Stuck on what to bring to Maui? Guest contributor Kyle Kroeger can help you get unstuck. He loves Maui – here’s his guide on how to pack for Hawaii.
So you looked at Oahu, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai – and ultimately settled on Maui for your holiday.
The combination of the Hawaiian sun, picture-perfect beaches and honeymoon-worthy hotels in Maui makes the “Valley Isle” a popular tropical destination for a vacay (and easy to visit for Americans and Canadians).
You’ve even prepared your Maui itinerary and figured out where you want to stay on Maui.
However, have you drawn up your Maui packing list yet?
If you think you can cram all the things to take to Maui into your suitcase last-minute, you might come to regret that decision later.
Say you forget to take a snorkeling skin or the right footwear. You’ll either be very uncomfortable during your trip (oh, that sunburn smarts!) or waste valuable vacation time shopping for things you need.
Or worse, imagine that you forget you put your phone in your swimsuit pocket – and you dash into the sea. (That almost happened to me once.)
Have I got your attention?
If you’re wondering what to pack for Maui, check out this ultimate list to ensure a hassle-free trip.
Contents: Essential packing list for Maui
Free printable Hawaii packing checklist
Tips for things to pack for Maui:
- Consider the weather
- Think about different activities – What to pack for Maui for them
- Organize the essential things to take to Hawaii
Packing list: Maui – 35 items you’ll want to take!
- Clothes – What to wear in Hawaii
- Footwear – Sandals and shoes for Maui
- Beach stuff
- Gear for water activities
- Other essential things to pack for Maui – Portable charger, etc.
Free printable Hawaii packing checklist
Don’t leave anything behind!
Download and print your free Maui packing checklist (below), so you can check items off as you pack them.
Tips for things to pack for Maui
Before I get started on my comprehensive packing list for Maui, you’ll want to keep certain factors in mind when planning your Hawaiian vacation.
Apart from personal needs, things like the weather, the month you travel, vacation duration and your planned Hawaii activities will all affect what goes on your list of must-haves for your Maui trip.
Consider the weather for the Hawaiian Islands:
The Hawaiian weather doesn’t fluctuate a whole lot throughout the year. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry when deciding what to bring to Hawaii.
If this is your first trip to Hawaii, this may come as a surprise.
But one of the important things to know about Hawaii is that it’s not always hot and sunny.
In fact, if you travel to Hawaii during between November and January, you should be prepared for somewhat chilly nights (even though days will mostly be warm).
These are Hawaii’s “coolest” months. Pack a thin sweater or jacket for the coolish evenings.
November to March (winter) is also Hawaii’s rainy season, and occasional rainy days can be expected. So you should be prepared with a light rain jacket, suitable footwear and waterproof protection gear for your valuables.
However, during the summer season (May to October), it can get quite hot during the daytime – pack as many light and comfortable clothes as possible.
No matter what time of year you go, though, you’ll need a high-SPF sunscreen and sun protection gear to avoid sunburn.
Things to pack for different activities in Maui
What adventures are you going to get up to in Maui?
Are you traveling as a couple and looking for romantic things to do in Maui? Or are you planning adventurous excursions with your family? (Hello waterfall hikes!)
Your planned activities will dictate your Hawaii vacation packing list.
For example, if you’re going snorkeling or scuba diving, essential gear will naturally include a snorkel mask, fins, bathing suits and extensive sun protection.
If you have your own dive gear, you may want to bring that with you too. For diving, you should also have travel insurance with a good scuba policy to ensure you’re properly covered.
Similarly, there are numerous awesome places to hike in Maui. (Check out this top-rated guided hiking tour of Haleakala Crater.) You’ll want proper hiking sandals or shoes so you don’t get blisters or twist an ankle.
Now, if you’re planning a laid-back relaxing vacation with fine dining, ladies will probably want to take some casually chic clothes, jewelry and perhaps some dressy sandals – because it always feels good to dress up a bit, right?
