Planning a trip to Hawaii and wondering what to pack for Maui? This comprehensive Maui packing list will cover everything you need know while preparing for your upcoming Hawaiian holiday.
Let’s face it, no one loves packing. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably left packing until the very last minute on more than one occasion. The problem with last minute packing is that you’re pretty much always going to forget something important.
Who wants to waste their precious holiday time shopping for things you forgot to bring?! That’s cutting into beach time.
After spending a month on The Valley Isle this year, I’ve taken the guesswork out of what to pack for Maui and I’ve narrowed it down to the must-have essentials.
In addition to the obvious question of “what to wear in Maui?” I’ve included all the important items you might need for iconic Maui activities such as driving the Road to Hana or watching the sunset on Haleakala.
Read on to find my ultimate Maui packing list so that you can ensure your dream holiday goes off without a hitch and nothing gets left behind!
Are you in the planning stage of booking your Maui vacation? You’ll want to read my five day Maui itinerary to ensure you don’t miss any of the island’s top highlights.
One last thing before we dive into this Maui packing guide. If you have a long flight to catch before arriving in Maui, be sure to check out my list of carry on essentials that will make the journey a whole lot smoother!
Table of Contents
The Ultimate Maui Packing List for Every Season
The good thing about Hawaii is that the seasons don’t differ drastically. Maui’s tropical climate attracts visitors year-round thanks to its consistent warm temperatures and beautiful beach-friendly weather. This makes packing for Maui pretty straightforward.
The only thing that changes between seasons is the amount of rain the island receives from winter to summer. If you are planning your trip during the winter months of October – April, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see rain at some point during your trip. That means you’ll need to pack accordingly!
Packing for Maui: Important Travel Documents
Passport/ID – For those travelling internationally, it may seem obvious but your passport really should be the first thing you pack into your carry on bag. If you’re travelling to Maui from the mainland USA, be sure to bring a valid government ID card like your driver’s license.
Having a passport holder can help keep all of your travel documents organized in one place. I like this one because it can fit your passport, boarding pass, credit cards, ID cards, some cash and other important things that you can’t travel without.
ESTA (visa waiver) – Are you travelling to the USA from a different country? You may need to apply for an ESTA (visa waiver) before you go. This costs $21 USD and is very easy to do online. It goes without saying that you’ll want to have this organized before the trip begins.
Find out whether you need an ESTA or a visa before travelling to the USA by visiting the government website. Applying online can also be done from the same link.
Flight Tickets – Don’t forget to check in for your flight online (24 – 48 hours before departure) and download your boarding pass on your phone before heading to the airport. I always use this website to find cheap flights.
Travel Insurance – If you’re travelling to Hawaii from overseas, you’ll need to get travel insurance. Travelling to any country without insurance is not worth the risk. The reality of travelling overseas is that unexpected things can happen at any time.
The last thing you want is to have a medical emergency occur while you’re in a different country with no insurance to cover the costs! Even if you don’t end up using it, it is absolutely worth having travel insurance for the peace of mind.
I always go with Heymondo. They’re one of the most reputable travel insurance companies that will provide you with simple and flexible coverage. Whether you are into adventurous activities or simply looking for trip cancellation and medical insurance, Heymondo has you covered.
As a reader of The Road Is Life, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance simply by using this link!
Packing for Maui: Electronics
Phone & Charger – Most people use their phones daily, especially for taking photos while on holiday. Before travelling to Maui I spent some time researching the best phone camera on the market and ended up investing in the Google Pixel 7 Pro (it was time for an upgrade anyway).
I can’t say enough good things about the camera on this phone. If you’re due for a phone upgrade and seeking a phone with amazing camera capabilities (that isn’t an iPhone), I can highly recommend going with the Google Pixel 7 Pro.
This phone is not cheap but I promise you won’t be disappointed! See the sunset photo below for reference.
International Power Adapter – If you’re travelling to the USA from outside of North America, you’ll need to bring a power adapter. I like this universal travel adapter that can be used in every country so that you’ll never be stuck without the correct one.
