What to Pack for a Maui Vacation

Beach in Wailea, Maui what to pack for a maui vacation

Starwood Preferred Guest’s “SPG Amex Stars” were recently featured in Gothamist; we were asked what we’d pack for a weekend getaway to our favorite vacation destination. One of my favorite places in the world in Hawaii, and because I live in Los Angeles, I’m lucky enough to treat those islands as an occasional, splurge-y  getaway — though I haven’t been there just for a weekend, yet.  Now, I love all of the accessible Hawaiian islands, but because Maui was my first Hawaiian vacation experience (and in some respects this island is the most easy for family travel; if I don’t take my kids with me I am hearing about that injustice for weeks on end), I wrote about what to pack for a Maui vacation. It’s my ideal destination for a weekend family getaway. Here are a few items I’d take with me and my family for a Maui weekend getaway.

Black Sand Beach near Kihei, Maui what to pack for a maui vacation

1. Swimsuit – obviously. My current favorite is Modcloth’s Fruity Suity one-piece in black with red cherries. It’s retro, reminds me of something Esther Williams might have worn, and just a happy bathing suit that fits my happy mood in Maui.
2. Scala Sun Hat. These wide-brimmed hats provide SPF 50, important for those of us who are concerned about sun exposure. I currently have THREE of these hats, in red, green, and yellow. Ya never know when someone else may want to borrow a sunblock-type hat!
3. Keen water sandals. Lots of Maui beaches are soft and barefoot-friendly, but I also love to explore some parts that are more off the beaten track, such as Makena. Here, the “beach” leading to the ocean is a’a lava rock, which is incredibly hard and sharp.  These water sandals are tough and rugged enough to allow me to explore to my heart’s content.

Keen water shoes and Scala sunblock hat are what to pack for a maui vacation
4. TravelPro Platinum 7 Rollerboard Suitcase. The 22’ fits in all but the smallest planes’ overhead bins, so no checked luggage. It’s also big enough that there’s still plenty of room for purchases, found objects, and souvenirs to fit in at the end of a weekend getaway.
5. My Marble Cone shell. I found this shell back in 2007, the second time I was in Maui. A slow beach walk along Wailea led to this little discovery, and it has lived in my purse ever since.  I like to bring it to the beach with me each time we’re in Hawaii, and remember the past vacations my family and I have had there.
6. My 13-year old’s GoPro. We’re not going to pack her surfboard for a weekend trip — or any non-local trip, for that matter — but this camera and its waterproof case and a couple other accessories are small, pack easily, and help my surfer girl take radical pics while surfing the waves.
7. L’Oreal Total Repair Extraordinary Oil for all hair types. The salt water and sun is wonderful for my mood, but it sure doesn’t do my hair any favors. This leave-in treatment helps me look a bit less windblown come dinnertime.
8. A light cotton sweater. Yes, it’s Maui, the weather is nearly always perfect. But the evenings might get a bit chilly, and a thin sweater can dress up an outfit for family dinners at one of the island’s fancier restaurants.

Black sand beach in Makena, Maui

After I mentioned the Gothamist piece on social media, some people happily pointed out that, in this fantasy scenario, I’d neglected to pack pants. Go, me. The good news for neglectful packers such as myself is that there are plenty of shops in Maui that sell pants, toothbrushes, and whatever else you (okay, I) forget to take. What to pack for Marble Cone shell in Maui, Hawaiia Maui vacation varies somewhat depending on the type of travel experience people plan….but pants are presumable in everyone’s luggage. As for me, I know I’ll always be packing my Marble Cone shell for trips to the island. Shoes and sweaters come and go, but this shell is a permanent reminder of my first trip to Maui; I loved it then and I love it now.

9 Comments on "What to Pack for a Maui Vacation"

  1. wandering educators | October 27, 2014 at 9:07 am | Reply

    i, too, carry a piece of place with me (a beautiful stone, very small, from lake michigan). SMART to pack that! great packing tips – thank you!!

  2. Different shoes,caps and many important things are essential for maui vacation and one should pack these things carefully.

  3. I like to think I’d be a minimalist packer for a beach vacation, but I always end up with way too much! For me, loads of sunscreen and cover ups, as well as books, always take up a lot of room.

  4. Yes, Maui is not bad at all! Don’t forget your sun glasses and your snorkel!

  5. Hehe — I love that you forgot to pack pants. 🙂

  6. good suggestions, my vote goes for the hate its totally mandatory.

  7. You forgot to mention sunscreen, mate!

  8. Assume you wore pants on the plane. But a conch? That’s the money item. Cool.

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