How to Pack for Maui: The Must-Have Items (& What to Leave Behind)

Aloha!

When it comes to packing for a vacation, you probably fall into one of two categories:

An over-packer or under-packer. 

Am I right? The good news is, when you’re getting ready to jet off to the island of Maui, the laid-back atmosphere and tropical temperatures make it somewhat easy to find a happy medium between the two. You basically need a bathing suit and some flip-flops!

Okay, I’m only kidding. (Kind of.)

Though having traveled from my family’s home base near Seattle to Maui many times, I’m here today to lend you a helping hand because, let’s be honest, a checklist can save the day when it comes to loading up our suitcase in the midst of other distractions such as crossing off last-minute work to-dos and more. 

So I won’t keep you waiting any longer. While a stay at Maui Beachside offers all you could want and need to make you feel right at home, here are the must-have items (& what to leave behind) to toss in your suitcase for a perfect island vacation!

What to Pack:

CLOTHES

Even though temperatures typically range between 68-88 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll either be visiting during one of Maui’s two seasons (dry = April-October, wet = November-March), just be sure to keep an eye on weather conditions before your trip to alter any of the recommendations below!

1. DRESSES + ROMPERS | Choose a few no-fuss options for during the day (casual – whether swimming or walking around town) and evening (dressy – for a luau, date night, or beach photoshoot at one of the most Instagrammable spots in Maui). The best part? You can throw one of your casual dresses or rompers over your swimsuit to double as a cover-up and save some space in your suitcase!

2. CASUAL TOPS | Go with a few breathable tank tops, t-shirts, button-downs, and blouses that you can pair with just about anything.

3. LIGHTWEIGHT PANTS & SHORTS | You can’t go wrong with a pair of soft twill utility pants and linen-blend or jean shorts! All-day comfort is key when you’re hopping around from one island attraction to the next. 

4. JACKET & PULLOVER | While you may not think you need long-sleeves while on a tropical getaway, a jacket and pullover is a must—especially if you plan to visit Haleakala National Park or any spot at a high altitude. 

5. ACTIVEWEAR | If you know you’re going to be making the most of Maui’s enchanting land and sea adventures, add some activewear into the mix! And even better if these clothing pieces have built-in sun protection or rashguard. The Hawaiian sun is intense!

6. SLEEPWEAR | This is easily one of the most forgotten clothing categories when it comes to packing. But there’s nothing better than throwing something comfy on after a long day of exploring so you can cozy up on the couch (or in bed) at Maui Beachside and simply relax. I recommend a cotton tank and short sleep set or a soft slip. 

7. SWIMSUITS | The essentials, of course! Bring two to three options (mix and match is even better), so you don’t have to throw on a wet swimsuit from the day before. Personally, I’m a fan of bikinis, but be sure to pack a one-piece or two for more adventurous water activities—whether snorkeling, SUPing, kayaking; you name it.

ACCESSORIES

1. SUNGLASSES | No vacation outfit would be complete without sunglasses. That’s not only because they compliment your attire, but they also protect your eyes from those harsh island rays. Classic aviators are always an all-time favorite. But, consider having fun with different colors or styles. (Here’s a tip: remember to pack a sunglasses case as these are an easy accessory to lose track of while going from one place to the next.)

2. FLAT, CASUAL SANDALS | There’s no need to pack a suitcase full of shoes when you’re heading to paradise. Chances are, you’re either going to be walking around barefoot or needing something comfortable to get you from point A to point B, like slip-on or gladiator sandals. 

3. ATHLETIC SHOES | Plan on going hiking or being active in some way during your vacation? Wear athletic shoes on the plane to save some space in your suitcase.

4. HATS | Another necessity for ultimate sun protection! From a visor to a wide brim hat, there are many packable options to help block the rays and complete your Maui ensembles.

5. BACKPACK, BEACH TOTE, CROSSBODY, SWIM BAG | Four bags for four island experiences—a waterproof backpack for adventures, beach tote for hanging out on the powder sand, crossbody for low-key activities (like restaurant hopping or shopping), and swim bag to transport wet swimsuits. 


6. COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLE | Staying hydrated while on vacation is essential! And a collapsible water bottle like this one can make it easy for you to do just that, without taking up space in your suitcase or carry-on bag. Plus, the environment will thank you for going with a reusable option! 😉

7. SILICONE RING | Put aside any worries of dulling the shine of your diamonds with sunscreen or, much worse, having them swept away with the waves, and sport a rubber ring from QALO instead. There are many styles and colors to choose from for both men and women.

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

1. REEF-SAFE SUNSCREEN | Basically, any sunscreen formulated without oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are two chemicals banned in Hawaii as they harm coral reefs and marine life. Oh, and you can’t forget reef-safe SPF lip balm!

2. NECESSARY MEDICATION | Remember any day-to-day prescriptions and over-the-counter necessities (think Tylenol and Dramamine) for both adults and children (if you’re not going on a couples-only escape). 

3. AFTER SUN LOTION | No matter how religiously you may apply your sunscreen, it’s better to be safe than sorry and pack some after sun lotion. Your skin will thank you!

4. FACE & UNDER-EYE MASKS | Even though you’re going to enjoy some R&R on your vacation, traveling can still prove to be stressful! Not to mention, your typical skincare routine might be a little off while you’re away from home. So, prepare to treat yourself—while in-flight or at Maui Beachside—with any of these face masks and under-eye products. 

5. LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER, BEACH WAVE SPRAY & DRY SHAMPOO | The Hawaiian humidity can make it difficult to tame your mane. Why not leave the heat-styling tools and products at home and embrace the natural texture of your hair? Use a leave-in conditioner after a long day at the pool or beach, try no-heat waves with a beach wave spray, and even extend the time between washes with dry shampoo. 

6. MINI WET BRUSH | Brushing your hair out, especially after swimming in the ocean, can be a challenge! A Wet Brush Mini Travel Detangler, however, will be your best friend.

7. HANGING TOILETRY BAG | Keep your beauty products organized (and your clothing and accessories protected from any explosions of serums, lotions, etc. during travel) with a hanging toiletry bag like this one.

ELECTRONICS

1. CELL PHONE CHARGER (PLUG-IN & PORTABLE) | While you probably won’t forget a cell phone charger, this one’s worth mentioning. You know, just in case. 😉 Also, a portable battery can be a lifesaver, especially if you plan on being away from your vacation home for hours at a time! This one, in particular, is super compact and offers a fast charge for your phone or other mobile devices.

2. CAMERA & ACCESSORIES | While entirely optional, if you’re planning on capturing unforgettable moments with something other than a cell phone, be sure to bring your travel camera along—as well as a camera bag with an extra battery and SD card tucked inside. Oh, and don’t leave without a quality waterproof case for your phone and/or camera. 

3. HEADPHONES | Even if your goal is to limit screen time during your travels, tossing a pair of noise-canceling headphones into your carry-on bag just might help you kick your relaxation level up a notch or two. 

4. KINDLE OR TABLET | The decision is up to you on how many electronics you plan on taking with you to Maui. But, if you’re likely to spend a good amount of time reading (or have little ones in your travel group), bring your Kindle or tablet along for the ride.

KID-FRIENDLY ITEMS

Are your Keikis (aka kids) joining you on your Maui getaway? As a fellow parent who has been in your shoes multiple times, I know how easy it is to err on the side of overpacking. But the good news is that Maui Beachside comes equipped with many essentials you need upon arrival (from a Pack ‘n Play crib to toys, books, beach necessities, video game console, kids dinnerware and utensils, and a washer and dryer!). 

So, all that to say, here’s a short and sweet list of the items you’ll need to bring with you:

1. TRAVEL TOYS & SNACKS | Load up your carry-on bag with snacks and activities to keep your little ones occupied and their tummies full. Two to three compact travel toys (particularly a few new ones they haven’t played with yet!) and even a coloring book can help make for a smooth flight. And for easy-to-pack food items, fruit and veggie pouches, teething crackers, puffs, and any of Annie’s yummy snacks are some go-to choices of mine. 

2. CAR / BOOSTER SEAT | You’ll likely need a portable car seat or booster seat for the Uber ride to and from the airport or your rental car during the length of your stay. 

3. TRAVEL STROLLER | Having a lightweight, compact, yet sturdy travel stroller can make things so much easier for both yourself and your Keiki. Have one of your own? Bring it along! Just be sure it’ll keep your child at ease during your adventures with features such as a reclining seat, adjustable canopy, and padded harness. You can also consider heading to Maui Baby Rentals upon your arrival to rent one at a daily or weekly rate.