I specifically like the fact that it has USB ports on the side so that you can easily charge your phone, tablet or smart watch at the same time as your laptop.
Portable Charger – This is such a great item to have while you’re out and about sightseeing or spending the day at the beach. Ensure your phone and other electronics stay charged throughout the day by throwing one of these handy devices in your day pack.
Camera & Accessories – If you’re into photography and going to be bringing a camera, be sure to include all the accessories in your camera bag! Your camera charger, a second battery and a few extra SD cards are some important things to bring.
Having a tripod is also a necessary item for photography enthusiasts, especially for capturing those epic Maui sunsets that you’ll see every night! Check out my top photography locations in Maui to get some inspiration before you go.
Noise Cancelling Headphones – If you’re someone who travels often, these are truly a game changer to have during flights. After investing in a pair of these noise cancelling headphones, they’ve quickly become my one of my favourite carry on essentials no matter how long the flight!
Laptop – Whether you work on your laptop or simply enjoy watching Netflix in the evenings, don’t forget to pack this item in your carry on bag. Having a laptop or tablet is also great for watching your favourite show during the flight over.
I love my Dell Inspiron which is very compact and lightweight to bring travelling. I’ve been using this laptop daily for 2 years now and can only say positive things about it. The battery life is also great which makes it perfect for working online or watching movies on long flights.
Kindle – If you’re someone who loves to read a book at the beach or by the pool, having a Kindle is a must-have for any traveler. Instead of weighing your luggage down with bulky books, a Kindle takes up very little space in your bag while allowing you to bring as many books as you like.
*Tip* If you haven’t already got one, go for the waterproof Kindle which allows you to read by the beach or the pool without worrying about water damage.
GoPro – If your budget allows for it, it’s definitely worthwhile to include a GoPro or any kind of underwater camera on your Maui packing list. This is something you’ll really want to have while snorkeling through the beautiful coral gardens and swimming alongside sea turtles.
GoPros are small and easy to take along with you on any snorkeling or scuba diving adventure. The underwater world of Maui is just as beautiful as the surface and being able to capture those special memories and keep them forever is priceless!
What to Pack for Maui: Toiletries & Medications
Prescription Medications – Don’t forget to bring any of your daily prescriptions pills or medications.
Dramamine – If you’re easily affected by motion sickness when driving on winding roads or rough waves on a boat tour, this is an essential thing to always have on hand in your day pack.
You’ll see what I mean when you drive the Road to Hana or make your way up the twisting highway to the summit of Haleakala!
Reef Safe Sunscreen – The state of Hawaii has made it mandatory to only use reef-safe or mineral sunscreen when entering the ocean. This is in order to protect marine life and conserve the coral reefs.
Regular sunscreen contains harmful chemicals that are very damaging to the fish and beautiful corals. If you forget to pack reef-safe sunscreen, you can find it stocked in many shops around the island including Costco, Walmart or Target.
SPF Lip Balm – Don’t forget that your lips also need sun protection, this reef-safe lip balm makes a great choice.
Aloe Vera Gel – If you’re planning a winter escape to Maui, chances are it’s been a while since your skin has seen the sun. It’s always good to have a bottle of aloe vera on hand just in case your skin turns a little red.
Insect Repellent – The mosquitos in Maui are really big and can be a huge nuisance, especially on the east side of the island where it rains a lot. Avoid getting any bug bites when you’re hiking in the jungle or exploring waterfalls by bringing a good quality insect repellent.
Hand Sanitizer – I’m one of those people that never leaves home without a small bottle of hand sanitizer, especially during flights!
Deodorant – Bring a travel-sized deodorant so you can easily take it in your carry on and throw it in your beach bag for on the go.
Hairbrush – With all that time spent in the pool and the ocean, you won’t regret bringing a detangling brush with you to keep your hair free of knots and frizz.
Makeup Remover Wipes – I never travel without facial wipes which are great for removing sunscreen after the beach or refreshing yourself on long flights.
