Are you dreaming of moving to the Aloha State? If you are serious about moving away from the mainland to one of these Central Pacific islands, you should mentally prepare for the work ahead of you. There is a lot to think about before you move to the islands, like dealing with changes in traffic and transportation options, increased living expenses, and assimilating to island culture. Each Hawaiian island is different, so you must consider your options carefully. Are you intrigued by peace and quiet or by living in the hustle and bustle? Finally, have you thought about how you will get all your belongings to your new island home? Do you plan to sell and donate most of your things, or do you prefer to research your shipping options?

You can learn much more about moving to Hawaii by reading on below. We address all your concerns, including how to figure out where to live on the islands and how to ship your belongings safely overseas. 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.

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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.
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Best Movers in Hawaii


Honolulu, HI

Superb! based on 700+ 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 750+ 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 350+ 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

What to Know Before Moving to Hawaii

If you are moving away from the mainland, there’s a lot to get excited about! Hawaii, with its beautiful sandy beaches and endless outdoor activities, is everything it’s cracked up to be. Even with the fantastic perks of island life, living here can come as a culture shock to some. The more you know about what to expect from your Hawaiian adventure, the better your experience will be.

Learning the Culture of Aloha

Hawaii’s culture is full of family ties, established by people who have lived on the islands for generations. When you relocate to Hawaii with an openness to their way of life, you too will become part of the big happy family!

Aloha means to be a peacemaker, to love your neighbors, and to respect the island. Everything moves more slowly on the islands, partially out of cultural preference, and partly due to the distance from the mainland. If you can accept a slower pace, you’ll likely find lower stress and greater relaxation.

Many Hawaiians use a unique dialect. You’ll hear words like “brah” and “bumbye.” You may hear Pidgin and Creole influences mixed into words from the native Hawaiian language. Don’t be surprised if you don’t understand every word at first but have patience. You’ll pick it up along the way.

Traffic and Transportation Expectations

Remember how things move a little slower in Hawaii? Depending on where you are planning to move, traffic can be quite a problem. If you relocate to a busy place like Honolulu, prepare to spend time on the road. Other islands are quite the opposite. For example, Molokai does not host a single traffic light. Not one. The population is so small that traffic is nonexistent.

No matter which island you choose to live on, know that you’ll probably need a car. Unlike many cities on the mainland, Hawaii does not have any rapid transit options. Metropolitan areas, like Honolulu, do have public bus systems that offer decent coverage.

Paying the Price for Supreme Quality of Life

Think about what you are paying for—proximity to some of the world’s best beaches and scenic views. In Hawaii, you’ll enjoy outstanding sunsets, welcoming friends and neighbors, and ever-awaiting adventures. The cost of living in Hawaii, and even getting to Hawaii, is higher than on the mainland. You will have to pay a high price to ship all your possessions overseas or sell and replace your things. Once you are on the islands, prepare yourself for higher fuel, rent, taxes, and grocery expenses.

Groceries here are up to three times more expensive than on the mainland, so take care when shopping. Save those ads you get from the grocery stores every week and compare prices. Hawaii also has lots of great farmers markets where you can get fresh produce for less! There are always ways to cut your costs while living on the islands. You could commute to work and live somewhere that’s more affordable, find a roommate, and watch your utility usage.

The best advice is to create a plan before moving to the islands. It can be tempting to take off and start living the Hawaiian dream, but you may find this prohibitively expensive. Decide which island is right for you and what you can afford in terms of housing. Both the rental and the job market are tight in Hawaii, so it is optimal to secure housing and employment before the move. If this isn’t feasible, arrive on the islands with plenty of savings, solid plans, and connections.

Dig into Hawaii’s Unique Dining

Hawaii has dishes that you won’t find on the mainland:

  • Calling all sugar fans! We have one word for you: malasadas. This deep-fried treat consists of dough covered in sugar. You can also find some of the best shaved ice in the world at a place called Matsumoto’s.
  • Spam is not just a Hawaiian stereotype. It is a real part of the local diet. Most new Hawaiians are pleasantly surprised by the taste of Spam. It is always cooked with rich flavors and transformed into creative and delicious dishes.
  • Another favorite meal is Saimin, which is like a Chinese egg and noodle soup. Adapted by locals, this dish now comes with green onions, kimchi, Spam, and sausage. You’re going to love this tasty Hawaiian favorite.
  • Another must-try is poke. You’ll see it everywhere, and there are all kinds of varieties. This raw fish salad may not be for everyone, but it is part of life in Hawaii. It can be eaten as an affordable comfort meal or as an expensive luxury dining option.
  • Don’t forget about Hawaii’s famous “plate lunches.” These plates include white rice, macaroni salad, and a meat of your choice. There are also “mixed plates” if you want to select more than one meat option for your lunch.

