This site uses affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you use my links and make a purchase without incurring additional fee yourself. Many thanks for supporting this website. Please see my legal page for more details.
The Ultimate Maui Packing List
Packing for your trip to Maui, Hawaii, can be exciting and overwhelming. It is important to take the time to get ready for your trip. I wish I would’ve had this guide to help me prepare for my first Hawaiian vacation. Are you wondering what Maui is like and what to bring? We’re here to help answer your questions.
What is Maui Like: A Description of the Island
Maui rises from the crystal blue Pacific waters. Sandy beaches and cliffs outline the shores. The lush vegetation contrasts with the shore in varying shades of green and dotted with colorful and fragrant flowers.
Rising from green Ovaltine pools in the west, the ancient mountains, Mauna Kahalawai, rise and cascade into deep valleys. In the east, the island rises again, to the summit of Haleakala, before flowing back to the ocean.
Weather On Maui Island
The weather is most often beautiful. Throughout the day, there will be sun and possibly some passing showers. The rain doesn’t often last long, and then the sun returns with rainbows. Of course, this typically depends on where you are on the island.
Some areas like Kapala and Hana will receive much more rain, and more often, this is because they are on the windward side of the island. Areas such as Lahina and Kihei are drier as they are on the leeward side.
Ocean temperatures are perfect for swimming and playing. The ocean is typically around 80°F. It’s comfortably warm.
It is a good idea to prepare for the unexpected, especially when it comes to the weather. Be sure to bring a light weight jacket and a small umbrella.
What Activities does Maui Offer?
Maui has many different activities. These can be easy and laid back or heart thumping and thrilling. There’s something for everyone to enjoy:
- Walks on the beach
- Outrigger Canoe and kayaking
- Stand up paddleboarding
- Go on a Whale watching and Dolphin watching tour
- Fishing in Hawaii
- Snuba Diving
- Explore tide-pools
- Go Cliff Jumping
- Visit the Maui Ocean Center
- Take a walk through a botanical garden
There’s more to do than sit on the beach and watch the waves. The ocean offers unforgettable experiences. There are amazing adventures to be had in Inland areas. Think about the lush rainforest and volcanic mountains you have yet to meet.
Traveling the Road to Hana
The road to Hana is a nice but long road trip. Taking the road to Hana you will be able to visit beautiful places such as :
- Paia Town
- Garden of Eden Arboretum
- Honomanu Bay
- Upper Waikani Falls
- Hana Lava Tube
- And much, much more
This trip is highly recommended and breathtakingly beautiful. Bring gear for all kinds of adventures, from swimming and surfing to hiking and more.
Haleakala offers many tours. There are also numerous hikes you can go on. Visit the crater and watch the sunrise or sunset from 10,000 foot elevation.
You can also go to Kipahulu, on the flanks of Haleakala, where you will see waterfalls cascading into the ocean and more. Swimming in the ocean here is not recommended.
Visit Maui’s Quaint Towns
Maui has quaint Towns that beckon the traveler to explore Hawaii and its culture.
- Get some Ono Grinds. Ono grinds means delicious food. There are many wonderful restaurants to eat at. From seafood to local favorites and more.
- Cool off with some shave ice
- Enjoy some malasadas
- Have some Maui Coffee
- Go out for a night on the town
- Take a free hula lesson at Lahaina Cannery Mall
- Learn to weave
- Go to a Luau.
There’s so much that can be done when you do visit Maui. This is why it is important to create a list of everything you want and need to bring. You don’t want to forget anything!
Ultimate Maui Packing List
What should you bring with you to Maui? This all depends on you and your needs.
- How long do you plan on staying?
- What activities will you be enjoying?
- Where will you be staying?
Deciding what and how much to bring can be daunting. But, don’t worry, we’re here to help you organize and ensure you do not forget anything. This list will include:
- Basic Essentials
Collecting the basic Essentials for Your Maui Vacation
It may seem redundant, but when a person is excited, it can be easy to accidentally leave something important behind.
Airport and TSA Checklist
The very first thing to do is to make sure you have what you need to board the airplane or cruise ship.
Ticket Confirmation: Do you have confirmation of your ticket(s)? If not, or if it is stored on your phone, take a moment and print out your travel itinerary. It’s a good idea to have a hard copy just in case you are unable to retrieve this data from your phone for any reason.
Terminal Maps: You will also want to find and print out maps of the airports you will be travelling through. The maps are important to help you move quickly and with as little effort as possible through the airport. We have included a link to maps of Maui’s airport at the beginning of the post for your convenience. If you fly to Maui, you will land at Kahului Airport. This airport is not huge and fairly easy to navigate. Here is a link to the airport maps that you can print out. If you Cruise to Maui Island, you will doc at Kahului Port.
Identification: Next, let’s collect your necessary documentation. If you are a U.S. citizen, this will be your photo Identification. Please note that starting in October 2021 you will need to have a state Issued Real ID Card. TSA will not let you fly without it, so if you haven’t updated your driver’s license, you will need to do so.
