Lighten Your Luggage Load
Luggage and bags: I really over-packed for this trip. Since the temperature in the islands is generally in the 80's or so year round, you can plan to pack light-weight clothing and do with one suitcase generally. As in Europe, a heavy suitcase can be a detriment to your enjoyment!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hawaii is almost universally a casual clothes kind of place. Smart casual clothes, and "aloha-wear" is fine for even nicer restaurants and nightlife for most people. The younger crowd tends to be even more casual. A very light jacket, sweater may be appropriate for high altitudes or late in the evening. Sandals and comfortable shoes, aqua shoes are great for snorkeling.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: On Oahu, you can find a wide variety of stores, pharmacies, etc., to pick up toiletries you might have forgotten; but it definitely would be less expensive to bring plenty of sunscreen, insect repellant, medicines, etc., from home.
Photo Equipment: It goes without saying that you'll want to bring alot of film, extra camera batteries, etc., when you visit these islands and though widely available, it probably would be cheaper to bring it from home.
Pack bathing suit, sunscreen and snorkelling gears
Luggage and bags: Bring an extra light beach bag and squeeze it in in your travelling bag. I brought an extra light beach bag to put the bathing suit, beach towel, sunscreen and to put bottled water. I squeezed the beach bag on the side of our travelling bag. This is very convenient because we have a place to put our stuff when we go to the beach. It's light and easy to carry. I put some snacks in there, too. This bag is better than bringing my purse! It is also for safety reasons. I just left my purse in the hotel!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Light clothes, t-shirts, cargo pants, capris and slippers. Everywhere, you can wear slippers - the Hawaiian style!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen
Photo Equipment: Digital cameras
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Snorkelling gear so you don't have to rent. We bought our snorkelling gear at Costco for $29.00.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Hawaii Packing Guide
Luggage and bags: As light as possible...after 9 flights, 4 rental cars, and 4 accomodations, we learned that we packed too much stuff we didn't need.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Leave the suits and "dress up" clothes at home. Even when we went out for a nice dinner, it was very casual. You do need a couple of pairs of hiking shoes if you plan on doing a lot of hiking. We each took 3 pairs and only brought 1 home....
Photo Equipment: Lots of memory/film for your camera
Miscellaneous: Bug spray is a MUST....especially on KauaiRelated to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Hiking and Walking
Luggage and bags: 1 carry-on bag for your camera/film etc.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: tank-tops, shorts, short sleve shirts, flip-flops, teva-type sandals, sneakers, light jacket (for night time)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: the basics, there's two Walmart's on Oahu if you forget something :)
Photo Equipment: a good camera, underwater camera
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: beach towel, bathing suit, swimming gear, sunblock, sunglasses
Miscellaneous: Chances are you'll be in for a long plane ride like me. They served a lot of food/drinks on the planes I was on but just in case you might to bring a few snacks depending how long of a flight you have, ours was 8-9 hours one-way.
Arizona Memorial - In the early morning hours just before the Pearl Harbor attack, the Arizona was destroyed along with most of the crew, numbering over 2,300 casualties. Visitors can see the hulk of the ship and the oil still seeping from its engine.
Historic Honolulu - Visitors can grab a tour map and walk through the city and see the Aloha Tower, Iolani Palace, State Library, and Kamehameha statue.
Honouliuli Preserve - Offers spectacular views of central O'ahu and the Wai'anae coast and shelters more than 45 rare plant and animal species.
Interpretive Hike Through Honouliuli Preserve
(Contour Trail) - Nature Conservancy hike leaders who are knowledgeable in Hawaiian flora, fauna, and culture will guide you along this lower-elevation, mostly level trail located in the Wai'anae Mountains.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Avoid taking any clothing made from cotton.If your gear should get wet or if you do any laundry, it takes forever to dry.
Try to take clothing made from synthetic material like nylon,polyester, capilene or cool max.They are cooler, lighter and dry a lot faster.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear comfy shoes, slippers or flip flops would be advisable.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The hotels usually have a beach towel so don't worry about bringing one.
Miscellaneous: There's so many ABC store in Hawai'i, in evry corner you will see it.
Packing for the Tropics
Luggage and bags: No special bags for the plane trip, of course. Bring some day-packs for daily activities so you can carry beverages, munchies & sunblock. Most of the time, you'll be glad you brought extra drinks with you.
