New bikini? Check

Comfortable Flip Flops? Check

Good book for the plane? Check.

If you’re coming to Hawaii and have your packing list all ready to go, good for you! But, read this list of ten things “I wish I’d packed for Hawaii” BEFORE you zup-up your suitcase!

1. A light jacket: You need a jacket in Hawaii? It’s easy to forget that in the higher elevations of Hawaii, the temperature is significantly cooler. The average temperature on top of Haleakala can be twenty degrees cooler than lower elevations. So, make sure you stay warm, especially if you’re there to watch the sunrise or sunset.

2. Plastic bags: As of July 1 of this year, stores are no longer allowed to give out plastic bags at checkout. That means, if you have wet bathing suits or clothes, you need to supply your own plastic bag for storage.

3. First-Aid supplies: You may not be used to wearing sandals for long periods of time on the mainlant. But, that’s the footwear of choice in Hawaii. The downside? Blisters happen. So do scrapes and scratches. Don’t be that person who ends up spending $7.00 on a pack of five bandages because you forgot to throw a few in your bag when you were packing. You don’t need anything complicated, just a few bandages, some antibiotic ointment (look for the individual-use packs), and maybe some moleskin if you have a tendency to injure yourself with your footwear.

Sandals are the footwear of choice in Hawaii, but they can also cause painful blisters. So, plan to bring a First Aid Kit with you.

4. Copies of travel documents: The last thing most people want to do when packing is scan and print or photocopy their passport and other important documents. However, in the unlikely but serious event that your passport or visa is lost or stolen, it’s a big help to have an extra copy on hand. Stash the copies in a separate place from the actual documents, so if you lose one, you’ll likely still have the other. At the very least, write down your passport number and email it to yourself or simply email the scans of the documents.

5. Sunscreen: Seems obvious, right? Well, if you’re coming from a place that’s experiencing winter, you probably won’t just “see” sunscreen on the drug store shelves. And, out-of-sight can mean out-of-mind. There are plenty of places to buy sunscreen in Hawaii, but do you really want to be hunting for a store when you could be enjoying yourself on the beach?

6. Phone charger:  Having a usable cell phone in Hawaii is a must, not just for communication purposes, but also for safety. If you’re hiking and get lost, it’s probably your only way to communicate to rescuers. And, with crowded beaches the norm, you may need it to find your party if you get separated. Without a phone charger, your cell phone is useless. And, you certainly don’t want to be searching for a charger while on vacation. While you’re at it, you may also want to consider buying one of those “portable” chargers, too.

Few things are worse than forgetting your cell phone charger on vacation. Even though you can buy one at a store, you don't want to waste precious vacation time searching for one.

7. Camera: These days, most of us use our cell phones as our cameras, but you’ll get better quality photos with a professional-type camera. Trust me, you won’t want to forget the vibrant sunset in Waikiki or the aquamarine of the ocean. With a good camera in tow, you can do justice to the beauty of Hawaii.

8. A nice outfit: Most restaurants are quite casual, but you never know when you might want to go to a restaurant that has a “chic-casual” dress code. A sundress for ladies and khakies and an aloha shirt is adequate for men, but if you make reservations in advance, check with the restaurant to find out appropriate attire.

9. Binoculars: Especially if its whale-watching season, you want to pack a pair of binoculars. They can make the difference between seeing a black “dot” in the ocean and seeing whale fins, eyes, and mouths. If you’re going lava-watching on the Big Island, binoculars can help you see the plumes up-close.

10. Reusable water bottle: Whether you do it for the environment or do it for convenience, having a water bottle with you is a good idea. Instead of lugging disposable water bottles to the beach, you can bring a larger water bottle from home and just refill it when necessary. That way, you’re reducing island clutter and saving yourself a trip to the store.

Many visitors are so excited to come to Hawaii, they forget some of these essentials when packing. Don’t be one of them. Instead, make sure you don’t leave behind these ten things “I wish I’d packed for Hawaii.”


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