also at tome. A friend also gave me great advice and said to pack the empty bottle on my carry on for the plane and then ask the flight attendant to fill it. Those tiny cups of water they give you on planes don’t do it for me. When I asked the flight attendant to fill it, she was more than happy to do so. This helped so much because normally I am gasping for water the minute I land. I love my water.
TWO // Crop Top – In Hawaii it can get very hot, especially if your not swimming! You will most likely spend all your time at the beach, hiking or exploring the island. Walking around on the road in a swimsuit, with a towel and surfboard is a normal scene, even in the big cit of Honolulu. I brought a bunch of crop tops to wear with shorts and skirts. My favorite right now is this one from Aerie that I own in pink and ivory! You instantly feel super cute when you wear these and extra beachy. Literally, they will be acceptable anywhere you go, especially outside exploring.
THREE // Swimsuit – This is my #1! Absolutely don’t forget to pack a swimsuit. I mean, is this even possible to forget a swimsuit if your going on a tropical trip? Pretty sure I packed ten swimsuits. HAHA! But hey, I already live in a tropical place and you just wear them all the time. If you forget one it’s okay because there’s a million surf stores on the North Shore or by Waikiki Beach. Here you will wear a swimsuit almost daily. I’d say you would be safe with bringing three but I’d recommend at least four with different functions like this palm leaf one piece for jumping off cliffs and one for hanging at the beach.
FOUR // Backpack – Weather you go on hikes, the beach or into town to shop, you will want a backpack to carry all your items. My friend and I stumbled in a super cute surf store on the North Shore and found these adorable backpacks by Herschel that fold up into a small pouch. So great for packing in a suitcase or day trips! The outside is like a windbreaker material and is perfect for getting wet or sandy. You do so much walking, a cross body or regular tote bag won’t work. It doubles a as a purse, beach bag or hiking gear. You’ll thank me later for the backpack idea.
FIVE // Denim Cut Off Shorts – This is the second most packed item I brought. Everyone wears denim cut off shorts here! Especially the teenagers. Super glad I fit into the teen category. I think there’s seven pair of denim shorts in my suitcase. This pair from American Eagle are the exact ones I packed fof my trip! Actually, I am super glad I packed that many since we don’t have AC. I’d pack at least 3-4 pairs of denim shorts, maybe even more if you plan on staying for more than two weeks. Trust me, you literally will just want to wear a swimsuit, denim shorts and a crop top all day, everyday.
SIX // Waterproof Phone Pouch – Since I knew I’d be walking everywhere and spending lots of time outside waiting on the bus, I knew rain would be an issue. Instead of worrying about a waterproof backpack, I made sure to buy a Waterproof Phone Pouch. Their fairly inexpensive and the most I’ve seen one was $20. Anytime I go outside or near water I don’t have to worry about my phone getting wet. This is great for hiking, the beach or to protect it from outside elements like sand and dirt. A waterproof phone case will also work but I find that those decrease the photo quality when it cover’s the camera lens which is why I went with a pouch instead.
Seven // Raincoat – Going anywhere tropical soon? Invest in a raincoat! These are so much better than umbrellas. You can be hands free and still stay completely dry. I’ll never use an umbrella again. Be aware it will rain a ton in Hawaii (it’s rained everyday so far we’ve been here). I wear a raincoat all the time at home and already wore it in Hawaii. I didn’t want the rain to hold me back from exploring and I also don’t like being a soppy wet mess, so I brought my favorite Northface yellow raincoat. I found a cute one here for under $70. If there’s rain on the forecast I’m bringing this in my backpack so I’m always prepared.
EIGHT // Lip Balm with Sunscreen – Wearing sunscreen is so important, especially on your lips. You will be catching tons of sun the entire time on your trip (even overcast days), so it’s absolutely necessary to wear lip balm with SPF in it. My fav lip balm with SPF in it is Sunbum Watermelon and Mango flavors. Sunbum is actually made locally in Cocoa Beach, so it’s super fun to support a local company.
NINE // Slides or Sandals – Open toed sandals will be worn with everything! Especially denim cut off shorts and crop tops. Slides are super trendy for summer and equally as cute on. I’ve not worn closed toed shoes once since I arrived and don’t plan to unless I’ll be hiking. They also go perfect with sundresses, maxi skirts and swimsuits. I’d pack a few pairs in all colors. I brought these neutral sandals, these pair I last wore here and these under $20.
TEN // iPhone 8+ – For my trip, this is actually one of the items I decided to purchase. My iPhone 6 was only 12 GB and my storage was always full. I could never take new photos or practically do anything on it. I also wanted a nicer camera to take better quality full-frame photos. The DSLR camera I own is only a cropped sensor, so I knew I couldn’t get the landscape shots I wanted with Hawaii’s beautiful landscape. The iPhone 8+ is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone! Totally worth it.