If you plan to snorkel, bring a mesh bag that'll fit fins & the rest of your snorkel gear to carry it to the beach. Most dive shops and a lot of sports shops carry them.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Of course, bring a couple of swim suits!
A lot of beaches in Hawai'i are rocky and have either lava rocks or coral in the water. So a good pair of water shoes are a must. Scuba shoes or booties work well too.
In Maui if you are taking a tour to the top of Haleakala, most likely your tour company will supply cold weather gear, so no need to pack it. But I did bring a pair of those geeky pants that you can zip off the legs to make shorts. I thought they worked well but my husband kept making fun of me. ;>)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Always bring water resistant sunscreen when traveling to the tropics. I like the Coppertone Sport line - the ones in the blue bottles. I need an SPF of at least 25.
Photo Equipment: If you can rent or purchase an underwater camera or housing, go for it! Underwater disposable cameras only work well in very shallow water because they have no flash. You really need flash if you're any deeper than 5 feet. A lot of digital cameras have underwater housings made speicifically for that model, that you can buy online for about $200 or less. I think it's well worth the investment!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I like the grass or ratan roll-up beach mats for the beach. Don't pack one though. You can buy them at the ABC convenience stores for $1 to $2. Also, if you're staying in a condo or renting a house, we found that all of the rentals we stayed in had boogie boards, sand chairs and sometimes even snorkel equipment in a "goodie closet", free for guest use. Check with the owner to see what might be available for free so you don't have to pack it.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Family Travel
A good jacket and heavy pants
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you are planning to go to the top of Haleakala on Maui or Mauna Kea on the Big Island, you better pack warm clothes. It can be below freezing up there. See my tips on Haleakala and Mauna Kea for some more info.
Photo Equipment: Those single-use waterproof cameras work great for above-water use, too. If you just want a fun picture and not worry about your expensive camera equipment getting caught in the rain, give one of these a try.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Camping
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Prevent dehydration and heat stroke.Speaking from experience, you can never carry enough safe drinking water along the Kalalau trail.Sooner or later you will run out of safe drinking water.The heat, humidity and physical exertion will take it's toll on your body.Have used and recommend the following:
1)Sweetwater Guardian purification system with viralstop. $69.00
2)Portable Aqua and P.A. Plus-iodine tablets. $5.00
I would recommend a water purifer over iodine tablets.The water taste better and less side effects from iodine intake.Big cost factor difference.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: WATER PURIFIER....OR...... IODINE TABLETS........ VERY,VERY, VERY IMPORTANT !
Miscellaneous: Leptospirosis - virus - in untreated drinking water is very nasty and is something you do not want to get on your vacation.The 3 only ways to safely eliminate the virus and make mountain stream water safe to drink are: 1) boil water for 10 minutes, 2) use a water purifer which uses either chlorine or iodine, or 3)use iodine tablets.
NOTE: WATER FILTERS DO NOT ELIMINATE LEPTOSPIRSIS.
Luggage and bags: Back pack: 2500-2900 cu.inch capacity or smaller.
Pack as LITE as possible.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good pair hiking boots.
Clothing should be lite and thin for easy wash and drying. Not much clothing is needed at the end of the trail.Trust me.... 95% of the people who make it to the end of the trail are naked....it must be the strong and uncontrollable urge to reconnect with nature or the Adam and Eve Syndrome of being in paradise.
Temp. rarely drops below 60 F.
(sleeping bag not necessary)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Basic first aid kit.
Photo Equipment: Small compact camera with built in zoom lens,wide angle lens and flash.(Saves on weight and space.)
Extra film. ASA 400 Keep all film and camera in a waterproof bag. Zip Lock
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping permits for different camp sites;
lite wt. tent,food,stove,fuel,pot,flash light,
water purifer,freeze dried food. (Japanese ramen noodles were great)
Avoid taking any canned or glass food items.Thats extra weight and you have to pack the empty containers out.
Miscellaneous: walking stick-(firm branch or stick will do)
invaluable when crossing streams,slippery muddy parts of the trail,and loose volcanic soil.
