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Gorgeous waterfall photo at Akaka Falls on the Big Island of Hawaii.

In this post...


This is a post about my EXACT packing list for Hawaii (involving trips to two of the islands). Mr. G.Q. and I spent five days on the Big Island of Hawaii at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel resort and five days on Oahu at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. In this post I will attempt to give you all my packing and outfit tips from my trip. I’ll show you exactly what I brought, and what I plan to bring on my next trip to Hawaii.

Impressive floral arrangement of pink anthurium  in large white urns in the reception hallway of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

How to decide what to pack for Hawaii

The two factors that determine what to put on your packing list for Hawaii are the projected weather for your locale and your itinerary. Everyone’s dream vacation is different. Some folks like to spend their trip lounging by the pool with umbrella drinks while others like to go everywhere they can. The Hawaiian islands are so beautiful with national parks to explore, volcanoes to wow you, and gorgeous sunny days with beautiful water views at every turn.

The weather in Hawaii is remarkably consistent. The daily year-round temperatures typically range from 75-90 degrees. It can be quite humid, as Hawaii is in the tropics. But there are usually trade winds blowing that keep temps very comfortable. There is a rainy season which is typically from November through March, but for the most part, during those times it rarely rains for more than a day.

A funny thing about Hawaii and rain is that every day it rains somewhere on all the Hawaiian islands. It may just be a sprinkle or a shower. If you come during the rainy season, bring a rain jacket. Any other time of year, just check to see if your hotel has umbrellas (mine did!)

The most common activities for a Hawaiian trip include:

-Hanging by the pool or beach

-Waterfall hikes

-Snorkeling and scuba diving

-Deep-sea fishing


-Shopping and Dining

So to plan your packing list for Hawaii, figure out your itinerary and go from there. Our trip to the Hawaiian islands involved LOTS of hanging by the pool and beach, reading five (!) books, a little shopping, some waterfall hiking, and some scenic driving around the Big Island. And of course, dining out and going for LOTS of long walks on the beach and around our hotel properties. Thus my outfits centered around those activities.

Don’t worry if you forget something. There are ABC stores every block on Oahu and shops in most hotels where you can readily pick up reef-safe sunscreen or water shoes with a simple swipe of your credit card!

This is the Actual packing list for Hawaii (page 1)!
this is the actual packing list for Hawaii (page 2)

Plane Outfit

I am usually FREEZING on planes. So I wear a similar outfit on most flights. I wear a white tee shirt under a soft black sweat shirt and sweat pants. I add athletic socks, my gym shoes and usually a scarf. I wear ALL of this on the plane.

When I arrive, I peel off the sweatshirt and tie it around my waist. I pop the scarf in my carryon bag pocket. This outfit and gym shoes are the bulkiest items for my trip. By wearing them, I save important real estate for my other items. Oh and if I run out of room (read 50 pounds…), I mooch off Mr. G.Q’s bag for extra space. Did I mention it takes a lot to look this cute?!!!

Beach/Pool Outfits

When we go to a resort, a big part of our days involve lounging by the pool after breakfast. Here’s what I wore:

Beach Look #1

flat lay of a black cover-up, hat, black print one piece bathing suit, sunglasses and a bag, This is an example of items on my packing list for Hawaii.

I love coverups and cute hats! I am a retired dermatologist after all so that’s no surprise! This look takes me to breakfast and then to the pool. This swimsuit is my favorite brand, Miraclesuit. It is so comfortable to wear for the day and the waist detail of flowers is VERY flattering and waist shaping without being too tight. I love the sweetheart neckline of the suit that is actually shaped by a remarkably comfortable wire at the TOP of the cups. So even when wet, it hold its shape.

The coverup is a black hooded one with a bit of white embroidery. (It’s old, but I’ll link similar ones below). The hat is such a keeper! I wore it with most of my beach outfits and on our waterfall hikes. It screens the sun, stays on my head and looks cute! Really consider one of the cute hates for your packing list for Hawaii.

Beach Look #2

Flat lay of a royal blue hooded cover-up, lime green print sarong, black flipflops, and Oakley sunglasses.

