Since you’ll be visiting a tropical paradise, don’t stress too much about what to wear. Have fun and keep it casual. Staying comfortable is best, especially since this is your vacation. Don’t forget your Hawaiian shirt!
For the flight
Bringing a hoodie or a light jacket is important! Airplanes can get cold, especially if the flight is long. Sneakers are probably good too, but less essential.
Seeing the sights
During the day, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes, especially if you’ll be walking a lot. It’s best to cover up if you’re fair skinned, panama or sun hats are appropriate here. Sunscreen is a must, although if you’re bringing from home, try to make sure it’s reef friendly, so that it doesn’t damage the coral reefs around Hawaii.
Other than that, stay comfortable. Linen is the preferred fabric, since the open weave makes it easier to keep cool, but whatever you prefer is fine, as long as you can keep cool. The air conditioned interiors can be cold sometimes, so if you think that’ll be an issue, bring a light jacket in case. November to March is the rainy season, so you may want a light rain jacket if you’re visiting then.
The best clothes to pack are light shirts, sundresses, shorts, and sandals. You’ll definitely need those. Linen pants can be good for a fashionable look. T shirts are also a good idea for comfort.
Lounging on the beaches
For the beach, don’t forget your towel! Usually, the hotel or Airbnb can provide, but check and make sure before you leave home. Bring flip flops and some way to cover up if you feel a sunburn coming on. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must!
Make sure you bring more than one swimsuit. There’s nothing worse than trying to go to the beach with a swimsuit that isn’t fully dried. By alternating swimsuits, you can always be ready for a beach day.
Hiking the trails
Don’t wear sandals. Hiking boots are best when the trail is challenging. Other than that, just wear something that will allow you to stay in a comfortable temperature range. Wearing bug spray and sunscreen is a good idea, as is a moisture wicking shirt that’ll keep you cool and dry.
Dinner and drinks
You shouldn’t worry too much about what to wear to dinner, since for most casual restaurants, even a swimsuit can be suitable. If you see the phrases, “Aloha casual” or “Aloha crisp”, this is a version of business casual that a restaurant or hotel may require. This just means you should wear a Hawaiian shirt with slacks, or a Hawaiian dress. Jackets are rarely required.
If you’re worried that wearing a Hawaiian shirt will make you look like a tourist, don’t be! Plenty of locals wear Hawaiian shirts often, although they usually opt for more muted colors and patterns. Buying local helps support Hawaiian businesses, so don’t forget to buy from stores like Manuhealiʻi or Rix Island Wear.
If you’re looking for a general packing list for your Hawaiian vacation, check out this article.