Whoohoo! Packing time for the lush, tropical island of Kauai. Don’t know where to start?
Welcome to the only Kauai packing guide you’ll need. For a trip like this where bulky items are not needed and shorts/bathing suits will be worn almost 24/7, you’ve got a lot more flexibility (and free luggage room)!
For cases like this, I’m a huge fan of carry-on travel. Why? Because of its convenience! No matter how you spin it, going with carry-on only really does make you more of an efficient traveler. Having traveled all over the world in various seasons with nothing but a carry-on, I know a thing or two about how to pack with max efficiency.
Here’s my ultimate Kauai packing list to ensure you have everything you’ll need to bring with you to Hawaii (and any other beach destinations, really!) and pack like a pro!
*Please note: All of the products listed in this post are my personal tried and true recommendations and may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running. Thanks!
Fashion / Style in Kauai: What To Expect
Hawaii is all about the laidback lifestyle. You really can’t get more laidback than Kauai, as it’s one of the more undeveloped islands of the Hawaiian Islands. That means you are not going to find nightclubs or events where you’re going to need formal outfits.
Shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and flip-flops are all the norm in Hawaii. Oftentimes, given the constant heat and sunny weather, you’ll even see people driving with their windows open without shirts on!
If you do plan on having a fancier meal or two, a collared shirt and pants (for men) or sundress (for the ladies) is all you’ll really need for almost any restaurant.
Now that we’ve set the stage on what to expect on Kauai, let’s get on to the packing details.
Consider The Weather in Kauai Before Packing
Kauai’s pleasant weather is one of many reasons why the island is so loved by travelers.
Typically, the weather in Hawaii doesn’t fluctuate a whole lot throughout the year. There might be seasons where there’s more humidity or more rain, and there might be seasons where nights are colder than others. But for the most part, it will be warm and humid. Regardless of when you visit, you should aim to have all your bases covered.
Time Of The Year
Winter tends to have slightly cooler temperatures with more rainfall while summer temperatures are warmer.
If you’re traveling during the winter months (November to April), you’ll be visiting during Hawaii’s ‘winter’ months. During these months, expect cooler temps. Though when I say “cooler,” we mean in relation to Hawaiian summers–even in the winter, it rarely dips below the mid-70s! All in all, you can expect warm days, lower humidity, and chillier nights.
During the summer months (May to October), it can get quite hot during the daytime. You’ll want to pack clothes that are light and airy to prevent discomfort.
Early June to the end of November is also considered Kauai’s hurricane season, so you should be prepared with a rain jacket, waterproof hiking boots, and potentially a dry bag. Be sure to stay updated with local weather reports when traveling to the island during hurricane season.
Hawaii’s rainy season typically runs from November to March. Time of the year aside, I did want to quickly touch on rain in general.
Kauai’s lush, green landscape wouldn’t exist without the island’s regular rainfall. In fact, Kauai’s second-highest point, Mount Waialeale, is one of the wettest spots on the planet!
Random rain showers can happen all over the island any time of the year, but especially on the North Shore. For reference, Kauai’s South Shore gets about 35 inches of rain annually, while the North Shore gets about 85 inches! This is due to the tradewinds and the mountains that are more prevalent in the north.
And guess what? With tropical rains usually come mosquitos. If you plan on spending time on the North Shore, you may very well encounter mosquitos in forested areas. Consider bringing along light longsleeved shirts and loose linen pants to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Pro Tip: If you want the least chance of rain, you can consider booking a hotel on the south side of the island, such as in Poipu, where it tends to be drier.
Along with your warm-weather clothing, bring something for the rain (rain is very common in certain parts of Hawaii), bring something for the wind, and bring something light for those cooler nights. Bringing long-sleeve shirts and long pants could be beneficial if you are prone to mosquito bites!
Consider Your Kauai Itinerary Activities Before Packing
What activities are you going to be doing in Kauai? Will you be doing adrenaline-pumping activities? Will you be getting onto a watercraft? Snorkeling? Doing an epic hike on the island? Or perhaps lounging on the beach is all you plan on doing, which is perfectly fine, too!
Your planned activities will influence your Kauai packing list.
If you’re going to be doing water activities or hiking activities, there’s a lot of stuff you need to consider bringing, like water shoes, snorkeling and scuba equipment, hiking shoes, etc.
