Even though I have been lucky enough to travel to Kauai many times, I find I still have a tendency to OVER PACK. I have a little kauai packing list I keep of the things I need to take with me, and I know it’s really sufficient, but as I start packing up the suitcase I begin to think, “Well, maybe I will need this…. Or, are 4 pair of shorts REALLY enough?” And in the end I stuff a few more clothing items in the bag than are necessary.
When it comes to Kauai clothing, you don’t need much. I don’t know how many is “enough” for you, since we are all different, but I do know most people get there and find they needed less than they thought. Instead, there are some other things on your hawaii vacation packing list you might want to give more attention to.
What to wear in Kauai – Packing list hawaii: Things you’ll want
- Sunglasses. The sun can be quite bright in Hawaii
- At least two swim suits. Good to have a dry one to put on if your other is still wet.
- Comfortable (but cheap) beachwear. Stuff that you can throw on, don’t care whether it gets sand on it or gets wet and is easy to change in and out of. If you can’t find anything at home, there will be places to get beachwear on Kauai. Light colors are best. You’ll roast in black or dark blue.
- A couple of big T-shirts for snorkeling in (or for wearing in the water). The sun reflects off the water and while you’re in there feeling pleasantly cool, unbeknownst to you, your skin will be baking. Wear T-shirts in the water so you don’t spend the first 4 days of your trip in misery with sunburn.
- If you are feeling adventurous and wish to hike, you’ll want some sturdy Kauai shoes that can get a bit muddy or wet, or even Kauai Red Dirt stained. Whatever you do, because of that red dirt, there’s no need to bring NEW or particularly nice shoes to Kauai.
- Addresses of folks you want to send kauai postcards to, along with stamps. Everyone will be delighted to receive your postcard from Kauai, right?
- If you happen to own a soft-sided collapsible cooler, bring it too. It can fit in your suitcase and is great for trips to kauai. It works well for some light snacks and a couple of cold sodas.
- An extra bag… I find it’s always a good idea to take along an extra bag (one that packs small & light but is durable) that you can pack with any extra items you might buy while on the islands, and check along with your other luggage before boarding the plane home. The suitcase often seems much fuller on the trip home, and you may need the extra space. The alternative is to buy a duffle bag while you’re on Kauai to pack things in to take home.
- Various sizes of zip-top baggies. Good for things like– putting wet clothes in, sealing food & snacks in at the condo (this helps keep the ants & things away), packing food items to take to the beach, etc.
- An umbrella. You may not need it, but then again, maybe you will. And if you find yourself in three days of Kauai downpour (which isn’t likely but does happen) , umbrellas may be hard to find.
What to bring to kauai – Things you may want but can probably easily find while you’re there on Kauai, usually quite affordably.
- Sandals to wear on the beach, and everywhere else. (It’s my view that except for while hiking, socks may be totally unnecessary on Kauai.) Unless you’re bringing very comfortable and well worn sandals, sometimes it’s good to have two pairs that fit your feet differently, in case one pairs starts chaffing or giving you blisters- You can switch to the other pair. Cheapo sandals can be bought for around $7 at WalMart or K-Mart.
- Underwater Camera (if you’re into photos with fish) ($10)
- Water shoes (Aqua sock) if you plan to walk around in the ocean ($8)
- Any beach items/accessories can be purchased on island and then you don’t have lug them across the ocean (mats, lotion, etc.)
If staying at a time share, the condo will have all the dishes and linens and things that you need, but no food. So no condiments. And no laundry detergent. So… This might seem silly, but when you come across little condiments (packets of salt, pepper, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.) that would otherwise be thrown away, collect them and bring them over in a ziplock baggie in your suitcase, so that when you want to fix lunch or breakfast at the condo, you don’t have to go and buy full bottles of things at the store. Also, if you come across single load laundry detergent, that’s also helpful. Last time I went, I got a bunch of those little Wisk tablets… Those worked well because they were very small & easy to pack.
One suggestion about packing…. I read recent kauai tips from a flight attendant that said to pack your smaller items (underwear, socks, etc.) by category into zip-lock bags. Then if you are one of the lucky few who gets their luggage searched at the gate, the officer won’t be digging through all your little personal stuff.
This may not be a new tip, but a reminder: It is also very wise to pack your shampoo/hairspray/etc (items that can leak) inside ziplock bags in your suitcase. I have had a bottle punctured inside my luggage before, and it leaked all over my clothes.
Also, a lesson learned on a cruise one time: I always try to pack one small change of clothes in my carry on bags (which is getting harder to do these days with new security measures) because sometimes we are parted from our luggage for longer than desired. If my bags don’t arrive the same day as me, it’s good to have a swimsuit and some clean underwear to change into. Anything that I couldn’t easily replace and simply could not do without for 24 hours I try to put in my carry on bags, if possible.
Our favorite in-flight entertainment items have become our portable DVD player with a bunch of movies from Netflix. If you like movies and are not a Netflix member, you should check it out. It works very well for traveling because you have no due dates for your movies and you can mail them back from any mailbox in Honolulu or Princeville, or wherever.