Curling Iron/Flat Iron – If these are items you can’t live without, don’t forget to pack them!
Shower Gel/Soap – Your hotel will likely provide this but it’s nice to have your favourite soap while on holiday.
Toiletry Bag – Keep all your toiletries together in one place by using a toiletry bag that folds up small and fits in your luggage. I’ve been using this one for the last few years and it’s always done the job well.
This particular design is great because it’s super compact and has multiple compartments to fit your makeup, toothpaste, shampoos and any other bathroom items.
More toiletries – Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, makeup, shampoo & conditioner, facial cleanser, moisturizer.
What to Wear in Maui: Clothes & Shoes
Swimsuits – If your Maui itinerary is anything like mine then you’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach or in the water. From swimming with sea turtles to cooling off in waterfalls on the Road to Hana, the water activities in Maui are truly endless.
I would advise to pack several swimsuits (2-4 is a good amount) so that you always have one ready to go for a day of fun adventures.
Running Shoes/Comfortable Walking Shoes – I always take my Nike running shoes when travelling and use them for all purposes, even hiking. They are very useful to have when walking long distances such as sightseeing, airports, light hiking trails etc.
Flip Flops/Sandals – Having a comfy pair of slip on shoes is ideal for hitting the beach and exploring the island. While flip flops are perfect for beach days, I really love my Birkenstock sandals as an all-around sandal that can be worn anywhere.
They’re super comfortable to walk in while also being practical and easy to slip on and off. I also love how versatile they are. You can dress them up or use them as everyday sandals and they’re perfect in both scenarios.
If you’ve never owned a pair of Birkenstocks, do yourself a favour and give them a try!
Rain Jacket – The weather in Maui can vary from one side of the island to another. This is particularly true on the island’s east coast where rain occurs often.
You might wake up in your hotel in Kihei to blue skies and sunshine, only to pass through several rain showers while driving the Road to Hana. It’s always best to bring a rain jacket with you, even if you don’t end up using it.
Warm Jacket – A warm jacket is probably the last thing you thought you needed for Maui. If you’re planning to watch the sunrise or sunset on Haleakala, you’ll definitely need it.
Haleakala’s summit sits at an elevation of 10,023 ft high which means the weather is always different from the rest of the island. The temperatures at the top of the volcano are usually much cooler, especially during sunrise or sunset hours.
*Tip* Avoid filling up your suitcase with a bulky winter coat and opt for a packable puffer jacket that folds up nice and small, like the one I’m wearing in the photo below.
Other Items To Pack – Socks, bras, underwear, pyjamas.
What to Wear in Maui for Women
Sundresses – Your Maui packing list is not complete without a few cute sundresses that also work as swimsuit cover ups. These are perfect for wearing to the beach, sightseeing, around the resort or out to dinner. They also complete any beachy Instagram shoots, just add a sunhat and you’re set!
Maxi Dress – You may also want to throw in a long, flowy dress for sunset cocktails and evenings out. You can dress them up with a pair of nice sandals. Forget the heels and fancy clothes, Maui is pretty laidback for the most part.
Activewear – Whether there’s a gym in your hotel or you like to get up early and run on the beach, I never travel without a set of active wear. This includes leggings, sports bras, a tank top and a pair of shorts.
Light Jacket – I like to bring a denim jacket to pair with sun dresses or wear during the evening if it’s a bit chilly.
Shorts – A few pairs of comfy shorts are essential for everyday use.
Sweatshirt/Hoodie – It’s always good to have one of these when travelling, especially if the aircon is quite cool on the flight. This item will come in very handy as a layering piece during your trip to the summit of Haleakala.
As the temperature at the top can get pretty close to freezing, you’ll be grateful to have a warm layer under your jacket. I also wore my hoodie during the sunrise whale watching boat trip.
What to Wear in Maui for Men
Shorts – You’ll be wearing shorts everyday so bring at least 2-3 pairs.
Short Sleeved Button Down Shirts – A few of these to wear to dinner in the evenings is the best way to polish your look without being too dressy.
