Hawaii Travel Guides

The Ultimate Hawaii Not-To-Pack List

Preparing for vacation can be surprisingly stressful, and there is always the temptation to pack everything for every possible scenario. We’ve put together a brief list of things that you don’t need to bring to Hawaii on your next trip.

What not to pack for Hawaii

Sunscreen. Sunscreen is available at every grocery store, gas station, and convenience store in Hawaii. Unless you have a large supply in your cabinet just waiting to be used, you can leave the sunscreen and sunblock at home.

Beach towels. Resorts will supply you with towels for both the beach and pool, and not packing your towels will give you a great excuse to pick up a couple from your visit!

Fresh fruits or vegetables. Hawaii has very strict laws about bringing foreign species into the state, and you will fill out a customs form on the airplane before landing (don’t worry, it just asks if you have any fresh fruit, veggies, or live animals). Save yourself the hassle and don’t pack fresh foods.

Rubber slippers (flip-flops). This may be a bias of mine, but I am a huge fan of buying things I can use as part of my collection of souvenirs. Rubber slippers are readily available at most convenience and drugstores (especially Long’s and Walgreen’s) and are an inexpensive and useful reminder of your time on the islands.

Heels, ties, blazers, and fur. There are almost no restaurants in Hawaii that require formal wear of any kind and aloha wear is accepted almost everywhere. Unless you have reservations at a specific restaurant that has a dress code, you can assume flats or wedges are appropriate (for ladies) and dress sandals and a polo/dress shirt/aloha shirt are appropriate for men. If you have questions about dress code for particular restaurants, you can always call before leaving. It’s usually easier than trying to keep formal wear in good shape during transpacific flights.

Your guitar. With the constantly rising costs of checked bags and the horror stories on YouTube of broken guitars, it’s not worth it to bring it on your vacation. If you’re on Maui you have two music stores (Bounty Music – Kahului, and Lahaina Music – Lahaina) that rent guitars for about the same price as checking it both ways.

A passport. It may be obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: If you are American, you will not need a passport to travel to Hawaii.

Anything you think you “might” need that costs less than $15-$20. Just about everything available in the contiguous US is available in Hawaii – food, clothing, jewelry, hardware, computers, movies, etc. If there is something that you might need under just the right circumstances, but would not be necessary in an emergency, you can pick some up in the islands. This includes a spare tube of toothpaste, family-size Tylenol, and a new pack of underwear.

A new bathing suit. If you are from a water-sports heavy area, and therefore are constantly buy new bathing suits, go ahead and pack them. However, if bathing suits aren’t readily available in your area, or if you are traveling in winter, you don’t need to stress about getting a bathing suit before arriving in Hawaii. Bathing suits in every cut and price range are available year-round, so if it might be more convenient to pick up a bathing suit after landing, go for it!

Over To You – What Would You Not Pack?

What have we missed? What top tips can you share about things that you’ve brought to Hawaii, only to find you didn’t need to pack them?

Leave a comment below. Aloha!

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