Are you getting ready for a trip to Maui? Maui is one of my favorite Hawaiian islands. There are beautiful beaches, great hiking trails, and cute small towns to explore. Since there are so many fun things to do in Maui, you need to have the right items in your suitcase. This Maui packing list is the most comprehensive packing list I’ve put together. With this ultimate Maui packing list, you’ll of course have the basic essentials you’ll need, but you’ll also know what to pack for the variety of activities you may have on your itinerary. Whether you plan to stay at Maui’s beaches or you’re going to be hiking all over the island, this is the best packing list for the island of Maui.
Best Time of Year to Visit Maui
The first thing to consider when planning your Hawaii packing list is the time of year you’re visiting Maui. Maui’s tropical climate means the weather stays relatively the same throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 75-85o during the day. There is a rainy season in the winter months from November through March. However, those rainy days will ensure that those waterfalls you chase are flowing! The summer months in Maui are typically filled with warm days and a bit more humidity than you may be used to!
Now let’s chat crowds. While crowds don’t have anything to do with a packing list as the weather does, I like being thorough in these! Expect crowds and high accommodation prices during the summer months. The warm days seem to draw large crowds to this gorgeous island! December is also a very busy time of year as people enjoy spending the holidays on the island.
That being said, for your best chance at great weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodations, book your trip to Maui for the shoulder season months of April-June and October.
Activities in Maui
There are so many fun things to do in Maui. From exploring cute towns like Paia to lounging on a beach, hiking volcanic craters, and snorkeling in crystal clear waters. Honestly, the list is endless. That’s why it’s best to keep your Maui itinerary in mind when planning your packing list. You want to make sure you have what you need for the bucket list activities you plan to do so you can enjoy them comfortably. There’s nothing worse than trying to hike to a waterfall in flip-flops!
Don’t skimp on the sun protection either. Because speaking from experience, saying you’ll buy sunscreen when you get there so you don’t have to check a bag almost always leads to being sunburned within the first 5 hours.
Can You Pack for Maui in a Carry-On
It’s understandable though when people want to check their bags, especially for a trip like Hawaii where you may want multiple clothing options, need a variety of footwear, and will be able to pack as much sunscreen as your skin requires (plus some). However, I firmly believe that with the use of packing cubes, you can pack for just about any trip, no matter the length, in a carry-on, here’s how.
What to Pack in Your Carry-On bag
If you’re going to check your bag, make sure you keep the items below in your carry-on. I recommend using a backpack that you can use for the beach and a hike as your carry-on. I also recommend bringing a purse or belt bag with you on the plane so your essentials are easily reachable.
Your Maui Carry-on Essentials
- Reusable Water Bottle: You’ll be able to fill this up once you get past security and will save money on buying water once in Maui. I recommend an insulated water bottle like a Hydroflask so that your water stays cold when you’re in the sun.
- Snacks: It’s a long plane ride so make sure you have enough snacks to keep you satisfied. I love bringing trail mix, dried mango, and packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Entertainment: Whether it’s a book, a movie downloaded on your phone, or something else entirely. Make sure you have some sort of entertainment for the flight over. Many planes these days no longer have seatback entertainment and sometimes the WiFi doesn’t work. Be prepared! Also – make sure you have chargers for your electronics!
- Documents: Of course, you’ll keep your important documents with you in your carry-on like your ID, passport, credit cards, and cash. You may also want to bring your vaccination card. While it’s no longer necessary for entry to Maui, it’s good to have it on hand just in case.
- Comfortable Clothing: I always recommend wearing comfortable clothing on travel days. I don’t like to be restricted when sitting for long periods. I also recommend wearing long pants and bringing your sweater on board as often the planes get chilly.
- Toiletries: While you likely checked most of your toiletries, keep travel-sized ones in your carry-on. Having a toothbrush and toothpaste available to brush your teeth in the bathroom when you land will help you feel refreshed. I also recommend travel-sized deodorant, hand sanitizer, makeup wipes, and sunscreen. You’ll feel fresh and protected when you land. Don’t forget to keep your medications with you as well!
Your Maui Packing List
We’ve already covered so much ground in your preparation for your Maui adventure! Now, let’s get into the details of your Maui packing list. This packing list starts with general needs for a well-rounded Maui trip that includes a beach day, meals out, and easy waterfall hikes. It then gets into the specifics you’ll need for different activities. Ready? Let’s go!
Clothing to Pack for Maui
You do not have to go out and buy a new wardrobe for Maui, as tempting as it is. I’ll provide links as an example of what I’m recommending but I’m fairly certain if you’re anything like me, you have just about everything you need in your closet. Plus, you could save that money for a Maui day tour or to buy yourself something nice on the island (Maui has great shopping!).
Tank Tops are a great basic to wear in Maui that is easily packable and versatile. You could wear a tank top over your bathing suit, with a pair of jeans for dinner, and a hike. Pack 3-4 tank tops that can be dressed up or dressed down and one athletic tank top.
The same goes for t-shirts. Pack 3-4 in a variety of colors that will mix and match well with your bottoms. I also recommend packing a short-sleeved athletic shirt.
Sundress or Romper
A sundress or romper is perfect for dressing up for a day of exploring Maui’s beach towns or for a nice meal. I love this Patagonia romper. I wear it for travel days, out to dinner, and for hiking. It’s super comfortable. I know I just said, don’t buy anything new, but this was a solid clothing investment!
Pack multiple bathing suits! Whether you’re swimming in the hotel pool, surfing, snorkeling, or chilling on the beach, you will want multiple swimsuits. This way you can wear one while the other dries and keep them in a rotation. One piece, bikini, whatever you like, pack a few. They don’t take up that much space anyway.
A pair or two of shorts is a good idea to bring with you. Bring a comfortable, relaxed pair of shorts for the beach and a nicer pair of jean shorts for exploring the town. These jean shorts are super cute for Maui. Skyline shorts could also be super cute and comfortable.
Jeans or Long Pants
Jeans are always great to pack. You can dress jeans up or down depending on where you’re wearing them. If you’re traveling to Maui in the summer, it may be too hot for jeans, even at night, so you may want to leave them at home. Or you could wear them for your travel days so they don’t take up space in your luggage to not be worn!
An alternative to jeans is linen wide-leg pants like these.
Pack a light sweater or sweatshirt for cooler evenings. A lightweight sweater like this one is cute for the beach or a casual dinner out.
Lightweight Rain Jacket
A packable lightweight rain jacket is a good idea to throw into your bag. If the forecast calls for a rain shower when you’re planning to be out, you can easily put something like this on. It packs down super small so you can fit it in most day bags.
Footwear to Pack for Maui
Next up on your Maui packing list is what to wear on your feet! It’s incredibly important to protect your feet from rocks or coral in the water and to make sure you’ve got sturdy footwear for any land activities
I guess you could call these hiking sandals. But any type of sandal that straps around your foot and has a substantial sole with traction is good. Think Keens, Chacos, or Tevas. You can wear these for waterfall hikes, walking around town, and to the beach. You can wear these anywhere, but they are especially good to have if you’re planning to do the Road to Hanna for the waterfall hikes.
If you’re not planning to do any waterfall hikes, a flip-flop will work perfectly for the pool or beach in Hawaii as they don’t get ruined when they get in the water or sand.
I personally use my Teva sandals as water shoes to protect my feet against any coral I may accidentally encounter or to navigate a rocky shore. However, many people like specific water shoes. You do you boo.
White sneakers to be exact. You can wear a cute, low-profile white sneaker with a sundress, with jean shorts and a tank top, or with workout gear and look incredibly put together. I absolutely love these white sneakers I recently got as they pair well with everything and allow me to only pack one pair of “real” shoes.
Toiletries to Pack for Maui
In addition to your toothpaste, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash you’ll want a few more items in your toiletry bag.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
First things first is Reef Safe Sunscreen. Traditional sunscreen ingredients cause massive damage to the ocean and coral reefs. In fact, as of 2021, you can’t even buy sunscreen with Oxybenzone or Octinoate in Hawaii. While reef-safe sunscreen is a bit more expensive, it’s worth it to do our part in protecting the beautiful ocean life you flew all this way to see. My favorite reef-safe sunscreen brand is Sun Bum. They have a wide range of products including hair protection, lip protection, and after-sun care. Shop the entire Sun Bum line here.
I am a very fair-skinned and freckled person. So I always travel with aloe or Sun Bum’s After Sun Care to soothe my skin after a day in the sun, whether I get burned or not! It’s worth it to have on hand just in case you do get sunburned. You won’t have to go on the hunt to find it when you’re skin isn’t happy!
I love dry shampoo when I’m traveling. It’s a quick way to freshen up when you’re not feeling a full shampoo and conditioner session. Plus something about the salty Maui air does wonders for my hair, so I like to let my hair enjoy it while I”m there. I like the Living Proof dry shampoo, it comes in a travel size too!
The mosquitos in Hawaii are something else. Or so I’m told. Mosquitos don’t like me. I’ll stand next to someone getting eaten alive by them and walk away unscathed. So if Mosquitoes are attracted to you, bring bug spray. Even though they don’t like me, I travel with these mosquito-repellent wipes which I’ve shared with other people and have worked really well for them!
Sun Protection to Pack for Maui
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of sunscreen in Maui. But there are other things to pack that will protect your skin in addition to reef-safe sunscreen.
Rash Guards with UPF
I love rash guards with UPF blocking capabilities. They allow me to be out on the water, snorkeling about, without worrying that my back is getting sunburned. They’ve also gotten much cuter in recent years. I recommend packing at least one.
Wide Brimmed Hat
A sun hat that not only covers your face but also your ears and neck is essential. There are outdoorsy packable ones with UPF protection, but a floppy straw hat would work too if you’re looking for a cuter option.
Protect your eyes from the sun and the glare of the sand with sunglasses!
Chapstick with SPF
Don’t forget about your lips. Wear chapstick, like the Sun Bum lip balm, with SPF in it to keep your lips burn-free.
Electronics to Pack for Maui
Noise Canceling Headphones
I travel to Maui on a budget, which means I stay in hostels. Therefore, I always keep noise-canceling headphones with me as they work better than earplugs. But they’re also great for the flight over!
If you don’t want to carry a book around, pack a lightweight Kindle for your beach reads.
Always pack a portable charger. It took me a while to find one that can charge multiple devices before it needs a recharge and this one has been working so well for me for a few years now. You can purchase it here.
Miscellaneous Items to Pack for Maui
I love stopping by the grocery store in Paia to get food for road trips around the island and having reusable silverware helps make sure I’ve always got something to eat with. Plus, it’s another way I do my part for the environment at food trucks. I’ll use my own silverware instead of the plastic ones on offer. This is the kind I use if you need to get some.
You’ll want some sort of day pack for beach days, hikes, or day tours. A backpack works well for this.
Small Purse or Belt Bag
Bring a small purse or the back in style belt bag (aka fanny pack) to keep essentials on you.
First Aid Kit
Now that we’ve covered the basic essentials you’ll need for your trip to Maui, let’s expand that into what you’ll need for specific activities!
Beach Essentials to Pack for Maui
You are bound to have some beach days in Maui. In fact, stop by some of the best beaches in Paia if you’ve got the time. So what should you have in your beach bag? Here are your Maui beach essentials.
I am that person who bought her own snorkel gear before going to Maui because I did not want to miss out on an opportunity to see coral reefs because there wasn’t a rental shop nearby. Plus snorkel gear is pretty inexpensive and you can keep it for other beach vacations. Get your snorkel gear here.
Quick Dry Towel
A quick dry towel is essential for the beach. They are not bulky at all so they’ll easily fit in your luggage and beach bag. Plus they dry really quickly (hence the name) so they’ll be ready for the next day! Here’s the one I use.
Turkish Beach Towel
If you’ve got the space, I recommend a Turkish beach towel to lay on at the beach. They’re quite large, but also very lightweight and fold down small. Using the Turkish towel to lounge and the quick dry towel to dry yourself off after a dip is the perfect towel combination you didn’t know you needed.
A dry bag keeps your important items, well, dry. This is especially important if you’re going kayaking or out on a boat tour. Put all of your electronics and wallet in the dry bag to protect the items from water damage. You could also use this to put your wet clothes in your bag if you’re changing into dry clothes at the beach and don’t want to get the rest of your bag wet from your swimsuit. I like the Sea to Summit dry bags, check them out here.
If you like a cover-up that is specifically for the beach go ahead and pack it. I’m more of a jeans and tank girl myself, but you pack what will make you feel the most confident and comfortable at the beach!
Hiking Essentials to Pack for Maui
There are some great hikes you can do in Haleakala National Park and around the island of Maui. Be warned, if you’re planning to go to Haleakala for sunrise or sunset it can be much colder at that elevation (10,000 ft), so dress accordingly.
Waterproof Hiking Boots
If you’re planning on doing the 11-mile Haleakala Crater hike, you will want sturdy hiking boots to ensure you have a safe and comfortable hike. You may also want them for other hikes around the island, so I recommend wearing waterproof hiking boots so that when you hike to a waterfall your feet stay dry and blister free. I’ve been rocking these Keen hiking boots from Peru to Hawaii!
Sturdy Hiking Sandals
As mentioned above you may be comfortable with study hiking sandals for short waterfall hikes. If that’s the case, that may be all you need.
Make sure you wear the appropriate socks so that your feet stay comfortable. I love Darn Tough hiking socks. I’ve hiked in torrential downpours with them and my feet did not blister at all. Highly recommend trying them if you haven’t yet. Also, make sure to bring an extra pair that stays dry in case that happens to you.
Comfortable Hiking Clothing
What you’re comfortable hiking in will be different from mine. I typically like hiking in leggings or long pants because I hate foliage touching my bare legs. However, that is sometimes not comfortable when it’s hot out! A pair of hiking shorts and a breathable shirt will likely be just fine for the easier hikes in Maui. Workout clothing would work as well!
Now you’ve got everything you need for an epic trip to Maui! No matter what you decide to do in Maui, you’ll have everything you need if you use this Maui packing list! Have fun!