Don’t stress too much about all this, though.
Most of the time, the basic clothing items you’ll need are beachwear and casual clothes. And as for gear, you can always rent snorkel, scuba and fishing equipment.
Pro tip: I suggest you pre-book your outdoor activities for your Hawaiian vacation. Make restaurant reservations well in advance too. The island of Maui is very popular – and you risk missing out if you aren’t proactive.
How much luggage to carry? Organize your Hawaii essentials
Remember, you won’t necessarily need everything mentioned here.
But you might find it helpful if you organize items for your Maui packing list according to the following categories:
- Clothes – Casual wear and some dressier resort clothes
- Footwear – For the beach, hiking trails and casual wear
- Beach stuff – Beachwear, beach essentials and sun protection
- Gear for water activities – Waterproof phone case, etc.
- Other essential stuff – Portable charger, day pack, etc.
I’ve organized the 35 items below according to these categories.
For the plane, be sure to set aside carry-on essentials (like medications, ear plugs, etc.) and pack those in your carry-on luggage.
The ultimate Maui packing list
Okay, ready now to dive into packing for Maui? Let’s get started!
To make things easy for you, everything here can be bought on Amazon.
Prices shown are in US dollars. As an Amazon associate, Sand In My Suitcase earns from qualifying purchases.
Clothes: What to wear in Hawaii
From T-shirts and shorts to a light rain jacket, the following are the essential Hawaii vacation clothes to pack for your trip:
1) Tank tops
Ladies, if you’re wondering what to wear in Maui, think tank tops!
They’re easily the most convenient and versatile clothing items. Wear them on their own or style it like a cami under a loose unbuttoned shirt.
Try to skip nylon and polyester if you’re out and about in the sun. These materials can make you sweat. Instead, go for breathable and quick-drying materials such as cotton to keep yourself fresh all day.
These cotton Land’s End tank tops look great on most body types. And you can choose from tons of colors.
You’re not packing clothes for Hawaii if you don’t toss in a bunch of t-shirts!
They don’t require ironing or any particular maintenance, making them ideal for traveling and pretty well any activity you can think of.
Whether you’re heading out for a hiking trip or browsing the shops for Hawaiian souvenirs, you can throw on a T-shirt and turn it into the perfect outfit.
And guys, you can’t go wrong with these Izod Saltwater T-shirts. They fit well, come in lots of attractive colors and feel soft and lightweight.
Shorts are the ultimate Hawaii attire for the beach, going for a walk or just hanging out on warm days.
These comfy Dokotoo women’s shorts with pockets are super cute and flattering. Plus, they’re ideal for acquiring a bit of natural Hawaiian tan on your legs.
You can find them in pink, black, blue, khaki and other colors.
As mentioned, the weather can be unpredictable in Maui.
In the winter months, you never know if you’ll face a cool spell, with some cloudy (possibly even drizzly) days.
Include a couple of lightweight and warm sweatshirts for casual and adventure wear in your Hawaii packing list.
They’ll come in handy for chilly evenings.
Also, the weather at the top of the crater in Haleakala National Park is often just above freezing temperature. So if you’re planning to watch the sunrise there – or doing any snorkeling tours that leave early in the morning – you’ll be glad to be wearing a warm and snuggly sweatshirt.
For women, your “Hawaii packing list: female edition” is incomplete without a beautiful sundress or two.
How could you return home without some cute snaps of you in an airy flowing dress on the beach or in town?
Pair it with a large-brimmed hat and a pair of flip-flops for the ideal beach ensemble.
A pretty sundress works well for resort wear too. For dinner dates and evening entertainment, add a pretty cardigan (or maybe a shawl), swap out the flip-flops for nice sandals, and you’re all set!
6) Long pants
Apart from shorts (see #3), you’ll want a pair (or two) of long pants to wear during evening outings or if it turns nippy.
