Aloha! Regarded as one of the best places to live in the world, Hawaii holds magic unlike any other part of the United States. And as the Aloha spirit is one of mind and spirit connection, visitors and residents find themselves falling deeply in love with this enchanting island state. Situated in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,500 miles west of mainland USA, Hawaii can easily be categorized as a paradise. From lush rainforest to immaculate beaches, moving to Hawaii is like going on a permanent vacation!

Are you moving to Hawaii? Great Guys Moving has put together a comprehensive guide covering what you should know: things to consider before moving here, best places to live, an interstate moving checklist, and a rundown of the moving services provided by our network of Hawaii movers. We have also researched and ranked all the movers in Hawaii to come up with our list of the best moving companies in Hawaii so you can find a trusted mover for your next move. We hope this helps you make an informed decision and allows you to relocate to the islands with confidence!

Find out how much your move costs!

Moving Services in Hawaii

Your Hawaiian moving company can help with all the moving services you need:

  • Moving from Hawaii to the Mainland: Whether you’re anxious to be back on the mainland or you’re already reminiscing about your days of beach lounging coming to an end, you need help with your move! Find moving companies that specialize in moving customers from the Aloha State back to the contiguous U.S. right here on Great Guys.
  • Moving from the Mainland to Hawaii: Unfortunately, you can’t just load up a U-Haul and drive to Hawaii. We help you find the lowest cost options for shipping your stuff from the mainland US to Hawaii, so you can start enjoying the Aloha life that much sooner!
  • Furniture shipping: Hawaii doesn’t have many of the retail chains you’ll find elsewhere on U.S. soil, so you may want to consider bringing your favorite pieces of furniture with you. Our moving experts will help you figure out the logistics and pricing of shipping your bedroom set, chest of drawers, and couch to whatever corner of Hawaii you choose to call home.
  • Packing: When your move takes you 2,390 miles from the US mainland, you need to make sure your stuff is boxed and ready for the long trip. Find professional packers to get everything from your silverware to your book collection packed for the journey ahead.
  • Storage: Not yet sure where you’re going to live? Not a problem! Your Hawaiian mover can work with you to put your things in temporary storage until you’re ready to move into your new place.
  • Small loads: If you’re like most people, you probably want to pare down your things before your move to Hawaii. Our network of moving professionals can work with you to find an economical solution for shipping the things you decide to keep.
  • Car transport: Many of our partners offer vehicle transport from California to Hawaii at a low rate. You can even request door-to-door delivery for added convenience.
See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Best Movers in Hawaii


Honolulu, HI

Superb! based on 850+ data points.
With locations across North America and Hawaii, You Move Me Honolulu proudly moves people, not just boxes, making it one of the most highly-rated local... Continue Reading

Honolulu, HI

Superb! based on 800+ data points.
Serving the entire Aloha State for almost four decades, Royal Hawaiian Movers is one of the state’s largest moving companies, with offices on all four... Continue Reading

Honolulu, HI

Fabulous! based on 550+ data points.
Honolulu Movers began its operations in 2010, offering high-quality relocation services within Oahu. As a locally-owned and operated moving company, it knows the island’s ins... Continue Reading

Living in Hawaii: What to Know Before Moving to Hawaii

Paradise awaits! But before you get on a plane to travel to your new home, there are several advantages and disadvantages of living in Hawaii that you should know about. Let’s take a look.

Pros and Cons of Living in Hawaii


  • Gorgeous Weather: Its reputation precedes itself! From year-round sunshine to unforgettable sunsets, Hawaii offers one of the best climates in the world.
  • Natural Wonder: Where do we start? Sandy beaches, lush rainforests, towering peaks, glistening waterfalls, mesmerizing lava flows… there’s an endless list of natural beauty here.
  • Island Lifestyle: Say Aloha to the Aloha vibe! Laidback yet spiritually rich, there’s a feel here unlike any other place in the world. From surfer to researcher, Hawaii offers a great lifestyle for all walks of life.
  • Family-Friendly Atmosphere: Fun & warm, the people of Hawaii hold the familial connection in high regard. This is a fantastic place to start a family or continue to build your tribe.
  • Endless Recreation: Whether you enjoy surfing, snorkeling, hiking, biking, mountain climbing, golfing, or sunbathing, there’s something here for everybody!
  • Overall Adventure: From vibrant nightlife to cultural events to beach hopping, regardless of which island you’re on, you’ll create unforgettable memories here.
  • High Diversity: Hawaii is a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures. From Native Hawaiian to Asian to Caucasian, the islands attract everyone under the sun.


