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 it is too heavy!
I always pack in carry-ons because it allows for adventure and flexibility on my trips. It is much easier to travel around the island with a backpack and 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. This is also a great way to save a few bucks when you’re flying as fees to check a bag will cost around $40 per bag, each way.
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, look your best and have an amazing time. Of course you can add or subtract items on this vacation packing list as you please depending on your personal travel style.
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I’ve divided all Hawaii travel essentials into 7 categories to help ease the packing process. What to wear in Maui, Fashion Accessories, Toiletries, Entertainment things to pack for Maui, Camera Gear, Camera Accessories, Essential Travel Items.
I realize when composing the ultimate Maui packing list, that I went a little ‘heavy’ in the electronics department. I blog and vlog about all of my adventures which means I carry a few extra items that the average traveler to Hawaii won’t need.
I’ve included these items anyway in case you’re an aspiring content creator and so you get an idea of what I can fit into my backpack.
Maui Packing List
- Flip flops
- Sneakers for hiking
- Dress Sandals/flats/heels
- 3-5 Bikinis
- 5 Shorts/Bottoms
- 2 or 3 yoga pants/ bottoms
- 7 tanks/tops
- 1 sweatshirt
- 1 Long Sleeve
- 2 Dresses
- 1 Jean Jacket/ Light Jacket
- Rain Jacket/ Shell
- Sun Hat
- 5 Sports Bras/Bralettes
- 8 pairs of underwear
- 4 Socks
- Water shoes
- Head Wraps
- Sun Hat
- Wrap Skirt/Sarong
Essential Travel Items
- Water Bottle
- Packing Cubes
- Compression Socks
- Eye mask
- Credit Card
- Travel Insurance
- Cleansing Wipes/Makeup Remover Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Hair Care
- Hair Accessories
- Hand Lotion
- Reef Safe Sunscreen
- Lip Balm
- Macbook Pro
- External Hard drive
- Canon m50 Vlogging Camera w/ Mike
- DSL Camera
- Joby Tripod
- Go Pro Stick
- Memory Card
- Extra Batteries for Drone and Camera
- Battery Pack
- Chargers & Adaptors
- Go Pro Waterproof Case
- Waterproof Phone Case
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Finding the Perfcet Carry on bag
Before I went full time as a digital nomad, I traveled with the Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack. I love this travel backpack. It’s perfect for camping, hiking, road trips, long term backpacking trips and vacations to Maui.
The Osprey Fairview is small enough that it meets most (if not all) airline carry on requirements, opens from the front and the main straps can be zipped away transforming the pack to a duffle bag which makes it easy to carry.
The Fairview also has a zip-off daypack which is my favorite feature. You can see the zip-off daypack in the photos above. 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.
I wear the day pack with all of my important items on my back and I carry the main pack by the side handle. Plus I use the zip-off daypack to hike with on Maui daily.
Since I travel full time, I’ve upped my game and I travel with the Nomatic Travel Pack and the Bigger Carry-On Away Suitcase. The Nomatic Travel Pack is much bigger than the small Osprey zip off pack I listed above and it is able to fit all my electronics and “important” travel items. This bag fits snug under the seat in front of you on the airplane.
I then can slide Bigger Carry-On Away Suitcase in the overhead bin. This roller bag is lightweight, has a flex closer and can surprisingly hold a lot of items. This suitcase is built to last and is one of the best travel luggages out there.
What to Wear in Maui
You’ve found the perfect bag, now what to pack for a trip to Maui. Maui is a dream destination and you’ll take thousands of pictures. Hawaii always looks fabulous in her pictures and with the help of this Maui vacation packing list, you’ll look just as good.
The average temperature on Maui ranges from 70 degrees to 85 degrees depending the season. This means you’ll be wearing shorts and short sleeved tops during the day.
Whether you’re trying to decide what to pack for Maui in April or what to wear in Maui for December, this wardrobe packing list works for any season. It’s versatile and will take into account of all the top things to see in Maui. Let’s go over a few must bring clothing 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 on a beach vacation.
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.
If you are wondering what to wear hiking in Maui, none of Maui’s hiking trails are too extreme that you would need to pack hiking boots. You can hike any hike on Maui in athletic shoes or even slippers.
These shoes I have listed are perfect for hiking in Maui. 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 feels like you are 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 so a swimsuit will be necessary. Plus spending a day lounging at the pool should be a high priority when visiting Hawaii.
You will want a few bikinis that you can wear under your clothes because you’ll never know when you’ll stumble by a waterfall cascading down into a pool that will be begging you to jump into. You can find many of these waterfalls 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 over 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 on this packing list Maui is a sweatshirt. Believe it or not it does get chilly in the evenings especially in the winter. A sweatshirt is on the list of things to bring to Maui 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 also useful and can be worn on the flight to Maui.
Light Rain Jacket
A light rain jacket is always a good idea to include on beach packing lists. 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 everyday, especially in the winter.
A light rain jacket is easy to leave in the car or throw in your bag and will be useful when you adventure through Hana! It also can come in handy if you are hanging out on the North shore around Haiku.