Depending on your style, these slim jogger pants for guys could do the trick.
Or throw in a pair of jeans or lightweight travel pants if you’d prefer.
7) Lightweight rain jacket
If you’re traveling to Maui in winter, you know by now that you could encounter wet weather. In fact, it’s best to prepare yourself for it, so you’re not disappointed if it does rain.
One way to let rain ruin your holiday is to stay indoors because you don’t want to get wet outside and you don’t have anything to keep you dry.
Solution? Make sure your Hawaii vacation clothes include a light rain shell or jacket. Ideally it should be one you can squish into your day pack (and one that doesn’t take up too make space in your luggage).
Footwear: Best shoes for Maui
Water shoes for Hawaii? Sandals? Check out what you need here:
I can’t imagine going to the beach without some handy flip-flops. Can you?
Without a doubt, quick-drying, comfortable and “easy to kick off” flip-flops are ideal footwear for Maui.
The best flip-flops for men and women combine water resistance with breathability for maximum comfort.
Besides that, you can also get beach sandals and flip-flops for women in bright and trendy designs – ladies, show off your inner beach fashionista!
The Olukai Ohana flip-flops pictured here are Hawaiian-inspired. (Olukai means “comfortable ocean” in Hawaiian.) And they’re some of the best and most comfortable flip-flops around.
You can get Olukai flip-flops for both men and women.
9) Travel sandals
Maybe you’re strolling the streets of Lahaina? Or heading out for sunset cocktails? Or checking out the grocery store for poke, snacks and Hawaiian fruit for your condo? Whatever – you’ll want a pair of comfy and good-looking sandals.
The best sandals for travel should have a comfortable footbed, combined with a sturdy sole and stylish design. You should be able to walk in them without getting blisters.
These Viakix sandals for women (Siena style) have stretchy adjustable straps and an ergonomically designed insole. They come in several color combinations too.
10) Water shoes
If your planned activities include hiking to Maui waterfalls, then put water sandals or water shoes on your Maui packing list.
The best water sandals for women and men are specially designed to be comfortable and provide traction while walking through watery terrain. You don’t want to be worried about slipping or twisting an ankle!
If you don’t own a pair already, make sure to invest in one before leaving for your trip. They’re sure to come in handy for other trips (and maybe back home too).
And pssst! The Teva brand (shown here) is an excellent choice!
11) Hiking sandals or shoes
You probably think mostly beach items when planning what to pack for a trip to Hawaii, right?
However, as mentioned, there are many adventurous off-beach activities you can enjoy in Maui too.
When looking for the ideal hiking sandals for Hawaii, check for durable materials, superior traction and interior cushioning. These features will help you tackle challenging hiking trails effortlessly.
If you’re only doing some light hiking, you can get these KEENs in a waterproof version – meaning they’ll also work well as water shoes (so you don't have to pack water shoes and hiking sandals).
Maui packing list: Beach stuff
What to pack for Hawaii for the beach? Here are the must-haves:
12) Bathing suit
Beach or pool – pick your pleasure. No matter what you prefer, if there’s one item you can’t forget when packing for a trip to Hawaii, it’s a bathing suit!
Actually, pack two. If you think you’ll be in and out of the water a lot, then you’ve got a dry one to slip into if the other one is still wet.
Miraclesuit is a great brand for ladies. (One style is shown here.) They cost a bit more than some other brands. But they’re designed to make you look slimmer, and there’s no denying their quality.
If you expect to be in the pool a lot, you might want your second swimsuit to be chlorine-safe.
From both a utility and fashion standpoint, sunglasses are one of the most essential things to pack for Hawaii.
Unfortunately, they’re an item that’s easily forgotten. Then you have to buy them onsite – usually at higher resort prices.
If you’re purchasing a new pair for your Maui vacation, get polarized. They help keep out harmful UV rays, cut glare and protect your eyes from harsh sun exposure.
