If this is your first trip to Maui, you’re probably asking yourself what to pack!
Since my wife, two young kids, and I currently live on the island, we often get asked what to wear in Maui, what to pack, and what NOT to bring, so we’ve made this page to help you out! We also have a section answering common FAQs at the bottom.
As always, no matter where you’re headed, it’s important to travel with an open mind and a sense of humor and always respect the local Hawaiians. Aloha and Mahalo!
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Note: Given the recent fires and tragedies on Maui, local Travel Advisors do not recommend travel to West Maui until further notice. Tourists are still welcome in areas like Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, Pāʻia, and Hāna, as well as the other Hawaiian islands. If you would like to donate to relief efforts, here are reputable organizations where you can send your support:
These shoes are great for activities on and off-land. Designed with a mesh and breathable material, they allow you to shift from water sports to jungle hikes (without the worry of blistering that is typically caused by moisture in shoes). They are lightweight and quick-drying, and since they are multi-surface friendly, I don’t have to carry around an extra pair of shoes for the day!
The best way to stay organized during your travels to Hawaii are packing cubes. They come in many different colors so each family member can have their own shade, and then you can label each cube (swimwear, pajamas, pants, tops, socks, etc.) They compress slightly to maximize how much you can pack and this set comes with two laundry bags to separate your clean and dirty items. They have changed the way we pack for life!
VPNs are simply awesome – I won’t use any public WiFi without it, whether I’m in my hometown or traveling in Maui. A VPN adds a secure layer of encryption between you and any potential hackers to prevent the theft of your private and financial information. I learned my lesson in Paris recently – a hacker stole my credit card information, and if I’d had a VPN activated, it would have prevented it! It will protect all of your passwords, credit card numbers, and private data with the click of a button.
Maui has a wonderful climate, which is one of the reasons it’s such a great destination, but I hate feeling overheated and this cooling towel is an important item in my packing list. These towels are so effective at cooling you down. You only need to wet the towel, wring it out, and apply it to your neck or head for instant relief. The effect lasts for 30-60 minutes and then you just repeat the process to extend the comfort. They are chemical-free and gentle on the skin.
When my wife and I go to the beach on Maui, we always find that the parking areas are pretty far away from where the best beach spots are located. We’ve found that it’s easiest to bring our own food and drinks (especially when going to remote beaches), as it can be quite a hike to the nearest snack area or restaurant. This mesh beach bag is fun because it has a cooler built into it, so you can carry all of your snacks for the day and stay hydrated.
Travel insurance is an absolute must-have for traveling. Frequent travelers like me swear by it, and for good reason. If something happens, they have your back! Everything from reservations getting canceled to emergency medical expenses can have you paying out-of-pocket for six-figure bills if you’re not covered.
We use Faye because they offer reliable plans with great add-ons like “cancel anytime” and coverage for pets, Airbnbs, rental cars, and extreme sports. They reimburse you through their mobile app instead of making you fill out stacks of paperwork and plead for what’s owed to you. They’re better than any provider we’ve used and we can’t recommend them enough.
On my first trip out there, I certainly underestimated the flight to Maui. Direct flights from Los Angeles are 5+ hours and from NYC, it’s 12+ hours each way. Along with a timezone change, jet lag relief will be a necessity. We love this brand from New Zealand because they use natural botanicals like chamomile to soothe your exhaustion, rather than harmful stimulants like caffeine.
I always want to have my phone with me while exploring and during beach days, so it needs to be protected from sand, dirt, water, and sun. This universal waterproof phone case is awesome. It protects from all of those elements while still allowing me to use my touchscreen and camera, and it’s incredibly inexpensive!
Quality pictures both in and out of the water are the best way to create lasting memories of your vacation. We take a waterproof camera with us any time there’s even the slightest chance we’ll get our other camera wet – there’s just no point in risking ruining a non-waterproof camera. This camera will allow you to take pictures as well as a GoPro, and can even capture underwater video with sound!
Your devices DO NOT float. So what happens if your camera or phone falls into the water, even if it’s waterproof? That’s where these flotation wrist-straps can be a real lifesaver. They’re made to be comfortable to wear around your wrist and to attach securely to your device so that if it drops into the water it will float and will be easy to retrieve. I recommend bringing one for each device you plan on taking near water, just in case.
There are few items more important than a travel towel. This one is light as a feather yet super absorbent and dries 10x faster than cotton. You’ll find infinite uses for this baby – drying off after beach days and waterfall adventures, sweat bandana, seat cover, packing cushion, etc.
As you loop around the windy Road to Hāna and bounce on ferry boats that don’t have stabilizers – you’ll be thankful to have motion sickness relief. These patches work for land and sea adventures, they seriously help my wife’s car sickness when nothing else would. She field-tested many brands and suffered through ineffective ones so you wouldn’t have to! This product came out on top.
