Are you planning a visit to Okinawa this spring or summer? Need a packing list? You’ve come to the right place! I have visited Okinawa twice now in both the spring and summer months and each time posed very different items that I needed to pack for my trip. Since Okinawa is a small island, the weather is everchanging, so it’s best to be prepared with the best gear!
You can do everything from freediving, snorkeling, hiking, biking, diving, and surfing: Okinawa has it all, so having a small variety of clothing is really going to do you some good here! I brought both athletic wear and daily clothing and that was a great mix for me since I tend to do a lot of different things when I travel, but you can cater this list to your specific needs quite easily!
This Okinawa packing guide is going to get you prepared for any adventure you come across on this little island. Before we begin, let’s dive into what the weather is going to be like when you visit.
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Okinawa’s Spring Weather
March-May: The weather in these short few months will be from around 70 F (21 C) – 80 F (27 C) with the temperature being the coolest in March and it slowly increasing into May. These couple months can also be considered Okinawa’s “wet” months from the increased chance of rainfall. However, the wet season officially starts at the end of May through June. I traveled there at the beginning of April and there was a considerable amount of rainfall coupled with the cooler weather which made it chilly enough to wear jeans and a light jacket, so if you’re looking for daily sunshine and hot weather, wait till beginning to mid-June to head over.
Okinawa’s Summer Weather
June – August: Coming from a person that LOVES hot weather, these are the optimal months to visit, in my opinion. Starting at the end of June is the dry season which means there’s a less likely chance of rainfall (score) and the temperatures tend to stay in the mid to upper 80’s; 85 F (29 C) – 88 F (31 C). Don’t let the term “dry” fool you though because the humidity in this region likes to skyrocket along with the intense heat. I stayed here for five weeks from mid-June to late July and there were only a few notable days of rain, but the humidity was like you were taking a bath outside, literally.
- Typhoon Season: Okinawa’s typhoon season does run during the summer months, but more so from July to September. Natural disasters are not exactly predictable for when they will hit until they are already on a path, but don’t let this lead you astray from visiting during these beautiful months. A typhoon hit during my five-week visit (we were on the very outside edge of it), and it was some very intense rainfall and we ended up staying inside for those few days. Most of the homes in Okinawa are typhoon-proof, so if a typhoon does hit, all you’ll need to do is pack some snacks and board games for some indoor fun for a little while.
munching on pizza in northern Okinawa
Luggage and Day Packs
- Backpack vs. Suitcase: The best part about travel to Okinawa is that it caters to all types of travelers. If you want to bring along a suitcase, you can. If you’re more of a backpacker, you can bring along your favorite backpack. Personally, I have traveled there once with a suitcase and once with a backpack and found that I never preferred one over the other any point. However, if you plan on going camping and hiking for the majority of your trip, a backpack is going to be the best option. It all depends on your activity level. I don’t travel with a suitcase, but there is a great guide here that will help you find the best one for you. If we’re talking backpacks, an Osprey Farpoint 40L is the perfect amount for me personally, but if you need a little bit more room for your things or camping supplies, I also use the Osprey Eja 58L that I love.
- Day Pack: Any type of smaller backpack is going to be great for this. My camera bag normally doubles as my gear and day bag, but I have found that I take along this bag for more styled outfits. You can also bring along something more rugged like this if you plan on hiking.
- Packing Cubes: I don’t know a traveler that doesn’t take these on their trip and they are ESSENTIAL if you want organized luggage. I use three different cubes that fit seamlessly into my backpack, but you can purchase all different sizes of packing cubes to accommodate what luggage you’re bringing.
- Rain Jacket: I didn’t own a rain jacket when I visited here last and I didn’t think I would need one until I found myself in rain showers on multiple occasions. I no longer want to be soggy on any trip, so the Patagonia Torrentshell and the Northface Venture 2 are both great water resistant options for spontaneous showers. I have also been eyeing this adorable raincoat to swap for styled outfits.
- Bikinis, Bikinis, Bikinis: If you live for sunshine as I do, you’re going to be practically living in your swimsuits. My general rule of thumb is to have three different swimsuits. One for suntanning, one for outdoor activities, and another cute one that I enjoy wearing. Some of my favorite swimsuit brands are Vitamin A Swim, Faithfull The Brand, and FAE Swim.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen is always the most important thing to pack when you’re leaving for the tropics. I have sworn by Raw Elements for years now and I love that they are environmentally conscious and now have new plastic-free packaging. It’s important that you choose a sunscreen that is reef-safe and has broad-spectrum protection so that you’re protecting both your skin and the environment.
- Sunglasses: The views are going to be easy on the eyes but the sun won’t be! I recommend bringing sunglasses with polarized lenses so that your eyes can relax and you don’t have to worry about squinting.
