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Traveling Light: What to Bring to Hawaiʻi

Traveling Light: What to Bring to Hawaiʻi

Published on - 2023-01-15

Hawaiʻi is a place that is best enjoyed with minimal baggage. Not only does lugging heavy suitcases through the airport slow you down, but it makes your travel logistics more difficult. You’re on vacation for exploration and relaxation—not lugging around a gigantic bag.

Despite most people’s perception of our tropical islands, it can get chilly at night or at high altitudes, so you will want some layers in addition to your swimwear and flip-flops—but that doesn’t mean you need an overstuffed suitcase weighing you down. Here’s what you really need to bring to Hawaiʻi and how to pack light for the trip.

Hawaiʻi Essentials Packing Checklist

  1. Comfortable clothing in layers

    Hawaiʻi in general is pretty casual. You’ll spend a lot of time outdoors, so you don’t need formal wear. A summery dress or button-down is fine for dinner. Don’t waste space on “just in case” items—especially shoes. You need closed-toed shoes for hiking and open-toed sandals for the beach. Bringing more than two pairs is unnecessary.

    Hawaiʻi has a pleasant, moderate climate and rarely experiences very hot or very cold days—one of the things that makes it such a popular travel destination. We recommend bringing a light rain jacket instead of a sweater. A jacket folds up easier and will be more helpful if a storm rolls in. Make sure that what you bring to Hawaiʻi isn’t too heavy.

    Of course, you’ll want swimsuits (bring two so you have one to wear while the other is drying). For the beach, consider bringing a rash guard (swim shirt), especially for kids or if you burn easily. The sun is intense here!

    You’ll also want a hat and sunglasses. You can easily buy these here if you forget, but they’re often overpriced in touristy areas.

    man with backpack

  2. Beach Bag

    After spending so much time dreaming about going to the beach, it’s amazing how many people forget to bring a separate beach bag!

    Consider a drawstring bag or small backpack instead of a bulky tote. It’s easier to carry, and whatever you bring to Hawaiʻi should be stored as efficiently as possible.

    You will absolutely want sunscreen, snacks, and a water bottle. Roll up a towel, and also bring a waterproof case for your phone if you plan on taking pictures near or in the ocean. You’ll want goggles for swimming or a book to read if you plan on lounging, but it’s easy to rent snorkel equipment so you don’t have to worry about stuffing flippers into your suitcase. Many popular places like Waikiki Beach do have locker rentals to store your belongings.

    A drawstring beach bag can also go with you on hikes like Diamond Head Crater, meaning you don’t need a separate bag for exploring. This helps you pack light for your many Hawaiʻi adventures.

  3. Minimal Electronics

    We don’t need to remind you to bring your phone to Hawaiʻi, but try to ditch heavy electronic items like computers, tablets, and eReaders. You’ll save a lot of space and be able to travel more economically—besides saving yourself from the paranoia of losing your valuables. Remember to bring your phone charger!

    That’s really it! If you’re looking for a budget-friendly trip, then trimming down your luggage will save you the excess baggage fees on airlines and make it easier to explore. But once you know what to bring to your Hawaiʻi trip, here’s how to make it all fit.


How To Pack Light For Hawaiʻi

  1. Use Compression Packing Cubes

    Instead of putting your clothes directly into your suitcase, use compression packing cubes. These handy little bags will make it so much easier to pack light for your Hawaiʻi trip by allowing you to super-compress your clothes and utilize your storage space more efficiently.

    To save yourself the headache of opening every cube just to find that one pair of socks, get yourself a pack of cubes that are transparent so you can easily see what you’ve brought to Hawaiʻi in each cube.

    Another tip is to pack similar types of things together, such as all your shirts in one cube and all your trousers in another. This will make it easy to find things.

    man packing suitcase

  2. Wear Layers on the Plane

    Wear a jacket or a sweater over your clothes at the airport. You can easily take it off on the plane, and this way it won’t take up space in your suitcase. For the same reason, wear your bulkiest shoes on the flight and stuff your flip-flops into your bag. This will help you pack light for your Hawaiʻi trip.

  3. Don’t Eyeball It—Use a Scale

    If you’re in the habit of guesstimating how much your luggage weighs, you probably find yourself paying extra baggage fees or scrambling to repack at the airport quite often. In addition to knowing what to bring to Hawaiʻi, it’s important to know how much to bring to Hawaii. Check with your airline to see how many pounds you’re allowed to bring before incurring extra fees.

    Use a scale to keep an eye on the weight of your luggage while you’re packing. It’s easiest to weigh yourself first, then stand on the scale while holding your suitcase and figure out the difference. This will give you the most accurate number. Be sure to leave some space in your suitcase for any local treasures you might acquire on your travels!

  4. Use Local Vehicle Rentals

    Now you know what to bring to Hawaiʻi for traveling light, but how will you do the actual traveling? Having a mode of transportation is essential for exploring all that Hawai’i has to offer, but renting from large national chains or using rideshares will quickly add up to huge expenses and delays, and ultimately dampen your whole experience.

    Opt for a local rental company like GoVibe that offers luxury yet affordable rental services. Our prices are up to 25% lower than the national chains. You can pick from our selection of budget-friendly vehicles to easily move about Hawaiʻi without putting a dent in your wallet.

    Reserve your car now or contact us to learn more about how we can help make your Hawaiʻi vacation better!

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