If beach lounging and eating around town is what your main objective is, you won’t need much other than beachwear and light, casual clothing.
Pro Tip: No matter what you decide to do, I recommend making restaurant reservations and pre-booking your outdoor excursions ahead of time. As Kauai is getting more popular, the island is experiencing an influx of vacationers. You’ll want to be sure the restaurants/tour companies can accommodate you when you arrive.
Packing Gear: How To Carry Your Stuff To Kauai
Before you pack anything, it’s important to start with the skin and bones of packing. Having the right bags to put your belongings in is extremely important. The last thing you want is to toss everything for your trip into a bag with no method of organization.
Why? Because you’ll find yourself spending a lot of extra time later on packing and repacking once you’re actually on your trip. Trust me, your life will be so much easier when you actually apply a strategy to how you pack.
You’ve got two options here. Do you want to go with a wheeled case or a travel backpack?
Wheeled carry-ons are awesome in that they are pretty much weightless on your body, you just roll and go.
The other option is a backpack. Travel packs are so convenient when it comes to hands-free commuting. As you’ll likely be needing a car in Hawaii and not lugging your bag around on foot, you could really go with either option.
1. Wheeled suitcase
I use my trusty Monos Carry-On Pro whenever I want something sturdier and can’t be bothered with having weight on my body. It’s roomy, high-tech, and super sleek-looking. There’s even a convenient slot for a laptop.
I’m so glad finally invested in a high-quality piece of luggage and I’m loving every minute with it!
2. Travel backpack
I am a huge fan of Osprey bags due to their genius design and high quality (they are my personal favorites)! One great thing about the Osprey Aura (women) and the Osprey Atmos (men) is that you can remove the top lid for shorter hikes, thereby turning them into smaller, less bulky packs.
I actually went backpacking with this pack and can attest to its greatness. Totally worth the investment. If you’re more of a backpacker-style traveler looking for a new travel bag or backpacking bag, GET THIS BACKPACK! You won’t regret it.
3. Packing cubes
You need to get these packing cubes, they are amazing at creating space in your luggage that you never thought you had. However you want to organize your clothes— by day, by outfit, by type—these will be the most useful thing you have in your packing artillery.
You’ll no longer need to dig through the entire suitcase for that one thing you’re looking for, because you’ll know exactly where it’s at.
4. Everyday bag
A mini backpack that can fit a water bottle, phone, camera, sunglasses and sunscreen is a great option for Hawaii because it allows you to be completely hands-free. It’s perfect for when you need to rock scramble, take pictures of the scenery, etc.
Another good option for days where you’re not feeling the backpack look is a medium-sized, cross-body bag. If you’re able to find a bag that folds flat so that you’re able to stow it in your carry-on, even better!
I like the Fjallraven Kanken Mini Classic Backpack for something simple and compressible, so when I’m not using it, I can flatten it and store it in my luggage.
Clothing: What To Wear In Kauai
You really don’t need that many shirts, especially if you choose versatile pieces, allowing them to be multifunctional. You can go with a mix of sleeveless and sleeved for the most part, with one caveat.
Depending on which part of the island you end up on, mosquitos may be a problem. If you plan on hanging out in the rainforest areas such as the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, pack 1-2 lightweight long sleeves (or bring some bug spray with you). If you plan to stay near resorts and beaches the entire time, you should be fine without mosquito protection.
Bring 1 pair just in case there happens to be a chill at night or if you plan to attend a more formal event. For summers, in the face of humidity, go with something loose and light.
Jeans can be way too hot for summer travel, and I almost always go to Hawaii without packing jeans. Trust me, I’ve experienced my fair share of sweaty legs trapped in jeans. It’s pretty uncomfortable, to say the least.
2-3 pairs will do. If you plan on wearing more dresses, you can definitely cut out some tops and bottoms and substitute them with dresses.
Looser, easy-to-pull on shorts would be best for Hawaii weather, especially on those more humid days.
Leggings are very useful if you plan on working out, hiking, or want something to lounge in on the plane. I love leggings and can’t really go on any trip without at least 1 pair.
A pair of lightweight leggings like Lululemon’s Fast and Free Tight is a great option if you’re looking for breathability while getting that protection from bugs and the sun’s UV rays. The best part? These have pockets large enough to fit your phone in!