- Hydro Flask: In the heat of summer, a plastic bottle isn’t going to cut it. Not only is it horrible for the environment, but it’s not going to keep your water ice cold after a long day at the beach. My Hydro Flask is my biggest travel must have and I never go anywhere without this thing, literally. It’s going to keep your water cold and the oceans free of plastic! A win-win!
the view of ie island
For Spring Travel
If you’re booking your trip in the spring months, you’ll want to leave your swimsuit cover-up, tank tops, and shorts at home. Bring long flowy pants or jeans and a few pairs of shorts rather than a suitcase full of shorts since the weather will be a bit sporadic.
For Summer Travel
The list below reflects exactly what you will need for the summer months, so no changes need to be made.
- (3) Lightweight Tank Tops: These are great for those days that are real scorchers so anything made from rayon is going to be your best friend.
- (5) Breathable Tops: For these tops, rayon and linen tops are going to be great since they feel really light on your body and they allow a good breeze to flow through (a must). I really love tops from Faithfull the Brand because they are extremely breathable and they nail my exact style down to the tee.
- (2) Any Length Dresses: If you want to have a cute outfit for a sunny day but don’t feel like putting an outfit together, a dress is your all-in-one option. Blue Anemone has stunning flowy dresses that are perfect for those sunny days and that timeless style.
- (2) Pairs of Shorts: These don’t have to be any sort of specific shorts, but I often opt for high waisted denim, especially from this adorable vintage shop, because they pair perfectly with all of my clothes and you really can’t go wrong with some good denim.
- (3) Pairs of Flowy Shorts or Skirts: As I said before, breezy is your best friend. The humidity there is nuts, so having bottoms that drape over your body rather than hug, is going to be a lifesaver.
- (1) Pair of Leggings: I own one pair of leggings that have boarded every single plane I’ve been on. I have had them for over five years now and they still look brand new!
- (4) Socks: If you plan on going on hikes and working out, then you’ll need these for your tennis shoes and hiking boots. I buy my socks from PACT Apparel since their products are made with organic cotton and they’re all about sustainability. If you’re interested in PACT, you can use this link for 20% off your purchase if you’re in need of some new socks or undies.
- (7) Undies: I always bring enough for a week, and I am always wearing PACT.
- (1-3) Swimsuits: I keep my rule of thumb the same as I mentioned above: one for suntanning, one for sporty activities, and one that you love. If you have one that does all three, that’s even better, but if you have one you like that checks all three boxes, then that’s even better!
- (1) Swimsuit Cover Up(s): Most of the time I slip on a pair of denim shorts and sandals as my ‘beachwear’, but I have a white linen top that I’ve worn for years and years and it’s still holding up. Another option I love is a larger white linen button up, but if you want something more styled, then Vitamin A Swim has really beautiful options that are made sustainability.
- Sport Sandals: Sport sandals are the perfect, what I like to call, hybrid flip-flops, for the beach, hikes, and water shoes. Xero Shoes are a huge fan favorite since they give that barefoot feel, but a ton of people also wear Chacos.
- ‘Leather’ Sandals: A cute pair of sandals are a must for stylish outfits and I love these sandals from Will’s Vegan Leather.
- Lightweight Hiking Boots / Tennis Shoes: These are a must for hikes and other outdoor adventures, but you can easily just bring along the sport sandals I mentioned and they will do just fine. I like to bring along tennis shoes since they offer a little bit more support and I am not afraid to get them muddy and worn in.
- Everyday Sneakers: I believe everyone should own a pair of timeless white sneakers since they match literally any outfit and they add a little something-something.
stunning orange flowers at the Okinawa Botanical Gardens
- Hat: Trust me, with how brutal the sun will be, you’re going to want this. I normally pack along my red baseball cap, but if you’re more into sun hats that’ll work too.
- Sunglasses: Bring along your favorite pair of sunglasses that have polarized lenses so you protect your eyes.
- Beach Bag: This can be really any type of bag that you have on hand.
- Shampoo / Conditioner: Like everyone else, I am trying to keep my hair fresh while I am on the road, and I have fallen in love with Pacifica’s Salty Waves Shampoo and Conditioner. I finally found a hair care product that just vibes with my hair and I am obsessed with this stuff!
- Reusable Menstrual Cup: On my first trip to Okinawa was actually when I tried the Diva Cup for the first time, and I felt like I had been living under a rock for my entire life. This product has changed the way I travel and I highly recommend that you try it out to not only reduce waste but to feel more confident and protected during that time of ze month.
- Versatile Soap: I always use Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 liquid or bar soaps because you can use them for anything, hence the eighteen uses. Wash your body, face, clothes, pets, anything with these great smelling, environmentally friendly soaps. They come in a variety of different scents, so you’re bound to find one that you love! Rose and peppermint are two of my favorites.
