Most Frequently Forgotten Items to Pack for Hawaii

After numerous trips to Hawaii, we’ve almost perfected the packing process down to a science. Of course, we made many mistakes along the way that have helped us become “Hawaii vacation packing pros.”

From our experiences and observations, here are the seven most frequently forgotten items:

  1. Sunglasses
  2. Binoculars (especially useful for lava viewing and during humpback whale season)
  3. Light jacket, preferable breathable and rainproof. It’s easy to forget that in the higher elevations of Hawaii, the temperature is significantly cooler. We’ve seen some crazy things in the higher elevations. In fact, the last time we went to the top of Haleakala for sunrise, we saw a guy who apparently didn’t pack a coat or warm clothes at all. He was walking around the summit of Haleakala in a shorts, shirt, flip flops and…a hotel bathrobe. We held back our laughter!
  4. Hat and/or visor
  5. Lip balm with sun protection
  6. Sunscreen – I wish I had a nickel for every sunburned tourist I’ve seen in Hawaii. (See this post on how to avoid a sunburn on your Hawaii vacation.)
  7. Cell phone charger

If you are headed to Hawaii soon, you’ll appreciate these packing articles:

What other items have you forgotten from your own travels? What additional packing advice would you like to share?

9 comments
  1. A bathrobe?! Too funny! Maui was actually the only island so far that we have been able to find a jacket. We looked for jackets on Oahu and couldn’t find any! Not too popular I guess. Great list by the way!

    1. Thanks, Janet.

      We’ve just returned home from Lana’i and the Big Island. One thing that struck me as funny was seeing some school kids wearing hoodies on a very warm day in Hilo. I know it’s Winter and all, but it sure didn’t feel cold to us. 🙂

  2. Neat list. I have a set of binoculars that I brought for stargazing but then realized they were awesome for whale watching from shore, too, as you noted.

    I’d also add a note about packing your cell phone charger when you leave for home, too, and not forgetting it in the hotel room. Known a few people that have done that at one point or another, and don’t realize it until the unpack back at home. 🙂

  3. I have a packing checklist that I use for all my trips that helps me avoid the “Oh my God, I forgot __________!” syndrome. 🙂 Although I will say binoculars aren’t on it, because I don’t own any. I probably should buy some. The ol’ eyes aren’t what they used to be. The hotel bathrobe story is hysterical. I would never have thought of that. At least he solved his problem creatively!

    1. Gray – I’ve though about making a list like that dozens of times and then I guess I get too lazy to do it. Kudos to you for creating your list. Have you ever published it on your site?

    2. Gray- do you wanna do us, forgetters, a favor and publish your list? It’ll be very helpful!
      Thanks 🙂

  4. Sunglasses!? Really? I would have thought that was the first thing people packed. After all, Hawaii is synonymous with surf and sun. On the other hand, perhaps it’s the obvious things that travelers often forget. I should know, since I once forgot my passport! 🙂

    1. Erica – I agree that it’s so ironic to forget sunglasses for a Hawaii trip. My dad forgot to take his sunglasses out of his truck and bring them with him to Hawaii. I almost forgot my sunglasses on this last trip.

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