Plan to pack ~2 long dresses for your trip to Kauai. Long or flowy dresses/skirts are really good if you want to save space in your luggage.
If you plan on going out at night, aim for one of the dresses to be appropriate for both daytime and evening looks. Add a nice cardigan (or even a shawl), swap out the flip-flops for your nicer sandals, and be on your merry way! It’s all about versatility!
My rule of thumb: To save room for things I plan to buy on vacation, I’ll always bring ~2 outfits less than the number of days I plan on traveling. I know historically I tend to not wear everything I pack, so I’ve adjusted for this in the packing process. Plus, everything you bring is washable and re-wearable. You should evaluate your situation and adjust for it as well!
10. Underwear and socks
Bring 1 pair of underwear for as many days as you’re going to be traveling. Sometimes, I even bring extra for changing out of bathing suits after a visit to the beach.
I also tend to bring fewer socks than the number of days I’m visiting because I find that I wear sandals more than shoes in Hawaii!
These items are light enough where overpacking is not a problem.
Depending on your activity level, 2-3 will do. Because I’m pretty active and tend to do a lot of tropical hiking, I typically bring more sports bras than regular bras. (Plus, your swimming suit tops can function as bras too.)
In order to save on luggage space, bring less and just throw them in the wash as needed. Don’t forget to pack some laundry soap with you.
12. Hiking Boots
If you plan on doing a lot of hiking on rocky or muddy terrain, consider bringing hiking boots with you. Almost 100% of the time I’ve visited Hawaii in the past, I’ve brought hiking boots with me. Hawaii is too beautiful not to hike!
If you’re looking for a hiking boot recommendation, I would recommend the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX Hiking Boot. They’ve got out-of-the-box comfort which can’t be beat, plus they look so darn cool. You can find them for women here and men here.
I often find that my boots are too bulky to pack in my luggage. In those cases, I’ll just wear my hiking boots or trail runners on the plane.
13. Comfortable Walking Shoes
If you’re not hiking, you should at least bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with good support and traction.
With all the walking that you’ll be doing, make sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes. My all-time favorite travel shoes these days are the tried and true Ecco Soft 7 (they’re stylish, comfortable, and have been raved about for decades since they were first created)! The best part is that they have them for both men and women.
For something more waterproof, go with the Oofos Recovery Slides as these will allow you to hit the beach and walk with comfort as well. And if I know I’ll be going on water adventures, I’ll bring along my Chaco’s Z1 Classic sandals (they serve as both sandals and water shoes).
15. Cardigan or lightweight jacket
For those unsuspecting chilly nights! If you plan on catching some sunrises or visiting spots like Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park in the mornings, note that it can be cold.
A puffy jacket is always a good option because of how they can pack up into nothing! You have a lot of options here, but I personally have the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, and it’s kept me warm throughout my many years of adventuring!
For something more affordable, I’d go with this one.
16. Rain jacket
Despite its warm weather, Hawaii (and other tropical destinations) tends to get quite a bit of rain depending on the season and which part of the island you’re on. Because of its tropical weather, unpredictable rainfall can come and go as it pleases.
For example during my last trip–while we were exploring Koke’e State Park on a warm summer day, we made the drive out north to Kalalau Lookout and experienced fog, drizzle, and a ‘view’ that was completely shrouded by fog!
17. Shawl / scarf
One of my must-haves! I’ll always have a medium-sized thin scarf in my bag. Not only can you use them for warmth or style, but you can also use them as a coverup after beaching, as a towel, as a mat on grass/sand/dirt, as a quick rain shield, or as an emergency skirt if your bottoms get stained or soaked somehow.
2-3 depending on how much you plan on beaching. It’s okay to pack extra, in case you need to hit the beach or pool and the ones you wore previously haven’t had a chance to fully dry yet.
19. Sleepwear / loungewear
Yoga pants and a t-shirt or workout clothes are all you need. You can really save luggage space here! These items can be used as pajamas, loungewear, and airplane/road trip outfits.
Kauai packing list for men
T-shirts, tanks, polo shirts, shorts, one pair of pants (only if you plan on going to a nicer restaurant), two pairs of swimming shorts, one lightweight jacket. Consider a light rain jacket if there’s rain in the forecast!
Kauai Packing List: Accessories
Because it can get really bright during summer afternoons.
