Too much or too little? You’ll be too hot or cold? out of style?
Well, the point of this post is to help you out with those concerns.
Less is Better
First of all, shoot for too little. It’s pretty much human nature you’re going to pack too much, anyway. If six t-shirts work, ten would be even better, right? Wrong, really try to make a list and stick to it. OK, here’s the first order of business.
What’s the best Luggage for your Hawaii Trip?
The lighter, the better, is the absolute best answer. Remember, the airlines have set limits on weight, so be sure to check that out.Think less clothing and less luggage. It wasn’t too long ago, when Hawaii visitors would come out of Baggage Claim with suitcases that looked like steamer trunks … and the trunks would be crammed with clothing and gear. “Them days are gone forever,” and they never were necessary.
Many people now come out of those same Baggage Claims with a carry on bag and a personal bag prepared to stay for a week! Of course we’re talking about per person, here.
How do they do that?
The answer is simple; they’ve learned how to pack their luggage, using the least amount of space possible, and minimizing the amount of clothing and gear that’s packed. Taking only what they really need (including the important stuff), and nothing more. Notice I stressed the personal bag, too. Call that the “lifesaver bag.” In it goes a lightweight change of clothes, maybe a camera, ticket pouch , food (yes, FOOD), small toilet articles etc..
Each person has their own budget and personal taste for luggage, but two features of luggage should always be first class: zippers and wheels (if you have a roll around). A broken cheap wheel can be pretty dang aggravating.
Summing up, pack down to an approved airline (check your airline for dimensions) carry on, if possible, and minimize the amount of clothing and gear you actually pack.
“But, how do I get all my neat stuff in a small bag?” you might ask.
Roll ’em, Roll ’em, Roll ’em, to your favorite Hawaiian Island .
Ask any ex-Navy guy, and he’ll tell you about rolling up the entire military issue to fit in his sea bag. It’s the way to go. Space doesn’t allow a detailed tutorial for the rolling technique, but enter “how to roll clothes for suitcase” in Google, and you’ll get a jillion ideas. Having said that, here’s additional tips for the roll ’em and go idea:
- Feature soft, pliable fabrics: cotton, rayon
- Try to avoid linens or starched fabrics; they’ll get creases you can’t get out with a steam hose
- Polyester trousers are OK, but Polyester shirts and blouses don’t play nice with tropical weather. They’ll hold their shape, but make you sweat (there, I said it, I couldn’t think of any other way to say it)
- Tuck your rolled clothing in wherever there’s even the hint of a gap
- Even if you have to go the Check Baggage route, still roll’ em. You’ll pack more in less space.
And think of this; if you run short during your Hawaii trip, wear one of the shirts you bought as a souvenir for Uncle Jack (a tip here: buy in your size and what you like. Skip Uncle Jack, it’ll wind up in his sock drawer anyway).
Dress for Hawaii Weather
Focus on the fact that your Hawaii trip is to a very mild, tropical climate. Average daytime temperatures are 720F to 850 F … and that’s conservative. Beach shorts, t-shirts and slippahs* are the most practical vacation clothing for just about any day, and any occasion.
The * is not a typo. Slippahs, in the everyday jargon of Hawaii, are just about any footwear that resembles a slipper.
“Dressing up” is dressier shorts and an Aloha shirt. OK, there are exceptions to that. There are some way upscale hotel dining rooms that require more mainland style attire, but those are few. Check your hotel reservations for that.
Here’s another exception: The Hawaiian Islands have several mountains that are over 8,000 ft. elevation. If any of your Hawaii tours include a mountain trip, such as Haleakala or Mauna Kea, be sure to pack a warm jacket, or at the very least, a set of heavy sweats. This tip applies especially to the Haleakala Sunrise tour.
“As a tour guide on the Haleakala Sunrise trip, I’ve actually had guests arrive at the bus door at 2:30 am dressed in beach shorts and tank tops … and even less … ready to journey up to 10,000 ft. with just that much clothing on. Scurrying back to their room and pulling the blankets off the bed as a substitute for jackets, saved the day for them.”
And for rainy weather, buy a cheap plastic hooded raincoat. It won’t exactly set a fashion trend, but gets the job done, and doesn’t take up much space in your luggage.
Be in Style, Hawaiian Style
As mentioned before, light weight, very casual clothing is definitely Hawaii style. If you want to crank it up a little, buy a couple of Aloha shirts or blouses. Amazon, EBay, or just a Google search for “Hawaiian shirt” will give you a huge selection. Just a little oversize is a good choice, because it will allow those trade wind breezes to whisper through.
As regards t-shirts and footwear. All types of t-shirts are popular, but especially those with a Hawaii theme, or college and pro sports (Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers or Giants, are very popular, and will get you an occasional “right on, Bruddah!” on the streets).
Hawaii is probably the only place in the world where a keiki’s (baby’s) first slippahs, when retired, are bronzed. Ok, I just made that up, but it’s close. If you’re not used to wearing slippahs, don’t plan on taking any long hikes; your legs will get tired quite soon. So, bring along good walking sneakers for the long hikes; shopping in Lahaina, and traipsing across lava fields come to mind. But slippahs and good sneakers are all you really need.