I LOVE this coverup. It’s a type of rash guard in that it has an SPF 50 which is terrific! This comes in other colors (click on the link) but I love the royal blue. It’s a nice knit and is warmer that my white SPF 50 coverup (below), so I wore it when it was windy. It would be great on a boat as well!

Me standing in front of the Royal Hawaiian (pink) hotel wearing the royal blue hoodie, a Panama hat ,and madras espadrilles.

This photo immediately above shows me in front of the Royal Hawaiian hotel. Isn’t it so cool that the all of the hotel buildings are pink?!!

Again in the flat lay above, you see I have the same sunglasses and bag as the first look. This suit is a darling royal blue one by Gottex. It has great waist and lower tummy compression in its style. It’s a little more challenging to get on than the Miraclesuit styles, but once on, it felt comfy all day. I added a print sarong to wear at the pool. This one is old but I linked others. Flip flops are really BIG on Hawaii, especially by the pool. You can buy them everywhere if you forget yours.

Me in a royal blue bathing suit, green sarong, and Panama hat standing by a bunch of lush tropical plants.

Beach Look #3

Sitting by the pool in a hat and white hooded cover-up.

This is my second SPF 50 pool shirt. I love this one as well as the royal blue one above when we go go long beach walks. The hood covers my neck, so no “red neck” for me! The hat is fun and went everywhere with me this trip. I actually brought another cute black tweed-like beach hat, but kept forgetting about it. This black bathing suit is another Oceanus style by Miraclesuit and I love it! Very flattering to the waist and tummy areas, while still easy to wear!

Beach Look #4

Me pretending to make a call on an old-fashioned phone while sitting in a high-backed chair wearing a fuchsia tank and Polynesian sarong.

This is my last suit on my packing list for Hawaii. It’s a fuchsia tank with gentle shirring and nice shaping. I wore it with nude sandals and a pretty Polynesian print sarong. I think sarongs are a godsend. Wear them around your waist as a skirt, as a dress or as a wrap over another outfit.

Daytime Outing Looks

Since Hawaii is a casual place, by day folks most add shorts, tees and flip flops to their packing list for Hawaii. If you’re going hiking, bring supportive shoes. If you’re going to do water activities, bring pool shoes. For my packing list for Hawaii, I brought an athletic bra, yoga pants and tank for yoga classes, which were offered at both hotels.

Daytime Outfit #1

A blue and white boho top, blue linen shorts, white sunglasses and nude flat sandals.
I am crouching down by a pink wall with lush plants while wearing the white and blue boho top and gray gym shoes.

This boho top was fun and easy to wear over the light blue linen shorts. These items packed well and could go to lunch with the sandals and purse, or to the waterfall hike when paired with gym shoes.

Me pointing to the waterfall at Alkaka falls on the Big Island of Hawaii.  I am weaing the blue shortsm blue and white boho top and a Panama hat.
Here we are standing in front of Alkaka Falls on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Daytime Outfit #2

Flat lay of a leopard tee, cuffed denim shorts, leopard belt, and leopard slip-on sneakers.

This was a very cute outfit. The leopard tee is so soft and gently drapey. It washes like a dream. The leopard belt and slip-ons worked well with the denim cuffed shorts. Cropped jeans or white pants would also work instead of denim shorts.

Dressier Looks for Outings and Dining

Dressier Look #1

Me wearing a navy blue Boden sleeveless tank dress which has multi-colored striped trim and pompoms!
This was my favorite dress that I brought. It’s from Boden and I think they do a terrific job with their items. Isn’t the trim darling? No need for a necklace because the stripes and pompoms were such winners!!! Because there was so much happening with the dress, I just added the neutral bag and sandals.

Dressier Look #2

I am wearing a blue chambray shirt dress with madras espadrilles, a silver beaded necklace and am standing net to a large potted palm at the Mauna Kea hotel.

Who doesn’t love a shirt dress. Mine is a long-time light blue chambray favorite! (I linked other darling ones below!). I added espadrilles, which I find VERY COMFORTABLE in the humid weather. I filled in the neckline with a silver beaded neckline and wore turquoise and silver earrings. Style Tip: I LOVE how silver with turquoise works with any denim or chambray items of clothing.