While you’re at it, why not accessorize your accessories? Bringing a pair of sunglasses straps can also be convenient for putting them on/taking them off in a jiffy. And making sure they don’t get lost!
21. Hat / Baseball Cap
Hats are so necessary for sun protection, don’t forget it! You most definitely should have one if you’re going to be spending any prolonged time outdoors.
Baseball caps are great for more active days where you plan on hiking or getting out on the water.
Straw sun hats are better for those casual days by the pool or beach. I’d recommend getting a sunhat with a string so that you won’t need to worry about it flying off every few seconds on a breezy day.
Whenever I want to do my hair and protect my face from the harsh sun rays, I go with my trust roll-up sun hat. This hat is my favorite because it gives me the best of both worlds, a cute hairdo, and sun protection!
22. Jewelry (Optional)
Definitely optional. I tend to skip jewelry on most days (even if I’ve packed it) because either it’s too hot/humid to want to deal with something sticking all over my neck, or I just forget to wear it.
Kauai Packing List: Toiletries
Sunscreen is absolutely necessary. Even if it’s overcast or cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors. Whenever we head to tropical destinations with ample marine life, we always go with a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreens contain chemicals that harm our environment as well as the natural balance of marine ecosystems.
In fact, you may even encounter tour companies asking you to only use sunscreen and sunblock that are biodegradable, containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide only.
And honestly, it’s not enough to just buy any old bottle that has a “reef-friendly” label on it. It turns out many sunscreens claiming to be “reef-friendly” or “reef-safe” actually aren’t!
Products containing the following ingredients are technically NOT reef safe: oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene or nanoparticles. Always review the active ingredients on the bottle to be sure you’re really getting something reef-safe.
Here are a few travel-sized biodegradable sunscreens you can easily buy on Amazon:
- Badger Reef Safe Sunscreen – SPF 40 Kids Clear Sport
- Badger Reef Safe Sunscreen- SPF 35 Clear Zinc Sport Unscented
- Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
- Babo Botanicals Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- All Good Sport Face & Body Sunscreen Lotion
And on days where we are just out and about (not getting into the water)–for the face, we are absolutely obsessed with the magical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen. No white-cast, no greasy film!
24. Bug spray
Depending on the island you choose and the season you go, there will be mosquitoes and you’ll want to protect yourself against bites. Typically the more undeveloped the island or destination, the more prevalent mosquitos are.
If you plan to go hiking, ziplining, or ATV-ing in the rainforest, I would definitely recommend packing an effective insect / mosquito repellent. We recommend the following travel-size options:
- Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent
- Another good option is Sawyer Jungle Juice Pump Spray Insect Repellent–because we love tropical destinations and summer camping/hiking, we always have a bottle of this at home and ready to go!
If you’re looking for more natural options, we recommend the following travel-friendly options:
25. Squeeze bottles
GoToob travel bottles are my favorite thing ever. Made of high-quality silicone, they are extremely durable, have never leaked on me, and are super easy to squeeze.
26. Hand Sanitizer
And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.
27. Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes
Feeling a bit gross after a hike, swim, or bike ride but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these large body wipes for a quick refresher.
And for the ladies specifically, it’s always good to carry around feminine wipes, especially for those post-beach or post-swimming scenarios. The ones I like are both very affordable and take up no space at all.
Pro Tip: What I like to do when I get to Hawaii–use one of my smaller packing cubes as a mini travel pouch. In that pouch is a swimsuit, a change of underwear, socks, body wipes, and feminine wipes. These things are extra useful when going from the beach back into the car (when you know you won’t get to shower for a few more hours).
28. Shower supplies
Only required if you’re going to be at an Airbnb or vacation rental.
These are usually provided by hotels. If you run out, you can simply ask for more.
29. Dental supplies
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash.
You’re going to be in the hot sun most of the time, so bring deodorant if you sweat or stink.
31. Makeup (Optional)
Makeup, optional?? Yes, you read that right.
Some women have a huge collection of makeup. I also love to wear makeup on vacations! But it’ll be hot, and your face will be sweaty and oily from the sun exposure. Or, you’ll be beaching and snorkeling so much that you won’t need to wear makeup. Bring only what you need.
32. Dry shampoo (Optional)
I try not to wash my hair every day, but at the same time, summers in Hawaii are hot and humid. Dry shampoo comes in handy very frequently.
