What to Pack For a Trip to Hawaii With Kids

Since we live on Oahu, we get a lot of questions from friends and readers about what to pack for their trip to our islands, especially when bringing the little ones. This post is for anyone packing for a family trip to Hawaii – I’ll cover Hawaii travel packing tips, what to wear in Hawaii, packing for Hawaii in a carry-on, and more. Read on to find out the ultimate Hawaii packing list!

We thought we’d start answering all the questions we get about visiting Hawaii with kids. A big part of trip planning is knowing what to pack especially when traveling with lil ones. On our first trip abroad with LouLou and Jaf, we each had two suitcases…even the little ones. Saying we overpacked would be an understatement!

We’ve refined our packing over the years, especially when traveling through Europe in an RV– with all the limited space, we learned how to be minimalistic and pack only what was necessary. Our travel packing tips when you’re packing for Hawaii take minimalism into consideration, and since we have great weather all year round, you don’t have to worry about bulky winter clothing when wondering what to wear in Hawaii.

The Essential Hawaii Packing List

Packing for Hawaii in a Carry On

Depending on how old your children are, and how long your family trip to Hawaii lasts, packing just a carry-on each is totally possible.

I’m a huge fan of packing cubes – they’ve saved our sanity multiple times over the years – each kid gets a different colored packing cube so they know which one is theirs, and it helps keep their clothing organized and makes for a smoother packing experience. Our first choice are these Eagle Creek ones that we used religiously in Europe, but these are great, too.

The number one goal during our flights with kids is comfort. The kids each have their own neck pillows, and I make sure to carry a lightweight packable scarf just in case the flight doesn’t provide one. For myself, I always have compression socks to help with circulation, and an eye mask like this one.

If you’re coming from the mainland, most flights to Hawaii are five-hours or more in duration, so that’s something to keep in mind. When the kids were younger, I made sure to pre-load their iPads with videos to watch, but now that they’re older, they also like reading books. Click here to read Lou Lou’s last book review.


We talked about these wireless headphones in our Favorite Kid-Friendly Travel Gear post. When we first started our culinary worldschooling, the kids had only one iPad to share between the two of them. The LilGadgets Wireless Bluetooth Headphones contain a shareport which makes sharing so much easier.
Voltage differs all around the world which is why we always travel with a Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Surge Protector. It connects three devices, and has two USB ports to charge your smart phones and/or iPads as well – which is important before your flight because not all planes have built-in outlets!

Clothes & Beach Accessories for Hawaii

I think one of the easiest sections of your Hawaii packing list is figuring out what clothes to pack. Hawaiian attire is casual, and you’ll see locals wearing shorts and slippahs (flip flops!) everywhere. If you’re coming with your family to Hawaii during spring break or summer vacation, it’s going to be warm, so pack tank tops, t-shirts, and shorts. Flip flops are a must – LouLou recommends these.

If you plan on hiking, pack a pair of good traction hiking shoes, especially if your hike is through the forest or particularly challenging.

Don’t forget to pack your Hawaiian beach wear musts – swimsuit, a rash guard for the lil ones (here’s one for girls, and one for boys) if they’re planning on learning how to surf or go body boarding. Sunglasses and hats are a must when out on the beach. And, if you’re using the hotel pool, a cover-up or sarong will come in handy when walking back to your hotel room.
NOTE → If you’re visiting Hawaii during the winter months, which is a great off-season time to visit in case you’re wondering (read 5 reasons to plan your winter family vacation in Hawaii), then your packing list for Hawaii in January will include lightweight winter jacket. While the days are warm, it can get chilly at night, and rain is not an uncommon occurrence.

Outdoor Blanket – a portable blanket like this Cosy Meadow one is perfect for taking to the beach and keeping as much sand off the kids as possible. If you’re staying in a rented home or Airbnb, we also recommend getting a quick-drying towel with you – we love these light-weight, quick dry towels.

Put all of your beach accessories in a dry bag – these are great at keeping your important valuables dry when you head to the beach.

Toiletries for Your Hawaii Family Trip

Sunscreen! We recommend a higher SPF than your usually used to on the mainland. Oh, and please be sure to pick one that’s biodegradable and doesn’t harm our coral and reefs. Estimates show that 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotions end up in coral reefs each year. Read this post if you’re wondering how to choose an ocean-safe formula. And, here’s one made by a surfer we recommend.

Lip Balm with SPF – the salt water can result in chapping, especially sensitive for the kids. Be sure to regularly apply lip balm to keep their lips supple and smooth.

Insect Bite Relief – Lou Lou and Jaf always get bitten by mosquitoes whether they’re at home in Hawaii or traveling abroad. A product that’s always in our medical kit is Bug Bite Thing – it’s an easy-to-use suction pump that removes the poison from an insect bite, effectively stopping pain and itching. Read our full review here.

If that doesn’t work, then aloe vera gel is a good alternative – it helps soothe stings AND any sunburns you may accidentally end up with.

NOTE → If traveling with just a carry-on, then be sure to place your toiletries in a clear quart zip-lock bag. Check the TSA’s rules for proper carrying of liquids and what’s not allowed with you on the plane.

Travel Tech

You’re going to want to take pictures in paradise, so a camera is a must. Depending on your level of action, you can just use your iPhone (that’s how we take most of our Instagram pictures…are you following us?). If you want underwater photos, get a waterproof pouch like this one. Or up your adventure shots with a GoPro and an underwater case.

External Battery Power Bank – A day of sightseeing and exploring the islands means our electronic devices lose battery. Make sure to always pack at least two portable power banks like the Anker Portable Power Bank – you never know when you might need it!


Last but certainly not the least, I always like traveling with guide books of the place we’re visiting – there’s just something about holding a paper copy in your hands that enhances the travel experience. My personal favorite is the Lonely Planet Oahu guide, and the entire Revealed series for all the islands.



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Recommended Reading for Planning your Ultimate Hawaii Family Vacation

2 thoughts on “What to Pack For a Trip to Hawaii With Kids”

  1. We had to cancel our anniversary trip this week to Europe for COVID, so I’m thinking we might use that credit and do Hawaii instead this fall!

  2. Pingback: 5 Best Kid-Friendly Hotels On Oahu - Pint Size Gourmets

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