The Canadians’ Guide to Packing for Hawaii

Even crafters need a vacation!  Especially if they live north of 54° with less 9 hours of sunshine in the bleak mid-winter.

If you ever get a chance to travel to Hawaii, I highly recommend that you go.  It’s beautiful.  It’s hot.  It’s sunny.  It’s relaxing.  It’s perfect.

The Canadians' Guide to Packing for Hawaii


Since I love lists, and I’m PARANOID about forgetting something, I always make a packing list.  Lists will also help you from OVER packing.  And finally – in the rare case that Air Canada loses your luggage and then the courier company mistakenly delivers it to your drug dealer neighbors, who steal everything but your dirty underwear – you have a record for your claim. (Note: We did get reimbursed for our loss because the courier company made the error.  You’d get nothing if it was the airline’s mistake.  True Story.)

Onebag is a nice packing resource.  He’s an expert ultra-light packer, and gives good advice.  He also has macro that lets you plug in the details of your trip and spits out a good packing list.  But here’s some of my list.

Packing List – Specific for Canadians going to Hawaii

  • De-planing Outfit – If you take off in -20°C and you land in +25°C, you’ll want a new outfit right away.  Pack it on your carry-on and include shoes.  Keep in mind, it does “cool down” at night and can rain, so if you land at night a sweater or rain jacket might be useful.  I usually make a wardrobe change while we wait for our luggage or our rental car.
  • Hawaii Revealed Travel Book – This is the best travel book for the islands. Our friends have used them for three different islands and compared them with other big name travel books, and none come close.  They know everything the locals know, they are honest and candid.  We have never been steered wrong with this series.collage1
  • Towel – This needs a little thought.  You can bring one, or buy a cheap one from everywhere. Maybe you don’t need one because you’re accommodations provide them.  But if you have a late departure flight – like after checkout, you’ll want a towel so you can enjoy the last few moments on the beach.
  • Sunscreen and the like – This is something else that needs a little thought.  There are a bunch of items that you can buy at home and pack in your luggage, or buy when you get there and lightening your load.  Personally I would rather spend my time at the beach than in the store.
  • Craft Ambitions- The Canadians' Guide to Packing for HawaiiSnorkel Gear – Of course, you can rent, but having your own gear is awesome.  It’s nice to know where your snorkel has been.  You’ll also save time by avoiding the rental shop.  Did you know you can get prescription goggles?  For a Mr. Magoo, like me, these are amazing!  I can see!  And reef shoes can be cheap from Walmart.  All this gear may seem bulky, but I found it fits nicely into a suitcase and is well worth it.
  • Hand wipes – Beaches can have the worst bathrooms (if any).  I like having clean hands, especially when I’m about to eat.  I bring lots of wipes to use many throughout the day, not just a few in case of emergency.
  • Hand fan – Just an inexpensive fold up fan.  I have taken one with me almost every time I travel, and I’m always so glad to have it.  Sometimes us Canadians just can’t handle the heat.  I’ve used it in Rome, Shanghai, Vienna and Waikiki.  It’s small and is very handy.
  • Gravol – Whether or not you are prone to motion sickness, you’re ability to withstand rocking boats and twisty roads could be tested on this vacation.  I learned this lesson on a boat ride with my six puking friends.  Now I bring Gravol.


  • Reusable grocery bags – Hawaii is very environmentally friendly, and they don’t use (or offer) plastic bags.  Since we will be doing our cooking, and therefore grocery shopping, some of your own bags will be useful.

Generic Packing List

When I pack my carry-on, I always keep in mind that my luggage may not arrive or I might get stranded in an airport.

  • collage3Copy of Important Documents – Bring a photocopy of your passport and credit cards in your carry-on.  If anything gets lost or stolen, you’ll have copies of them and their numbers to have them replaced.
  • Itinerary, contact information, confirmation numbers, map/directions.  – Duh? Be old fashioned and bring a hard copy.  Don’t get stuck saying “It’s on my phone, but I don’t have any service.”  Also, if you’re renting a car, bring directions to get you from the airport to your hotel.
  • Cash (a little CAD, a little USD) – There’s always some sort of situation where you really need just a little cash at the beginning of your trip; drink on the plane (sometimes they only take cash in a specific currency), snack from a vendor, a bus ticket, to tip the doorman… Don’t be that guy who only has plastic or can’t break a C-note.
  • Pashmina – This is the stylish version of Arthur Dent’s towel.  A pashmina works as a wrap, scarf, blanket, pillow…
  • Comfort – I pack a lot of little things to make my trip more comfortable.  This includes, gum, hand lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, tissue, pain killers, that hand fan from above…  They are small but make any trip more comfortable.
  • Granola bars – My favorite travel companion gets very moody when he’s hungry.  This usually happens after we have landed but before we make it to the hotel.  Granola bars save the day.
  • Ear buds – You’re probably bringing them anyway, but just in case they weren’t on your radar, I know you’d rather have your own ear buds than pay for the airline’s.
  • “Irreplaceables”- Anything that would be too expensive or too annoying to replace.  Eye/sunglasses, prescription goggles, prescription drugs (Leave them in their prescription bottles.  Border security hates loose pills), that perfect fitting swimsuit
  • Cell phone charger – Another small, useful thing that would be annoying to be without.
  • Jewelry – Leave at home!  You don’t want to have to worry about it.  I once bought a cheap costume jewelry wedding ring, so I could leave the real one at home.
  • One complete outfit – See lost luggage story above.


The number one thing to bring on your trip is a smile.  My husband advises that you flirt with everyone.  This isn’t to say you hit on everyone, it means – be nice, be charming.  Everything runs smoother with a smile.  You’d be surprised (actually, you wouldn’t) how much more helpful people are, especially with deals, upgrades and all round service, with your smile.

Well, those are my must-haves for travelling.  What are yours?