If you are visiting from outside the U.S., you will need Photo identification; Passport; Travelers Visa or equivalent.
When going through airport security, you will need to:
- Remove your shoes. There has not been a place to sit to remove shoes when I have gone through airport security. For this reason, plan on wearing comfortable, sensible shoes that you can easily slip on and off in a standing position.
- Wear comfortable clothing. You may be leaving a much cooler climate than Maui, and the airconditioning in the airplane may be a bit chilly too. If this is the case, you will want to be comfortable on the flight but also when you land. Dress for your destination, but do bring a sweater and warm socks in your carry on luggage.
Carry-on Bags and Personal Contents
- When it comes to carry-ons and personal bags, there are regulations on how large your carry-on can be and how much they can weigh. They will allow you to have one carry-on and one personal bag. You will also be allowed to carry a jacket, something to read, and food.
- You may be asked to empty the contents of your carry on luggage. Everything you have in your carry-ons and your pockets is subject to dishevel and removal. Prepare for this by separating everything into categories and using clear ziplock baggies to easily store your items. This way, you will not be trying to stuff all of your loose items back into your bags from the bins.
- Remove all metal: coins, watches, belts with metal buckles, jewelry, hair accessories, etc. To help you move more efficiently through security, make sure your loose change is in a clear baggie. Do not wear jewelry or metal hair accessories. If you want these items handy, keep them in a baggie too.
Make certain you do not have anything that is NOT allowed that you want to keep or could get you into trouble. TSA Checklist
Airlines have limits for how many suitcases you can have and how much they can weigh. Typically you are allowed 2 suitcases per person that do not exceed 50 pounds each. If your suitcase exceeds the weight limit or you have more than 2 suitcases you will be charged extra for transporting it. Check with your airline(s) to learn more about these additional fees.
The same applies if you will be bringing something unusually long; like a surfboard or oddly shaped. Hawaiian Airlines gives examples and additional costs of such items for their flights; check your airlines fees and regulations with a quick google search using keywords: “[Your Airline] flight to Maui, surfboards and odd shaped cargo.”
Packing Your Bags
Okay, now that you know all about FAA and TSA regulations, it will make it easier to choose the luggage you are going to bring.
- When you make it to baggage claim, you want to be able to grab your bags with ease. Get a luggage set that is easily recognizable. This set has beauty and function. It is also lightweight.
- To further utilize your packing space, use packing cubes to separate and organize your belongings.
- To ensure your bags do not exceed the weight limits, you can buy an inexpensive luggage scale and weigh your bags as you pack.
- Helpful tip for the ladies: Make sure you have room left in your personal bag for your purse. Put your purse inside the larger carry on/ personal bag before boarding.
In your carry on luggage, you will, most likely, want to bring your electronic devices and their accessories. These could include:
- Laptop, charger, storage
- Tablet, charger, storage,
- Camera lenses, tripod, charger, storage devices
- Phone, charger, storage device, phone case(s) one may be waterproof.
- Go Pro or another all weather sport camera, charger, and accessories.
It is also a good idea to:
- Take a change of clothing
- Bring an extra pair shoes
- And bring TSA approved toiletries, for example travel size shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, and toothpaste, lotion. Tip: Bring a new, unopened set, such as this men’s convenience kit or women’s convenience kit
With so much to include in your carry on luggage, it is a good idea to find a bag that will hold all of this in an organized manner. Something like this computer backpack will hold most of your items. Or use packing cubes in your carry on luggage to help separate and protect your items.
When choosing clothing for what you’ll wear in Maui for your vacation, you will want to have lightweight and breathable fabrics that will keep you comfortable in the tropical air. Choose items made of :
- Lightweight cotton
You also want clothing that doesn’t cling to you. Instead, opt for clothing with a bit looser fit to allow air to circulate through your clothing, helping you feel dry and comfortable.
Think “resort casual” when it comes to packing. Basically, nice, summer casual clothing is what you want. It’s okay to show some skin. These are the islands. People dress to be comfortable in this environment.
You will want cotton undergarments. The cotton breaths where synthetics won’t. It is especially important to wear cotton underwear in humid climates. Synthetics can trap the moisture.
When it comes to swimsuits and swim trunks: Yes, more than one! If you can, bring a set for each day of vacation. Otherwise, bring two so you can rotate daily. Hand wash the previous day’s swimsuit and hang it to dry.
You will use your swimsuits more than you think. In Maui and the rest of the Hawaii islands, people spend a great deal of time outdoors in activities in or near the water.
You should also make sure to bring T-shirts. Not every day, nor every place you visit is going to be as hot or humid as the next. A couple of clean and comfortable t-shirts are essential to any wardrobe. Wearing a t-shirt and jeans while horseback riding or hiking the slopes of Haleakala will help keep you comfortable.
You will want enough shorts for you to change into them daily during your vacation. Having a change of clothes with you after a day of whale watching or walking through a botanical garden can also be handy.