☔️ Read Next: 14 Things to do in Maui when it Rains
Another beach essential on this Hawaii packing list is a sun hat. Protect your face, sun damage is real. You will wear it daily as you lounge by the pool and at the beach, which is one of the best things to do in Kihei!
Make sure you get one that is foldable making it easy to pack.
Accessories to Pack for Hawaii
Since this is a packing list 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.
A MUST what to pack for Hawaii. If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend a majority of your time lounging by the pool with a pina colada in hand. I mean, this is one of the best things to do in Kaanapali after all. A sarong is small, light weight and easy to throw on when you walk to the bathroom or bar for another pina colada!
I have always carried a bandana with me (even before this whole crazy pandemic). They are perfect to wipe sweat, blow your nose, to clean out dirt from your eyes or between your toes…the list could go on and on. They also can spruce up a picture. Better yet, bring a couple different colors.
Water shoes are a handy thing to pack for Hawaii. A lot of the beaches in Hawaii have reefy entry points and water shoes help you navigate the area safely without stepping on sea urchin. Plus they are easy to pack.
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
Sun protection is something to be taken seriously when traveling around Hawaii. Sunscreen are one of the top things to pack to Hawaii. The sun is relentless on Maui especially on the leeward side of the island. Not only is sunscreen a must but it needs to be reef safe.
It’s always cheaper to buy them by the pack.
Essential Travel Things to Pack to Hawaii
Finally these Hawaii essentials you need but don’t really fall into a catergory. Most of these travel accessories make the act of traveling easier and more comfortable.
I can barely take a walk around my neighborhood without carrying a water bottle, let alone a long plane ride. These water bottles are great to travel with and take with you on your adventures through 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.
Entertainment Things to Bring to Hawaii
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.
What to Pack for Maui: Camera Gear
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 Go Pro. I use my Go Pro 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!
You will use a Go Pro everyday you are in Maui. It’s perfect to capture for when you’re snorkeling, cliff jumping, hiking, surfing…the list could go on and on. Make sure you get the following Go Pro accessories to aid in your Maui water adventures.
All of these Go Pro accessories will come in handy as you travel around Maui. I know the Go Pro 8 and 9 say it’s waterproof but I would put it in a waterproof case to ensure the safety of your Go Pro.
I took my Go Pro snorkeling without a protective housing 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 surf mount captures epic surfs. Bring a Waterproof Phone Case for your phone while you’re at it.
Things to Buy in Hawaii (or Rent)
You may be wondering why I didn’t include some obvious beach essentials like snorkel gear or water shoes on this Hawaii packing list. These are items you can buy in Hawaii or rent while you are here to save room in your suitcase.
If you rent certain items, this will help you save money. If you buy these items in Hawaii, it will be higher quality than something you buy off of Amazon.
- Snorkel Gear – You can rent snorkel gear on most beaches in Maui. Snorkel sets run about $5.
- Rash Guard – If you plan on learning to surf on your Hawaiian vacation, rash guards and booties will be provided to you when you book a surf lesson.
- Dry Bag – A dry bag comes in handy when you’re on a whale watch or supping on the water.
Maui Travel Tips
📍Plan your Trip:
- The Ultimate guide to Maui
- 10 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Maui
- 21 Mistakes to Avoid on your First Trip to Hawaii
🗺 How long to travel Maui? 1-2 Week Maui Itinerary
☔️ Best Time to Visit: Best Time to Visit Maui
💰 Average Daily Budget:
- How to Travel Maui on a Budget
- 28 Things to do on Maui on a Budget
- 10 Budget Friendly Maui Adventures
⛺️ Maui accommodation Guides
- Best Area to Stay on Maui
- West Maui vs. South Maui – Where to Stay
- Where to Stay in Maui on a Budget
- Best Airbnbs in Maui
- Where to Stay in Hana, HI
- Top Honeymoon Resorts in Maui
- 10 Best Honeymoon Resorts in Hawaii
- The Coolest & Most Unique Airbnbs to Stay in Hawaii
- Driving the Road to Hana
- Sunrise over Haleakala
- Exploring Exotic Beaches
- Waianapanapa State Park
- Haleakala National Park
- Whale Watch
- Hike the Pipiwai Trail
- Snorkel Molokini
- Drive the West Maui Loop
- Lahaina Town
- Learn to Surf
🧳 What to Pack for Maui: Hawaii Packing List
🎥 Watch our Maui Series on YouTube
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Jess – my dream is to some how live in Maui at least for a small part of each year. How do locals afford. housing based on the low wages? Is it impossible to rent or buy without working like 3 jobs?
Hi Stacy – Ya there is a housing crisis here. Places are pretty darn expensive, especially since COVID, prices never came down. Most people work multiple jobs, have high paying jobs or have several roommates. There is some housing based on low wages but the list is long and locals and long term residents get first pick.
My suggestion would be to find a shared housing. I see listings often (from other women) wanting a single female roommate. So you’d only have to share with one other girl. But again, housing is a huge issue even for me and my boyfriend (he’s from MAUI!). Thank goodness for family 🙏. Its beautiful though, I think you’ll find a way if you want it bad enough 🙂.