A while back, I wrote a post about the essentials you’ll need when packing for Hawaii. But, what about the items you WON’T need? Many visitors make the mistake of packing items they’ll never use during their visit. Or, they pay the extra baggage fees to bring items they can simply buy here (inexpensively, I might add).

So, what should you NOT pack when you visit Hawaii? Here are the top five items to leave at home:

1. Sand/Beach Toys: We all love to build sand castles by the ocean. But, as a general rule, sand toys are big, bulky, and cheap. If you pack them in your suitcase, you’re likely to sacrifice lots of useful space. Instead, check with your hotel before you leave and ask if they “rent” sand or beach toys (some even lend them out “no-charge”). Another option? When you get to Hawaii, look for sand or beach toys in your hotel lobby—most Hawaii hotels have stores which carry essentials. If you come up empty-handed there, find the nearest ABC convenience store or a similar establishment. Expect to pay about $10 for a pre-packaged set of toys.

the kahala hotel and resort

Photo: Hawaii Aloha Travel

Most hotels, like the Kahala Hotel and Resort, have convenience stores with essentials located in the lobby.

2. Most Plants: I’m not sure why you might want to bring plants to Hawaii, but the state has very strict rules regarding which kind of plant materials are allowed in the state. Because Hawaii plants and animals have been the victims of “invasive” species, the government takes great care to keep many kinds of foreign plants out. For example, pineapple and passion fruit plants are not allowed in unless you have a permit. Neither are corn on the cob, coconuts, or coffee plants. It’s no fun to be stopped at the airport for violating the rules, especially after you’ve just spent 5+ hours on an airplane. For a complete list of common restricted plant material, click here.

3. Excessive Baby Items: It’s hard to part with your baby’s swing, bouncy seat, or booster seat. But, these items aren’t just really, really heavy. They also take a virtual army to transport. Instead, ask your hotel if it has a pack-and-play in which your baby can sleep, and see if they let guests “borrow” or “rent” baby items. If the answer is “no,” you can rent everything from cribs to toys to swings from a baby equipment rental company, like Baby Aboard Hawaii.

4. Any Valuables/Lots of Cash: Hawaii has one of the highest rates of car break-ins in the nation, so it’s important to leave your valuables at home (or at least, in the safe in your hotel room). Car thieves know that many visitors bring expensive electronics and other items along during excursions and leave them in their rental cars, so they target known visitor destinations and rental cars. Also, most places in Hawaii accept credit or debit cards, so there’s no need to bring a boatload of cash along with you. If you need to tip a valet or rent a surfboard, you can find ATM machines in most visitor meccas, such as Waikiki.

Better to leave lots of cash in the hotel room safe or at home. Most Hawaii venues accept credit cards, and you can usually find an ATM nearby.

5. A Full Suitcase: Even for the most disciplined traveler, you’re bound to see souvenirs and other items you just HAVE to bring home after your trip to Hawaii. Local artists are famous for their amazing wares, and unless you’re sequestered in your hotel room, you’ll probably want to purchase something by which to remember your vacation here. When you book specialty tours, such as the Pearl Harbor Home of the Brave Tour, you may find items to purchase. So, save some room, or you may end-up paying extra for excessive baggage at the airport.

Of course, it’s important to remember to bring all the things you’ll need when packing for Hawaii, but it’s just as important to remember what NOT to bring!


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