What To Pack For Hawaii? Pack Light…and Other Secrets

Suitcase Packing Process

So imagine your best friend has just surprised you with the best birthday gift of all time? A surprise impulse trip for the two of you to HAWAII!! For an entire week!! Now that is a best friend:)  After jumping for joy and finally releasing her from that death-grip you call a “hug”, your mind immediately jumps to…..”what on earth will I pack?”

You spew out another “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” and then tell her you have a million things to do ASAP!  When you get home, you are totally stumped, not to mention overwhelmed. You’re going to Hawaii, and you want to bring everything while also packing very light.  How on earth do you accomplish these contradictory desires?  Read on and discover a great way to jet to Hawaii with the lightest of bags without feeling like you’re forgetting something.  There are 5 simple secrets:

1. Wear your heaviest shoes and clothes on board, and remember to layer, layer, layer.

After all, airplanes are notoriously cold and Hawaii is everything but.  So let your wardrobe and your luggage take advantage of this brief “cold spell” we call “the flight:)”  Because even though the word Hawaii may bring to mind endless beaches and tropical drinks by the pool, Hawaii actually does have some majestic landscapes that have nothing to do with the aqua blue pacific.  This includes zip-lining through tropical forests, hiking up sky-scraping volcanoes, trekking along active hot springs and lava beds, and so much more.  Activities like these may require hiking boots (with socks of course), pants, long sleeve shirts, and even light jackets for rainy weather. You can wear all of this on the plane, even along with a bathing suit underneath, as your “undergarments,” a hat and sunglasses in tow.  That way you have the bulkiest items on your body, along with layers of lighter items, making your packed bag just that much lighter.

2. Pick a simple color palette

By this I mean go for black and white, or blue and gray, green and khaki…the list is endless.  Bring a few pieces of each (tees, tanks, shorts, skirts, sundresses, capris- if you’re a woman of course). Avoid complete outfits.  Face it, your trip to Hawaii is to enjoy all that the beauty that the land has to offer.  It is not a trip where you want or need to pack your newest boutique clothing, or your highest end handbags.  If you are single and you do end up meeting a love interest in Hawaii, chances are they will be dressed down as well and will just like you for you (as they should). No need to pack to impress. Pack to give your shoulder a break, remember this is a vacation, a getaway- so when you’re packing, look at your closet and get away! (Hehe).

3. Pack your lightest pairs of shoes (and clothes).

As is noted above, wear your hiking boots, or heavy sneakers on the flight.  In your small bag, all you should have as far as footwear is concerned are your flip flops, sandals, and possibly reef shoes.  All those items are small, lightweight, and compact.  They can also be tucked into one another to help consolidate space.  The same holds true of clothing.  Wear as many of your heavier layers on board as you can without compromising the comfort of your journey. These two tips are yet another amazing way to keep your bag light and effortless.

4. Regardless of how long your trip is, pack for one week only!

So maybe you are going for more than a week, or perhaps you’re spending a week on each island?.  As you pack,  do not think about it as 14 days or 20 days, or however long you’re really traveling for.  Consolidate it all into a one week allotment.  This way you have an outfit, or a variation of a few outfits to make you appear “brand new” for seven solid days.  Then use whatever washing facilities you have access to, employ the mix-and-match approach based on the color palette you brought, and switch it all up the next week.  There you have it, the magical illusion of having far more in your luggage than you actually do!  Your friends may even be shocked as to how you have managed to pull weeks of different outfits from your light and easy carry-on bag.  Go ahead, share your secret- it will only make you look that much more creative after all.

5. Pack “Must Have” not “Just in Case” or “But I WANT to.”

This simply means essentials. Not your newest designer jewelry, your favorite high heels, or a fifth bathing suit “just in case” you somehow lose the other four! Remember, the goal here is packing light, and this means nothing except necessities.  You really only need two bathing suits, one set of clothes that function for outdoor activities, one set for dinners and nights out on the town, and one set of cover-ups or light layers for dry beach and/or pool activities.  Here is a helpful hint- when prepping for your trip, lay out all the clothes you want to bring and the money you plan to spend “in case.” Then take away at least half the clothes, and if you can afford to or feel more comfortable doing so, double the money.  After all, money is much smaller to pack than the other half of your closet!

And there you have it, a constructive guide to packing a comprehensive yet compact tote for that Hawaiian vacay!  Simple and ordinary for a destination that is anything but 🙂 Follow these guidelines and arrive on the islands prepared to lounge poolside, body surf the great waves of the beautiful Pacific, climb active volcanoes, hike through tropical forests, and enjoy a wild night on the town.  And last but not least, don’t forget to wear a smile as you board that flight!

Photo Attribution

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

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