Aloha Shirt – You can’t go to Hawaii without a classic, floral Aloha shirt. This will be perfect for wearing to a nice restaurant or a luau.
Sweatshirt/Hoodie – As mentioned above, you’ll need to wear this as a layer when you watch the sunset on Haleakala or join an early morning whale watching boat tour.
What to Pack for the Beach in Maui: Beach Essentials
Beach Bag– Having a cute beach bag that fits all your beach day essentials is a must in Maui!
Beach Mat – I always like to have a compact and lightweight beach mat that keeps the sand away and makes chilling on the beach more comfortable. This one folds up small so it fits in your beach bag and it also has anchors to keep the corners secured to the ground.
Sand Free Beach Towel – Not only are these towels fast drying, they also keep the sand off. I’ve had mine for a few years now and take it with me on every trip. Try one of these microfiber beach towels and you’ll never go back.
Water Shoes – If you’re going snorkeling from a rocky shore or venturing to waterfalls on the Road to Hana, these will be a useful item to pack.
There are several waterfalls that require walking through a stream to access and unfortunately I didn’t have water shoes so I had to miss out!
Snorkel, Mask & Fins – Having your own snorkeling gear is the easiest and cheapest way to hop in for a snorkel from the beach. With so many amazing snorkeling spots in Maui, you’ll definitely want to bring your own set.
Renting snorkel gear is an option and prices cost around $30 per week. However I always prefer to have my own set which saves you the time and hassle of renting and returning them at the end.
Wetsuit Top/Rash Guard – Avoid a nasty sunburn while you’re out snorkeling by wearing a wetsuit top. This will allow you to stay in the water longer without worrying about getting too cold or sun burnt.
Packing for Adventures in Maui: Hiking & Outdoor Activities
Hiking Boots – I did a fair amount of hiking while I was on Maui and to be honest, I didn’t have hiking boots with me. They’re pretty bulky and difficult to take travelling so I usually just wear my Nike trainers for all kinds of exercise/hiking.
If you’re planning to do any longer and more challenging hikes on the island, like the Pipiwai Trail, the Lahaina Pali trail or the Sliding Sands Trail on Haleakala, then I would highly recommend bringing some sturdy hiking boots along.
In addition to the ankle support they provide, a good pair of hiking boots makes it so much easier to walk on uneven ground and muddy trails.
Waterproof Phone Case – I ordered this waterproof phone case from Amazon and was so glad to have it on the whale watching tour and snorkeling day trip. This is especially good for the small-raft boat tour as you’ll be sitting low and will likely get splashed a few times by waves.
Phone Flotation Strap – In the unfortunate event that you drop your phone in the water, it definitely won’t float on the surface, even with a waterproof case.
Imagine you’re standing at the edge of the boat trying to snap that perfect photo of a whale breaching and your phone gets knocked out of your hand.
For peace of mind while near the water, attach one of these handy flotation straps to your phone.
Waterproof Dry Bag – In addition to the waterproof phone case, it’s good to have one of these to pack other items in during boat trips, kayaking adventures, beach days or swimming at waterfalls.
Keep your wallet, camera and other important belongings dry at all times while you’re near the water!
Portable Cooler Bag – This is ideal for packing a lunch, snacks and drinks when you’re out adventuring on day trips like driving the Road to Hana or watching the sunset on Haleakala.
Travel Umbrella – Small, compact and something you’ll be very thankful to whip out as soon as an unexpected downpour hits (which happens more often than not in Maui!)
Useful Accessories to Pack for Maui
Day Pack/Carry On Bag – Having a lightweight backpack that you can fit your essentials in for the day is a must while travelling. It’s not only great for taking your belongings on day trips but also perfect for packing your electronics and valuables as carry on items during flights.
TSA Approved Toiletry Bag – A clear TSA approved bag is needed for carrying your travel-sized personal items on the flight. It’s ideal for things like hand-sanitizer, moisturizer, cosmetics etc.