33. DIY survival kit
Make a little bag of the following: ibuprofen, allergy pills, Immodium, ciprofloxacin (or whatever your doctor prescribes for traveler’s diarrhea), bandaids, floss, hand sanitizer, eye drops, lip balm, a sharpie, tape, and extra contact lenses (if applicable).
Think about the ailments you typically suffer from and have to deal with on a regular basis and adjust the contents of the bag as needed!
Don’t feel like making your own? Buy a premade first aid kit instead–we like the simple ones by Welly.
34. Extra plastic baggies
Because you never know, but they always come in handy.
You can even reuse the plastic baggies you get from the supermarket.
35. Tissue/antibacterial wipes
Sometimes, your hands get dirty. Sometimes, there’s no toilet paper in the public bathrooms. Sometimes, you’ll come across a fruit stand or banana bread stand on the road and want to buy something to snack on.
Tissues and hand wipes are great for these instances.
36. Laundry soap (Optional)
Bring a super-concentrated soap and a handy-dandy travel clothesline so you can do your own laundry. We usually wash our swimsuits and swim trunks after hitting the pool or beach to prevent them from smelling funky.
By doing your own laundry, you can save on those insane drycleaning fees hotels charge! What’s even worse–some of them charge per article of clothing!
If you’d rather save money, simply use the soap or body wash gel provided by your hotel to wash your clothes.
37. Quick-drying towel
Travel towels are probably one of the best inventions for efficient travelers. They are light, super packable, and quick-drying. Definitely very useful if you plan on going on water-related excursions or having beach days but don’t have access to a beach towel!
This one is a great option if you’re in the market for one.
Kauai Packing List: Electronics
38. Waterproof Phone Case
While most new phones are waterproof to some extent these days, they aren’t meant to stay submerged for prolonged periods of time without protection. With an actual heavy-duty waterproof phone case, you’ll have peace of mind bringing your phone with you when participating in water activities.
On our last trips to Hawaii and Mexico, we forgot to bring our waterproof phone cases and our GoPro camera. We totally missed out on a bunch of awesome underwater photo ops during two snorkeling trips!
These phone cases provide excellent waterproof performance housing for underwater photos and videos. They’ve been tested more than a thousand times, and the case enables you to dive to 50ft/15m of depth in water for 60 minutes without leaks.
39. Camera (DSLR or GoPro)
iPhones are typically good enough, but some higher-quality pictures definitely wouldn’t hurt. For longer vacations, I typically go with my Nikon D5500, which produces great photos that I’ll cherish forever.
If you plan on doing a bunch of adventurous activities (ziplining, skydiving, kayaking, paddling, ATV-ing) and/or want some underwater footage when surfing or snorkeling, you should definitely go with the waterproof GoPro.
40. External battery
You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures… the last thing you want is to be on-the-go with no phone battery!
A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
41. Portable bluetooth speaker
We love listening to music when we’re relaxing in a hotel bed in the morning or getting ready for the day. The JBL Flip Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker is our go-to whenever we’re traveling domestically or internationally.
This speaker is always perfect for our Hawaii vacations because it’s waterproof, meaning you can bring it poolside or beachside without having to worry about protecting it from the water!
42. Travel adapter
Necessary for many international travelers. If you are coming from the mainland USA, you will not need one.
This one here is tried and trusted. It allows for a normal plug and has two additional USB ports.
Bring multiple phone cords since they are light (and easy to misplace).
With all the beach and pool-lounging opportunities, you’ll have a lot of time to get through that book you’ve always wanted to start.
Go with the Kindle e-reader over actual physical books if you plan to read a lot– it eliminates a lot of potential weight (and waste) from actually carrying books. What better way to spend some time poolside or tanning at the beach?
Kauai Packing List: Other Travel Essentials
45. Travel belt / money belt
A travel belt is a smart traveler’s best friend. They are the best thief-proof tool for airplane travel, public transportation travel, walking around abroad, and just about everything else in between.
I always, always use a Flip Belt to carry around identification, important documents, and money that I want to keep safe and right by my side.
Another benefit of the Flip Belt? It’s supposed to be a running belt. I swear, this thing doesn’t budge or jiggle at all when I run, plus it’s super comfortable!
While most parts of Kauai take credit cards, it’s always good to carry around a mix of local currency and your home currency for emergencies.
