We told you what to pack for your Hawaii vacation. But there are several things you probably shouldn’t pack; either because you can easily get them while you’re here or because it will take up too much space in your suitcase. And with the new airline fees for overweight bags or extra checked-in ones, it’s best to take our advice:

1. Fancy Clothing – Leave the tuxedos, evening gowns and stilettos behind; casual attire is the norm in Hawaii, even at the fancier restaurants. Ladies can get away with a nice dress and flats or dressy shorts and a nice blouse; guys, on the other hand, can wear slacks and an aloha shirt. I think the only times I’ve seen guys in tuxes here were at weddings, proms, military balls or Halloween-related events.

2. Towels Most hotels provide their guests pool/beach towels, which can be taken along those day trips to the beach. You might also consider getting a Hawaiian towel as a souvenir while you’re here. If you buy it at the beginning of your trip and use it throughout, then I’d say it has earned a spot in your suitcase for the trip home.

3. Fresh Produce/Plants – Don’t delay your vacay for an apple. Fresh fruits, vegetables or plants will require you to declare them to the agricultural inspectors. Some flora may have a negative impact on Hawaii’s fragile ecosystem. Why not just go to one of the many farmers’ markets while you’re here, and try our local produce instead? If you have any questions, you can always check with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture at 808-832-0566 (www.hawaii.gov/hdoa).

4. Anything less than 30 SPF – To stress my point of how important it is to pack sunscreen SPF 30, I included it on both lists of things to pack and things not to pack. Hawaii is closer to the equator, and therefore, the sun is so much h3er than on the mainland. I’ve read articles that advised their readers to use a lesser SPF if they really want to “get a better tan”…I’m here to tell you otherwise. Lather up; it’s the best thing you can do for yourself while on vacay.

5. Anything Expensive – This goes for any vacation you take and not only ones to Hawaii. Leave the expensive stuff (jewelry, name-brand handbags and electronics) at home. Most times, you’ll have to park your rental car in a secluded area, or at least one that doesn’t have a lot of foot traffic, such as the lesser-known beaches or hikes. Don’t give thieves any reason to break into your cars or – worse yet – steal your belongings from the sand while you’re snorkeling or swimming. Sadly, I can’t tell you how many times this has happened. If you must bring expensive items, then find out from your hotel about getting access to a safe.

Photo Credit: Cindy Scheopner


  1. Fantastic. I’ve been wanting to write about this somewhere for a while and you have done it for me! 🙂

    One thing I tell visitors before they come is to consider packing very little and buying things here. Unless they want that “tourist look,” coming here and buying aloha shirts, slippahs, dresses, sunglasses, even jewelry, helps them avoid looking silly, and are very affordable.

    I always recommend a stop at Costco and an ABC Store on Kauai right off the plane – to buy snorkel gear, clothes, beach chairs, sunscreen, sunglasses, a cooler, beach bag, beach mat, water bottles, reusable shopping bags and the magical Hawaiian Blend Aloe After Sun sun burn treatment – they will probably need it no matter how much we warn them.

    Oops – guess I added more than 2 cents there. 🙂

  2. But one thing TO pack: a duffle you can throw in the bottom of your suitcase so you can pack all your goodies and carry them on the plane with you on the way home. No worrying about your souvenirs getting lost and you don't have to buy a suitcase there. 🙂


  3. Bruce is so right, if you need to bring video camera's there is always GoPro's available, and they come with waterproof housings, a couple hundred bucks your good to go, and wear in the surf.  The same goes for camera's.. leave that expensive DSLR at home.  Several of the islands have camera stores you can rent one if need be as well as the lens or lenses if need be.Have a great vacation, visit and relax and enjoy the Aloha Spirit.Malama Pono

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