  • High Living Expenses: Enjoying island life is, unfortunately, expensive. Resources are limited, and many items have to be imported. This adds to a high cost of living.
  • Job Competition: Everyone wants to live here, and so that causes an issue with employment. The job market is quite competitive here. Higher-paying jobs can require a high level of education.
  • Natural Disasters: Hawaii is beautiful, but it does have an ugly side. This comes in the form of various natural disasters, including wildfires, volcanic activity, and earthquakes.
  • Far from Mainland: About 2,500 miles away from the contiguous US, visiting family and friends is not only a long trip but also a costly one with airfare and the like.
  • Sense of Isolation: The islands can seem to shrink if you’re not embracing the Aloha spirit. If you’re used to a big state (with easy access to other states), be prepared for an adjustment.
  • Visitors Won’t Want to Leave: Now, this point is kind of tongue in cheek. But in some cases, you might be dealing with a couch surfer that won’t go back home!

Is Hawaii a Good Place to Live?

Hawaii is an amazing place to live with its laid-back lifestyle, gorgeous beaches, and comfortable climate. One thing about Hawaii is that it has a broad variety of sub climates and even gets snow on the highest peaks of the Big Island. Of course, as a famous tourist destination, you’ll see millions of people come and go each year. That allows you to meet a host of different cultures from every corner of the world.

What is Hawaii Famous For?

  • Beautiful Beaches: Of course Hawaii is all about its beaches, and for good reason. It’s consistently ranked as one of the top tropical destinations in the world.
  • Volcanoes: Two of the world’s most active volcanoes are located in Hawaii. In fact, the islands were formed by magma.
  • Hawaiian Culture: The Hawaiian culture is deeply rooted in its lifestyle, influencing everything from language, traditions, fashion, and cuisine.
  • Surfing: Arguably home to the best surfing beaches in the world, Hawaii regularly hosts surfing competitions that draw participants from every corner of the globe.

Tax Rates

The state of Hawaii offers the lowest property tax rate in the nation, but it also has one of the highest income tax rates for higher earners (second only to California). Overall, the tax burden is among the top with the likes of New York and Connecticut.

  • Property Tax: The state ranks #1 for the lowest property tax rates in the United States. The effective real-estate tax rate in 2021 is 0.28%.
  • Sales Tax: The state collects 4-4.5% sales tax depending on the local rate.
  • State Income Tax: Hawaii has 12 income tax brackets: 1.4%, 3.2%, 5.5%, 6.4%, 6.8%, 7.2%, 7.6%, 7.9%, 8.25%, 9%, 10%, and 11%. Rate is dependent on level of income.

Housing Market

Will you rent or own a home in Hawaii? The Hawaiian Islands offer a unique blend of tropical surroundings, an idyllic lifestyle, and gorgeous homes. Properties can range from surprisingly affordable to out-of-this-world expensive. It all depends on location. Hilo, for instance, offers some of the best home bargains. The renters market is also solid. Overall, this is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. You can make a case for either renting or buying relative to your financial standing.

  • Median home price: The current typical home value in Hawaii is $764,146. The median home value went up approximately 14.5% in the past year (2020), and the prediction is that it will rise 4-8% in 2022.
  • Median rental expense: The median rent for a 2BR apartment in Honolulu is $1,943 per month, while rent for a 2BR apartment in Hilo is currently under $1,200.

Looking for the cheapest cities to live in Hawaii? Here are the top locales:

  1.     Hilo
  2.     Waihee-Waiehu
  3.     Waimea CDP (Hawaii County)
  4.     Waianae
  5.     Ewa Beach
  6.     Kapaa
  7.     Nanakuli
  8.     Ewa Gentry
  9.     West Loch Estate
  10.   Kailua CDP (Hawaii County)

Cost of Living

As stated previously, the overall cost of living is quite high in Hawaii. However, there are plenty of surprising deals depending on where you look.