4. SMALL BLANKET & STUFFED ANIMAL | My husband and I are in trouble if our son’s lovey doesn’t make the trip. So if your Keiki has a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, pack it and be sure to protect it with your life.

5. PORTABLE WHITE NOISE MACHINE | Traveling can disrupt everyone’s sleep schedule. A portable white noise machine, however, can be a lifesaver, helping to lull your littles to sleep at bedtime. This one is a favorite among many parents, and it even comes equipped with a child lock. 

6. WIPES | And as many of them as you possibly can. They’ll come in handy when you’re on-the-go. 

7. CHANGE OF CLOTHES | Last but not least, a change of clothes is a must. It’s best to be extra prepared for untimely accidents. Then, you can wash any necessary clothes upon arrival at Maui Beachside (again, thanks to the in-unit washer & dryer!). 

Looking for a list of kid-friendly activities and restaurants in Maui? Add these two blog posts to your reading list: 12+ Family-Friendly Spots You’ll Love to Visit and The 9 Best Family-Friendly Restaurants on the Island. 

EXTRAS

1. DOWNLOADED MUSIC, PODCASTS, MOVIES & BOOKS | To save space in your carry-on or suitcase, download music, podcasts, movies, and books to your Kindle or tablet before your departure day. 

2. DIVE CERTIFICATION CARDS & LOG BOOK | Will you be exploring Maui’s magical underwater world by way of scuba diving? Don’t forget to pack all your certification cards as well as your log book. 

What to Leave at Home:

  1. Valuable jewelry or belongings—while you’ll be in a safe spot, there’s always a chance your valuable jewelry or belongings can get lost, stolen, or damaged while on-the-go. Leave what you can at home. And if you prefer to bring certain items along, consider packing a personal, portable safe from SAFEGO.
  2. Multiple cold-weather clothing pieces—a jacket and a pair of pants is recommended. Though I wouldn’t advise anything more because, remember, Maui features a mild climate year-round. 
  3. Beach towels and water toys/equipmentMaui Beachside offers all you could want (and more) to live the beach life. I’m talking beach and pool towels, folding beach chairs, a large beach umbrella, a cooler, kids toys, boogie board, pool noodles, and more.
  4. Hair dryer & basic toiletries—don’t waste valuable suitcase space on a bulky hair appliance! Maui Beachside offers a hair dryer as well as essential toiletries so you don’t have to spend time shopping around for forgotten items. 

Packing & Travel Tips:

  1. Write out a rough itinerary. Having a general idea of what you plan to do each day will make it that much easier for you to pack only what you need, while researching the weather and aesthetics of your must-visit spots. For inspiration, read through some of my other blog posts spotlighting Maui Beachside guests here and here
  2. Lay out all your outfits on the bed. It’ll help you visualize how various pieces can go together, and how you can mix-and-match to avoid overpacking. If you have time, consider trying on your outfits, too! That way, you can ensure you feel nothing but confident and comfortable, and avoid any outfit fiascos. 
  3. Use packing cubes. They’ll help you to organize clothes by garment type so you can just take them out of your suitcase and neatly place in dresser drawers or a closet. You can even purchase different colored sets for each family member to make things even easier. 
  4. Leave some space in your suitcase. Rolling your clothes can help you do just that! Then, you’ll have room to bring back those items you purchased in Maui.
  5. Purchase travel insurance. It’s an inexpensive way to protect your trip from unforeseen circumstances, Mother Nature, and illness. Click here or here for options on how to get started.
  6. Cross off any additional last-minute to-dos before traveling. Depending on the length of your stay, you might need to put your mail on hold. And be sure to notify your bank that you’ll be traveling! That way, you’ll reduce the chances of getting your transactions declined in the checkout line.

Ultimately, I hope this list of must-haves for Maui helps eliminate some of the inevitable stress that comes with the task of packing for a vacation! 

Tell me – is there an item you can’t leave home without, or a packing or travel tip you live by? Share it with me in the comments below.

🌺 Mahalo,

Stacey
Want even more of Maui? Download our guide to the 15 Most Instagrammable Spots in Maui here and get in touch to reserve a stay of your own – our condos book up quick!

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