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Maui Packing Guide: 10 Days in a Carry-On

Aloha! So you’re heading to Hawaii and you’re wondering what to pack for Maui… Don’t worry, girl, I’ve got you covered. I recently spent 10 days in Maui (you can check out my Maui travel guide HERE) and in today’s post, I’m sharing what to pack for Maui + how to narrow it down to fit into one carry-on (+ one personal item)! Maui is the only Hawaiian island I’ve been to, but I’m pretty sure this packing guide would be useful for any of the Hawaiian islands, as well as any other tropical location.

I typically like to travel with only a carry-on for a few reasons. Firstly, travel costs can add up quickly. If I’m traveling with an airline that charges baggage fees and I can save a few dollars on a checked bag, I’m all for it. Secondly, I like to not have to worry about my luggage getting lost (which has happened to me a few times, ugh). Similarly, if you only have a carry-on, you don’t have to waste time waiting around at the baggage claim. Plus, a carry-on is SO much easier to maneuver around with during your travels! Are you sold on the carry-on-only life yet?! Then let’s narrow down what to pack for Maui, girlfriend!

what to pack for maui

What I Packed in my Carry-On

MY CARRY-ON LUGGAGE:  I purchased a new 21-inch SwissGear carry-on a few months ago from TJ Maxx and it has been great!  TJ Maxx and Marshalls have such amazing deals on quality name-brand luggage.

I used these packing cubes which are a total travel game-changer! I’m pretty sure I would not have been able to pack for 10 days in a carry-on without them. They help condense everything allowing you to pack more items! They also keep everything super organized. I cannot say enough good things about these packing cubes – I highly recommend them!

Carry-On Packing List

  • 3 dresses
  • 3 basic [v-neck] tees
  • 2 ‘nice’ shirts
  • 3 pairs of ‘nice’ shorts (denim, blue, coral)
  • 3 lounge/sleep t-shirts
  • 2 lounge/sleep or hike shorts
  • 1 tank top
  • 1 beach cover-up
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 1 pair of drawstring shorts
  • 1 rash guard
  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • Undergarments/socks
  • Winter hat + gloves (for the cold Haleakala crater summit!)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (sneakers, flip flops, sandals)
  • Hanging toiletry bag (I shared a great hanging toiletry bag in my Travel Essentials post HERE)
  • Makeup bag (you can see my makeup bag + what I usually carry in it HERE)
  • Small jewelry bag (I only brought 2 pairs of earrings, a few bracelets and 1 necklace)
  • Curling iron

FOR THE PLANE (+ CRATER!): On the plane, I wore my favorite Airplane Mode sweatshirt over a t-shirt + a pair of leggings.  I wore the sneakers I planned to hike in on the plane since they would take up a lot of room in my suitcase.  I also wore this same outfit + my winter hat and gloves when we drove up to the Haleakala crater summit (you can read more about the Haleakala crater HERE). Additionally, I packed a second pair of leggings in my carry-on so that I would have a fresh pair to wear (as well as a fresh t-shirt) on the plane ride home.

FOR THE BEACH: I packed two bathing suits, one cover-up, one rash guard and a pair of drawstring shorts to wear to the beach. I either wore the cover-up or drawstring shorts + a basic tee over my bathing suit. Because I’m so sensitive to the sun, I didn’t spend a ton of time at the beach on Maui so I, personally, could have gone with only one bathing suit and without the rash guard (since we didn’t snorkel).  However, I do recommend the rash guard if you plan on snorkeling because the sun in Hawaii is very strong.  I also wore a pair of flip flops to the beach + I brought my Longchamp tote that I used as my personal item [on the plane].

FOR DAYTIME/CASUAL:  I packed three basic v-neck tees and two ‘nicer’ shirts – a loose long-sleeved striped shirt and a short-sleeved orange button-up.  I packed three pairs of shorts to wear during the day – one pair of jean shorts, a pair of navy blue shorts and a pair of coral shorts.  However, I probably could have gotten away with just jean shorts + one of the colored pairs of shorts. I always like to travel with basic tees/solid-colored pieces that I can mix and match to create multiple outfits.

FOR HIKING/ADVENTURES:  From the Haleakala crater to the jungle, there is a lot more to Maui than just beautiful beaches so be sure to pack for adventure!  I had my sneakers that I wore on the plane, as well as this Good Vibes tank, some t-shirts and my favorite Soffe shorts to explore in.  Additionally, I packed a sports bra and higher ankle socks to avoid rubbing/blisters.

FOR DINNERS/EVENINGS OUT:  I brought three dresses on this trip.  One dress I brought specifically for the luau we went to (it was a fun tropical/floral print) and then two other dresses were for dinners/evenings out.  I also packed a pair of sandals and a clutch.

what to pack for maui

What I Packed in my Personal Item

MY PERSONAL ITEM:  For my personal item, I brought a Longchamp tote because they are wipeable and durable.  I stuffed this tote full using it as my personal item on the plane. Additionally, I carried it with me every day out and about on Maui + I used it as my beach tote! 

Personal Item Packing List

  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglasses
  • iPad + wireless keyboard
  • Clutch + cardholder
  • Catch-all pouch (with everything from Advil to my Tula eye balm in it)
  • Extra phone batteries/chargers/headphones
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Umbrella
  • Headband
  • Beach hat
  • Notebook + tape*

*FUN TRAVEL TIP: Bring a notebook + a roll of tape with you to create a memory book on-the-go! Ya know all of the ticket stubs, receipts, etc. that you collect during a trip? Tape them into the pages of a notebook while you’re traveling and write a little bit about what you did each day! Then when you come home, you’ll have a memory book from your trip!

So do you think you can live that carry-on-only life?! I have faith in you, girl! When in doubt, don’t pack it! You can always go shopping in Maui 🙂

To sum it up, I think a carry-on is all you need for 10 days on Maui. I was able to pack a lot in my carry-on + personal item and it worked out perfectly! Honestly, I probably could have even eliminated a few items. I really hope this post helps you narrow down what to pack for Maui!

Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out my Maui travel guide HERE! I detail the best places to eat, stay and play on Maui!

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what to pack for maui

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