You’ll be tired enough from long flights and layovers to Maui, the last thing you want is to lose one of your essential documents. To keep all of your cash, cards, phones, and passports in one place – use this anti-theft neck wallet. It’s great for holding your essentials at the beach or traveling through the airport. It even has RFID-blocking material to prevent modern thieves from scanning your bag or pocket for financial data.
A swimsuit cover-up is an absolute must-have for any part of Hawaii. You’ll want something cute and stylish to throw on over your swimsuit so that you don’t have to completely change before going to a local eatery or store. My wife wears this one and loves it – she says it’s comfortable and dries quickly, and it seems to be universally flattering! Note that many resorts and beach cafes won’t allow you to dine without a cover-up, so keep one on hand.
While the water is potable in Hawaii, it never hurts to have autonomy and filtration power over your water supply. Having my own water bottle really helps me cut down on having to pay for bottled drinks while I’m out and about. This one by Brita improves the taste and clarity of drinking water, which is a big bonus when I’m drinking water from a source I’m not used to.
Maui can get rainy, especially on the northwestern side of the island near Ka’anpali, Kapalua, and Lahaina. A strong umbrella is a necessary addition to your travel artillery since it will protect you from sudden downpours or strong sunlight. Regardless of if you’re using it for rain or shine, it covers two people and works perfectly for most conditions.
Get Your Guide is our go-to booking service for family experiences because they offer the most authentic tours at a low price, along with a flexible cancellation plan. While in Maui, check out the famous Road to Hāna which is brimming with waterfalls, cruise around the Ka’anapali (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai), and dine at a real Luau.
One of our favorite treats is visiting Haleakalā (a mountain that reaches 10K-feet above sea level) to witness a gorgeous sunrise above the clouds.
There are also incredible wildlife activities in Maui like whale-watching, snorkeling at Turtle Town, and exploring the underwater paradise inside a crater at Molokini.
Long days spent doing activities can really drain the battery life on your devices, and you don’t want to go back to your accommodations every time a charge is needed. This small travel charger is roughly the size of a tube of lipstick and can hold multiple charges for multiple devices. It is compatible with standard USB cables and can repower your electronics while it’s tucked safely away in a daypack or dry bag!
Mosquitoes are tough opponents on Maui (especially on the rainy side of the island), and trust me – they’re huge. If you’re looking to avoid chemical sprays, these deet-free wristbands are ideal! They can also safely be used in conjunction with a spray to reinforce your protection from a variety of biting insects.
I highly recommend bringing at least one nice outfit on your Maui trip. Inevitably, you will want to grab a cocktail or a nice dinner somewhere and a sundress won’t quite cut it. My wife loves this dress and personally owns it. It doesn’t wrinkle, is easy to throw on after a long day at the beach, and it’s super sexy on all body types. It’s also very inexpensive yet looks like a million bucks when you put it on.
Between checking your luggage at the airport and potentially cruising around the islands of Hawaii, hanging your bags off to staff and having them out of sight for long periods of time – locks are a wise preventative measure. This set is TSA-approved so it will secure your belongings without slowing you down at security checkpoints. You’ll find them handy for traveling through crowded areas with a backpack, for securing lockers and tents, and more.
No matter what kinds of water activities you get up to while on Maui, you’ll need to have your items nearby. An Earth Pak dry bag can be used to ensure that your most precious items – cash, phone, non-waterproof camera, books, medicine, etc. – don’t get wet at all. We’ve found that they’re very easy to use and light to carry! Fold it with air inside, and it will float.
Rash guards are popular among locals and tourists in Hawaii, and for good reason. They protect the wearer from UV exposure and from any friction or contact pain that may occur when using a bodyboard, a surfboard, or a host of other water sport accessories. Most rash guards add a UPF of 50+ and are quite comfortable to wear! These are our favorites for men and women.
In 2022, Maui banned the sale of sunscreens that were created with a non-mineral base. It’s illegal in many places to harm protected coral reefs, and it is important to respect nature even if there are no mandates. This reef-safe sunscreen is safe for you and marine wildlife. The sun is more powerful in certain areas here and you’ll want to lather up every few hours with something non-toxic and eco-conscious.
Shopping is inevitable in a place like Maui where the coffee beans are freshly grown, local macadamia nuts are covered in chocolate, the sarongs are hand-made, and the sweetest pineapples ever can be legally flown home! Yes, seriously! This “just in case” bag is perfect for bringing a little aloha back with you, and it spares you carry-on fees since it acts as your personal item.