- Moisturizer: I recommend bringing something light like OSEAS Malibu’s Ocean Lotion. You’re not going to want something heavy unless you have extremely dry skin since you’ll have that humidity glow.
- Deodorant: I swear by the NOW Foods Mineral Deodorant because it leaves no residue or strong scent behind, but it takes away smell like a gem. Upon finishing this mineral deodorant, I have switched this zero waste deodorant by Meow Meow Tweet.
- Razor: Always a must for smooth and glowing skin. I highly recommend switching to a zero waste razor. I use this stainless steel razor by Albatross and I have saved pounds of plastic and hundreds of dollars on razors since switching. It leaves my legs feeling smooth and I don’t have to worry about putting it in a landfill since I’ll have it for life.
- Toothbrush / Toothpaste / Floss: You know what they say, you only have one set of teeth so you need to take care of them: and you should brush your teeth because that’s kinda gross if you don’t. I switched all of my tooth cleaning essentials to zero waste alternatives to reduce my waste. I now use this bamboo toothbrush (fully biodegradable), this adorable floss, and this toothpaste to help my teeth feel silky and shiny!
- Hairbrush / Hair Ties: You have not lived until you’ve used a Wet Brush to brush your hair. It detangles in seconds and I will never go back to a regular hairbrush.
- Sunscreen: To protect Okinawa’s reefs, take along the Raw Elements Face + Body Sunscreen SPF 30. It’s biodegradable, safe for all ages, and all sorts of other good things that you can read up on their website. I take this everywhere with me and I love their new plastic-free packaging!
- GoPro / Waterproof Camera / Lifeproof Case: Any of these options work depending on your camera gear and your travel preference. I have always used a GoPRO for underwater shots and it’s used by adventure photographers all over the world.
- Unlocked Phone: If you want to save a bit of money on an international phone plan buying a SIM card is a really good option so you can stay in touch on the road and have service if you need it. I have an iPhone, so I just called my cellphone provider and they unlocked it for me within 24 hours, and I believe that’s all you need to do in case you want to do the same.
- Laptop (if necessary): I bring along my laptop for work, so I never travel without it, but you can bring a laptop or tablet if that’s more of your travel style.
- Memory Cards: I bring a handful of these on my trips so that I never run out of memory. I linked the cards I personally use since they have really fast writing speeds and a lot of memory.
- Headphones: I don’t think I have met a single soul that travels without headphones, and I think everyone has been hopping on the Airpod bandwagon, myself included. The sound quality is impeccable and they’re extremely more travel-friendly than traditional headphones with cords, but I have been needing something with noise-canceling abilities, so I plan on investing in a pair sooner or later for some quiet while I work.
- Chargers, Batteries, & Cables: I know that everyone packs along different things for their travels, but make sure you have all your charging cables before you leave the house!
- Universal Adapter: I like to use one universal adapter rather than worrying about switching from country to country in between trips, so this is great to toss in your luggage and leave it there for your next trip.
Other Essentials To Travel With Ease
- Hydro Flask: I feel like I talk about my Hydro Flask in every single one of my blog posts, but I honestly love this water bottle (maybe a little too much). I keep it with me so I always have something to put fluids in and I don’t put myself in a situation to where I would need to buy a plastic one.
- Beach Towel / Sarong: If you have a sarong that can double as a beach towel (which is generally what I use it for), but if not pack a lightweight, quick-drying towel.
- Reusable Utensils: I have used these so many times on and off the road. They’re really convenient to toss in your bag to have on hand whenever you need!
- Reusable Straw: This goes right in with my utensils so that I always have it with me. I am not much of a straw user but it’s nice when I need one.
- Bandana: This may be just a must-have for me, but this comes with a great number of uses. I use this as a napkin, sweat collector, or a headband to help keep my hair off of my forehead and neck.
- TSA Approved Luggage Locks: Locking up your things is a must no matter where you go. I keep two or three of these on hand to lock up my main backpack and my camera bag.
- Passport: Whatever you do, don’t forget this at home lol.
- Travel Insurance: I always use World Nomads for travel insurance because they cover all of my adventures abroad, they have incredible 24/7 customer support, and their pricing beats out all other providers.
- A Good Book: If you’re not much of a reader, you can leave this out, but I personally love chilling on the beach, watching the waves, and reading stories.
I use Thriftbooks to buy my books used because it’s more eco-friendly and I love the feeling of worn-in pages. On their site, you can buy any book new or used and use this link to get 15% off your purchase!
- Journal / Pen: I bring this on all of my travels to write down all of my adventures, thoughts, and things I am dreaming of. It helps me wind down at night or bring my day off to a great start.
What is your number one travel essential? Let me know in the comments below!
This post does contain affiliate links for the products or services I mentioned, but as always, all opinions are my own. I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase or booking through these links. This helps to support this space and keep me blogging, which I am so extremely thankful for.