Is there anything better than packing for a Hawaiian vacation? There’s so much fun to be had in shopping for all your trip essentials, organising things in advance, finally getting your suitcase out of storage, making that essential packing list…

And then you arrive, and promptly realise that you’ve managed to leave at least three important items back at home.

We’re only human, and so unfortunately, it’s all too easy to completely overlook a few packing essentials, even if we’ve worked from a list and tried to be as organised as possible. That’s why looking online for experts’ packing lists – like ours below! – and comparing them against yours is such a good idea.

If you’re off to Hawaii soon and want to make the most out of island life, make sure you pack all of these vacation essentials safely in your suitcase:


No matter what time of the year you visit Hawaii, it’s usually always hot. In the summer, it’s more on the boiling end of the scale, and in the winter, it’s breezier and a more manageable heat – but there’s still the potential to get sunburn if you’re unprotected in the sun all day. Sunscreen is a Hawaii essential for everyone, regardless of your natural skin tone or the season you’re visiting.

Selfie stick

There’s so much to see and do in Hawaii, and the more memories you can document on camera, the better. A selfie stick is the easiest way to capture photos of yourself wherever you might be, even if you’re all alone on the top of a mountain, or riding a boat in the middle of an ocean. Selfie sticks are common and more affordable than ever, so consider purchasing one for your trip if you don’t own one already.

Steel water bottle

Trust us when we say, whether you plan to or not, you’ll end up doing a lot of hiking in Hawaii. The island’s natural beauty is just too hard to resist, so expect to do at least one volcano tour or beach trek during your stay. The best way to stay hydrated is to take a steel water bottle with you that you can refill on-the-go. We say steel, because it’ll keep your water ice-cold even if you’re in the sun all day.

Bug spray

It’s not something that’s at the top of anybody’s minds when they’re packing for a Hawaiian vacation, but bug spray is a must if you want to stay clear of the mozzies during your trip. While mosquitos aren’t dangerous, their bites can leave itchy, red lumps on your skin that can really get on your nerves. Spray yourself down with some mosquito repellent early morning and late evening to stay mosquito bite-free.

A good book

Hawaii’s a tranquil island by nature, offering you the peace and serenity to relax in whatever way you see fit. If that means napping the day away on a deckchair, then so be it, but if you want to keep your mind occupied in the least intense way possible, you’re going to want to bring a good book with you to read. There are plenty of vacation favourites to choose from.

Hiking shoes

Need we repeat our earlier point about hiking being a Hawaiian thing? We know it’s tempting to pack your sandals and leave it at that, but you’ll need a good pair of hiking shoes if you want to experience everything the island has to offer. Nobody wants to do a mountain trek in a pair of flip flops, so save yourself the inevitable purchase and pack ahead.

Drivers’ licence

One of the best ways to see every part of Hawaii is to hire out a rental car. Obviously, you’ll need your drivers’ licence to do this, so make sure it makes it onto your packing list even if hiring a car wasn’t part of your original plans. Once you arrive, you’ll most likely be tempted by the fun that can be had from driving your way around Hawaii, and that drivers’ licence will suddenly become an essential.

Sensible swimsuit

Hawaii is most famous for its beaches, so of course, you’ve already planned to pack a selection of your favourite swimwear pieces for the occasion. What you might not be prepared for, however, is Hawaii’s water sports scene. Even if you’re not an expert at adrenaline-inducing water activity, trust us, you’ll find yourself tempted to join in once you arrive. You don’t want to miss out because none of your swimwear is sensible enough.

Stretchy trousers

Everyone wants to look their best in Hawaii, but be prepared… you will be tempted by the food, and you will eat a lot. There’s no shame in waving goodbye to your diet while you’re on vacation, but if you’ve got no comfy clothes with you, you’re going to experience discomfort like no other. Make sure to pack at least four sets of stretchy bits for your bottom half if you want to eat like a queen, and not to the restrictions of your waistline.