Using the Family Budget Calculator, let’s look at the cost of living in two Hawaiian cities.


First, we’ll check out Honolulu. A family of four in the Honolulu metro area pays the following:

  • $1,893 for housing
  • $1,074 for food
  • $1,548 for childcare
  • $1,192 for transportation
  • $939 for healthcare
  • $1,197 for other necessities
  • $1,790 for taxes

This adds up to a grand total of $9,632 per month or $115,583 per year.


Now, we’ll look at Hilo. A family of four living in the Big Island town pays the following:

  • $1,189 for housing
  • $1,074 for food
  • $1,171 for childcare
  • $1,270 for transportation
  • $938 for healthcare
  • $913 for other necessities
  • $1,233 for taxes

This comes out to a total of $7,787 per month or $93,441 per year.

Of course, the cost of living will vary according to personal needs, region, and household size. If you’re looking to keep your expenses lower, some of the cheaper places to live in Hawaii include Hawaii County, Waihee-Waiehu, Waianae, and Ewa Beach.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Hawaii is famous for its year-round sunshine and idyllic weather. There are essentially only two seasons: summer (kau) and winter (ho’oilo). Whether you’re escaping frigid winters on the mainland or looking for that perfect island climate, The Aloha State offers everything you could imagine and then some!

Situated in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,500 miles west of California and 4,000 miles east of Japan, Hawaii is home to a tropical climate. The average summer temperature is 83 degrees  in July, while it drops to about 63 degrees in January. The average rainfall is about 57 inches per year. It actually does snow here, but only on the highest peaks. The state has about 240 sunny days every year.

Here’s a list of natural disasters common in the Hawaiian Islands:

  1.     Wildfires
  2.     Floods
  3.     Landslides
  4.     Volcanic Activity
  5.     Earthquakes
  6.     Tsunamis
  7.     Power Outages
  8.     Tropical Storms
  9.     Hurricanes
  10.   Severe Storms

Economy & Job Market

According to Best State Rankings by US News & World Report, Hawaii’s economy sits at #46. This ranking is composed of three main categories: business environment (#47), employment (#35), and growth (#48). The island state’s main industry is tourism.

Major Employers:

  1. Altres Industrial (Honolulu)
  2. Kapiolani Medical Center (Honolulu)
  3. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (Pearl Harbor)
  4. Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (Honolulu)
  5. Hawaii State-Police Dept. (Honolulu)
  6. Hilton-Hawaiian Village Waikiki (Honolulu)
  7. Kyo-Ya Co LLC (Honolulu)
  8. Tripler Army Medical Center (Honolulu)
  9. Bank of Hawaii (Honolulu)
  10.           Aloha Air Cargo (Honolulu)

Top Industries:

  1. Tourism
  2. Defense
  3. Agriculture
  4. Fishing
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Power
  7. Taxation

Here’re some great resources for Hawaii newcomers seeking employment:

  1. State resource: Jobs & Unemployment
  2. Job search sites: CareerBuilder, CollegeRecruiter, Indeed, LinkedIn
  3. Resume creation and distribution: Monster, ResumeRobin, TopResume

Traffic and Transportation

Overall, the state of Hawaii ranks #40 for transportation. Here’s a breakdown of the Aloha State’s transportation rankings (according to US News & World Report): #40 for commute time, #4 for public transit usage, #49 for road quality, and #26 for bridge quality.

Major thoroughfares include Interstate H-1 (the longest interstate highway in Hawaii at a little over 27 miles in length, which is located on Oahu), Interstate H-2 (also on Oahu), Interstate H-3 (again, Oahu), and Interstate H-201 (also known as the Moanalua Highway).

When it comes to commute times, Hawaii is currently near the bottom. On average, it takes 27.4 minutes to commute to work. The Aloha State is tied with Florida for the 11th worst time in the United States.

Things to Do

If we listed all the amazing things you can do in Hawaii, we’d be here for a long time! Let’s explore some of the top activities, attractions, and events in the Aloha State!

From incredible beaches (both black and white sand) to the summit of a famous mountain like Mauna Kea – this is the highest mountain in the world when measured from base to peak – Hawaii is a treasure trove of natural beauty.

