What I took to Hawaii in a personal item/ carry on bag

I am a recovering over-packer. Here is what I brought (and what I didn’t use) on a 6 day trip in Hawaii. I used a small tote bag and a 15″x 12″x 9″ rolling bag. The carry on allowance was bigger (some people had a huge bag! Ugh.) but I didn’t want to risk it.


Workout shorts

Workout leggings

Sports bra





Tank tops/ bralettes


2 bathing suits

Underwear and socks

travel outfit: light pants, tank top, sweater not shown

I used the workout shorts as a swim coverup or when I needed comfy shorts. Wore the leggings for snorkeling to limit sun exposure. I used the sports bra for activities but not “working out” because I did most of my working out in my comfy romper which I used as pajamas. I wore the dress for a special dinner and paired the shorts and light pants with my tank tops. I would have liked a third bathing suit but really two were fine. Packed half the number of socks and underwear because we had a washing machine in the rental. I didn’t use the top I brought. And I had a sweater for the plane/cold stores.


Dance shoes

Flip flops


Sneakers (worn to travel/ not shown)

Plus- rollers for my feet

Clearly I had my priorities straight when it came to space. Couldn’t stay out of practice for so long so I took my tango shoes to do some exercises. Flip flops are an obvious must. Sandals were good for walking around town, and I wore sneakers to travel and for everything active. My feet rollers help massage my feet.

Tech/ Accessories

This all fit into my “personal item” tote bag. My toiletries too. Everything else was in my carry on





UV scarf

UV gloves


Hair tie


Planner/ pencil


Measuring tape




Extra contacts

Hand sanitizer


Glasses wipe





External battery

Ring light


Prescription sunglasses


I had computer work to do so I needed to bring my iPad and keyboard. Honestly I was being a princess about the keyboard though. I have traveled before and really used it but this time I couldn’t justify the weight. I used my iPod and chargers, did not really use my ring light. I used the speaker to listen to a video as I got ready. It’s super tiny but didn’t need it though.


I had my purse essentials like my wallet, measuring tape, mirror, fans, comb, extra contacts, hand sanitizer, bandaids, glasses wipe, eyedrops. My hat was definitely necessary. The UV hair scarf prevents sun damage. UV gloves helped prevent sun exposure are useful in activities like kayaking, to prevent burns. Sunglasses/ prescription glasses were used as necessary. My hair scarf is silk and I like to use it put my hair up to sleep if I am not using my usual silk pillowcase. Hey, if you don’t treat yourself well one else will. But actually I was too exhausted to bother most nights haha. Hair ties are a must for long hair.


Toothbrush (not shown)

Manuka honey

Coconut oil

Rose water

Pomegranate oil

Marula oil


Shampoo bar


Lip balm

Salicylic acid treatment

LUSH full of grace serum

Face lotion



Toothbrush. Need I say more. Manuka honey to soothe sunburned skin and for potential cuts. Coconut oil to protect my hair before going into water and I mixed it with aloe I bought there as an after sun lotion. I use rose water after my cleanser, and brought mini pomegranate and marula oils but I bought macadamia nut oil at a farm and used that instead mostly. Didn’t really need my extra serum and facial lotion, the oil was enough. Bar shampoo packs easy and can double as soap. I didn’t even use the soap I brought. Conditioner was a little tricky to use out of the bag but not impossible. Lip balm is always a must. Didn’t have a breakout so no need for the salicylic acid, yay! But good to have just in case. Sunscreen, for obvious reasons. BUT it wasn’t “reef safe” so I tossed it and bought a natural one when I got there.

I recommend looking into why Hawaii banned certain sunscreens. All of the chemicals are horribly disrupting the reefs.





Mascara primer






Clear powder

Ain’t nobody got time for melting makeup. It’s already a pain to put on when you’re not a living popsicle. I was too active to care to put on a lot of makeup everyday, but when the family went out for a nice dinner it was nice to have my basics. I only wore contacts for snorkeling but I like to have a pair for each day just in case. I ended up mostly doing a flick of eyeliner at the corner of my eyes and using a lip balm with spf. Used the lipstick/ lipgloss once, it was kind of a waste of space. I can’t recall if I even used the powder so that goes to show how important it was to pack. I think I used the highlighter?

Hope this helps! Happy traveling 🙂

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