Dressier Look #3

I am wearing a dark floral jumpsuit from Boden with a dark wash jean jacket and a hot pink cross body bag.

This is another playful look from Boden. It’s a very soft jumpsuit made out of a dark floral print. Style Tip: The floral print works great on a warm vacation, but because it dark, I plan to also wear it in the fall in Chicago paired with a navy blazer and tobacco heels!

I loved the gentle harem shape to the cuff (think I Dream of Jeanie!) as well as the tasseled drawstring waist. I bought this in a size 8 even though the size 6 was comfortable. I just liked the added fullness in the 8. Doesn’t the denim jacket look neat with the jumpsuit? Lastly in the photo, I decided at the last minute to pop on the crossbody bag in hot pink. We were walking a long way to dinner and it was easier to be handsfree.

Dressy Look #4

I am wearing a black body con dress by Treasure and Bond while standing in front of a huge arrangement of pink anthurium flowers at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

This is what I wore to dinner at the Four Seasons hotel on the Big Island. The pink dress was a steal and I loved the ruffle neckline. It reminded me of the Gretchen Scott dresses My Versatile Gretchen Scott Dress Worn Out to Dinner with Friends at Lavender Bistro, Black and White Gretchen Scott Paisley Print Dress. Easy peasy to wear with tasseled earrings, nude sandals and a bag. One and done is why these dresses are such a win!

Dressy Look #5

THIS is SUCH a comfortable dress. I know it looks like it might be hard to wear since it’s a body conscious style, but TRY THIS DRESS!!! It’s stretchy and smoothing in all the right places. Truly! I hate to wear uncomfortable clothes. This dress works and is a great value! (I’m standing in the lobby of the Mauna Kea Hotel in front of those gorgeous (pink, of course!) anthurium flowers!)

Dressy Outfit # 6

I know you might be saying why did I bring so many dressy looks? Well, first I love cute looks. Second, we did eat out every night for ten days. And lastly, I think it’s fun to have options. I mean my blog is called, Dr. Julie’s FUN life after all..

This navy sundress is a maxi which is not Mr. G.Q’s favorite look. But, these long dresses were quite the style everywhere we went to dine out. I love the look especially with a jean jacket and wedge sandals. How about you, yay or nay? Let me know in the comments below.

A Few More Odds and Ends

If you like to take photos, and you like to go in the water, you need to get a waterproof phone case and flotation strap. These are critical. One of my favorite bloggers was recently on vacation with her hubby. He is also her travel photographer. Guess what? On their most recent trip, he dropped and lost his phone in the ocean!!! Don’t make that mistake. Also reef safe sunscreen. And a rash guard for protecting yourself from the sun especially during water activities. I even wore mine on early walks on the hotel property.

Please share this blog post with any girlfriends who might want packing ideas for a ten day trip to Hawaii or another warm destination (or even a cruise). Thanks so much for reading! Please leave any comments or ideas for future blogs. You are a terrific audience and I LOVE hearing from you.


Dr. Julie

P.S. More travel/packing tips:

I forgot to tell you how did I pack all of this? My coolest packing tip involves the light-weight foam topped hangers from the dry cleaners and their plastic bags. What I do for dresses, wrinkle likely tops, jumpsuits, etc., is I put each item on a separate hanger. If there are small straps, I put secure the strap under the foam (see photo below).

Then I take two or three hanging items and cover them with one regular dry cleaning bag. Next, I stack the bags together and lay them in my suitcase, folding the items in thirds. Then, when I arrive at the hotel, I just open my suitcase and hang everything up in their bags!

This trick saves me the hassle of not having enough hangers and having to wait for more from the front desk. It also makes it easy for repacking if you’re traveling to more than one spot as we did on this trip.

Lastly, for the rest of my items, I love these packing cubes and laundry bags. When I return home, I just wipe them out with one of those Lysol wipes. I do this to the inside and outside of my luggage too! All ready for my next adventure!

Here are a few more posts for you to enjoy:

What to Wear on Beach Vacations

What I Packed for Five Days in Florida

Dr. Julie’s Fun Friday Finds – What to Bring to the Beach

Dermatologist Advice for Anti-Aging Products

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