Want to enjoy the beach life? There are so many breathtaking beach areas here! Poipu Beach, nestled on Kauai, is considered by many to be the top-rated beach in Hawaii. Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach offers crystal-clear water and a host of top-notch amenities. And rounding out the list, we have Lanikai Beach. This Oahu destination is arguably the best beach escape along the Windward Coast!

Did we mention the absolutely yummy food? Hawaii is a melting pot, and that cultural blend has produced myriad dishes and famous eats. From poke to iced ice to Saimin, the Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the most loved cuisine in the world. Whether you enjoy a fresh lilikoi (aka passion fruit) or the freshest sushi you’ve ever tasted, you’ll discover amazing culinary delights here.

As far as notable cities, Honolulu is the hub and capital city of the Hawaiian Islands. Lahaina, situated on Maui, is considered the most popular city on the island for its shopping, nightlife, and whale watching. And as for a taste of the quaint yet beautiful life, the Big Island’s Hilo is a must-stop.

Like national parks? You’ll love it here! At the top of the list, we have Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Offering more than 323,000 acres and 150 trails, the park is a popular place to witness the sheer awe of volcanic activity. Found on Maui, Haleakalā National Park offers sights out of this world. And, of course, there’s the Pearl Harbor National Memorial (dedicated to the events of World War II).

There are no major league teams in Hawaii, but the University of Hawaii offers some exciting college sports experiences throughout the year. But considering how many other wonderful things you can do here, it’s safe to assume you won’t be bored any time soon!

Schools and Universities

Hawaii currently lands at #28 when looking at Pre-K–12 rankings. This overall score is based on several categories: college readiness (#10), high school graduation rate (#30), NAEP math scores (#42), NAEP reading scores (#41), and preschool enrollment (#9).

Top Five School Systems:

  1.     Mililani Town (Oahu)
  2.     Pearl City (Oahu)
  3.     Kailua (Oahu)
  4.     Makaweli (Kauai)
  5.     Schofield Barracks (Oahu)

Hawaii as a whole ranks #21 for higher education in the nation (according to education rankings by US News & World Report). Higher education on the islands is made up primarily of community colleges and public universities, including the University of Hawaii system.

Top Five Colleges:

  1.     University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu)
  2.     University of Hawaii – West Oahu (Kapolei)
  3.     Chaminade University of Honolulu (Honolulu)
  4.     Brigham Young University – Hawaii (Laie)
  5.     University of Hawaii at Hilo (Hilo)

How to Become a Hawaii Resident

To be recognized as an official Hawaii citizen, you must take several steps. To qualify for resident tuition, you must live here for at least one year (365 days) prior to enrollment. Here are tangible proofs of residence to help establish a domicile in the state of Hawaii:

  1.     Establish a home address in Hawaii
  2.     Obtain a Hawaii driver’s license
  3.     Register your vehicle in HI
  4.     Register to vote in the Aloha State
  5.     Have local utility, mortgage, or telephone bills

Moving to Hawaii DMV

You’ll need to apply for a Hawaii driver’s license within 30 days of moving to the state. Here are the requirements for doing so:

  1.     Visit nearest driver licensing center
  2.     Fill out applicable forms
  3.     Show proof of HI residence (two forms of proof) and ID
  4.     Show proof of social security number
  5.     Pass a vision test
  6.     Surrender out-of-state driver’s license
  7.     Pay fees and have your picture taken
  8.     Receive temporary driver’s license
  9.     Wait for the official driver’s license to be delivered by mail

Qualifications for Voter’s Registration

To register in the state of Hawaii, you must:

  1.     Be a citizen of the United States
  2.     Be a Hawaii resident
  3.     Be at least 18 years of age (or at least 16 years old to pre-register)

Note: Registered HI voters automatically receive ballots in the mail approximately 18 days prior to an election. Hawaii does offer online voter registration.

Process for Vehicle Registration

As a new resident of Hawaii, you must title and register your out-of-state vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency. Keep in mind that Hawaii doesn’t have a statewide Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Check out the Hawaii Motor Vehicle Registration page for more information.

