- Some of the links in this article are "affiliate links", a link with a special tracking code. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission.
- Unless otherwise stated, blogs are from pre-COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions. All information subject to change
Congrats you did it! You landed that Hawaii travel assignment and are off to the land of aloha!
Now, before you embark on your travel therapy or travel nursing assignment, it is time to decide what you are going to pack for the next 3 months. When travelers in Hawaii talk about packing it is common to hear the phrase “I came here with 2 bags…” which is the truth. Most travelers that I have met in Hawaii have arrived with their belongings in 1-3 bags.
Since Hawaii is such a largely trafficked vacation destination, it is very easy to find apartments and rentals that come “fully furnished/all-inclusive” with furniture and home good including towels, kitchen wear, etc. Even if you do not find a rental with full furniture and home goods, you can always buy what you need once you get to the islands.
Personally, I came to my Hawaii travel assignment with 2 checked bags and a carry on, which amounted to around 100 pounds of belongings. Honestly, I brought way too much stuff. My fault was in packing extra toiletries and too many outfits. Here is a breakdown of what I packed:
I brought three pieces of luggage to Hawaii; each for a purpose. I brought a carryon that could easily be used for weekend inner island getaways and a backpack that could be used for long weekend or camping excursions. I also brought a large suitcase solely for the purpose that it carried a lot of stuff.
I love this piece because it is lightweight and versatile. It can be small enough to fit in an airplane overhead or expand to hold more and be a checked bag. It also has backpacking straps tucked into the back of the bag which is super useful if I need to carry the bag on my shoulders when I am on rougher terrain or stairs. It also has a detachable backpack that you can use as a day pack. It is my go-to bag and I use this bag for trips that are 2 days or 2 weeks.
For a backpacking backpack I love Osprey. The bags are lightweight, durable and full of compartments to store different items. I brought this bag to Hawaii so that I could have it for any weekend or camping excursions and have been happy to have this bag here.
The Big Bag:
If you need a large pack to pack a lot of stuff, this is it for me. I love this bag and how much it expands to hold. This was the main bag that held the majority of my “stuff” on the flight from the mainland to Hawaii.
- 5 Sets of Scrubs (or work uniform as stated in the contract)
- Work Shoes
- Clip Board – Easy and inexpensive to buy if you do not have room to pack
If I had to describe the official uniform of Hawaii it would be shorts, a tank top and slippers. (Slippers is the Hawaiian word for flip flops). Overall the fashion scene is very casual, beach chic and anything goes. Packing lightweight, comfortable clothes will be perfect for this climate. I have suggested some items here, as always pack what is important to you and what you have room for in your luggage.
- Shorts & Tank Tops
- For Ladies: 3-4 dresses or rompers/skirts
- Beach cover-up
- 1 -2 pairs of Slippers
- Swimsuits/Swim trunks
- Work out attire
- 1 Hoodie and 1 light sweater for colder nights
- 1 pair of jeans (you can wear these on the plane, may not wear them on the islands)
- 1 Pair Sneakers and or hiking boots
- 1 pair of nicer sandals/shoes
Toiletries are easy to buy on the islands. If you take a Hawaii travel assignment you can definitely buy toiletries on the islands. Here is a basic rundown of the necessities, if you want to pack them. If not, consider packing only travel-sized toiletries and buying what you need once you get here.
- Shampoo/Conditioner/Soaps/Face Soap/Razors
- Hair Brush
- Contact Lenses/Glasses
- Bug Spray
- Medications as prescribed
- First Aid Kit
- Phone and chargers
- External Hard Drive
- Go Pro for those underwater shots!
- Waterproof phone case: LifeProof Waterproof Case
- Copy of work licenses
- ID and or passport
- Credit Cards/Check Book
- Copy of car insurance (if applicable)
- Water Bottle
- Day pack for hiking
- Sports/Activity gear as needed
What I learned about packing for a Hawaii travel assignment is that less is more. If you forgot to pack something, you can buy it here, so bring the necessities. Pack the bikinis, slippers and shades and you will be good to go! (Oh yeah and the scrubs!)
Free E-Book & Newsletter
Subscribe to get our latest content by email and a free download of
The Crash Course to Travel Therapy