Lightweight men’s beach casual pants or women’s beachside pants. Having a pair of pants that you can easily fit in a bag you are carrying around can be handy should you get chilled or need a little extra protection from the elements. If they are nice looking casual, they can easily be worn to the restaurant as well.
Dresses and skirts
Lightweight dresses or skirts: Dresses and skirts are truly a personal choice. If you prefer to wear a dress, by all means, pack dresses for your trip. Lightweight dresses are wonderfully easy to deal with. They don’t take much room, and you can wear them to the beach and into town. These Boho dresses are perfect island wear.
I recommend a dress for each day plus one that is a bit more formal if you feel like “dressing up”. Just be sure you include a couple pairs of shorts and at least one pair of pants.
A pair of jeans. All this talk of lightweight clothing, why would you need jeans? Jeans are an essential item. You may want to go horseback riding, or hike through lava fields. Some nights may be a bit cooler, and a pair of denim jeans will keep you warm.
Locals wear flip-flops. In the islands they are called slippers. They are ideal footwear. You can wear them at the beach, walking through town, even to the restaurant.
Slippers are easy to take off and put on. It is custom to remove your shoes before entering a person’s home in Hawaii. Slippers will be seen next to the front doors.
Most flip-flops can withstand getting wet, and they are easy to rinse sand and mud off of them. They are thin and lightweight.
Do bring a pair of water shoes. Protect your feet from cuts and more by wearing water shoes while swimming. There could be pahoehoe or a’a stone on the shoreline or hidden beneath the sand. A’a is a form of sharp and jagged volcanic stone that can cut you easily.
Though pahoehoe is smooth, it can become slippery as waves or rain wash over it. Sometimes it will be cracked or broken, and these areas of rock could be sharp enough to cut bare feet.
These are completely up to you. These casual dress sneakers would be ideal for men’s island dress wear. They are dressy enough to feel a little fancy, yet they are comfortable for walking and more.
When it comes to women’s dress shoes, some people can move effortlessly through any kind of terrain in spiked high-heels. However, I strongly recommend wearing flats or a low rise heel with a non slip sole.
One second you could be walking through the resort, the next walking on the beach. Trying to walk on sand, uneven rock, or even through the grass in spiked heels can be treacherous on the ankles.
Beach Day Necessities
What should you bring for a day on the beach in Maui? These things will help you enjoy your Maui beach day. Don’t forget your swimwear and water shoes.
Waterproof phone case
To keep your phone dry and free of sand, consider a waterproof phone case. Sand finds its way into everything, including any open areas of your phone, for example, charging ports and speakers. It can also scratch the lens.
Portable power cell
A versatile Island essential is a Beach bag. It will be more useful than you may guess. It will hold everything when you go to the beach and double as a market bag. Plastic bags have been banned in the islands, so be sure to bring your reusable bag.
A water bottle. Be sure you stay hydrated during your vacation. Dehydration can sneak up on you. With the tropical air, you may not even realize how much you are sweating. Drink water, and drink it often.
Did you know you can drink the water from fresh coconuts? Coconut water is high in electrolytes and perfect for staving off dehydration. Coconut Husking Big Island shows how to take the husk off a coconut, which is the most difficult part of getting to the water and fruit inside.
How to open a young coconut without losing your fingers shows how to properly open a “drinking nut.” He uses a machete to open the nut in this video, you can use other tools, like a sharp rock.
One of the most versatile and essential pieces of island wear are Sarongs. They can be used as a swimsuit cover up, a shawl, a bag, and a covered place to sit upon the ground. They are used by both women and men.
Just in Case Items
When you are traveling on Maui, you are bound to encounter a variety of climates. If you are heading up the mountain, you need to be prepared for cooler temperatures, and breezy conditions.
- Long sleeve shirt
- Hiking shoes and socks
- A jacket and maybe a warm hat
- Compact first aid and survival kit
- Water bottle
- Phone, camera, chargers
Rainforest excursions may also bring surprise weather and environmental factors you should be prepared for:
- Umbrella and or a rain poncho for those unexpected downpours
- Long sleeve shirt and long pants to help keep insects off of your skin and protect you from getting scratched by any plants you may pass.
- Insect repellant, once you are away from the ocean breeze, the mosquitoes will find you. Cactus Juice is a natural insect repellent that has worked well for me, and I wish I had been able to find it when we lived in Hawaii.
- Don’t forget your : 1st aid/ survival kit, Water bottle, Flashlight.
Maui and the Hawaiian Islands are like no other place. Don’t be surprised if you are greeted with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. This is an island way. Locals may refer to you as Aunty, Uncle, or cousin. These are terms of respect.
Be respectful. Do not climb on or in any way desecrate any heiau or monument. Do not litter. Help keep the islands beautiful. If there is not a trash can, pack it out with you.
Be safe! Stay on marked trails. Use extreme caution near the ocean and near streams and rivers. Rogue waves do happen, and they will sweep you off of cliffs or across rocks. Rains can quickly cause streams and rivers to flood. If you are near a waterway and it begins to rise, Do Not Cross It. Wait for the water to recede.