Hawaii Packing


We recently spent 9 days in Hawaii (Oahu to be exact) and I thought I’d share a little bit about what I packed. This trip really snuck up on me. I didn’t really prep or go shopping at all. I didn’t check the weather and I didn’t even ask my parents (who were there last year) what to bring. I just sort of threw everything into our suitcase and off we went!

Hawaii in mid-March is still considered to be a part of the rainy season (now I know) and it can get pretty cool in the evenings (didn’t know that either). Below is an overview of what I’m glad I packed, what I wish I hadn’t and what I’d bring next time:

I’m Glad I Packed…


  1. I call these my crazy pants. Best $15 purchase ever. I picked them up in NYC at Uniqlo and they are amazing. And crazy. Our condo was always freeeeezing and so I was glad I brought pants even if they were lightweight.
  2. Neck pillow! The plane ride out to Hawaii is about 8.5 hours (only about 6.5-7 hours back) and so I was glad I brought it. I didn’t sleep as much flying over but we took the red eye back to Chicago and needed to sleep before we drive home.
  3. Our Cocoon GRID-IT organizer. I got this idea from Diana and it was so nice to keep all our cords and chargers in one place.
  4. A simple, black maxi dress. I only wore it once for the luau but it was nice to wear something long since it got cooler at night. I got it in Jamaica and it’s the only maxi dress that has ever fit me!
  5. Tretorn canvas sneakers from J.Crew. I ordered these before we went because I’ve been in the market for simple sneakers for awhile. These were great for nights when we walked all over Waikiki/Honolulu.
  6. New Trent iGeek to charge our phones/iPads. We actually didn’t need them on the flights (with no Internet…you don’t really drain as fast) and I didn’t watch movies on any of my devices. I definitely needed it while we were traveling throughout the island though.
  7. My basic Kindle. I really enjoyed reading on the beach (Hunger Games!) and am glad I didn’t have to lug the huge books around.
  8. A basic black bikini! I ordered this one from VS (different from the one pictured above) and I loved the gold accents.
  9. A big floppy beach hat. In October, I got way too much sun on my face and dealt with all the peeling later. By the end of the week, I was using my hat to shield my face and shoulders.
  10. OCEAN SALT! I also learned my lesson in Jamaica and really regret that I didn’t bring an exfoliator or any of my lotion. This time we decided to actually check a suitcase so I could bring my Ocean Salt, Ro’s Argan and Dream Cream from Lush. I truly believe that’s why I didn’t peel or dry out this time! (Yes I’m a snot about my skin. Sorry I’m not sorry.)
  11. My super soft Everlane Ryan tank. Did I mention it’s so soft?
  12. I brought 3 different swimsuit cover-ups. I wore all three casually around the beach and pool.
  13. Before we left, I upgraded my camera and got the Canon 6D! I love love love it. It was so fun to shoot full frame while I was there. Excited to share another portrait session soon.
  14. Besides my Everlane tank, I also brought a few J.Crew tanks in some bright neon colors. They go with everything!
  15. After NYC, I bought a pair of Urbanears (Plattan) and love that there’s a jack for another set of headphones. My sister and I watched The Office on her iPad and could both listen!
  16. Adam brought his JAMBOX again and it was awesome. We could listen to music in the condo or use it to watch TV on our iPads. It adds a lot when you can have quality tunes on vacation.
  17. Short shorts. When I’m on vacation or in a tropical place, I make no apologies for how short my shorts are. I brought a pair of jean and lace shorts this time (both older and I have no idea where I got them).

I Shouldn’t Have Brought…

  1. Three dresses. I only wore my black maxi dress to the luau. Hawaii (in general) is not a very fancy place. Even my dad’s cousin who lives on Oahu commented on how casual the lifestyle there can be. 
  2. My iPad Mini. This is a common theme! I have found that I use my iPad Mini mostly for business (showing clients work, in meetings to share PDFs and to doodle in Paper).
  3. My workout shoes. I just don’t think I’ll ever workout during vacation. Just being honest.
  4. A film camera. It’s not that I didn’t want to shoot film – I was just too infatuated with my new 6D that shooting film seemed kind of boring.

Next Time I’ll Bring…

  1. Our Aeropress! We were kicking ourselves that we didn’t bring it. DUH DUH DUH. We had such amazing Kona coffee but these awful drip coffee machines in the condo. The Aeropress would have been so perfect. 
  2. A nicer sweater (when we went out to eat at night) and a cute sweatshirt (I ended up buying one on the island). I really just wasn’t expecting it to be so cool in the evenings during March.
  3. Comfortable sandals. I brought really, really uncomfortable sandals and we ended up walking a lot. My feet hurt often and I wished I had invested in some better ones beforehand.

So there’s my WAY too detailed list of my packing. I hope this benefits at least someone in my lifetime :)

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  • Reply giulia

    ahh it looks like such a fun trip! i went there in the summer and even then it was cool at night.

    March 25, 2013 at 7:23 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Good to know! I was wondering if that was just a common thing!

