Travel Essentials for your Hawaiian Vacation


Hawai’i is the perfect travel destination, with its year-round sunny climate and picturesque landscapes. It’s also got something for everyone — whether you want to immerse yourself in the rich and storied Hawaiian culture, or just relax on the beach and take in what the island has to offer. 

Whether it’s your first or 40th time visiting Hawai’i, you should prepare yourself for a vacation to remember. Knowing what to pack and preparing yourself beforehand allows you to make the most out of your vacation, as you’re not left scrambling for your essentials or worrying about buying things to replace what you left at home. Here’s what we recommend bringing on your next Hawaiian getaway: 

Reef-safe sunscreen

While it’s important to make sure that you stay safe and protected from the sun, it’s equally crucial to consider the impact that beach vacations can have on our environment. What people don’t consider, however, is whether or not their sunscreen is reef-safe. Do note that Hawai’i passed a bill last 2018 that bans the use of chemically treated sunscreen, as chemicals such as oxybenzone have been shown to lead to coral bleaching. Thankfully, there are a lot of other sunscreen brands out there that are developing reef-safe products.

UV-protected sunglasses

In the same way that you’ve got sunscreen to protect your skin, your sunglasses need to work to protect your eyes. Make sure that your sunglasses are UV protected, as sunglasses without UV protection can actually do more damage to your eyes. That’s because the dark tint makes your pupils dilate and thus lets more harmful light in.  Picking polarized glasses will give you the best view, especially if you plan to spend time at the beach or out on a whale watch or snorkel boat during your vacation.

An action camera 

Hawai’i is home to adventure galore, so bring an action camera that will help you capture as much of your trip as possible. The sights of the Big Island provide a ziplining experience like no other, for example, where guests can get their adrenaline pumping above a 250-foot waterfall. Picking a camera that’s waterproof and comes with a handheld stabilizer makes shooting videos a breeze, whether you’re up in the air or underwater. 

Denim shorts

You should take advantage of the sunny weather and bring clothes that are comfortable while helping you achieve a nice tan. Lifestyle writer Sheena Dizon notes on PrettyMe that denim shorts can be worn even over your swimwear for an easy and no-nonsense outfit, or else with a loose tank top tucked inside. Leave your puffy coats and skintight pants at home, and enjoy the sun in style.

Linen shirts

In a similar vein, linen is a great option for easily packable shirts that go with virtually any outfit. Aside from being breathable and light, linen has built up a reputation for being one of the most eco-friendly fabric options in today’s market. White linen is a classic option that you can throw over your swim trunks or boardshorts. Pair this look with your trusty slippers that can bring you straight from the water to an evening party. 

A sturdy backpack

A sturdy backpack is always a good option no matter your destination, but it’s especially true for Hawai’i, as your itinerary might entail a bit of hiking and travel on foot. People often look at a backpack’s capacity first, but you also need to consider how supportive your pack is. The Broke Backpacker’s Will Hatton explains that padded straps and mesh backing are a must, as these allow you to carry heavier loads without straining your muscles. 

Refillable water bottles

Hawai’i is consistently warm, which means you’ll need to drink up and stay hydrated. This could easily lead to a lot of wasted single-use plastic bottles, which have been proven time and again to be harmful to the planet. Bringing a reusable water bottle (and even a reusable straw, if you’d like) is a small act that goes a long way — plus, you won’t have to worry about paying for your water every time.

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About the Author: Ellen Collins is an avid blogger and travel enthusiast.