You’re finally going on that dream vacation to Hawaii! Now what to pack for Maui? Under packing is never fun because you are left wanting and over packing is such a drag…literally you’re dragging your bag because its too heavy!
I always pack in a carry on because it allows for adventure and flexibility on my trips. It is much easier to travel around the island with a backpack or smaller roller bag than a large suitcase. After almost a decade of living on Maui I’ve written a perfect Maui packing list that fits in a carry on.
These are the basic items you will need and account for all the possible adventures on Maui that you’ll have. This ensures that you will be prepared and look your best. Of course you can add or subtract items as you please depending on your personal travel style.
*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling, coffee ☕️ and let's be real...probably wine 🍷. I thank you in advance.
I’ve divided all items into 7 categories to help ease the packing process. Wardrobe, Fashion Accessories, Toiletries, Entertainment, Camera Gear, Camera Accessories, Essential Travel Items.
Maui packing list
Essential Travel Items
finding the perfcet Carry on bag
I travel with the Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack. I absolutely LOVE this pack! It’s perfect for camping, hiking, road trips, long term backing trips and trips to Hawaii.
The Fairview also has a zip-off daypack which is my favorite feature. It is large enough that it fits my laptop, external hard drive, wallet/passport, charging cords, scarf, socks and even snacks. This makes the actual act of traveling easier.
This pack would be a good investment if you plan on long term travel in the future or go camping often. If you’de prefer to roll your carry on, here are some other travel packs and rollers that I recommend.
What to Wear in Maui 👙
You’ve found the perfect bag now to pack the perfect wardbobe. Maui is a dream destination and you’ll take thousands of pictures. You will also want to make sure that you look good in these photos as Hawaii does in hers.
Average temperature on Maui ranges from 70 degrees to 85 degrees depending the season. Find out the best time to visit Maui here.
This packing wardrobe works for any season and accounts for all activities and Maui adventures. Let’s go over a few go to key pieces.
Flip flops or as they are called here in Hawaii, slippas are an essential item on anyone’s Hawaii packing list. It is always sunny and the weather is always perfect. You will wear them everyday.
These Billabong slippas are the ones that I wear daily. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to break in.
Athletic Shoes for Hiking
You will want to pack a pair of athletic shoes for hiking, the plane ride and the gym if you like to get a good sweat on even if you are on vacation. None of Maui’s hiking trails are too extreme that you would need to pack hiking boots. You can hike every hike in tennis shoes or even slippers.
These shoes I have listed are perfect and a new find that I’m super stoked over. They are comfortable, slip ons (that still feel snug), moldable (making them easy to pack) and the best part is the price! You can get these good looking, super comfy sneakers on amazon for $30! That’s a steal.
I work out in mine every day and I love them. I just ordered a few new pairs because you honestly can’t beat the price, the look and it’s like walking on clouds. I now have them in white, black, beige and red. 🙂
A pair of sandals that you can dress for a nicer dinner is a must. You may not splurge and dine out at a nice restaurant every night but you will at least once on your Maui vacation.
You can also pack flats, heels or wedges if you’d prefer but remember it is Maui and casual island life is a thing. Here are some of the best fine dining restaurants to check out when you’re in Maui.
- Fleetwoods on Front Street
- Lahaina Grill
- Merriman’s Kapalua
- The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea
Would this be a Maui packing list if bikinis or swimsuits weren’t on the list?!?! Chances are you’ll be staying on or near the beach…I mean with 120 miles of coastline how could you not! Here are some Maui housing guides to help you with finding the perfect stay
- The best part of Maui to Stay (with Hotel recommendations)
- Where to Stay in Maui on a Budget
- The Best Airbnb’s on Maui
- The Best Places to Stay in Hana
- The Coolest Airbnbs in Hawaii
- The Best Honeymoon Resorts on Maui
You will want a few go to bikinis that you can wear under your clothes because you’ll never know when you’ll have to throw them off to jump off of a road side waterfall as you drive the road to Hana, the West Maui loop or the back side to Hana.
I also have a few clutch 1 piece swimsuits that I wear with a pair of shorts, all day every day. I personally think you can never have too many bikinis. They are small to pack, double as underwear and its MAUI! Live the dream. These are a few of my favorite brands and styles.
The weather on Maui is perfect all year around, averaging 75-85° depending on the season. You will wear a tank top or short sleeve shirt daily as you explore the island.
You may be surprised that when deciding what to pack for Maui that a sweatshirt is on the packing list. Believe it or not it does get chilly in the evenings especially in the winter. A sweatshirt is on the Maui packing list because you’ll need it when you watch sunrise above the clouds atop Haleakala.
This is an once in a lifetime experience that you can’t just have anywhere in the world. Watching sunrise atop Haleakala at 10,000 feet requires an early wake up call and before the sunrise rises, it is FREEZING! Trust me, you’ll probably want more than a sweatshirt. Plus a sweatshirt is what to wear on the plane to Maui.
Light Rain Jacket
A light rain jacket is always a good idea. If you’re exploring around the windward sides of the island like the North shore or East Maui rain is common at least for a few hours in the afternoon, especially in the winter.
A light rain jacket that you can leave in the car or throw in your bag will be essential as you adventure through Hana! It also can come in handy if you are hanging out on the North shore around Haiku.
YOU MAY ENJOY: 12 Things to do in Maui when it Rains
Fashion Accessories to Pack for Maui
Since this is a what to pack for Maui carry on guide you’ll need some fashion accessories that don’t take up a lot of room but adds the perfect pop for photos. Here are a few of my favorite items.
Toiletries to Pack to Maui
I have a love hate relationship with toiletries. I want all of them with me but don’t want them to take up a lot of space. I never leave home without hand sanitizer, lip balm, and deodorant. You’ll also want to pack these items.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
It’s always cheaper to buy them by the pack.
Essential Travel Items to Pack for Maui
Packing cubes are a game changer and one of the best travel accessories out there. The cubes keep your clothes organized, are an easy way to separate your dirty and clean clothes plus you’re able to pack a lot more clothes more efficiently. The best part is how reasonably priced they are. You can get a whole set for around $20.
Get the compression packing cubes to fit more in your bag.
We’ve all heard the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote ”Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.” As this may be true you’ll still want some items to entertain yourself with on this journey, especially Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated islands chains in the world. It will be a trek no matter where you are coming from.
Camera Gear & Accessories
Naturally my camera gear keeps growing as I keep diving deeper into blogging. These are the essential camera items that I travel with.
If you are not a blogger, vlogger, influencer or the like you probably won’t need all the camera gear and accessories that I have listed but I included them anyways in case it’s something you wanted to break into or are any of the mentions above.
In any case I would make sure you have a decent camera, a point and shoot camera would be fine. And most importantly a GoPro. I use my GoPro on the daily while living in Maui. It’s the perfect camera for those underwater shots, on hikes and even when you’re cliff jumping!
All of these GoPro accessories will come in handy as you travel around Maui. I know the GoPro 8 and 9 say it’s waterproof but I would put it in a waterproof case to ensure the safety of your GoPro.
I took my GoPro snorkeling without a waterproof case and it almost destroyed my brand new GoPro. Plus this way you’ll be able to dive deep and get those amaZing fish and turtle pictures.
Along with the waterproof case you’ll want a handle that floats, making it easy to find in the water if gets out of your grip.
The head strap is perfect for zip lining.
The bite/mouth piece is the ultimate tool perfect for surfing.