Best Places to Live in Hawaii

Hilo, Big Island

Population: 45,100

Median Home Value: $329,200

Considered the most affordable island to live on, the Big Island offers all the magic of Hawaii at a much more accessible price point. Enter Hilo. As a town of approximately 45,000, it’s a top pick for those in search of a lush landscape to put down roots in the Hawaiian Islands!

Home to jaw-dropping waterfalls and botanical gardens, Hilo is situated on the eastern side of the Big Island. The word ‘quaint’ often is used to describe this town, but don’t let that fool you. This place is definitely a slice of paradise! From Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Kaumana Caves Park to Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo – it’s the only tropical zoo in the nation – there are so many natural wonders to explore.

Though it offers so much, Hilo does have its downsides. The town has a high poverty rate, with many locals making less than the national and state average. There also has been declining population growth in recent years. That being said, if you’re looking for one of the best (and cheapest) places to live here, Hilo offers a lot of bang for the buck.

With outdoor activities and simple living the name of the game, Hilo offers one of the best values not only in Hawaii but the United States. And due to the low cost of entry, you can live the island dream and purchase a home here. Looking for a quaint lifestyle amongst the beauty of one of the most treasured islands on earth? Say hello to Hilo!

Honolulu, Oahu

Population: 400,300

Median Home Value: $749,000

Easily ranked as the city with the highest livability, Honolulu is situated on ‘The Heart of Hawaii’ aka Oahu. It’s also the capital city of the state. From outstanding economic opportunities to colorful diversity, Honolulu shines as one of the best cities to live in on the Hawaiian Islands!

Along with absolutely stunning weather and excellent diversity – it’s one of the most culturally diverse areas in the world – the City of Honolulu is known both for its friendliness and an endless list of amenities, activities, and appealing Hawaiian lifestyle.

As for drawbacks, the city has them just like any other urban area. Housing can be tricky, especially since everyone wants to live here. Crime is also an issue, and it’s been rising in recent years (along with homelessness). Also, compared to other major US metro areas like New York and Los Angeles, the average income is lower. And, of course, there’s the high cost of living.

Taking this all into account, Honolulu offers an unbeatable blend of Hawaiian beauty and urban convenience. From the white sand of Waikiki Beach to the rich culture & beauty of Iolani Palace (home of Hawaii’s last reigning royalty), the city is home to beautiful people, weather, and that quintessential Aloha spirit that pulls in folks from all around the globe!

Kahului, Maui

Population: 31,300

Median Home Value: $606,600

Situated on the northern-central portion of Maui, Kahului offers a prime location on one of the most popular islands in the world! With a dense yet quiet suburban feel, the town is ideal for families and individuals in search of a centrally located home base close to all that makes Maui so amazing!

Minutes from the beaches, Kahului is a place of cultural and ethnic diversity. Since it’s not the most popular destination for tourists, locals can breathe more easily. From Kanaha Beach Park to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center to the famed Hana Highway – this drive is coveted for its lush rainforest, waterfalls, and beaches – the island town provides access to so many fun & engaging experiences.

Of course, the town is not without its faults. Homelessness is an issue here, especially in certain sections of town, but this is, unfortunately, something that is not exclusive to this city or island. The housing market is another challenge. Nearly 60% of residents own their homes. If you come across a prime property, it’s a good idea to act quickly to secure it.

Though the cost of living here is higher than the US average, relative to most of Hawaii, Kahului actually offers a bargain. If you’re in the market for a Maui lifestyle that isn’t inundated with the typical burden of tourists swarming everywhere, this might be just the place for you!

Kailua, Oahu

Population: 37,600

Median Home Value: $959,200

Offering a denser suburban lifestyle, Kailua is regarded as one of the best suburbs in the Hawaiian Islands. Located on the island of Oahu, northeast of Honolulu, the beach community of less than 40,000 sits along one of the most enchanting coastlines in the state!

Offering both a respite from city life and plenty of amenities, Kailua is a town that represents the best of Hawaii. From world-class beaches like pristine Kailua Beach to cute shops and fantastic restaurants, residents enjoy both the allure of the ocean as well as the greenery of the surrounding mountainous topography. And if you need to take a trip to the city, downtown Honolulu is only 30 minutes away.