Examining Hawaii’s Job Market

While Hawaii boasts an impressively low unemployment rate, Hawaiians report that the job market is tight. There are simply so many people who want to live and work on the islands that competition for work is fierce. Family ties and connections can play a role in finding a job.

It is much easier to lock down a job on the islands if you have proof that you will be staying long-term. Many employers are hesitant to hire new residents because many people move to the islands, only to head back to the mainland in a matter of months. Know your timeline and be honest about it with potential employers! Some of the major employers to check out include the University of Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Health Systems, Hawaiian Electric Industries, and the State of Hawaii.

Choosing the Best Hawaiian Island to Live On

Once you settle on moving to Hawaii, there’s another big decision to make. Which island will you call home? There are several factors to consider, including weather, job opportunities, affordable housing, and things to do. The best island for you depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. You can evaluate your options by reading our overview of the six main islands below.


While Oahu is a thrilling location, its population of over one million inhabitants makes it Hawaii’s most population dense island. Even after determining Oahu is the place for you, you’ll have to choose which part of its 597 square miles suits you best:

  • In-town: Honolulu is by far the largest city in Hawaii, with almost 1 million residents in the metro area. Did you know that Hawaii has 11 military bases? While each of the major islands is home to at least one base, Honolulu has bases representing all five branches of the U.S. military. The city’s military presence contributes handsomely to the local economy; this is an area where business thrives. Traffic is heavy, but manageable, especially if you drive outside of regular commute hours. In Honolulu, you can find everything from quiet suburbs to traditional Hawaiian neighborhoods. You also have access to the buzzing downtown life, including dozens of shopping and restaurant options, should you want to get out of your quiet area. One of the biggest attractions in Honolulu is Waikiki beach, which hosts over five million tourists every year. Known as a surfer’s paradise, Waikiki has it all, with breathtaking beaches and a thriving nightlife. Here, you can experience everything from the bustle of the resorts to quiet walks in nature.
  • The Windward Coast is the eastern side of the island. You’ll find green, lush vegetation here, but also plenty of wind and precipitation. Despite the weather, the Windward Coast has some of the most jaw-dropping views in Oahu. The picture-perfect landscape also means sky-high real estate prices.
  • The North Shore features dazzling tourist attractions like waterfalls, temples, and tropical jungles. While this part of the island is a popular tourist destination, you’ll find it’s laid back and far less crowded than Honolulu. Some people compare the vibe here to that found in Southern California.
  • Leeward Oahu is protected by the elevation of the island, which eliminates the wind and much of the rainfall. It’s a sunny place with less tourism and less of an urban feel, but it still features activities like cultural celebrations, golf, and swimming. If you’re thinking of moving here, be sure to check out homes in the Kapolei, Ewa Beach, and Makakilo neighborhoods.


Ahh, the beaches of Maui! Will you live in Kula, Lahaina, Kahului, or another location? This beautiful island has a population of 180,000 residents and a total land area of 727 square miles. Maui is known for its excellent private high schools, including Maui Preparatory Academy and Seabury Hall. You can also find some of the best activities in Hawaii right here on Maui.

You can enjoy a classic Hawaiian luau experience at Old Lahaina Luau. The Lahaina Luau is an authentic Hawaiian celebration with stunning performances and plates full of steaming hot Hawaiian delicacies. If you’re looking for a quieter activity, take embark on a hike and explore the island’s many mountains and waterfalls. You can also canoe, kayak, surf, snorkel or ride bikes. Local and tourists alike love visiting the Haleakala National Park, which features the world’s biggest dormant volcano crater, as well as the island’s tallest peak (10,023 feet).

On Maui, you’ll have access to many of your favorite mainland stores – like Target and Costco, but there are also plenty of areas on the island that will make you feel as if you’re a world away from mainstream America. Here’s a brief overview of the different regions of the island:

