Rainbow in Hawaii
Cruising,  USA

Packing Tips: Hawaii and Inter-Island Cruise

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Aloha! Visiting the far-off state of Hawaii is high on many bucket lists, so this past year our entire family made the trip down there.  As I prepared for the trip I used my typical packing checklist, but there were a few additional items I needed to include for this trip. Before I go on, I do want to make it known that I am definitely not known to be a light-packer. However, that means I’m prepared for anything! In this post, we’ll talk about various packing tips to help you plan what to take with you if you’re visiting Hawaii, especially if you’re going on the Norwegian inter-island cruise.

The Pride of America is an NCL ship that visits the various Hawaii islands.  Use these packing tips to help you prepare for your trip.

The first of the packing tips to know is it will be warm and yes, humid.  Therefore, you’re going to want breathable clothing. However, if you’re planning on doing any hikes up something, you’ll want to bring some layers.  I know people that have worn gloves, hats, and layers of blankets they brought up with them from hotels when they visited Haleakala, especially for sunrise or set.

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I’m not going to tell you how many t-shirts, dresses, shorts, undies, etc. you should bring, that all vary in my opinion.  Use common sense, pack what you think you’ll need, think about if you can wash some items in the restroom, etc. I typically lay out all the different outfits, then cut a few items. However, I usually end up tossing something else back at the last minute, just in case.

Packing tips for preparing for your Hawaii trip:

Clothing-related items:

  • Shoes, not just sandals, especially if you’re hiking
  • Jacket for visits to Haleakala, Volcanoes National Park, or Kokee State Park
  • Hat. I actually brought my large sun hat and wore it to the beach when we were in Waikiki, but a baseball cap is good for other times.
  • Rain jacket/poncho
Check out these packing tips while preparing for your next trip to Hawaii.

Water/Beach related items:

Random other items:

  • A pen. When you’re flying into Hawaii you’ll have to fill out a declaration form, which they’ll pass out, but you’ll need your own pen.
  • Reusable bags for shopping.  Hawai’i has banned the use of plastic bags, so unless you want to buy a reusable bag each time you go shopping, bring your own. Or buy one at the first shop and make sure to always take it back out with you.
  • Chub Rub. If you like to be active and do lots of hiking, this is great to help avoid chaffing.
  • Bug spray or bracelets. You won’t find a ton of mosquitos everywhere around the islands, but on those hikes, in the rainforests, by standing water, etc. you will find some.
  • Reusable water bottle. There’s yummy water in Hawaii so keep refilling!
  • Portable phone charger. When you’re out exploring the island, especially if you’re taking lots of photos or using the maps, that battery can drain faster than you thought it would, so it’s good to have backup charging capabilities!
Snorkel gear is something you should bring with you to Hawaii.  Using my gear while snorkeling off the big island.

Cruise ship-related packing tips:

  • Sea sickness medication.  We use meclizine instead of Dramamine because it’s non-drowsy.
  • Cruise card holder/lanyard/waterproof phone pouch.  I used mine to carry around my phone and room key while walking around the ship.
  • Non-surge-protected power bar with USB outlets. Surge-protected ones are not allowed on the ship and will be confiscated.
  • European adapter. There are a couple of outlets throughout the cruise cabins where it accepts a European adapter, so if you bring one you’ve got extra outlets.
  • Ziploc bags. I always bring these with me no matter where I’m going. You could use them to put some treats in from the buffet to enjoy later or put your water shoes in them before you head home if they’re still damp.
  • We bring a nightlight with us whenever we travel now.  We put it in the bathroom which helps us not have to turn the bathroom lights on and wake up the other person. Or keep you from stubbing your toes!
  • Magnet hooks and clips.  These things are awesome! Most of the walls on the cruise ships are metal so you can put these all over the room. Hang up your purse, lanyards with your keys, sun hats, etc. We used them to also keep our leis from being destroyed right away!
Using magnetic hooks on the walls in our Hawaii cruise to hang our flower leis.

I loved having our leis up on display!

  • Over the door shoe holder. This is great to help keep things off the little bathroom counter space you have.
  • Travel hangers. Especially if you’re bringing lots of dresses, you may run out of hangers. These great little folding hangers are great backups for you.
  • Zip ties to secure your luggage when you leave it outside your cabin the night before disembarking.
  • Pop-up laundry bag. You can put this in your closet to toss all your dirty clothes in throughout the cruise to help keep them from spoiling your clean clothes.
  • Binoculars, because you never know what you might see from the ship around the islands of Hawaii.
  • Post-it notes are great for leaving notes for your cabin mates or friends in other cabins, mentioning where you might be heading or where they can find you. You could also leave notes for your room stewards.
  • Highlighters are great to bring so you can highlight items in your daily printout to clearly see what you are interested in going to each day.
  • If you want to put some items on your balcony to dry them, use some towel clips to clip them to the chairs so the winds don’t blow them away.
  • For me, 2020 brought back the chains for your glasses. Whenever I would wear a facemask and my glasses, it wasn’t uncommon for my glasses to fall off, so I got these chains to help keep them from going in places I don’t want them to (literally almost fell into the toilet once). Now I take them with me on cruises because if I’m looking over the railing, the last thing I want is for them to go swimming with the fishies!
  • Hanging toiletries bags are great space savers in addition to that shoe holder.

Honestly, I always use my hanging toiletries bag, not just on cruises!

Something you don’t really need to worry about bringing is water toys. Sure, if you already have a boogie board at home, the idea of spending money on another one may not be appealing, but when you start thinking of traveling with it, I’m sure it becomes more so. A quick stop at an ABC store and you could get a nice inflatable that you can relax on in the water, or a boogie board to ride some waves. When it’s time to go home, gift them to someone. If you don’t know who to give them to, leave them in the hallway of your hotel by the elevator with a note, or drop them at a desk.

So here are some of my various packing tips to help you prepare for your trip to Hawaii. If you’ve never been and want to explore more than one island, this inter-island cruise is a great option, just make sure you’re all prepared and packed!

What are some packing items or tips that you have for Hawaii?

Learn about items you should pack for your trip to Hawaii, especially if you're going on the Norwegian cruise, with these packing tips.

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