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Packing For Your Hawaii Vacation

Part 2: "Think Casual" and "Dressing Up Hawaiian Style"

By Eileen M. Fischer

Think Casual

One of the most important things to remember is that when you're in Hawaii, you'll be outside much of the time - walking, riding, snorkeling, bicycling, sailing, strolling, boating, surfing, hiking, or swimming. For daytime, casual is definitely the way to go. With that in mind, you should be sure to:

  • Prepare for the sun. The sun is strong nearer the equator. You don't want to start off your first few days with the discomfort of a sunburn. Bring a good sun tan lotion as well as a hat. A collapsible hat packs very easily.

  • Pack or wear comfortable foot-wear suitable for the activities you're planning, such as athletic shoes, hiking boots, sandals or walking shoes.

  • Men should be sure to bring polo shirts, t-shirts, and shorts. A pair of jeans or lightweight pants are a good idea for higher altitudes.

  • Women will want to bring polo shirts, t-shirts, tank tops, shorts and light weight skirts or slacks. 

  • If you plan any water activities, pack at least two bathing suits. This way, you can wear one while the other is drying.

.Casual wear is an easy area in which to control over packing:

  • Consider doing a load or two of laundry during your vacation. Many condos and hotels have self-service laundromats. Call ahead to check on the availability of facilities. If you decide to go this route, set aside plenty of quarters during your vacation.

  • If you like to buy t-shirts as souvenirs, you can cut back on the number of tops you pack.  You'll find plenty of choices everywhere in Hawaii, and most especially in the resort areas and around Waikiki.

Dressing Up Hawaiian Style

For dressier occasions such as business functions, a visit to a nice restaurant, or a night on the town, note that Hawaii's culture and its tropical climate have created a more relaxed dress code.  For example, businessmen rarely wear suits and ties. With that in mind we suggest that:

  • For business functions you should pack business casual and resort casual wear, unless your company instructs you otherwise.

  • For other occasions for which you want to dress up a bit, men can consider khakis or chinos (or other tropic weigh slacks) with loafers, polo or golf shirts, and perhaps a sport jacket. 

  • Women also can consider khakis or chinos, with a dressier top (with or without a tropic-weight jacket) and sandals, or a nice sundress and sandals.

  • Hawaii's aloha-wear is also a good choice for both men and women. The styles available cover a broader range that the traditional muumuu's and loud-print shirts. It is widely available, and you will be joining in on the fun of the islands.

  • Good grooming often requires a hair dryer or iron or both, but even travel sizes can add weight to your luggage. Check ahead with your hotel or condominium to see if they offer either or both of these items as amenities.

  • Although your fine jewelry can dress up a casual outfit, and takes little space in your luggage, it requires extra security precautions. Consider, instead, wearing a just a few basic pieces. 

    Buying Hawaiian-made or sold jewelry provides a pretty souvenir you can enjoy year-round at home. There is a wide range available in the island, from inexpensive costume jewelry, to both moderately-priced and more expensive fine jewelry.

NEXT PAGE - Special Considerations

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