Because Hawaii is an American state, you can get pretty much anything that you might buy at home when you are traveling there. This is especially true for basics like shampoo and other pharmacy items. The wonderful climate means that you can pack lightly, too – and have more room for souvenirs! The one thing you should be sure to have with you is a pair of comfortable shoes for walking around; Hawaii is a beautiful place that you will certainly want to explore.
Before You Go
- Secure Your Home: Cancel all newspapers, pay bills and consider what to do about the mail. You can ask your Post Office to hold it while you’re away, or get someone to look after your house. Put some lights and a radio or TV on a timer. If applicable, park a car in your driveway.
- Be prepared: Bring an emergency contact list, including the telephone numbers of your insurance people, credit card issuers, and home numbers of close relatives or friends, in case of an emergency.
- Back up important information: Copy or scan your travel documents – passport, travelers, identity and vaccination card and credit cards – front and back. Make two sets of copies, leave one at home or with a trusted person, and store the second in a secret place in your suitcase. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you will have all the information and phone numbers you need. If you choose to scan your documents, send them to your email address. In case of a problem, you can access them from any business center or cybercafe in the world.
- Don't take your normal address book. Buy a little one, or a small notebook, and add the people you'll want to send postcards to. You can also add all your new friends as you travel. If you lose the book, it won't mean losing all your contacts. Another great postcard idea is to bring pre-written/printed address labels to send cards back home.
- Rolling luggage: Easily the greatest travel invention since the airplane, if you don't have luggage on wheels yet, seriously consider buying a set.
- Carry a tape measure – and know your sizes. If you think you might buy clothing for others, take a list of the garment measurements.
- Do not pre-wrap gifts to be carried onboard aircraft.
- A new service, TraveLite, Virtual Bellhop, Inc., 877-BELLHOP, will pick up your luggage at home one day prior to your departure and ship it to your hotel. No special boxing is necessary and charges are reasonable. www.VirtualBellhop.com .
- Check the Weather. Even for a place like Hawaii, it never hurts to check the weather before you pack – www.weather.com  is invaluable.
- Identify your suitcases: Write a name, address, phone and e-mail in your luggage, but DO NOT put your home address on the identification. Put your work address or phone only. Luggage thieves will know you're not home, have your home address and....
- Wrap brightly colored electrical tape or ribbons around the handles of your checked luggage to make it easy to identify on the baggage carousel.
- Bring an extra bag for souvenirs. It’s always handy to pack an empty collapsible suitcase or duffel bag with you. It doesn't take up much room and when returning home you can fill it with souvenirs and even dirty laundry.
- Medications: Remember, all medications and vitamins must be in their original containers when traveling. You can ask your pharmacist to label small bottles with just enough medication in for your trip. Always carry these in your carry-on. Also, take a few days extra supply, in case you are delayed coming back. A written copy of your prescription might come in handy, too – remember that Hawaii has American pharmacies.
- One color scheme: When packing to travel, it's helpful to use one color scheme, like black or brown, and maybe just one accent color. It’s much easier to coordinate your wardrobe this way.
- Preventing Wrinkles: Place individual items of clothing in dry cleaners’ plastic bags. Your clothes won’t wrinkle! It sounds too easy but it really works. If you’re using a hanging garment bag, prevent creasing of suits and garments on hangers by placing a small rolled-up towel on the inside, where the garments fold. This will prevent the horizontal crease caused by the fold.
- Save Space: To keep shoes and boots in shape, fill them with socks. Ladies, consider putting your shoes inside your husband's shoes. They'll be protected and won't take up more space.
- When in doubt, leave it out! Make 3 piles: necessities, almost necessities and luxury items. Take all the necessities, none of the almost necessities and one luxury item. It will be all you need. And just pack what you can carry or roll by yourself from the car to the plane, train or bus. Consider packing old underwear, socks, T-shirts and so forth; just toss them out along the way.
- A dryer fabric softener sheet in your suitcase will keep your clothes smelling fresh while you travel. Slide a dry fabric softener sheet over your hair to calm down static-electric flyaway hair.
- Beauty products that are good for 2 or more uses are great. Elizabeth Arden's 8-hour cream works as a facial moisturizer, lip balm, hair tamer, and sunburn soother all in one. Shampoo can double up as travel wash, and those chubby make up pencils from Clinique can multi-task for lipstick, eye color, and blush. Oil of Olay Daily Facials cleansing cloths are dry, and they remove makeup, cleanse, and moisturize without taking products.
- Make-up tricks: Use a stick foundation instead of a liquid. The texture is light, and many of the new sticks are oil-free. The foundation can also double as a concealer and an eyeshadow base. Look for perfume in a solid form as well. The containers are small enough to fit in a purse, yet smell strong. Kiss my Face makes shave lather in a tube – no aerosol cans. Invest in a good lipstick palette with a variety of colors. The palettes are small, and give you a good variety of colors for all skin tones, and cut down on the number of bulky tubes.
- Earrings: To bring a selection of earrings on your trip, get an inexpensive felt square at a fabric store (they sell them pre-cut) and simply fasten earrings through the felt and fold. Fasten the roll with a rubber band.
- Wedding rings: Consider buying an inexpensive cubic zirconia wedding ring set, so you don't have to fret if you lose your rings.
- Necklaces: When packing your necklaces, place each one in a straw, by threading one end of the necklace through, and clasping it closed. This prevents the necklace from tangling up. (Use longer straws for longer necklaces, and cut the straw to exactly half the length of the necklace, for shorter ones.)
- A long oblong scarf is a most versatile item. It can dress up a simple black dress and in a pinch can be an evening wrap.
More Useful Things to Bring
- Sun screen and bug repellant
- A sarong is a great thing for beach vacations. You can use it as a cover up to and from the beach or pool, something to lie on and even as a shawl in an evening breeze.
- A retractable umbrella! It does rain in Hawaii.
- A box of baby wipes or alcohol-based gel hand cleaner is very useful.
- A scented oil air freshener creates a lovely scent with just a few drops on your hotel lights bulbs.
- Plastic bags. Take various size zip-lock bags – the heavier duty the better. They are great for packing things that might leak, like shampoo and lotions, and come in handy again for dirty clothes, the beach, etc.
- Take a universal sink plug for doing wash in a sink or taking a bath.
- Bring your own alarm clock. Wear a wristwatch with an alarm, or take a small travel clock. Especially useful are clocks that glow in the dark.
- Foam earplugs are a must for any trip. You can purchase them at any pharmacy, usually in multiple packs.
- It’s nice to have a few photos of loved ones, including pets, both to show others and to remember home.
- Which terminal? The Internet has wonderful maps of airports available. Print a copy, or look in the back of the in-flight magazines, which often have airport information, before you land.
- You can also find online layouts of various airplanes, and see where your seat is located.
- During airline check-in, especially for flights originating from airports outside the US, check the airline destination tag. Make sure your luggage won’t end up in MNL (Manila) instead of MIA (Miami), for example.
- On long flights, especially in coach, take a few minutes to get up and walk the aisles, or do a few stretches and exercises in your seat.
- Smokers, consider a nicotine patch or nicotine gum for a long flight.
- Always have a pen with you. You will need to fill in customs forms before landing.
- Purses are vulnerable. Wear yours across your shoulder and chest or around your waist in all airports, train stations and bus terminals.
On the Ground
- When a person approaches and asks you, whether it’s your first time in_______, it could be the first step in sizing you up. Say, "NO. We visit often." and move on.
- If your hotel room does not have a small safe for your use, try storing valuables in a tampon or maxi-pad box. No one really wants to go digging in those boxes.