If you are looking at a vacation in Hawaii, or you have just made the plans and booked your trip, chances are you are excited to start packing now. Never mind that the trip is months away, you want to be ready! But, what should you bring? To keep things easy, and prevent you from over-packing, here is a list of suggestions on what to wear on your Hawaii vacation.
Now, your specific packing will depend on the activities you have planned for your trip, but always keep in mind that the spirit in Hawaii is “hang loose.” Keep items light and fun and if any outfit could be pared down, then pare down.
There are a few items that are must-have staples for your Hawaii vacation. These staples are: sunglasses, sandals/flip-flops (they are called slippers in Hawaii), a large hat, and sunscreen. Make sure you have these packed no matter what you plan to do on your trip. You may even want to pack an extra pair of sunglasses and sandals to mix up your wardrobe a bit while you are here.
For the Flight
For your flight to and from Hawaii, dress comfortably. Wear warm-weather clothes, because the temperature and humidity may surprise you when you leave the plane. You may want to also bring a light jacket due to the air-conditioning on the plane.
For day walking around towns (I.E. gift shopping, walking tours, exploring, etc.), you can never go wrong with comfortable and casual. Think light shirts, tank tops, shorts/skirts, sundresses, and of course, flip-flops. If sandals hurt your feet after walking around for a bit, you can opt for breathable slip-on shoes or tennis shoes instead.
At the beach, you will of course want to wear your swimsuit/trunks, and again, flip-flops. It would also be a good idea to wear a hat and beach cover-up to protect you from the sun and allow you to go from beach straight to a casual lunch or to do some shopping. Bring a couple of towels and/or a bamboo beach mat for hanging out outside the water. Bamboo mats are magical because they don’t collect sand as towels do!
In the evening, many people switch over to dressy casual – slightly dressier than their daytime attire – khaki shorts or trousers, polo shirts, aloha shirts, skirts, sundresses, etc.
Casual Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
When you need to grab a bite to eat, but aren’t going anywhere fancy (think a cafe on the beach), then come as you are. Casual tops, shorts, and sandals are the standard wardrobe around the islands, and there’s no need to change if you’ve been walking around or hanging out at the beach all day. There are many eateries right on the beaches that expect you to come directly off the sand and sit at their tables.
Luaus, Dinner Shows, Cruises
If you have planned something a little more special for dinner, like a sunset cruise or a luau, you will want to switch to dressy casual. With its laid-back atmosphere, there are very few places in Hawaii that call for actually dressing up. By dressy casual, we mean light slacks, dress shorts, casual/maxi dresses, skirts, and polo shirts. If you aren’t comfortable wearing your sandals/slippers with dressy casual attire, opt for comfortable slip-on shoes instead. High-heels and ties are seldom seen around Hawaii, so feel free to leave them at home.
Many of the islands offer fantastic hiking opportunities for all experience levels. If you plan to doing any hiking, no matter how strenuous, you will want to wear covered shoes that you are ok with getting dirty hiking or tennis shoes are good options. It’s also a good idea to bring a small.light backpack for items like sunscreen, snacks, and water. Many hikes lead to waterfalls and rivers and they make great places to swim. If you are embarking on these trails, wear your swimsuit under your hiking clothes and pack a towel.
Boating and Canoe/Kayak Activities
If any of your vacation includes boating and/or canoe or kayak trips, you will want to wear closed-toe shoes that are OK to get wet. Slip-on deck shoes work perfect. Shorts and tank tops are fine, and in many cases, you may even want to wear your swimsuit beneath your clothes. You will also want to bring or buy a waterproof bag to place anything you want to keep dry in.
Just in Case
Finally, you may want to pack a couple of pieces of warmer-weather items just in case. Depending on the time of year you are visiting, you may have an unexpected shower or two, and it’s good to have more than shorts and flip-flops for them! Be sure to pack a light rain jacket or waterproof poncho, as well!
Remember that what you wear on your Hawaii vacation is entirely dependent on what you will be doing on your trip and your own comfort level. For 80% of your stay, you will probably want to dress for warm, sunny days. Don’t be caught sweating to death! However, having a few items prepared for hikes, unexpected weather, or dinners is never a bad idea. Most of all, don’t stress too much – your vacation in Hawaii promises to be very relaxed!