Helps to maintain balance and reduce stress on your back and knees.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Out going shoes(elegant) and of course comfortable shoes (sneakers)Don't for get it is hot over there!!!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The usual med. kit, Suntan Lotion and don't forget OFF the insect repeller.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Comfortable shoes and lose clothing
Luggage and bags: Take sturdy luggage, and tag them with very distinguishable tags or pompoms ... EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE will have the same type of luggage you have if you buy a black set or tapestry style! If you're wondering about the "disposable luggage", it came through the baggage claim from a passenger flying to or back to O'ahu.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Make room in your suitcase for shorts and tank tops, but don't forget to bring along a long sleeve shirt or windbreaker ... you may want this for the slight breeze on a moonlight stroll, or just to keep the sun or bugs off you at various parks/attractions. Bring comfortable walking shoes and beach shoes (sandals or rubber slippers) A visor is a must, or a ball cap if you are prone to sunburns on your scalp! Bring a nice outfit too, if you intend to visit a night club or restaurant that will require slightly more dressy attire.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: My best advice is SUNSCREEN! Don't leave home without it! Also, be sure to bring your allergy meds ... it's almost essential here for the serious sufferers.
Photo Equipment: A good 35mm camera is a must for your trip ... lots of 400 iso and several 800 iso for evening photographs. **That little spot** in your camera bag for extra batteries and film ... FILL IT UP WITH BATTERIES AND FILM. Here on the islands, because tourism is our main industry, you will find yourself paying megabucks for film and batteries if you have to buy them at the local ABC store or in anywhere in Waikiki!
Miscellaneous: Bring a cheap flashlight if you plan on going to the Diamond Head Trail, or Moonlight Walk at Waimea Falls Park.
Luggage and bags: pack some stuff for the beach. remember sunscreen, shampoo for salt water, sunglasses, sandals (slippas here), board shorts, and a good attitude. Don't come here thinking it's Cancun and you can do anything you'd like.
Miscellaneous: don't bring a dorky Aloha shirt. the real ones are faded in color and are actually not cheesy at all. Expensive, but much nicer than what you see in Waikiki.
Everything you wanted to know about the history of the Aloha shirt (from alohafunwear.com)
Early Island Wear
Before the arrival of woven fabrics from China, Japan and the West, native Hawaiians created their simple clothing from plants and trees. Men wore a malo, or loincloth, made of tapa cloth, which was fabricated from the inner bark of wauke trees. Hawaiian women wore a skirt called a pa'u, which looked like a hula skirt.
A Tapa for All Occasions
It was tough, durable and versatile. It was great for clothing and made an excellent floor covering. And it was a joy to decorate. Throughout Polynesia, tapa cloth was the artist's canvas and people hand-painted their tapa creations with beautiful colors and exquisite designs. The brilliant, colored patterns found on today's aloha wear finds its roots in these wonderful Polynesian tapa prints.
The Ever Popular Palaka
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Hawaiian Islands emerged as a powerful plantation economy that produced sugar, pineapple and coffee for export around the world. Plantation workers needed a rugged shirt that was suitable for hard labor in the fields. Within a generation, the checkered blue and white denim palaka became the standard work shirt of Hawaii. By the early 1930s the palaka shirt and blue denim trousers called sailor-mokus had almost become the official national costume of Hawaii both on and off the plantation.
From Kimono to Ono
In the early days shirts were tailored by hand, either in the home or at custom tailor shops that had sprung up in plantation towns and throughout Honolulu. Dry goods stores supplied the fabrics: printed silk from Japan, raw silk, batik, rayon from the U.S. mainland and cotton cloth made for kimonos and yukatas. Short- and long-sleeved shirts and women's dresses were based on Asian garment designs and made from pre-printed fabrics from China and Japan. These colorful shirts and dresses were the direct ancestors of modern aloha wear. Here in the islands we say 'ono' to mean deliciously cool.
First Real Kine Hawaiian Designs
It wasn't until the mid-1930s that Hawaiian clothing manufacturers decided to produce cloth that was uniquely Hawaiian in design. Watumull's East India Store led the way by commissioning artist Elsie Das to create fifteen floral designs. Her hand-painted designs were sent to Japan where they were printed by hand onto raw silk.
Satin Mistakes and Hollywood Dreams
According to Hawaiian fabric designer Elsie Das, a Japanese manufacturer once printed a set of her floral designs on heavy satin… by mistake. 'These started a vogue in Hollywood. Ginger Rogers, Janet Gaynor and other stars bought bolts of the stuff and had it made into 'seductive gowns.' The result was an epidemic of Hawaiian designs, with hibiscus and ginger breaking out on table cloths, napkins and scarves all over the country.' 'Elsie Das, Artist Designer,' an article by William Davenport in Paradise of the Pacific, p 9, 1963.
