A few weeks ago, Eric and I planned a last-minute vacation to Kauai for some much-needed relaxation. I’m terrible at packing when I plan a trip far ahead of time – give me less than 24 hours, and we’re looking at a possible disaster.
Luckily I live in the age of the internet, so I turned to a few trusted resources to help me whip together a packing list (namely, this list from Alex in Wanderland, and this one from Her Packing List). We were planning to stay in Hawaii for a week and to do plenty of hiking and water activities (specifically snorkeling, surfing, and scuba diving). Here’s what I packed:
Clothes and Shoes
- 1 striped blue-and-white crop top
- 2 tank tops — This pink athletic top and this drapey blue tank, both from Victoria’s Secret.
- 2 loose-fitting, casual, and colorful tops
- 2 t-shirts
- 1 pair of jeans — I almost didn’t pack these, but was glad to have them after I sunburnt the backs of my legs while surfing. (this pair from Guess, which is my current favorite)
- 1 pair of black sweatpants — To wear on the plane, but I also ended up wearing them while hiking and kayaking to protect my legs from further sunburn.
- 2 pairs of shorts — One regular distressed denim, and one high-waisted pair to go with my crop top.
- 1 casual grey dress — I brought this dress (which I recently bought from Nordstrom) for dinners out & special occasions. I ended up wearing it three times! Definitely my new favorite dress.
- 1 grey striped drapey cardigan
- 1 light jacket
- 1 baseball cap
- 8 pairs of underwear
- 2 bras
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of athletic shoes — I brought these Brooks shoes for running (which didn’t happen) and hiking (which did).
- 6 pairs of socks — Which turned out to be way too many. I only ended up wearing about 4 pairs.
- 1 pair of running shorts — I didn’t go running, so I didn’t need these.
- 2 sports bras — Again, for running, so I didn’t use them.
Diving Gear and Swim Suits
- 2 bathing suits — This bikini from ASOS with the matching bottom and this one-piece from Victoria’s Secret. (Note: as a larger-busted woman, I find both to be very comfortable and supportive, and I don’t worry about bursting out of them.)
- Diving & snorkeling gear: this Cressi shortie wetsuit, mask, snorkel, diving gloves, dive computer, and diver’s log — I didn’t use any of these because our diving and snorkeling plans were cancelled due to high surf during our stay.
Toiletries and Accessories
- sunscreen — I brought two bottles of Sun Bum and a face stick. We used up both of the bottles and ended up buying two more at the hotel. And despite all the sun protection, we still got sunburned.
- contact lenses
- contact lens solution
- hair ties
- 2 pairs of cheap plastic sunglasses
- water bottles — We use and love these Camelbak bottles.
- neck pillow — I can’t fly without one of these.
- small nylon drawstring backpack — For carrying personal items while hiking.
- small notebook — For writing down notes about the trip!
- shampoo & conditioner — In small travel-sized bottles. I always pack these and I never use them because I always end up using the hotel ones.
- 2 pairs of earrings — I didn’t wear these.
- 2 necklaces — I didn’t wear these either. I preferred the shell leis that we were given at our hotel!
Electronics & Photography Gear
- camera — I use a Canon T3i.
- lenses — This 10mm-18mm Canon lens for landscapes and this 24mm Canon pancake lens for everything else.
- camera battery charger
- wifi SD card — The EyeFi Mobi Pro is my new favorite SD card because it allows me to wirelessly transfer photos from my camera to my iPhone from anywhere in the world!
- GorillaPod — I love this tripod because it’s easy to transport and set up almost anywhere.
- GoPro anti-fog inserts — These are excellent at keeping the GoPro lens from fogging up when getting underwater shots.
- GoPro wrist housing — Our favorite GoPro housing because it’s one of the most secure (unless you lose your arm, I suppose). We used this almost exclusively.
- GoPro batteries and spare media cards
- bus-powered HDD for backing up photos and video — I use this one.
- iPhone 5
- iPhone wall charger
- iPhone car charger — we rented a Jeep and did a bit of island exploration, so we were using our phones a lot to navigate.
- portable iPhone charger — I use this one for charging my phone on-the-go.
- iPad — I didn’t use it. I mainly just stayed off the internet and enjoyed myself.
- GoPro chest mount, clip mount, and orange floatie — I didn’t use any of these because I stuck with the wrist housing.
- iPhone armband for running — I didn’t use this because I totally didn’t go running.
I actually did decently well while packing for this trip. The use of packing lists was extremely helpful in focusing me to only bring what I would really need.
I won’t count the dive gear that I didn’t use against my score (even though it took up a lot of space in my bag) because we fully intended to use it. The surf was extremely high throughout our stay on Kauai, and our dive was cancelled due to the poor weather and bad visibility. Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather!
I need to be more realistic about the electronics and camera gear I pack. It gets heavy, and I know myself well enough to know I’m not going to lug it around. I also need to be realistic about running while I’m on vacation because I always plan on it but never actually do it. We were doing so many other activities, it wasn’t even necessary!
I give myself a B this time around. Not too bad!