As for drawbacks, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, the housing market can be an issue. Second, the local economy may not directly provide the type of work that fits your skill sets. However, as a suburb of Honolulu, many job opportunities are a convenient drive in the southwest direction.

Meaning ‘Two Seas’, Kailua is a place steeped in rich Hawaiian history. This can be felt through the historical buildings and honoring of culture throughout the town. Offering a more laid-back feel and sleepy town vibe, Kailua is a perfect fit for those wanting a beautiful Hawaiian lifestyle year-round!

Maunawili, Oahu

Population: 2,000

Median Home Value: $1,080,000

As a suburb of Honolulu, Maunawili takes the lead as the #1 place to live on the Hawaii Islands! With a population hovering around only 2,000, this small community is beautiful, quiet, and peaceful. If you’re looking for a more rural feel, with breathtaking views of the mountains, Maunawili is amazing!

What makes this town so special? Along with gorgeous mountainous views, including Mount Olomana, Maunawili is a lush paradise. Home to numerous waterfalls, the area’s flora and fauna are a nature lover’s dream. It’s also only a few minutes away from some of the best beaches in the world, as well as only 20 minutes from the capital city. It even has sidewalks, which is a bit of a rarity in Hawaii!

Of course, all this natural wonder comes with a hefty price tag. With a median house value above $1 million, this isn’t a place accessible to a lot of folks that want to make it their home. Over 90% of residents are homeowners, and it can be hard to find a property on the market (let alone one that’s relatively affordable).

Despite its high cost, it does provide diversity and a family-friendly vibe. The community is also safe, tucked away from the hustle & bustle of urban life. If you have the financial means, Maunawili is a great pick for those wanting a beautiful alternative to living right on the beach.

Mililani, Oahu

Population: 27,600

Median Home Value: $639,800

Considered one of the top suburbs not only on Oahu but all of the Hawaiian Islands, Mililani is a highly appealing suburb of Honolulu. There is a strong family vibe here, one that is built on community and togetherness. And since it offers short commutes to the capital city, Mililani is an excellent choice for those looking for an alternative to Honolulu while still being within arm’s length.

Situated on the island of Oahu, Mililani embodies a small-town vibe without many of the issues that typically come with a small town. Along with an ample amount of diversity, the community provides a plethora of options when it comes to restaurants, stores, recreation centers, and more. It’s also centrally located, opening up a ton of possibilities, from beach excursions to wide-open parks.

As with any other community, Mililani isn’t without its downsides. Though the median housing cost is technically lower than Honolulu’s, the cost of living is still high. The other drawback is that since it’s centrally located, the community does not offer direct access to beach areas. However, if you want to enjoy a day on the sand, it’s not a long drive to some of the most beautiful sandy spots on the globe.

As a well-kept suburb, Mililani offers a slice of heaven right smack dab in the middle of Oahu. From Mari’s Garden to the Town Center of Mililani, there are so many great amenities. If you’re in search of a new home that has great diversity, fantastic schools, and a family-friendly atmosphere, look no further than the island community of Mililani!

Wailea, Maui

Population: 6,200

Median Home Value: $1,042,100

Arguably the best place to retire in Hawaii, Wailea lies along the south side of Maui. Its beauty unfolds with breathtaking beaches – West Maui is popular for its beaches, but Wailea is regarded by many to have the best on the island – world-renowned dining, golf, and much more!

With a small population of less than 6,300, this is a quiet & cozy community. From amazing restaurants and shopping to convenient travel to the likes of Haleakala or Hana, this is one of the most sought-after spots on Maui. Just north of Makena State Park, home to what’s considered the best (and longest) beach on the island, Wailea shares an abundance of gems for an easy, breezy lifestyle.

Of course, paradise isn’t without its issues. First, there’s the cost. With the highest median home value on our list – and that’s saying a lot, considering the Hawaiian Islands, in general, aren’t exactly cheap – Wailea is pretty much reserved for those with substantial wherewithal. As for schools, you’ll need to travel a bit since there aren’t really any close by. It also has an older demographic, so if you’re young and want to be around other young people, this may not be the best fit.

Though Wailea is known for being a resort and second-home destination, it still is a fantastic place to call home year-round! Quiet, high-end, and gorgeous, this is the type of community that will make your golden years (or any years) shine like the sun that blesses the area!