  • Kahului: This is where most tourists arrive on flights from the mainland as its home to the island’s primary airport (the other airport is in Kapalua). This small town of just over 26,000 residents is known as Maui’s commercial hub, and it’s where you’ll find the big box stores mentioned above. Aside from arrivals and departures, most tourists avoid spending time Kahului. So, if you want to feel like a local, this town could be right for you.
  • West Maui: A hotspot for tourists, West Maui is comprised of the resort areas of Kapalua, Kaanapali, and the former whaling town of Lahaina. From this part of Maui, you can look over the sparkling golden sands and see the islands of Molokai and Lanai. Here, some of the island’s top resorts, like the Ritz-Carlton, make their home. This part of the island is also favorite among golfers who enjoy hitting the links at Kapalua’s championship courses.
  • Upcountry Maui: East of Kahului, the Upcountry of Maui includes the towns of Paia, Makawao, and Kula. For generations, residents of Maui have farmed the Upcountry’s verdant hills and mountains, made fertile by the area’s volcanic soil. Today, agriculture is still very much a part of the Upcountry way of life. Local farmers grow crops like sweet potatoes, corn, coffee, pineapple, taro, breadfruit, papayas, and bananas while ranchers raise cattle and hogs.
  • South Maui: If you don’t mind fighting the throngs of tourists that flock to the beachfront condos of South Maui, you’ll find this stretch of the island has some of the most scenic beaches. Wailea and Kihei offer luxurious resort communities, replete with golf courses and gorgeous beaches that abut aquamarine waters. This part of the island is known for its spectacular, sunny and dry weather.
  • East Maui: This part of the island might be best known for the Hana Highway – a perilous but scenic 64-mile road that wraps around the island from Kahului to Hana. One of the most picturesque areas of the island, East Maui is attractive for tourists, but also has some great places to put down roots. Quiet, idyllic Hana is tucked along the shore. This sleepy village still has the vibe of old Hawaii, before the hordes of tourists arrived.

The Big Island

The southernmost Hawaiian Island, the Island of Hawaii, also known as the “Big Island,” spans 4,029 square miles. This island’s beauty is undeniably exquisite. Hawaii’s 200,000 plus residents enjoy fresh air, clean water, and unique scenery. If you choose to live here, you’ll have smoking volcanoes and well-preserved forest reserves right in your backyard. This green paradise boasts eight different climate zones, from the desert climate on the northwest shore of the island to the harsh tundra found at the peaks of Mauna Kea (13,803-foot elevation) and Mauna Loa (13,678-foot elevation).

The Island of Hawaii has three active and two dormant volcanoes. Volcanic activity has threatened residents of the island in recent years. In 2018, residents watched in horror as a river of molten lava spewed from Kilauea, consuming more than 700 homes in its path and covering 13.7 square miles on the southeastern end of the island. While you may not want to purchase real estate near this threat, there are plenty of other beautiful areas to call home:

  • Hamakua Coast: Situated on the north end of the island, the Hamakua Coast, is miles away from the island’s active volcanoes. This gorgeous stretch of coast is filled with waterfalls thanks to the rain and snowfall that comes off Mauna Kea. Here, the climate is persistently wet, with no dry season for relief. If you live here, you can plan on getting about 84 inches of rain a year, but when the sun is out, you can enjoy the area’s black sand beaches.
  • Hilo: Southeast of the Hamakua Coast, Hilo is a proper town with a population of over 40,000 residents. Once a hub for the farming and fishing industries, today, downtown Hilo boasts shops, ethnic restaurants, art galleries, and beautiful Victorian homes, all perched on the bay. While Hilo is a quaint town, it also gets lots and lots of rain – over 120 inches a year. If dealing with rain isn’t for you, you might want to consider a drier clime.
  • Puna: Not too far east of Hilo, the area of Puna sits on the island’s eastern tip. While this district boasts interesting lava formations and black sand beaches, it has a history of run-ins with lava. Most recently, the 2018 eruption of Kilauea devastated the Puna neighborhood of Leilani Estates.
  • Kau: The southern edge of Hawaii is less popular with tourists, which means its an area that makes for quiet living without the crowds. You can enjoy strolls along the Punaluu Black Sand Beach, gaze upon the gorgeous ocean views from South Point, or live in the shadow of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The small towns of Naalehu and Pahala offer a quiet lifestyle for those seeking refuge from the bustle of city life.
  • Kaulua-Kona: Like the south coast of Maui, the Kaulua-Kona area, on Hawaii’s west coast, is known for enjoying a dry, sunny climate – ideal conditions for sunbathers on its miles of white-sand, resort-filled beaches. You might recognize the name “Kona” from the popular variety of coffee grown on the farms in this area. As a resident, you could start your mornings sipping a local roast while looking over picture-perfect views of the ocean.
  • Kohala Coast: Rolling green hills create the perfect backdrop for the sun-drenched Kohala Coast in the northwest corner of the island. Known as a mecca for golfers, the Kohala Coast is brimming with resorts, golf courses, and white sand beaches, like those found on the famous shores of Hapuna Beach State Park. This side of the island is a veritable desert, getting less than ten inches of rain each year. It’s a wonderful place to visit and an even better place to live.


The job market is tight throughout Hawaii, but Kauai has an excellent tourism sector that is promising for job seekers. Other jobs that are in demand here include work in medicine and education. Teachers and doctors can do well here, despite the high living costs. Starting your own business is a brave venture but always an option, especially if you plan to appeal to that buzzing tourism sector. With preparation, you will be able to secure work before or immediately after your move to Kauai. Although Kauai is a busy tourist destination, it has half the population of Maui and is more rural with less traffic and less noise than some of the other islands. There is far less to do in the way of nightlife and events, but Kauai is undeniably peaceful.

