Packing For Not Quite A Week In Hawaii

I’ve become an unwitting expert in resort packing. I’d shake my head over my own frivolity, but would rather give the frivolous knowledge away and hope it’s useful. Here’s what goes in my suitcase. I plan by “use case” rather than by item type. Key takeaway, please do not underestimate the versatility of white cotton sweaters and jeweled sandals.

Packing List for The Four Seasons Hualalai on Hawaii’s “Big Island”



  • 2 bathing suits (no, I never did find a new one. Still in the hunt.)
  • 2 coverups
  • 2 pair dark shorts (I wore only Bermudas. I fear that short shorts are not long for the world outside my garden) + long-sleeved shirt for hiking
  • Assorted tanks and tees, in white, gray, black and blue
  • White UNIQLO mid-length chino shorts (worn to dinner instead of the Tory Burch skirt, along with a navy tee, white sweater, and black jeweled sandals. It worked.)


  • 2 sports bras/workout tops
  • 2 workout tights/yoga pants
  • Wigwam socks for sneakers (comparable)


  • 5 underwear (High WASPs can’t use the “P” word, I don’t know why)
  • 3 bras


Plane outfit

And here are two instantiations, as we say in software, of the “Dinners” wardrobe. Also some palm trees which do tend to follow one around.


Lavender shift from the now-defunct DressedUSA || purple readers to match || navy UNIQLO IdlF blazer || very old Charles Jourdan sandals || Beladora chandeliers with blue chalcedony and amethyst || Rolex Cellini (a vintage white gold version)


Silk shift by Hawaiian designer Tor Richards || cadet blue UNIQLO combat jacket || orange Havaianas || orange and blue “Lisa” readers from || gold iPhone 5

The Cosmetics And Toiletries

And what’s in the cosmetics and toiletries case? I believe I’ve figured out the perfect beauty routine for resort life. Perhaps because it resembles retirement – absent palm trees, housekeepers, and trade winds?

For skin care, I rely largely on the hotel soaps and lotions, with the addition of Apriori serum, eye and lip cream, and mineral sunscreen. Here’s the key. Layer your sunscreen, rely on nature for much of the rest of your look.

Sunscreen Technique

If I plan to be bathing-suited in the pool, or the sea, I slather on the SPF30 the resort provides, and then maybe add a little Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60 to hairline, cheekbones, neck and cleavage, which is where I have the most sun damage. I also wear t-shirts.

If I’m out and about in clothes, I wear Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer, in Bisque, on my face, the Apriori mineral foundation at hairline and cheekbones for extra protection, and Neutrogena SPF60+ on the backs of my hands. This strategy balances protection against that sunscreen feeling of having been spackled into a closet and left to die.

On To The (Very Light) Makeup

A workhorse. I use it in the suburbs too. Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer with SPF20.


In the evenings, I’ll gussy up with with this Yves Saint Laurent cream-to-powder blush. Very subtle, but bright, easy to work with. Dries to powder, but not too quickly. I wear #7.

Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush

I tend toward very little makeup on my eyes when on vacation. After all, they’re probably irritated by salt water, chlorine, and sunscreen. Dr. Hauschka makes a reliable, comfortable mascara that I’ve worn for years. Not waterproof, but as I don’t swim in makeup, not a problem.

Dr. Hauschka Mascara


As for lips, I stick to tinted lip balm. Not interested in competing with the sunset. And this, by Burt’s Bees, is still my favorite. No sting, lightweight, not greasy, no particular taste, just a hint of lip-ish color and lots of comfort.

Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil


The penultimate note. I do like to squeeze in a pre-trip pedicure. Somehow those casual shifts look just a little more intentional if my toes are polished. And I like the urban note of a cherry polish, in contract to the tropical colors of my surroundings.

O.P.I. Chick Flick Cherry


In closing, let me confess that I also kind of want to paint my front door to match my toes. But I fear it’d lead to palm trees, maybe even surfing, and I’m not sure a suburban retirement is ready for that kind of mayhem. Travel well, everyone.

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  • I am dire at packing for holidays, I never know where to start and don’t have much in the way of warm weather wear but I do have brown Havaianas which I love, they are the comfiest shoes I own.

    10:50 am
    Lisa said...

    @Tabitha, I love the idea of Havaianas in Scotland:).

  • I have photos of Auntie in HI in the 60s and 70s and she’s got a shift dress. It must be the thing, I’m putting one in my bag.
    What did Hubs wear? Should I encourage mine to leave the loud shirt at home or to take it? Stuff that looks weird at home is sometimes what you want in resort land.

    10:51 am
    Lisa said...

    @RoseAG, Totally bring a shift. And for men? Polos and more polos. No loud shirts around here;).

  • Packing is something that I am really not very adept at doing well but I am working on it and your blog post has given me some things to consider!
    Burts Bees lip balm, I must give it a try.
    Are you still deliberating on your door colour?

