Food For Thought – Bringing Snacks to Hawaii

As you are making your plans for your Hawaii vacation, you may want to consider bringing a small stash of snacks for your trip. You will thank yourself for bringing a few snacks in these situations:

  • After a long journey to get to Hawaii, you stumble to your accommodation like a zombie. You practically pass out when your head hits the pillow, but due to the jet lag you wake up at O-dark-thirty. You’re starving, but restaurants don’t open for hours.
    Maui Sunrise Haleakala
    Haleakala Sunrise
  • You’re going to Haleakala to watch sunrise. You leave your hotel at 3am and nothing is open and there is no food service inside Haleakala National Park.
  • You stop in the hotel gift shop to find that a Snickers Bar costs $2.00.
  • You need some energy snacks for the great hiking trails you plan to hit. Read how a Special-K bar practically saved our lives on Kauai’s Kalalau Trail. 😉
  • You gasp when you realize the hotel’s breakfast buffet costs $30 per person.

I think you see that it’s a good idea to have some snacks on hand. Even if you don’t wind up needing them while you’re on the islands, you’ll be glad you have them for your return flight home. In case you’ve not flown in a while, you may be surprised  to learn that the majority of airlines no longer serve free meals or snacks in coach.

So, what kind of snacks should you bring to Hawaii? Andy and I often bring these easy to pack snacks:

  • trail mix packs in individual serving sizes
  • breakfast bars
  • nuts packed individual serving sizes
  • instant oatmeal packets
  • energy bars

I asked our savvy Go Visit Hawaii facebook community for their input on snacks and food that they bring to Hawaii to help save money. Here are some great ideas and thoughts from the community:

  • Christy brings microwave popcorn, M&Ms, and Crystal Light “to go” packets.
  • Robin has her wine club ship a case or two of wine to her Hawaii destination.
  • Susie brings peanut butter crackers
  • Tina said that she brings granola bars, peanut butter crackers, trail mix, and cereal mix because she discovered that almost every meal cost $100 for her family of 5.
  • Aloha Kilikina recommends South Beach Diet Breakfast Bars.
  • Janet likes to bring Clif Bars
  • Robb says for short visits he brings coffee, [powder] creamer, and sweeteners. I assume that’s for a condo stay as most hotels offer a free coffee service.
  • Other community members said they don’t bother bringing any snacks because they make a pit stop at the Costco, ABC, or grocery store as soon as they arrive.

Please be advised that you shouldn’t bring fresh fruit and vegetables to Hawaii. You’ll have to declare it and probably surrender it through the Hawaii agricultural declaration process. Read my article, Be Prepared to Complete the Hawaii Agricultural Declaration Form.

What sort of snacks do you bring when you travel?

  1. A note for those crazy paleo folk like me! 🙂
    We love to bring beef jerky, sushi nori (cut into little strips), nut thins, dried cranberries, walnuts and almonds, and dark chocolate squares. Yum.
    Everything fits into one little ziplock! 🙂

  2. We are planning a two week vacation and while we look forward to shrimp trucks, a luau, and ted’s bakery, our bellies are not inclined to eat out every meal. We’re staying in a vacation rental and our list includes: tortillas for fresh fish tacos, zbars, pringles for the kids, beef jerky, dried fruit and trail mix, rice boxes ( to go with fish ;)) and homemade pumpkin and banana breads. We will freeze ahead of time, they keep really well. Aloha!!!

  3. We bring Cup of Noodles, dried reindeer (we live in Alaska) jerky, a collapsible 6-pack cooler for the beach, microwave popcorn, dried mangos, the beach bags — you should buy at ABC stores or bring one, and baseball caps or hats are cheaper on the mainland. Of course, for the plane, Clorox wipes stored in ziplock bags, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and a small empty thermos to fill at Starbucks for the flight from Anchorage to beautiful, gorgeous, lovely and amazing Hawaii (its February and 3 more months of winter). But we can face the rest of it after our annual 2-week trip.

    Don’t forget your collapsible pool toys. Sunglasses, and I agree at least 2-swinsuits.

  4. I am leaving tomorrow morning for my flight to Hawaii 🙂
    I’m a vegetarian and don’t eat much processed carbs so I packed a mix: soy nuts, dry roasted chickpeas, all kinds of nuts, tiger nuts, raisins, dried cherries & a few trader joe’s chocolate chunks yummo I cannot wait to get on board!! I would love to bring coffee, creamer and sweetener but I have over packed already… 🙂

  5. Last time I went to Costco, bought pineapples, breakfast food, (prices not significantly different than the DMV) in Walmart found some Taro english muffins, soy/almond milk, made smoothies or eggs and bacon (timeshare resort), rest of the time food trucks (got some to bring home too) and those spam, egg rice Musubi at the ABC stores! Mall food courts were pretty good too! I usually pack trail mix. they have smaller bags at CVS. I try to eat fresh fruit when on the island.

  6. Hi, I am traveling to Hawaii within the next two weeks, and one of the main reasons I am going is to experience the exotic fruits there that I can’t get on the mainland. You mentioned that we can’t bring fresh fruit into Hawaii, but what about when I am returning to the mainland from Hawaii? It would be great if I could take some fresh fruit back…

    Do you also need a passport to go to Hawaii, even if you live in the US? One of people whose blogs I follow went from California to Hawaii and she took her passport, and I wasn’t sure why.

    Thank you for any assistance!

  7. I usually bring my Trader Joes Almond Butter, trail mix and protein bars. You’ve not lived until you have eaten a beach mushy nut butter and jam sandwich or nut butter and banana! YUMMMMM

    1. I can’t say for certain, but I don’t think there would be any issues with bringing it. However, I’m pretty sure you can buy it in Hawaii.

  8. I have chickens and want to bring fresh eggs with me to Maui. I have been able to bring them in my carry-on to other states without issues. Wondering if I can bring them with me?? All I read is about not bringing fresh fruits and vegetables. please help!

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