I like Oakley’s Flak style – they’re super lightweight and offer great wraparound protection for your peepers when in strong sunshine.
14) Sun hat
Gals, how many times have you looked enviously at Maui holiday pics on Instagram? Well, now it’s your time to shine! And nothing makes a better statement than a great sun hat.
Apart from lending the perfect “beach and sun” vibes to your photos, a sun hat is also essential for protecting your face from harmful long-term sun exposure.
So make sure you pack a good hat, preferably one that’s light. This wide-brimmed hat has the advantage of being foldable too – you won’t have to worry about it losing its shape when packed in your suitcase.
15) Beach cover-up
What goes with your cute bikini or one-piece bathing suit? Why, a beach cover-up, of course!
This shirt-style cover-up is flattering and protects your back and back and shoulders from harmful sun rays. It also provides enough cover that you can feel comfortable going for drinks or lunch wearing this over your swimsuit (without fretting about showing too much skin).
16) Long-sleeve rash guard
The last thing you want is to get an itchy rash that keeps you from enjoying the water and other activities on your trip.
Even if you make it a point to take along breathable clothing when packing for Hawaii, you’ll still need a rash guard to protect your skin.
I know what you’re thinking – these clothing items are tight and body-hugging, making them a nuisance when it’s hot outside. But the guard will work wonders in the water to protect your skin from both scratches (when body surfing or snorkeling above coral reefs) and sunburn.
With a UPF of 50+, this AXESEA women’s rash guard is soft and won’t chafe. It also has a zipper front, so it’s easy to put on and get off.
AXESEA rash guards are available for men too.
17) Reef-safe sunscreen
We all know we have to protect our skin from the sun – and sunburn isn’t much fun either!
Plus, do you really want to return home from your trip looking like you just stepped out of a malfunctioning tanning machine?
Reef-friendly sunscreen is one of the kindest things to take with you on your Maui vacation – for the environment and for you.
I like this Sun Bum sunscreen. It’s reef-friendly and made without two of the nasty ingredients that often go into regular sunscreens: Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. (In 2018, Hawaii actually banned sunscreens with those two chemicals.) It smells really good too.
Whatever reef-safe sunscreen you use in Maui, be sure to apply it aplenty, and repeat the application every two hours or whenever you step out of the water.
18) Water bottle
This is another one of those packing tips for Hawaii (actually, all travel destinations) that helps you do your part to save the environment – and it’s easy.
We all know about the plastic crisis affecting our beaches and coasts worldwide. Pack your own reusable travel water bottle, and you won’t contribute to the problem.
The water in Maui is safe to drink, by the way. So you can just fill your reusable bottle with tap water.
These packable water bottles are collapsible, leak-proof and made of BPA-free silicone (FDA approved).
19) Beach towel
Why do you need to pack a beach towel?
If you’re just going to be lazing about at the Four Seasons Resort, of course you don’t need one – the beach and pool concierges will lay out hotel towels on your chaise lounge for you.
But if you head out for an excursion, maybe to Ka’anapali Beach (one of the world's best beaches!) or on a snorkeling trip, you don’t want to stuff a big fluffy hotel bath towel in your bag.
Instead, go for a soft and absorbent towel that’s thin and quick-drying at the same time. These easy-care cotton fiber towels are convenient for beach outings – and they’re lightweight to pack for travel too.
20) Beach mat
If you’re like me, you have a love/hate relationship with sand.
But who knew! There are actually sand-proof beach mats like this one shown here.
Say goodbye to dirt, sand and water! It all just slides off your breathable tear-proof mat.
You even get anchor stakes to fix the corners in the sand. And this light beach blanket scrunches down into a small carrying bag, meaning you can easily pack it in your suitcase for beach days.
Toiletries to pack for Hawaii
Don’t forget these toiletries. They’re Hawaii vacation essentials!
22) Lip balm
Hot sun combined with a salty breeze equals chapped lips.