Remember though, any of these liquid items must be under 100ml if you’re taking them through security.
Purse/Handbag – A small travel purse is perfect to keep your essentials in for evenings out, who wants to bring their day pack to a nice restaurant?
UV Sunglasses – Whether you’re visiting Maui in the winter or summer, you’ll need a good pair of sunglasses to protect yourself from the harsh UV rays.
Sun Hat – As mentioned above, the sun in Maui is strong no matter what time of year you go. Keep yourself protected while at the beach or exploring the island.
Collapsible Water Bottle – Avoid buying single-use plastic bottles everyday during your trip to Maui. Having a reusable water bottle is an essential item for travelling, hiking, spending the day at the beach or doing day trips around the island.
This collapsible water bottle will easily fit in your suitcase when travelling over as well as fold up nicely in your day pack when it’s empty.
Reusable Shopping Bag – If you’re planning to shop at Costco, Walmart or any grocery store while you’re in Maui then be sure to bring a few reusable shopping bags with you. This one is perfect and takes up very little space in your suitcase.
Costco Membership Card – If you’re a Costco member, you won’t want to leave this behind! Eating at restaurants for every meal in Maui is going to add up very quickly. If you have a fridge in your accommodation, make a priority of stopping in at Costco.
Bringing your Costco card will allow you to stock up on affordable groceries as well as fill up your rental car with cheaper gas. Costco is located in Kahului, about 5 minutes around the corner from the airport. It’s the perfect place to buy a few essentials when you arrive on the island.
I saved a ton of money by doing all of my grocery shopping in Costco when I was in Maui. It’s also the cheapest place to buy gas on the island so you can get everything done in one stop.
How Much Time do You Need For Maui?
Maui is a pretty big island with a huge amount of activities and amazing sites to see in addition to hitting the beach. If you had two weeks to spend, you still wouldn’t be bored on Maui. However, not everyone has the luxury of time.
After spending a month on the island, I created the perfect five day Maui itinerary that will easily fit into your one week Maui holiday, taking into account that there may be a rainy day or two.
This itinerary covers all of the island’s main attractions making it easy to plan your epic Maui vacation. You’ll definitely want to read it before you go!
Where to Stay in Maui
Where you choose to stay on Maui largely depends on how you’re planning to spend your time on the island. Below is a brief overview of the most popular accommodation areas of Maui and what they’re best known for.
South Maui – Kihei and Wailea are the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Maui thanks to the warm and sunny weather, plenty of hotels and self-contained villas, beautiful beaches and great dining choices.
West Maui – Another great option for those seeking a resort style holiday with nice beaches to relax on. Staying in Lahaina or Ka’anapali will provide you with great oceanfront dining options and give you easy access to whale watching/snorkelling tours.
Where to Rent a Car on Maui
Renting a car in Maui is not cheap however it is the most efficient way to get around the island and access the most popular tourist sites such as the Road to Hana or Haleakala’s summit.
Public transportation is limited and the attractions are all pretty spread out. Having a car is the only option unless you plan to book individual day tours.
The best place to rent a car is on arrival at the Kahului Airport. Check out this website to browse car rental options and book your rental car online before you arrive.
Popular Maui Activities
These are the activities that can’t be missed on your next trip to Maui!
Final Thoughts on Packing for Maui
I hope my Maui packing list has guided you in the right direction of what to bring on your Hawaiian holiday. One last thing, don’t forget to leave some space in your suitcase for any potential souvenirs you might find while you’re there!
If you’ve found this post helpful, make sure to check out more of my Maui travel guides below! Happy travels 🙂
Read More Maui Travel Guides
- The Perfect 5 Day Maui Itinerary
- The Ultimate Maui Bucket List – 35 Epic Things to do in Maui
- How to Watch the Sunset on Haleakala – Complete Guide
- 31 Best Stops on the Road to Hana + Driving Itinerary
- 25 Best Instagram Spots on Maui + Interactive Map
- 10 Best Places to See Turtles in Maui
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