Essential 2021 Packing Guide For Hawaii Island


Kua Bay

Now that people are traveling to Hawaii again, we are once again faced with some of the issues we were dealing with before the pandemic. I am not here to bust anyone’s chops about visiting the islands, as MANY local businesses were negatively impacted during the shutdown and are making hay right now with so many visitors coming. However, with Hawaii Island receiving over 100,000 visitors in just one month, I wanted to share some tips on packing for Hawaii so you can tread a bit more lightly here, with intent and knowledge and when enough people do something proactive, it can make a huge impact.

  1. Please bring a rash guard and mineral sunscreen and save our coral reefs.  (Link for local made and safe sunscreens to either bring with or purchase when you arrive) 
  2. If you don’t like the taste of our water, bring a Brita filter water bottle or container to avoid using plastic bottles that end up in our landfills. (Yes, even if it says recycled, trust me, avoid them if you can)
  3. Bring a refillable water bottle. Hydroflask, Yeti, etc are great for putting ice cubes in and keeping your drinks cold!
  4. Take the Pono Pledge – which gives you the best guidelines about being an aware and respectful visitor to Hawaii.
  5. Bring your patience, leave the entitlement.
  6. Pack a collapsible cooler so you can spend part of your time enjoying eating at the beach if you can not get reservations for our restaurants with a view. (the struggle is real right now,,)
  7. A face covering – many of our businesses, grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels still require masks to be worn. It is a sign of respect for the local community. Thank you!

Those are pretty much the basics, friends.

Bring Your Aloha Please

Hawaii had a WHOLE YEAR when visitors gave the ocean, the trails, the marine animals and roads a break. Locals are hypersensitive right now to the crush of visitors coming into the islands, so your Kokua is needed to not only tread lightly on the environment (mineral sunscreen and personal water bottles), but also by being a “mindful” visitor in showing Aloha to our exhausted hospitality workers and in doing your part to stay safe while you are here. (Read the Pono Pledge, please)

If you would like to do something to give back to the island while you are here, please feel free to pick up trash at the beaches or parks, take a farm tour and buy directly from the farmers, and tip your servers. If you would like to learn more about protecting our reefs by wearing mineral sunscreen, the Kohala Center tells you all about it!  

If you are looking for things to do, please view some of our hiking/biking/restaurant/ videos 

Thanks for reading!

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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