Comin at you today with my Hawaii Packing List! FINALLY! When I was in Oahu for a month, I purposely documented everything I packed and what I wished I’d packed in an excel spreadsheet with you in mind! Not even joking. I wanted to be able to come back here and share exactly what to wear in Hawaii.
One thing I’m not good at? Packing! Every trip I take, I way over pack. For this trip, I packed two huge 50 pound suitcases full (for real, they both maxed the weight limit) and ended up only wearing half of what I brought. One, because I didn’t realize I wouldn’t have any air conditioning and two, I really had no idea I’d never wear anything other than a swimsuit and shorts. Really though, I thought I’d have way more opportunities to dress up but my trip was more adventurous than glamorous.
Oahu was the island I stayed on but Hawaii is Hawaii. Whatever island your on, you’ll most likely be doing some type of water activity or spending the day outside everyday, so this list goes is practical for any Hawaii island. You can read more about why I chose to spend a month in Oahu and my recap of Hawaii here!
When I go back one day, I will literally just bring shorts, swimsuits, easy dresses, workout clothes and sandals. Everything else on the list is supplemental. There’s really no need for super fancy clothes unless you have a nice dinner planned or a luau. Neither of which I did ha. Most of the time your swimming, snorkeling, hiking or at the beach. Even when I hiked I wore a swimsuit. On an average day it’s a warm 80 degrees, so make sure you are buying items that are made with cotton, linen or breathable spandex.
This is one of the items I packed way to much of. I had packed so many nice tops like cute off the shoulder ones from J.Crew and LOFT and really never wore any of them. You best bet is to go with crop tops, solid colored tank tops, t-shirts or striped tops. Then you can mix and match with your denim shorts to have a new outfit everyday.
Make sure to bring shorts! This is a no-brainer. Throw them on over your swimsuit and your ready for the day! I personally brought denim shorts, cut offs, athletic/lounge shorts and a pair of white ones and had endless options to mix and match with. Hawaii life really is the best life!
When I say all you need is a swimsuit and shorts in Hawaii, I am 100% serious. Every single morning when I would wake up, the first thing I did was throw on a swimsuit and shorts. For 30 days straight I legit wore a swimsuit everyday. You can see 10 outfits I actually wore in Hawaii here (look close, most outfits I’m wearing a swimsuit underneath).
I’d say to bring at least 3 swimsuits. I brought about 10 (ahhhhh, I’m crazy ha) but again, I was there for an entire month. Bring one for tanning at the beach or pool (if your staying at hotel ) for low-key days, a one piece for snorkeling, hiking or cliff jumping and a another bikini that’s cute and functional for all water activities.
Depending on how long your trip is, I’d say bring only 1-2 dresses and a romper. A solid dress and romper can double as a casual outfit and also a beach cover up. I actually wore my midi and maxi dresses when I’d spend the day in Haleiwa shopping. That was actually the only few times I “got dressed”.
My one piece of advice is don’t bring your fanciest shoes. Anything with suede, felt of velvet will get muddy and dirty super easy. The majority of Oahu is made up of sand, clay and dirt and your shoes will see the wear and tear. I brought a colored sandal to mix and match with all my outfits and also a neutral sandal (white is my color of choice) that goes with everything. Bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and are easy to clean.
A few exercise tops and bottoms are super important to bring! The activity I did most in Hawaii besides go to the beach was hike! I’d wear my swimsuit under my cute tank top and running shorts and head to the beach after a long and hot hike.
One thing I’m so glad I did is bring an old pair of tennis shoes. There’s no need to buy a new pair unless you don’t already own any or don’t plan on hiking. Before I began packing, I had pre-planned to throw away my sneakers at the end of my trip. I knew they’d get muddy and dirty and it would lighten my luggage weight coming home. That’s just a great packing tip in general. I keep a few old pairs of tennis shoes laying around at home and then when I go on trips or do messy yard work, I know I can afford to toss them afterwards.
Bringing a backpack is an absolute must. My carry on backpack for the plane doubled as the backpack I carried around the island. Find a durable bag that can get wet, a little muddy and cleans up easy. My second most used bag was a crossbody. If I went shopping or grocery shopped, I just brought a small bag to hold my phone and wallet. Now it’s up to you but earrings or a scarf might be cute accessories to bring depending on what you have planned. If there’s a fancy dinner, luau or a night on town on the agenda – you might want the option of being able to accessorize a dress or romper. I personally didn’t but it’s really personal preference.
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Free Packing List
I’ve also included a FREE packing list. It includes what clothes, adventure items, and toiletries to pack. There’s also a BONUS page that includes what to pack in a carry on bag and backpack. Sign Up below to receive it in an email. You can then take a screenshot of the list and keep it on your phone for easy packing!