How to Move to Hawaii

Moving from the mainland to Hawaii poses challenges that a move within the continental U.S. does not. We hope the following tips will help you figure out how to best move your belongings overseas.

Moving Automobiles to the Islands

Many Hawaii hopefuls sell their automobiles before the big move. If you feel strongly about bringing your car with you, you can ship cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles with help from the professionals. Ask friends and family if they have recommendations or use a top-rated car shipping service like Hawaii Car Transport or A-1 Auto Transport. You can ship your car separately from your items or go through the same shipping carrier or freight forwarder that you utilize for the rest of your belongings. For a free car shipping quote, click “Get Started” now.

Hire a Specialty Moving Company

Choose a moving company that is expert in handling overseas moves. Do your research and talk with potential moving companies about the unique challenges of your move. Discuss your options with your movers. Would you like the professionals to pack, move, ship, and unpack for you? Or would you like to do most everything yourself?

You may also want to ponder your storage options if you will be leaving anything in the states. Some moving companies can handle your storage needs as well. You can choose to coordinate individual parts of the move yourself, or have full-service movers take all the entire thing off your hands!

We recommend getting quotes from several moving companies, shipment professionals, and storage facilities before making your choice. Also, conduct background checks and research to guarantee their legitimacy. Request free quotes from licensed, insured mainland to Hawaii movers, using the quote form now!

Taking a Minimalist Approach

Many people choose to purge most of their belongings before moving overseas. You may find this to be the simplest approach, second only to hiring a full-service moving company.

Remember to think about your feelings and your budget before you make any decisions. Will you be sorry to lose most of your belongings? Is it cheaper to relocate things to the islands, or to sell them and buy new things upon your arrival? Keep in mind that most things are much more expensive in Hawaii. If you are only moving temporarily, you might want to find storage on the mainland for most of your belongings.

If you prefer to sell and donate items to avoid storage costs, get started straight away. You can use the following tools to sell and donate your things:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Apps like Letgo
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Yard sales

Alternatively, you could sell things at a discount (or give things away) to family and friends. Donate anything you can’t sell to your local charities, a nearby Goodwill facility, or directly to people in need.

Ask yourself what you use daily and bring only those belongings. The rest is easy—box up the few possessions you are bringing and use a freight forwarder, mail service or check them in your baggage when you fly!

Arrange Ocean Transportation

If you have several things to move, especially large items like furniture, we recommend employing a shipping carrier. Shipping carriers that will ship your possessions to the islands include Matson, Pasha Hawaii, and Horizon Lines. Ask them if they can ship your specific items, especially anything valuable or unusual you may want to transport.

Alternatively, you could go through a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders also use shipping carriers but can help you get discounted rates. If you choose to go this route, you might have to wait a little longer for your shipment to reach the destination. Some freight forwarders you can call include Honolulu Freight Service, DHX, or Hawaiian Ocean Transport.

You can also ask your chosen shipping carrier or freight forwarder about their methods of shipment, like shipping containers or shipping cubes. Shipping cube experts include PODS or U-Haul. Cubes can be more expensive but more secure than shipping containers.

If you have a full-service moving company, they will take care of all the transportation measures for you.

Consider Other Mail Services and Air Transport

For just a few belongings, you may choose to use air transport or mail service to move your things to Hawaii. Here are some of your options.

  • United States Postal Service
  • UPS Ground Service
  • FedEx Ground Service
  • Airline cargo services like Aloha Air Cargo
  • Airline checked baggage

USPS may be the best way to go since they offer affordable options like Media Mail and Parcel Service. UPS and FedEx ground services are about double the price of USPS in many cases, but they will transport your items to the island in only a few days.

If your stash of belongings is truly small, the easiest path is flying them with you. Place them in your checked bag or a few checked bags when you fly to Hawaii. Finally, airline cargo services are available to you as well. These services are extremely efficient but do require an application process and entail high fees.

Other Considerations

Besides transporting your belongings, there are a few other variables you will want to address before the big move. Here are a few more tidbits we want to include.