When organizing what to bring to Hawaii, lip balm is an essential.
Burt’s Bees is an all-natural paraben-free product. It is moisturizing, has an SPF to protect against further damage and is water resistant too.
22) Dry shampoo
Sometime you just can’t be bothered to wash your hair.
Maybe you have an early morning Hawaii excursion to rush off to, and you’d rather get a few extra zzz’s than wash your hair?
Here’s where dry shampoo can save the day, taking care of oily and dirty hair. R&Co’s dry shampoo is vegan, free of harmful ingredients (like sulfates) and doesn’t leave a white or sticky residue.
Simply spray on roots. Gently massage in with your fingers or a brush. And you’re done! This dry shampoo smells divine too.
Swimming every day in the salty ocean water and/or a chlorinated pool is a recipe for dry and crispy hair.
One of the best things you can do for your precious locks on your Hawaii trip is to use leave-in hair conditioner.
The Sun Bum conditioner works wonders for vacationers on the go. Spray onto wet or dry hair, then comb or tousle with your fingers.
This leave-in product not only detangles but keeps your hair shiny and protects against damage. Your hair will feel soft and silky (not greasy). Plus the coconut scent smells so Hawaiian!
24) Travel toiletries bag
Shaving stuff. Make-up. Moisturizers. Hairbrush. Sunscreen. Keep it all organized in a toiletry bag! This quality water-resistant bag is top-rated on Amazon.
It has four zippered compartments, which can hold a ton of lotions and potions. And the bag comes in a few colors – the blush pink is popular with women, but guys may prefer the black or gray colors.
Set this bag down on the counter, or hang it up on the back of the bathroom door (the bag has a large hook).
What to take to Maui for water activities
When you go to the beach on Maui, you’ll be grateful you packed the following:
25) Waterproof phone pouch
These days, it’s almost impossible to survive without your phone, even for short durations – at least, I can’t!
If you’re taking your phone to the beach or on water-based excursions, your Hawaii trip essentials must include a waterproof phone case.
These handy waterproof phone cases work like dry bags to keep water out of your phone. The side buttons of your phone still work, and the clear windows on the front and back allow you to take photos.
26) Waterproof camera
Underwater videos of you swimming among coral reefs amidst exotic sea life? Come on, you know you want this.
However, to record these lifetime memories, you need a reliable underwater camera for your trip to Hawaii.
This waterproof GoPro MAX is one of the most affordable and high-quality cameras for this purpose. It’s also the ideal device for taking active photos without any distortion.
27) Snorkel gear
You simply can’t visit Maui without exploring underwater. Go snorkeling at Molokini, for example, and you’ll enjoy awesome water visibility (and see huge sea turtles at Turtle Town too).
Having your own snorkeling gear means you can snorkel anytime you want without having to chase down a rental shack to rent gear. And you have the comfort of knowing the snorkel and mask haven’t been used by someone else.
It’s a good idea to check the fit before you go, so once in Maui, you’ll know the mask doesn’t leak and everything works as it should.
Snorkeling gear is definitely one of those Maui packing essentials for water babies!
28) Dry bag
Another essential article for beach and especially boat use is a dry bag.
For this, you need a compact dry bag.
When purchasing a dry bag, check that it has a water-tight seal and is made from reliable puncture-proof material. These features will make it ideal when sea kayaking, paddling an outrigger canoe (or stand-up paddleboard) or engaging in other water sports.
Other essential things to pack for Maui
Additional Hawaii trip essentials include:
29) First-aid kit
When thinking about what to pack for Hawaii, a first-aid kit may not be top of mind.
But an accident can put a serious crimp in your Hawaii holiday.
Of course, you can always run to a pharmacy and buy band-aids, Tylenol or Benadryl itch-stopping cream. But that’s not so convenient, particularly if you don’t have a rental car. (Then you might, literally, be running to the pharmacy.)
Wouldn’t it be better to have your own first-aid essentials on hand, especially when traveling with kids?