This beach mat is fantastic. It’s much larger than other beach blankets, and it’s made of sturdy parachute material so it’s compact and lightweight when packed. The pouches coming off the sides are sand anchors to keep it weighed down so it won’t go flying away or fold up on you every time the breeze blows! It even has pockets to keep your items tucked away when you’re strolling on the beach.
If you are visiting from outside the U.S., you will need an adapter that is compatible with the local outlets (Type A and Type B). If you are visiting from the U.S., you will likely not need an adapter for Hawaii, but it’s useful to have a universal one for all future travels. This adapter is top-notch and works for 100+ popular countries! It’s an investment in all global jet-setting and comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Once you travel with a hanging toiletry bag, you never go back. This one has 4 giant pockets that unfold to create a built-shelf-like organization system. It can hold our entire family’s toiletries (skincare, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, makeup, washcloths, etc.) and we haven’t had any luggage spills since converting to this as our liquids bag. Hook it on any pole, door, hook, or branch when camping – and voila!
Most people come to Hawaii to enjoy the turquoise blue beaches. While you’ll have a fairly easy time finding adult rental gear, it is less easy to find snorkeling gear that actually fits your little ones. If traveling with children, bring equipment that you’ve tested at home and know is the right fit. This snorkel mask prevents leaks and keeps the mouthpiece out of sight for undistorted vision. Also, bring a children’s life jacket in case shops don’t carry your little one’s size, it will give them full confidence in the water!
In general, the most comfortable clothes in Maui will be breathable and fairly casual. The tropical climate makes lightweight fabrics like linen, rayon, merino wool, and cotton blends ideal. Most people dress casually in Maui, and many visitors live in shorts, tank tops, and sandals, which are usually acceptable.
For going out in the evening, packing a couple of nicer outfits is a good idea, but you don’t need to bring anything overly formal. Of course, for any hiking, you’ll want long pants and sturdy shoes, as well as a jacket if you’re going to higher elevations. And whether or not you’re hiking there, you’ll definitely need warmer clothes for visits to the summit of Haleakala as it can get freezing up there!!
What should WOMEN wear in Maui? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
What should MEN wear in Maui? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
What NOT to take to Maui
1.DON’T PACK a bath towel
While you’ll obviously need towels for the beach and pool in Maui, your hotel will almost certainly provide them. If you do want to bring your own, make it a quick-dry towel that’s designed for travel or camping, instead of a bulky regular one.
2.DON’T BRING heavy books
You’ll probably want to take the chance to catch up on some reading during the flight or while you’re relaxing on the beach in Maui. However, you’ll save a ton of space (and weight) in your luggage by leaving the physical books at home and packing a Kindle instead.
3.DON’T TAKE unnecessary valuables
While there’s not an especially high risk of crime in Maui, there’s always some chance that things could get stolen, damaged, or lost on the road. Unless you know you’re going to truly need certain valuable items, there’s no reason to bring things you’d be upset to lose.
4.DON’T BRING high-heeled shoes
Maui is a pretty casual place, and very few female visitors find themselves wearing heels there. For most any occasion, a pair of nice flats or sandals will be sufficient (and more comfortable) footwear.
5.DON’T PACK dressy eveningwear
Similarly, most visitors to Maui have no need for formal eveningwear. Depending on your travel style and exact plans on the island, maxi dresses for ladies and polo shirts or button-downs for guys are usually dressy enough.
6.DON’T TAKE lots of cold-weather clothes
Unless you plan to spend all of your time at the summit of Haleakala and none of it at the beach, you won’t have much use for warm clothes. Make sure you do bring a rain jacket, but you probably won’t need any more than that.
FAQs for traveling to Maui
1. What’s the best way to get around on Maui?
In order to take advantage of all the beautiful sites and fun activities around the island, the best option is to rent a car.
2. How can I get to Maui?
Maui has three airports, located in Kahului, Kapalua, and Hana. The airport in Kahului is by far the largest, and is the only one of the three with flights beyond Hawaii. If a direct flight is your priority, over a half-dozen airlines operate flights from the western U.S. and Canada to Kahului. Just know the airport is a 45-minute drive from the western side of the island where most of the resorts are located.
Another option is to fly into Kapalua, which means a layover on Oahu or the Big Island and then a 30-minute inter-island flight to Maui. If you’re coming from outside North America, that will be your only choice, as only Oahu and the Big Island serve flights from other countries. Arriving at Kapalua will put you much closer to the island’s main resort area. Flying into the even tinier Hana airport would only make sense if you’re visiting the eastern edge of the island, which very few tourists do.
3. What are the accommodation options on Maui?
Accommodations available on Maui truly run the gamut from budget-friendly hostels to insanely expensive luxury resorts, and from quirky guesthouses to corporate chains. The majority of hotels are located on the island’s more developed western and southern side, and most are on or near gorgeous beaches.