      March 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM
  • Reply Heather || Heather's Dish

    We’ve done Kauaii in the rainy season and it really does get chilly! I’m heading over to check out that grid-it organizer…Lord knows we need that on our trips!

    March 25, 2013 at 8:53 AM
    • Reply Allison

      It’s SO useful!! Did you like Kauaii? We were curious about how the different islands were unique.

      March 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM
  • Reply hannah

    allie, i love your packing lists!! i’m taking notes for packing for our upcoming honeymoon :) and the hunger games trilogy is amazing vacation reading…

    March 25, 2013 at 9:10 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Thanks Hannah! I hope it’s helpful :) and yes those books are SO good!

      March 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM
  • Reply Jess

    Thanks for sharing, Allie! Those lace shorts are seriously adorable and I am definitely buying a pair of those J Crew sneakers to take with me when we go to Paris/Rome this summer…this post was a huge help :)

    March 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM
    • Reply Allison

      They’re so comfortable and cute!! You’ll love them.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM
  • Reply Val

    Great packing suggestions! I’ve gone to Kauai twice and Maui once and the first time I seriously overpacked, but that’s because I was getting married and that added a whole dimension of clothing/accessories/beauty products. I did find that I needed athletic-type shoes or sandals for the trips because we like to do a little hiking/exploring. If you go to either of those two islands, I definitely recommend footwear for that because there are some fantastic hikes (some hard/some easy), waterfall trips, etc that require more sturdy footwear (also so you don’t ruin your casual stuff. I just took my vibrams and they even got me through a 12 mile rocky hike without taking up much space in my bag. Otherwise, I am not an exerciser on vacation either.
    I always need a sweater at night there – since it’s not humid and there’s always an ocean breeze, it can get chilly year round.
    I’ve never been to Oahu, but I highly recommend Kauai – we are obsessed with that place. It’s so amazing.

    March 26, 2013 at 4:41 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Totally agree re: shoes for hiking/working out. Excited to be going back *hopefully* within the next year so loved your suggestions!

      December 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM
  • Reply Lisa

    This list is great…I HATE PACKING WITH A PASSION. That said, it’s nice to read about how other people tackle it. Can’t wait to hear more about your 6D!

    March 26, 2013 at 7:23 PM
    • Reply Allison

      I always wait til the last minute to pack. Also, this reply is like almost 2 years late. HA

      December 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM
  • Reply kate @ undeniable style

    Your packing lists are so great. And reading about all your travel makes me want to just pack up and take a trip!

    March 31, 2013 at 2:18 PM
    • Reply Allison

      I’m SO late in responding to this but thank you!! I haven’t traveled much in 2014. It was good but now I’m itching to go!

      December 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM
  • Reply Sarah @ MarvelousDarling

    I’m so glad I’m seeing Lush around the blogosphere, since I just began working for them!! I’m so excited to get into the shop (I’m on a brand new store team) and even more excited to get my hands on some of the full size products. I’ve tried samples of a ton of stuff including Ocean Salt (love) and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m so jealous of your trip!!

    Question: How do you like the iPad mini? Do you wish you’d gotten the full size iPad, or is the mini perfect for you?

    April 1, 2013 at 11:04 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Do you still work at LUSH? Also, I still love the iPad mini after almost 2 years. The perfect size IMO but with the new iPhone6+ it’s not even that much bigger haha.

      December 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM
  • Reply Jen

    I have the Everlane tank, and I love it to bits. It’s the perfect shape, and it’s so soft!

    April 4, 2013 at 6:26 AM
    • Reply Allison

      I hope to be doing another updated Everlane post soon!

      December 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM
  • Reply Ashley

    Thanks for this packing list! Definitely be checking back here for packing tips for when I go to Oahu in two weeks for my honeymoon! :)

    April 10, 2013 at 12:35 AM
    • Reply Allison

      Almost two years later…how was the honeymoon??

      December 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM
  • Reply Fabiola

    Great blog. I’m actually going to HI in March next year for our honeymoon and this definitely helps! Thanks for posting this list :).

    July 2, 2014 at 6:14 PM
    • Reply Allison

      You’re welcome!

      December 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM
  • Reply Annie

    I’m vacationing in Kona right now. And, the best thing I packed are my brown ArchMates flip-flops. They are made of Nu-buck with soft suede straps. Extremely solid soles, with super soft foot-beds, they are the perfect island shoe. I purchased them through Foot-Smart catalog for under $30. Without a doubt, these are a total winner.

    December 5, 2014 at 2:18 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Ohhh I must look those sandals up! Thanks Annie!

      December 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM
  • Reply Chasity

    I’m going to Hawaii (Oahu/Honolulu) in July and am so glad I came across your post! Thank you so much for sharing :)

    February 29, 2016 at 3:49 PM
  • Reply Be Up & Doing - Multi-City Packing Tips - Be Up & Doing

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  • Reply Be Up & Doing - San Diego + Seattle Packing - Be Up & Doing

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