The 'First' Aloha Shirt
The term 'aloha shirt' may have started as street slang in the early 1930s to describe the growing number of shirts featuring Oriental and Hawaiian designs that were being produced by Honolulu tailors. Musa-Shiya, the Shirtmaker first advertised the 'aloha shirt' in the Honolulu Advertiser on June 28, 1935: 'Honolulu's Noted Shirt Maker and Kimono Shop. 'Aloha' shirts - well tailored, beautiful designs and radiant colors. Ready-made or made to order…95 cents up.' By another account, an advertising salesperson from the Honolulu Advertiser and Ellery Chun, the owner of the King-Smith dry goods store, first coined the term 'aloha shirt.' In fact Mr. Chun officially registered a trademark for his Aloha sportswear on July 15, 1936.
Aloha from Hollywood
Movie stars, crooners and politicians did a fine job of promoting Hawaiian clothing. Montgomery Cliff Burt Lancaster, Ernest Borgnine and Frank Sinatra all wore beautiful aloha shirts in the movie From Here to Eternity. Ginger Rogers wore seductive satin gowns of Hawaiian designs while Bing Crosby sported his unique combination of aloha shirt and porkpie hat. And Betty Grable did a promo pin-up shot wearing a gorgeous Hawaiian-style swimsuit in the 1940s.
By modern standards, border shirts were a luxury because so much fabric was wasted in making them. These shirts featured wonderful designs that were so well thought-out that sleeves, sides and hems were identical. Pockets sometimes matched the shirt pattern perfectly. And some designs never repeated themselves on the same shirt. Border shirts tended to be longer to show off the fabric images (you never, EVER tuck in a border shirt). The same tailoring approach was used to create beautiful sun dresses.
Muumuus and Tea-timers
The Hawaiian muumuu started out as a loose-fitting dress designed for women of all sizes. It was the result of missionaries who sought to cover the bodies of Hawaiian women, who traditionally wore nothing more than a skirt. As the muumuu morphed and mated with traditional Asian designs, a unique series of women's garments emerged. For informal entertaining, the pake muu featured long, wing-like sleeves based on a Chinese design. The popular tea-timer was a tight-fitting, tailored, sleeveless top with a short mandarin collar. The holomu was a fitted garment for more formal evening wear while the holoku was a full-length dress for formal affairs. Over the years, women's Hawaiian clothing has tended to feature floral designs: ginger blossoms, plumeria, hibiscus, orchids and birds-of-paradise.
Casual Day Finds Its Roots in Honolulu
In 1947 the Honolulu Board of Supervisors passed a resolution whereby City & County employees were allowed - actually, they were encouraged - to wear sports shirts from June 1 to October 31 each year to beat the summer heat. This single act by a local government has had a powerful influence on businesses and civil servant departments around the world, especially where summers are unbearably hot. Today, many corners of the globe adopt more casual clothing styles for hot weather.
In Hawaii every Friday is Aloha Friday. It's the day when you wear your favorite aloha dress or aloha shirt with pride. On each and every Friday, downtown Honolulu is a sea of aloha wear, especially at lunch time when you can usually catch a free concert in the plaza at the corner of King and Bishop streets. Hawaii's aloha spirit can be found in many business offices. Companies that offer a 'casual' day on Fridays need only look to the Aloha State for the source of this wonderful tradition.
The first annual Aloha Week festival was held in 1947. By 1948's celebration, the local residents were enthusiastically wearing Hawaiian shirts and dresses to help promote local products. And today, after more than 50 years, Aloha Week is still going strong today. It's a great excuse to dress up in your favorite aloha wear, enjoy 'ono Hawaiian kine grinds' (local cuisine), and immerse yourself in the music and arts of the islands.
Photo Equipment: I brought my Questar 7 telescope to Hawaii, even though it weighed more than my baggage allowance at the time. It comes in 2 very well padded cases and travels well. I also brought a 4x5 camera, a 6x6 camera and a 35mm.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring a warm ski jacket of you're going to the top of Mauna Kea, it can get cold and be very windy up there!!!
Hawaii (State of) Hotels
We stayed at this hotel with a 3 month old in December of 2011. We were the last one to check in...more
We were fortunate enough to stay here on the company bill for three nights. If you can afford it,...more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
Good for: Business
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