Cheap flights to Hawaii mean spontaneous bookings and no carry-ons via United Airline’s Basic Economy ticket restrictions. My parents and I each took a personal item to Oahu and I will show how I was able to pack for a 6 day trip with my Cotopaxi Allpa 28L backpack. All of our bags fit into the measurements bin and given the seal of approval by a United agent before our boarding passes were issued.
- 6 underwear
- 6 pairs of socks
- 2 bras
- 2 sports bras
- 2 swimsuits
- 4 t-shirts
- 1 kimono
- 1 hoodie
- 4 shorts
- 2 romper outfits
- Toiletry bag
- Macbook Air and charger
- Sun hat
- Teva sandals
- Glasses and nightguard
- Plan out your outfits by day. I usually write out a day-by-day itinerary and what I’ll wear that day depending on the activities.
- Roll all your clothes! I usually use packing cubes if I take a carry-on, but with lack of space, I simply rolled everything I could onto the right side of the pack. I started with the hoodie and rompers fitted into the bottom as they’re bulkier, then worked my way up with shorts and then shirts.
- Bring a small laundry bag for dirty socks to keep it separate from everything else.
- Be prepared to do sink laundry if needed! I usually carry a tiny Ziploc bag of powdered detergent.
- United allows plastic grocery bags onboard if you claim they’re food and snacks, PLUS you can carry bulkier items of clothing on your persons without any issues. I was able to go hands free with my Cotopaxi.
Note that since Hawaii is tropical with a fairly steady temperature in the low 80s, my choice of clothing was light, airy, and short. If I were going somewhere colder, I’d have some trouble fitting 6 days’ worth of stuff. I ended up using all my clothing except the second swimsuit, so repacking was fairly easy as I didn’t need to separate dirty from clean clothes.
I also wore long pants, a shirt, my linen button up, and sneakers on the plane to save some space.
The total weight of the pack (including my Macbook) comes out to: 17 pounds. But with the two strap backpack style rather than single strap duffel bag, the 17 pounds was completely doable and comfy. A full review of the Cotopaxi Allpa 28L cane be found here.