In terms of weather, be aware that the wettest place on earth is on Kauai! The rainfall is real here but is necessary for maintaining the island’s lush and beautiful landscape. There are also incredible geographic views to discover, like the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” on the island or the sweeping Na Pali cliffs.

  • The North Shore: One of the most popular tourist destinations on the island, the North Shore is still serene. Attractions here include Kee Beach, which marks the start of the famous 11-mile Kalalau Trail. This scenic path leads hikers to Kalalau Beach along the rugged cliffs of the Na Pali coast. This part of the North Shore is only accessible on foot. If the North Shore appeals to you, check out the town of Hanalei, a laid-back city with fantastic food trucks, local boutiques, and a bustling farmer’s market.
  • Royal Coconut Coast (East): Named for its clusters of coconut laden palms, the Coconut Coast stretches from Kealia Beach to the Wailua Golf Course. In between, you’ll find golden beaches, the quaint town of Kapaa, and destinations like the Fern Grotto, the Wailua River, and Opaekaa Falls. This area is Kauai’s most populated district for a reason!
  • Lihue: Just south of Wailua, the commercial hub of Lihue is home to about 7,000 Hawaiians. In addition to Kauai’s main airport, Lihue also boasts a cruise ship port and big box stores, like Walmart and Costco. Living in Lihue, though still expensive, is much cheaper than living Honolulu – the median home price here is just shy of $500K, while the median home price in Hawaii’s capital is north of $670K.
  • South Shore: The South Shore of Kauai is accessible via Maluhia Road, which takes travelers through a scenic Tree Tunnel formed by arched branches of Eucalyptus. Upon arrival on the South Shore, tourists flock to destinations like Poipu Beach Park, the Spouting Horn blowhole, and the lush Allerton Garden. If you wish to take up residence in this bustling resort area, check out the communities of Old Koloa Town, Kalaheo, Lawai, and Omao.
  • West Side: Kauai’s West Side is less touristy, so if you’re looking for a locale with more local flair, this might be for you. Residents of Kauai’s West Side have easy access to beautiful scenery, like that found in the jaw-dropping Waimea Canyon (Hawaii’s answer to the Grand Canyon) and Kokee State Park, with its miles upon miles of hiking trails. The quirky little town of Hanapepe Town has historic plantation buildings that are now eateries, art galleries, and boutiques, while Waimea Town has a burgeoning tech presence, that contrasts with its paniolo history.


Molokai is a tiny place, inhabited by around 7,000 dwellers who are halted by ZERO traffic lights. That’s right, if you’re looking for a break from traffic, consider moving to Molokai. The island of Molokai is located between Maui and Oahu and is just 38 miles long and 10 miles wide. Compared to the other Hawaiian Islands, Molokai receives few visitors, so if you’re looking for a place that offers quiet reprieve away from the clamor of tourists, this might be the island for you.

Molokai has an interesting history as the former home to a leper colony, which operated from 1866 to 1969. Today, visitors can see remnants of the settlement at Kalaupapa National Historical Park, which still houses some of its former patients. Not to worry, modern medicine has eradicated the disease.

Most residents live in Kaunakakai, on the south shore of the island, which is home to about half the island’s population. The rest live in a handful of sparsely populated towns and villages sprinkled across the island. Whether you decide to live here or visit on occasion, you’ll find there’s plenty to do. You can explore ancient Hawaiian fishponds, spectacular lava rock walls, and magnificent sea cliffs. Murphy’s Beach, or Kumimi beach, includes the longest continuous fringing reef in the U.S., making this place a snorkeler’s heaven. And don’t forget about the fishing—fishermen can cast their line off-shore or rent a charter boat for the day.


Lanai is another quiet island much like Molokai, but with fewer than half the inhabitants. If you enjoy solitude, you will love this location. Lanai City is the sole town on this tiny island, so this may be your best bet for finding a home. When moving to the island, you’ll want to secure a vehicle with 4-wheel drive, because this rural area is home to many bumpy dirt roads.

While it is small, there is still plenty to do and see on this island. Lanai is well-known for its thriving pineapple plantations, so you’ll be pleased if you are a fan of this fruit. Hulopoe Beach is an excellent place for snorkeling, swimming, and exploring the tide pools. There are plenty of beachgoing and related activities, plus opportunities to golf and experience culture. Significantly, the unemployment rate in Lanai is a mere 2.3%, with a recent positive job growth! Is little Lanai the island of your dreams?

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.

* * *

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.

Get price estimates for your move right now.

Rachael Riner

Rachael snags time to write web content, fiction novels, and blog posts in every quiet moment she gets – with... Read More