30) Seasickness wrist bands
Do you get seasick? If so, try sea bands.
They’re said to work by using acupressure – applying continuous pressure through a button to the Nei-Guan point on the inside of your wrists.
Sea bands are totally natural. They’re a great alternative when you don’t want to take Gravol or other medications. They’ve even been shown to help pregnant women experience less morning sickness.
If you’re doing any sailing trips (to Molokini or Lanai maybe?), you might be grateful to have these.
31) Day pack
When heading out your hotel room or condo each day, here’s a great day pack to take with you.
Osprey is a quality manufacturer of eco-friendly backpacks.
This day pack has side mesh pockets for your water bottle, a sleeve for a small (13-inch) laptop, front zipper pocket and more.
32) Travel purse
For women, a small travel purse is handy for going out in the evenings. (You don’t really want to have to take your day pack to dinner just to carry your lipstick.)
This leather crossbody bag is small, light and classic looking. It’s available in many colors. And it has room for your keys, cell phone, wallet, comb and some make-up.
33) RFID credit card holder
Identity theft is unfortunately quite common in popular holiday destinations. Anyone can use an RFID scanner to collect crucial debit and credit card information from your wallet in your pocket or purse.
Carry an RFID cardholder to keep your essential details, such as debit and credit card numbers, safe during your trip. The compact cardholder easily fits your front pocket or wallet and protects your valuables against scammers.
34) Noise canceling earbuds
There’s nothing like enjoying your favorite music while watching the tranquil blue waves. So indulge in some good quality noise canceling earbuds. Did someone say Bose?
Not only can you use them on the beach to listen to “Over the Rainbow” by famous Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo Ole, you’ll find them invaluable for blocking out the screams of noisy toddlers on flights.
35) Packing cubes
So you’ve gathered together the items you’re going to take on your trip to Maui.
Why not pack like a pro now, and organize your clothes, accessories and beach gear using packing cubes? Trust me, once you start using packing cubes, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!
No more rifling through a messy suitcase to find that itty bitty bikini once you get to your hotel or condo. Because it’s packed in the beachwear cube – easy to find!
Packing cubes also do a great job keeping wrinkles out of your clothes because they keep everything nicely folded (or rolled).
These Bagail soft-sided packing cubes have a perfect 5-star rating from more than 16,000 Amazon shoppers.
Made from high-quality nylon, they have mesh paneling so you can see what’s inside the particular cube. The zippers are good and strong too, and you can buy them in several different colors, from neutral black to coral and turquoise.
Has this packing list for Hawaii helped you?
Now that you know what to bring to Maui, hopefully you feel more prepared for your beach vacation.
By the way, you’ve probably already figured out that this Maui packing list applies for packing for any Hawaiian island vacation.
Anyway, enjoy your trip. And mahalo for reading this post!
Read more of our Hawaii travel guides!
Maui | Discover the best hotels and vacation rentals in Ka’anapali, from The Whaler to the Hyatt Regency.
Lanai | Rock these awesome things to do on Lanai. (Get off the grid too!) And if you’re trying to decide which Four Seasons on Lanai is best, don’t worry, they’re both fabulous (but the Sensei resort is more unique).
Kauai | What to do in Kauai? Hike, sail up the Na Pali Coast and go SUP on a river. Also check out Kauai’s beautiful botanical gardens – enchanting! You’ll love all the great places to stay in Kauai too, from grand resorts to a boutique adults-only hotel in Poipu.
Our top travel tips and resources
Here are our favorite travel resources:
Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)
Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).
Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out GetYourGuide and Viator.
Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.
Travel insurance: World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Vaccines and meds: We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccines are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.
Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)
Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.
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About the author:
Kyle Kroeger is a travel blogger for his site ViaTravelers. Offering travel tips, hacks and itineraries, this modern travel blog aims to get you out of your comfort zone – and help you have an amazing adventure.