  • Find the right schools: We know how important your child’s education is to you. You can do your research on local schools on Hawaii’s State Department of Education website at There are also many excellent private school options on the islands. Consider doing some research on private schools on sites like or
  • Update health insurance: Health insurance options are more limited on the island than on the mainland, and you will likely need to update your current insurance policy before the move. Will you receive health insurance benefits through your new employer? If not, do your research and prepare your budget for potentially higher costs.

Moving to Hawaii with Pets

Moving to Hawaii with pets requires a lot of planning.  Extra preparation is essential because Hawaii is the only rabies-free state in the country, which means it enforces strict animal quarantine laws to keep the islands safe. To make the move your pet must meet specific health requirements so that they can come with you. Following the steps below and preparing beforehand will make the process a whole lot easier for you and your pet.


Hawaii enacted a quarantine program to prevent rabies from entering the state. For you to bring your pet along, it must meet the following health requirements:

  1. Rabies Vaccinations: To legally move with your pet, it needs two current rabies vaccinations. These vaccinations should be performed by a licensed vet at least 90 days, but not more than a year, before your pet arrives in Hawaii. Schedule the two rounds of vaccinations no more than 30 days apart.
  1. OIE-FAVN Blood Test: To complete testing, your vet must take an OIE-Fluorescent Antibody Serum Neutralization (OIE-FAVN) blood sample from your pets and have it sent to an approved lab to ensure they respond appropriately to the vaccine. This test must be done 120 days before arriving in Hawaii.
  1. Microchipping: Whether you have a cat or dog, you must have your pet microchipped before the OIE-FAVN blood test. This simple procedure is relatively painless, and will also help ensure the return of your pet if they get lost or stolen.


All pets immigrating to Hawaii must undergo one of two quarantine periods. Upon arrival to Honolulu, all pets are taken from the airport to a quarantine facility. How long your pet stays will depend on whether your pet has the right vaccinations and if you complete the correct paperwork.

Five-Day or Less: Your pet may qualify for the shorter quarantine program if it completes the required 120-day waiting period following the OIE-FAVN blood test before arrival in Hawaii. This program costs $224 per pet.

120-Day Quarantine: If your pet doesn’t complete a 120-day waiting period before the move, it is automatically checked into the more extended quarantine program. The cost for the 120-day program is $1080 per pet.

Military members moving as part of a PCS relocation may qualify for reimbursement of up to $550 for pet quarantine expenses.

Moving to Hawaii with Guns

Do you have hopes to bring any firearms to Hawaii with you? If so, know that Hawaii has strict gun laws. Each gun purchase on the islands requires mandatory safety courses, fingerprinting, fees, and applications. The training course for a gun purchase is approximately six hours. Of course, every single gun must be registered individually with the Hawaii police department.

You won’t have to follow all these steps if you are bringing previously purchased guns to the islands, but you must still meet some requirements.

  • It is imperative that you register your firearm within five days of the move. Handguns, alternatively, must be registered within 72 hours of arrival!
  • When you head into register your firearms, be sure you bring in your signed bill of sale (a copy is acceptable) from when you originally purchased your guns. If you were not born in the U.S., you need to take extra steps to prove your citizenship.
  • How do you get your firearm from the mainland to your island? The easiest way may be bringing it as checked luggage on your flight. You can technically ship your firearm to an FFL in Hawaii, but this can be complicated as you will need permits to get your gun back.
  • Hawaii is strict on firearms, so be sure to transport and handle your gun with absolute care. Some of the parts of registration for your firearm once in Hawaii include the firearms info form, the medical information waiver, the mental health waiver, and firearms application questionnaire.
  • Once you move to Hawaii, schedule an appointment at your local police station. Be prepared to pay fees related to a fingerprint test if necessary. Here is what to do before getting to the station:
  1. Unload your firearm for safe transport. Proper unloading includes removing the bolt, clip, and cylinder
  2. Transport your firearm in an enclosed container
  3. Do not bring any ammunition with you

These steps are 100% necessary to follow the law, or else you will not be permitted to register your firearm.

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We hope this Hawaiian guide makes your transition to the Aloha State go smoothly. For assistance getting free moving quotes from licensed mainland to Hawaii movers, click the “Get Quote” button now! We also researched and ranked all the movers in Hawaii to come up with our list of the best moving companies in Hawaii. Find a trusted mover for a better move.

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Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More