I find that it’s a lot easier to pay for things at a farmers’ market or roadside fruit stall with cash than with a card.
47. Tickets and travel documents
Passport, student ID, medical card, proof of travel insurance, printed documents of your flight/hotel bookings, visas if you need them.
48. Travel cards
Credit cards, debit cards, airport lounge access cards, visas.
49. Eye mask / Earplugs
There is a good chance there will be families traveling by plane with young children and/or babies. A very good chance. I would highly recommend bringing earplugs or headphones for your plane rides to drown out any potential crying babies! These earplugs by Mack’s are my absolute favorite.
If you plan on sleeping on the plane ride (or if you like your privacy whenever you sleep), don’t forget your eye mask!
50. Travel pillow
The turtl Pillow is the only one you need to consider for easy airplane sleeping! It comes highly rated because it has so much support, almost like a neck brace (there’s a chunk of flexible plastic in there to prop your head up). It’s warm and super packable too.
And if you’re looking to level up, the trtl Pillow Plus is even more high-tech than the original.
51. Reusable water bottle
Go with a collapsable one like this so when it’s not filled, you can easily pack it away in your travel bag.
For something more durable that keeps your water cold for hours upon hours, Hydroflasks are my favorite for everyday use.
52. Foldable tote bag
Great for doing groceries or carrying your belongings in a pinch. Please note, Hawaii charges for plastic bags!
Bring one of your own, save money and save the planet. This option is very compactable and can fit right in your carry-on.
53. Laundry bag
Keep your worn clothes separate from your clean ones, especially when traveling to high humidity climates. When it’s humid, you’ll definitely be sticky by the end of the day. All that stickiness will transfer to your clothes. And even if you don’t get sticky/sweaty, you will inevitably have dirty socks and undies to toss in here.
I have this laundry bag set, and it’s great because it includes many size options.
54. Emergen-C packets
Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets are a must for travel. These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health on a trip. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!
55. Sand-free beach mat
Did you know that these days there are high-tech beach mats for sale? Oh yeah, they definitely beat your average beach towel, that’s for sure!
There are actually beach mats that are quick-drying, waterproof, and sand-proof, making setting up on the beach super, super easy. This amazing beach mat is all those things, plus it has sand anchor pockets and 6 ground stakes so that your beach mat is wind-resistant even when you’re not laying on it!
56. Snorkel gear
Bringing your own snorkeling set is pretty freeing. It means you can choose to snorkel anytime you want without having to track down a rental shop to rent gear. This is important because not all beaches have rental shacks nearby.
In addition, you’ll have the comfort of knowing the snorkel and mask haven’t been used by a million other people.
Seavenger, one of the best snorkel gear makers in the game, sells a Hanalei Anti-Fog 4-Piece Snorkeling Set that’s really loved by both kids and adults.
57. Seasickness wristbands
If you’re prone to motion sickness or seasickness and plan on doing boat excursions or sailing trips (the Na Pali boat tours are amazing), you’re going to want to pack a few seasickness wristbands for your trip. These babies work by applying acupressure to just the right spots on your wrist.
As Sea-Bands are totally natural, they’re a great alternative when you don’t want to take oral medications.
58. Portable neck fan
For travelers who, like me, do very poorly in high humidity destinations, this one is for you. If you can’t stand the feeling of stifling, breezeless air, do not forget to pack a portable neck fan!
A constant and enjoyable breeze makes all the difference and will allow you to stay comfortable being outside in the heat for hours on end. I personally own a bladeless neck fan, but there are other more affordable fans with fan blades available too.
If you know it’s going to be hot and humid and are not good with hot weather, I beg you, pack this in your travel bag!
59. Cooling towel
For something simpler than a neck fan, you can consider a Chill Pal cooling towel to stay cool. Trust me, it will save your life from the heat and make exploring the outdoors more bearable.
When is the best time of year to visit Kauai?
The best months of the year to visit Kauai are between April to June and September to November. Although the weather in Kauai is warm and wonderful all year long, during those months there are both fewer crowds and rain is less likely.
Remember, Kauai’s rainy season falls between the months of November to March. While you might not experience rain every second of your trip, do note that it is more frequent during these months. December is the wettest month on Kauai.
You’ll want to pack accordingly if you’re traveling during the rainier season!
How many days to stay in Kauai?