4. How can I get from Maui to other islands in Hawaii?
Inter-island flights are the main way to get from Maui to other parts of Hawaii. Multiple airlines operate flights between Maui and the other islands, sometimes with a stop in Honolulu. All of these flights are under an hour, and many are much shorter. If you’re interested in seeing Hawaii’s lesser-explored islands, there’s also the option of taking the ferries that connect Maui with Molokai and Lanai.
5. What are the best beaches on Maui?
Maui is fringed with stunning beaches, especially on its western coast, and it would be hard to pick the best one. One near the top of any list is Makena Beach, which also holds the title of “most photographed beach in Hawaii”. Alternatively, Kapalua Beach is not only one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii, it’s also regularly listed as one of the best in the U.S.
Baldwin Beach on the North Shore is one of Maui’s most-visited beaches, and it even has a protected salt-water pool for kids. Ka’anapali Beach is another popular one, known for its abundance of available ocean activities, including top-notch snorkeling. For something completely different, Wai’anapanapa Beach near Hana is a black-sand beach, and much less crowded than the beaches on the western side of the island.
6. What is there to do on Maui other than the beach?
While the very mention of the word Maui conjures up images of lazy days spent on the beach, this island has a ton more to offer. Hiking is easily one of the top dry-land things to do on Maui. The most popular hiking destination for visitors is Haleakala National Park, with over 30 miles of trails in the summit area and options ranging from leisurely 10-minute strolls to strenuous treks. ‘Iao Valley State Park also has numerous hiking options, including a short walk to its most famous viewpoint. Even if hiking isn’t your thing, both parks have plenty of other attractions, and seeing the sunrise at Haleakala belongs on any visitor’s itinerary.
Maui is also known for its scenic drives, especially the 52-mile Road to Hana, which passes numerous beaches and waterfalls and offers stunning views. Kahekili Highway is another top route, passing by the Nakalele blowhole and other attractions before giving you a peek into “old Hawaii” in Kahakuloa.
If it’s in your budget, there’s no better way to see Maui than from the air. A helicopter tour will not only showcase jaw-dropping scenery, it’ll also show you parts of the island you’d never be able to see otherwise. Lastly, of course, you can’t visit Maui without attending a luau!
7. What is the weather like on Maui?
Maui’s climate is tropical, with warm and fairly stable temperatures throughout the year. While highs are typically in the mid 80°F range (27°C) year-round, the temperatures do rise a bit from June to October. These are also the driest months on the island.
8. When is the best time of year to visit Maui?
The winter and early spring months bring slightly cooler weather and are high-season for tourism on Maui. During these months, as well as during the second-busiest season from June to August, the island is more crowded and prices are higher. Late spring still offers relatively cooler temperatures, but far fewer crowds, which is especially important if you’re planning to visit the more popular attractions. It’s also worth keeping in mind that surfing conditions are best during the winter, but the waters are calmest and best for swimming – especially for children – in the summer.
9. Is Maui an expensive place to travel?
Yes, in many ways it is. The fact that the Hawaiian islands are geographically isolated means that many goods have to be brought in from other places, and at considerable cost. You’ll find that many foods (other than those which can be grown locally) are more expensive than on the US mainland. Goods, too, can cost more in Hawaii. Don’t worry, there are certainly ways to save money while traveling to Maui! Below are some Maui budget travel tips.
10. How can I travel on a budget on Maui?
Visiting in low- or shoulder-season will cut down substantially on both airfares and costs on the island. There are a number of budget-friendly hostels on Maui, as well as plenty of home sharing options for less than $80 (although don’t expect these cheaper options to be located on the best beaches). You can also save money on food by forgoing the fine dining options and eating at local diners instead, or just picking up some groceries at the store. While there are plenty of activities to spend money on in Maui, don’t forget that hanging out at the beach or the pool is free.
11. What are the top things to do in Maui?
While the interior of Maui has lots to see and do (see #5), it’s no secret that most people plan their trips around the water. Like other parts of Hawaii, Maui is famous for its surfing. Head to Honolua Bay, Ho’okipa Beach, or Peahi to enjoy watching the pros catch a wave. If you want to try it yourself for the first time, choose a less-intimidating spot like Ka’anapali, Lahaina, or Kihei for a lesson. Maui also offers plenty of options for scuba diving, paddleboarding, jet skiing, kayaking, and more.
Lyric is an accomplished poet, best-selling author, award-winning screenwriter (studied at NYU film school), amazing chef, singer/songwriter, and mommy of two amazing little kids! After growing up in Hollywood she decided to delve into a profound spiritual journey and became a yogi-monk for almost a decade. She enjoys helping Asher conduct research, writing for our blog, and loves traveling the world (Paris is her favorite city), and sharing her experiences with you!