Wednesday, November 21, 2018

How I Packed for Hawaii in a Carry On Suitcase

We were just in Hawaii for 10 days, and I was particularly motivated to have Jeff and I just pack carry-on bags. This was partially because I'm pregnant and wasn't motivated to buy a bunch of new stuff for the trip that I would get to wear once and never again, and partially because I was nervous about getting a checked bag home from our flights from Kauai to Honolulu and then Honolulu home on different airlines on the same day. Jeff and I are already nervous travelers, so removing any source of worry is great for us.

I've never previously tried to pack for such a long trip in a carry on, but when we went to Asia last year I only had a slightly larger bag and had room to spare with all of my warm weather clothes, so I knew it was possible.

Just a few notes - we did have a washing machine in our house in Oahu, where we stayed for six nights, so I was able to wash some of our stuff halfway through the trip which really helped. I also knew that our time in Oahu with Jeff's family was going to be fairly casual, as we ate most meals at the house and spent the majority of our time either hiking, swimming, or lounging. As far as toiletries, I tried to go as minimal as possible, and planned to pick up larger items like sunscreen once we got to Hawaii.

Since it's currently the depths of winter and since I didn't buy anything new for the trip, I had a hard time finding exact matches for the items I brought, so just know that a lot of these are approximations.

So here's what I packed!


My carry on suitcase: This bag is amazing (the 21 inch is perfect for a carry on), and the two different packing spaces really help me maximize my packing ability and stay organized. If it ever gets dirty, I just give it a quick wipe with a magic eraser and it's back to looking brand new. I did also bring a not cute backpack on the plane, and used it for hiking too.

Neutral sandals: I did pack two pairs of neutral sandals but I really could have gotten away with one. These are padded so they're comfy for all day walking, and the nude color works on the beach, during the day, and paired with my pretty dresses at night. Hawaii is really casual, I was never in a situation where I wished I had fancier shoes.

For the beach: I packed two swimsuits (blue and black floral) as well as two rashers from Land's End (they make the best ones!) because I can't stand putting on a wet swimsuit. Bringing two didn't take too much space, but let me rotate every day. I also included a beach bag that could lay flat in my carry-on, as well as one cover-up that would let me go out to lunch or run around the resort in my swimsuit.

For hiking: I brought one regular tee shirt, not true athletic wear, with the thought that I could wear it hiking and during the day. I just never ended up wearing it during the day because it got a little smelly ;) I also brought running shorts, which could double as loungewear, and wore sneakers on the plane that would work for hikes too. We only did really easy hikes since I was 24-25 weeks pregnant during the trip, if you're planning on doing more hiking you may want to bring more stuff.

For the plane: I wore a sweatshirt over one of my basic tees as well as a pair of maternity leggings (here are my favorite non-maternity) and some super sexy compression socks on the plane, and used the sweatshirt for cool nights in Hawaii too.

For daytime: I brought two basic tees as well as a fun scarf and earrings to mix things up. I also had my favorite maternity denim shorts from this summer (this pair is my favorite non-maternity) and a lightweight cardigan since the mornings could be a little chilly, as well as a basic dress that could work for day or night.

For dinners out: We only went out to dinner four nights on the whole trip (and one was just at a brewery) so I rotated through my three dresses. The patterned dress is really fun to wear, but I also liked that the white and black dresses could be mixed with my patterned scarf, earrings, and cardigan to make different looks. And of course I brought my favorite little circle bag from the summer, it made it into my suitcase with underwear and socks stuffed inside!



And then obviously not pictured were also things like pajamas and undergarments. All of this fit into my carry-on with room to spare, which was helpful for a couple of things that we added in during the trip like a few souvenirs, matching Hawaiian shirts that Jeff's cousin bought for the whole family, and the cutest tasseled clutch I couldn't resist at the resort spa ;)

Do you think you could ever pack for a long trip in just a carry on bag? Have I motivated you to try??



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