While 3-4 days will allow you to see just the highlights of Kauai, we recommend staying a bit longer than that if you have the budget to do so.
If you can swing it, 5-7 days will be perfect, and we recommend no less than 4 days—otherwise, you really won’t be able to experience all that the island has to offer.
If you plan on seeing the Na Pali Coast, you’re going to be spending at least 1 full day up in the North Shore. If you plan on seeing Waimea Canyon, that’s another day right there. Also don’t forget, you’re going to want to make time to eat all the amazing food Kauai offers! If you’re limiting yourself on vacation days, you’re also limiting yourself on the opportunities to eat the local grinds!
And don’t even get me started on all the epic beaching and snorkeling options you have on Kauai… (wishing I was there now).
As you can see, more days in Kauai is better!
Do you need a car in Kauai?
The answer is an astounding YES! Unlike the island of Oahu, Kauai does not have just one area where many of the attractions are easily accessible by public transportation. On Kauai, there is no ‘downtown’ and the island is not walkable.
If you plan to stay only at your resort and do nothing else, then a car may not be needed. However, if you’re looking to do iconic activities such as seeing Waimea Canyon, hiking the Na Pali Wilderness, or exploring Koke’e State Park, you are most definitely going to need to rent a car.
Since rental car prices are not cheap, you’re going to want to use a comparison tool such as Priceline to compare deals across car rental companies. We personally book rental cars with Priceline almost 100% of the time due to their unbeatable free cancellation policy. No prepayment and no cancellation fees–you really can’t beat it!
Popular Tours On Kauai
Try out one of these super popular and highly recommended tours to elevate your Kauai vacation that much more:
- Na Pali Coast Kauai Snorkel and Sail – On this sailing and snorkeling cruise from Port Allen, you’ll get to enjoy the Na Pali Coast from the deck of a catamaran and explore the island’s underwater world during a snorkeling stop. This tour includes a buffet lunch and entertaining stories told by the captain and crew! We did this tour, and it was completely and utterly amazing.
- Na Pali Sunset Buffet Dinner Cruise – Experience the Na Pali Coast during the most romantic time of day on this sunset dinner cruise. Experience the epic landmarks aboard a deluxe sailing catamaran as you enjoy a buffet dinner complete with Mai Tais, beer, wine, and fresh juices, and a glass of champagne at the end.
- Entire Kauai Island Air Tour – Soak up breathtaking views of natural attractions like Waimea Canyon, Opaekaa Falls, the rugged Na Pa Coast, and Mt. Waialeale — the wettest spot on earth. Approximately 1 hour 10 minutes, departs from Lihue.
- Koloa Zipline – Soar through lush forests and over the Waita Reservoir on the island’s longest ziplines on this 8-track course!
The Ultimate Kauai Packing List: Checklist
To wrap up, let’s review the ultimate packing checklist for your Kauai trip:
- Wheeled Suitcase / Travel Backpack
- Packing Cubes
- Laundry Travel Bag
- Everyday bag
- 4-5 Tops
- 1 pair of pants
- 2-3 pairs of shorts/skirts
- 1 pair of leggings
- 2-3 dresses
- 5 pairs of undies
- 5 pairs of socks
- 3 bras
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes
- 1 hiking boot (optional)
- 1 pair of sandals / flip flops
- 1 cardigan or lightweight fleece
- 1 shawl or scarf
- 2-3 swimsuits
- Sunhat / baseball caps
- Jewelry (optional)
- Hand sanitizer
- Body wipes / feminine wipes
- DIY survival kit
- Extra plastic baggies
- Laundry soap
- Quick-dry towel
- Eye mask
- External battery
- Travel adapter
- Portable speakers
- Travel belt / money belt
- Tickets and travel documents
- Credit /debit cards
- Journal or book
- Travel pillow
- Water bottle
- Foldable tote bag
- Laundry bag
- Emergen-C packets
- Beach mat
- Snorkel gear
- Seasickness wristbands
Now you’re ready for your Kauai vacation!
If you get nothing else out of this post, at least take this with you:
When packing for Kauai, pack light and save room for souvenirs and local snacks to bring home! Especially since your clothing items will be considerably lighter for a tropical destination. You’ve got a lot to look forward to and a lot of trip to pack for!
Looking for more Hawaii travel resources? Read next: