Ever since I went to Hawaii, I have had a few friends ask me what they need to include in their packing list for Maui.
I am so glad they asked and planned accordingly compared to what I did on my first trip to Hawaii.
My first trip was booked last minute and boy do I have some regrets about what I packed. After multiple successful trips, I finally learned that it’s best to pack light.
In this article, I will focus mainly on what you need to bring from home. I will not be discussing things you will need to buy while on the island. If you need a more detailed article about what to pack for your Hawaii family trip be sure to check out the above article as well.
The article is broken down into different sections so feel free to skip around if needed. I have also included an FAQ section at the bottom of the article so be sure to check that out if you have any additional questions.
What to pack on a vacation to Maui
Most of my Maui wardrobe consisted of casual dresses and I am so glad I brought some with me. Dresses work for both a casual outing and a dinner outing. It is a win-win situation.
For a weeklong trip, I would bring about 5-7 dresses.
I would bring 1-2 pairs of cute sandals to wear during the day and or dinner/night outings. I somehow managed to bring 4 different pairs of sandals and I only wore 1 pair. I mainly wore cute flip flops which worked as sandals too.
T-shirts are simple and work with shorts, skirts, or leggings. I packed about 7 t-shirts since they are so light and don’t take up much space in my suitcase.
Shorts are also a must in Maui with how hot it gets. I mainly wore shorts for breakfast or out for lunch.
If you are anything like me, then you probably get cold easily. I would bring a sweatshirt for those chilly nights. A light sweater will also do the trick.
I made a rule to never leave my Airbnb without a raincoat and this rule served me well. Hawaii is a tropical rainforest which means it rains a lot.
The good news is that it does not rain all day non-stop. You will most likely still get some sunshine even on a rainy day.
Filtered water bottle
A filtered water bottle will come in handy on your trip to Hawaii. I used this at the airport and filled it up before departing.
I also used it everyday while I was in Maui. I would fill it up before leaving my Airbnb and there were lots of opportunities to refill around the island.
Underwater camera / GoPro
I highly recommend bringing an underwater camera with you to Hawaii; or you will surely regret it.
If you are planning on snorkeling and seeing turtles, you will be glad you brought your camera with you. We were so glad we did after seeing so many gorgeous turtles at Black Rock Beach.
You can’t go on a sunny vacation without sunglasses. Be sure to pack a pair or two and your eyes will thank you for it.
You need a sun hat in Hawaii as it gets super hot and you’re in the sun ALOT. This will save you from unnecessary sunburn.
Don’t be that tourist that gets a sunburn on the first day of their vacation. This will surely ruin the rest of your trip and this is not why you came to Hawaii. Plan accordingly and you’ll be glad you did.
I can’t believe how handy a cooler was, especially for those long beach days. This is one of the things you don’t usually think about, but it sure does come in handy.
I always bring one on any beach vacation I go to and I never regret it.
This one is a no-brainer; remember to bring your flip flops as this is what you will most likely be wearing each day. I wore flip flops pretty much everywhere I went except for hiking.
I love flip flops because they are very low maintenance and I can just slip them on as I head out the door.
You can’t go to Hawaii without swimsuits. I packed 7 different swimsuits for a 2 week trip. I did laundry at our Airbnb too, which helped a lot.
Swimsuits don’t take up much space in your luggage so you can bring as many as you think you will need for your trip.
I love love love cover ups. I brought 5 different cover-ups because, well, why not?! I am sure you don’t need that many as you can always re-use them.
Mine were so light and did not take up much space in my suitcase, so bringing 5 of them was not a problem at all.
I regret many things when it comes to what I packed for my Hawaii trip, but this isn’t one of them. Choose what matters to you the most and bring more of that if you need and have space for it.
You will need something to carry your beach gear in. Be sure to pick up a reliable beach bag.
If you love to snorkel, definitely bring snorkel gear. Having your own gear really comes in handy and will save you money in the long run.
I also find it sanitary to use my own instead of renting, but to each their own. No judgements to those that decide to rent their gear.
I love bringing my own gear because I also don’t have to worry about returning it at a certain time and I can use it every day I am at the beach.
I got my gear off Amazon for $35 and it was a good investment. I have taken this snorkel set to 3 different countries so far and it’s doing just fine. Amazon has a lot of great options so be sure to check them out.
I also met a few people that bought snorkel gear from Costco in Hawaii. The pricing was pretty much the same as the mainland so if you wanted to go that route that works too.
Just remember to leave extra room in your suitcase to bring it back home with you.
For me personally, I would rather buy it while at home to save time. The thought of going to a store to buy items I could have bought while at home just stresses me out.
When I am on vacation all I want to do is explore and relax, not shop for necessities.
Hiking / Outdoor Activity Essentials
If you are planning on doing lots of hiking, do not forget your backpack. I highly recommend you hike because Hawaii has tons of AMAZING hikes.
I would have missed out on so many stunning views and incredible experiences had I not hiked here.
This will come in handy, and you’ll be glad you brought it with you. I packed snacks, water, my raincoat, and other essentials in my backpack.
Remember to bring your hiking clothes. For me it was leggings, biker shorts, a few shirts and of course hiking shoes. Hiking Sandals, trail running shoes and hiking boots are the best hiking shoes for Hawaii.
I can’t say this enough but proper hiking gear will come in handy in Hawaii.
Don’t be one of those people that wear flip flops while hiking Koko Crater; definitely not good for your feet, and surely not a very safe approach either.
Water Sports Essentials
If you are planning on spending some time in the water, be sure to bring a flotation strap for your gear. This will come in handy when you drop your electronics in the water and need to easily find them.
This is one of the things that you don’t think you need until you need it. Get one and you will thank me later.
There is nothing like having to dive down in the water looking for the phone you dropped.
Waterproof Phone Case
This is an alternative to the underwater camera if you want to capture underwater photography at a cheaper price.
The only downside to using your phone is that it only works well with calm waters. If you are snorkeling somewhere with waves, it will be hard to keep your phone steady which results in poor quality photos.
Waterproof Dry Bag
A waterproof bag always comes in handy on any beach trip. Since you will most likely be spending most of your time by the water, a waterproof bag is a very good investment. This also works well for a kayaking trip.
It will keep all your valuables dry while you enjoy the water without the worry of anything getting wet inside.
What other essentials should be on your Maui vacation packing list?
If you have a Costco card, make sure to bring it to Maui with you. I recommend stopping at Costco on your way to your hotel/Airbnb to purchase all items you might need (food, snacks, etc).
If you are a budget traveler, then Costco is definitely a game-changer. I can’t tell you how many times I had full meals from Costco’s cafeteria haha.
Packing cubes are a win for every trip and you can’t go wrong with using these on your travels. They help you stay organized and make it easy to find items.
I always used to be the type that thought packing cubes were a waste of money, but ever since I started using them I realize how amazing they are.
I organized my outfits into things like hiking clothes, sleeping clothes, underwear, etc. I only pulled the cube I needed for that day instead of flipping through my suitcase and making everything messy.
What NOT to include in your Maui vacation packing list
I cannot stress this one enough – please do not overpack. You will surely regret it like I did. I made the mistake of having one big suitcase (about 52 pounds) and one regular sized carry-on suitcase.
This was way more than I needed. To be honest, the carry-on suitcase would have been perfectly fine given the fact that I did not wear most of the clothes and shoes I brought with me.
I also had my backpack with me with two laptops in it. This was too much to carry on my back and was hard to manage on top of the two other suitcases.
Our Airbnb had a washer and dryer so there was no need to bring extra clothes. I could have easily done laundry if I needed to.
Please do not overpack. Trust me on this one!
Too many high heels
I made this mistake as well. I somehow managed to bring 3 pairs of high heels in my suitcase and wore NONE of them. This was a complete waste of space in my suitcase. Even though we went out a couple of nights I still wore cute sandals instead of high heels.
If you absolutely must bring some fancy high heels then maybe bring 1 pair instead of 3. Please don’t be like me. Do as I say not as I do; we all learn the hard way.
Too many jeans
Maui is too hot to be wearing Jeans. You won’t need more than 1 pair. The only time I wore jeans was when I went to Haleakala National Park and boy did they come in handy as it was FREEZING during sunset.
If you are planning on going to Haleakala Summit, then be sure to bring a pair of jeans or warm pants as it gets extremely cold up there.
Around the time we went it was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit and boy was it cold for us southerners.
Too many fancy evening dresses
If you are like a lot of Maui vacationers, then you probably won’t need fancy night dresses. A lot of vacationers dress casual since the vibe there is so chill.
A nice summer dress should work just fine for the nights out.
Your hotel or vacation rental will provide bath towels. No need to waste space in your suitcase. I never bring towels on my vacation and I never run into a situation where I needed to have brought my own.
Maui FAQs and top travel tips
How many days should I spend in Maui?
I recommend spending at least a week in Maui. If you have more time, then try to spend at least two weeks. There is so much to do on the island and to fully enjoy it, you have to learn to slow down.
Rushing to do all activities on this trip will have you burnt out. Instead, slow down, have some beach days where you do nothing and just enjoy the moment.
What to wear on a plane to Maui
I am a sucker for dressing comfortably on a plane. For many people getting to Maui is not a quick flight. I usually wear leggings or lounge wear when flying.
I also carry a sweatshirt with me as I get cold easily and it’s never fun being cold on a plane.
I also brought a small blanket for the plane. Call me crazy but again, I do not like being cold and I want to be as comfortable as possible – especially if I am traveling for hours and hours.
I miss the days when Delta used to have those mini red or blue blankets on the plane. Sadly I haven’t seen those in a while though.
How Can I get from Maui to Other Hawaiian Islands?
The best way to get from Maui to other Hawaiian Islands is to fly. Flights between the islands are not too expensive. For example, I flew from Oahu to Maui via Hawaiian Airlines in April of 2021 and paid $40 one way. Not bad at all!
What else can I do in Maui other than the beach?
There are so many activities to do on your Maui Trip and I promise you there won’t be a day you are bored. Here are my top two favorite things to do on Maui.
Hana Highway: My top activity to do on the island is to take the famous Road to Hana. The Road to Hana is one of the best scenic drives I have been on and there is so much to do.
If you love waterfalls then you should definitely consider doing this trip. The Road to Hana has some of the best waterfalls in Maui.
If you want to learn more about the best stops on the Hana Highway click on this link.
Haleakala Summit: A trip to Hawaii is not complete until you visit the gorgeous Haleakala Summit.
What to pack for Hawaii: Male Edition
Most of the items I listed in this article apply to both men and women.
Here are some items I would consider bringing for men specifically: baseball cap to use for sun protection, fedora hat (if you’re into that kinda thing), a white cotton shirt, one pair of nice pants, shorts and a pair of nice dressy shoes for a fancy dinner out.
Is a budget-friendly vacation doable in Maui?
If I am being honest, a vacation to Maui will come with a hefty price tag compared to a vacation in Oahu. If you want to learn more about Oahu Vs Maui check out this article!
Even though Hawaii is expensive, a budget-friendly vacation is doable. You can read this article to learn more about how you can afford a budget-friendly trip to Hawaii.
So what should my Maui vacation packing list look like?
As you can see, there are multiple things you need to bring on your Maui vacation. From