    10:53 am
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, I love your packing posts:). And yes, I still am debating over my door color, and I am now considering just getting a new door and staining it light:).

  • Look up Pygmy Date Palm – they are lovely small palms that grow in little clumps of 3. Frost tender so they need a little sheet on them when it hits 32 or so. But they might work in your garden somewhere — with the red door!

    10:55 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jb, Those are some cool palms. Very Dr. Seussian.

  • I’m pretty good at packing, but you gave some packing advice on one of your trips (NYC? London?) that was so right on the mark! I’m paraphrasing: pack for what you’ll do, not for what you think you’ll do. Or at least that was my take-away. Soooo simple, yet so helpful.

    Burts Bees needs to put spf in their lip balm! Bums me out.

    10:56 am
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, So glad to have been useful! And I actually prefer no SPF in my lip balm, unless I’m going to be outside all day, or on a boat. I don’t like feeling as though I’m eating it.

  • Hello,

    If only we had received the advice sooner!

    We have just returned from South America where our abilities to decide what and what not to pack were surely tested. Thank goodness for a travel iron!

    You do seem to have got all this down to a fine art. Love the purple glasses!

    Thank you for your kind messages. They are very much appreciated.

    10:57 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jane and Lance Hattatt, Glad you approve of the purple readers:). I am sure you packed brilliantly, Montevideo must be fascinating.

  • Wow, masterful packing! I’m so much better at packing now than I was when I actually went to resorts. In those days I was far to uptight; now I am far more relaxed but my travel is far less interesting.

    10:58 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, Youth is, really, wasted on the young.

  • Thanks Lisa, I’m about to depart on an almost week to Fiji, at a similar style resort, and am planning a wardrobe much like yours. I think a light cardigan will suffice though, rather than a jacket, in Fiji.
    One thing, I was thinking of taking only the jewellery I wear, for ease. Did you take much variety?

    10:59 am
    Lisa said...

    @Meg, Good question. I took a few earrings, since that’s how I dress up my casual evenings, two watches, some bangles, and a change of necklaces. In the end, I wore both watches and all the earrings, but neither bangles nor necklace change. So I wouldn’t have wanted to have no options, but I did bring more than required. I find the jewelry roll fits easily in a safe, and my carry on, so it’s not hard to manage and brings me a lot of pleasure.

  • Hah! I love the “use case” method of packing. We generally go for “what is the mission statement for this item.” It helps to prevent throwing random stuff into the luggage.

    11:00 am
    Lisa said...

    @Allison, Mission statement! Perfect. Now all we need is a powerpoint…

  • Smalls; knickers; bobettes?

    You look wonderful.

    I don’t buy summer clothes- and hardly any winter ones- that require dry cleaning.

    11:00 am
    Lisa said...

    @Duchesse, Bobettes is new to me. But I really like the other two terms. Smalls might be my favorite. And thank you.

  • You have such wonderful organization skills!
    Did you pack everything into one check in and one carry on?
    Your jewel case is lovely – I’m eyeing one from Anthropology that is very similar to yours.
    I’m guilty of throwing in extra items in case I “feel” like wearing something other than the planned.
    You look so relaxed and happy! I can tell you are enjoying the changes in your life.
    Thank you so much for your mention of the Apriori products you use! xoxo

    11:01 am
    Lisa said...

    @Candace, You are very welcome! I throw in a few extras, but they are small, so not a burden:). I figure that feeling of choice in situ is worth it.

  • PS Go with the Red Door! It will make you so happy!

  • no Australian resort provides free sunscreen! Jealous! x

    11:02 am
    Lisa said...

    @Faux Fuchsia, Seriously? No free sunscreen in Land Of Sun? Someone has to start, don’t you think?

  • I think that I would like to see the shift(s) with a lighter jacket or cardigan-lighter weight and/or lighter color. It is a challenge to pack for varying weather conditions, for sure. I am always on the lookout for jackets or cardigans that will offer warmth while looking “resort”. Sorry that you didn’t find the perfect swimsuit.

    11:03 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, I realize that I deliberately go “non-resort” with my outerwear. I like to grunge it up a bit, as it feels more carefree, gives me more nonchalance. Or maybe I just like to break a few “rules:).”

  • ARGH! (That’s my pirate voice since you’re in Hawaii.) this is so great, and it made me realize that I haven’t been receiving your posts again! I’ll check spam (damned tablet!)

    11:04 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mamavalveeta03, It’s not you it’s me:(. For some reason my emails have ceased to send. I am waiting for help from Bluehost tech support. Aaargh indeed! Glad you liked the post.

  • Ooh warm weather, swimming… sounds lovely! I think we’ll head over to Spain or similar for Easter but it still won’t be warm enough to swim.

    11:42 am
    Lisa said...

    Yes, where would you go to find swimmable waters at that time of year? Africa?

  • Useful ideas. Fun post for those of us in frozen tundras.

    6:29 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Mary Anne, So glad you liked it. I always want to share the sun;)

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