Tips for making ultimate Hawaii moving checklist

Are you ready to embrace the spirit of Aloha and start planning your move to Hawaii? Are you already fantasizing about new swimming suits and cute beach towels? It’s a beautiful ambition, no doubt. If you have already visited the Aloha State, you can verify how beautiful it is. But before you quit your job on the mainland and buy your one-way ticket, you should know that living on an island is no paradise. We will give you some crucial information you should think about before booking your flight. Then you can start creating your ultimate Hawaii moving checklist.

Your ultimate Hawaii moving checklist has to be based on honest budgeting

The cost of living in Hawaii is high. That stands for housing costs, moving costs, and for all the groceries in all the stores. Everything that you would have to ship or fly to the islands will cost more. Note that Hawaii is a high-tax state. Hawaii income tax rates are one of the highest in the country. The state has an estate tax, too.

Shipping to Hawaii

This is one of the biggest financial burdens you could put on yourself if you’ve chosen to start anew in Hawaii. The idea of packing up and shipping everything you own to Hawaii is overwhelming and we try to discourage it. Unless you’re financially well off to be able to do so, shipping everything you own before relocating to Maui will probably be a mistake. It will cost an excessive amount of money, so we offer a completely different objective as a whole. The chances of you needing all the stuff you had on the mainland, and more importantly the mainland, aren’t used in years, is remote. Simply pack as you would for a vacation. The idea is that less is more. If you really love your furniture or you invested a lot in it, then it’s probably worth trying to organize the shipping.

Aerial view of containers on a loading dock
You need to make sure and pack your belongings properly for shipment via container. Since you want to pack the container as tightly as possible, hiring professional movers with experience in this type of work will be worth the money.

But the more weight you add to the shipment, it significantly increases the costs.

  • If you are planning your Hawaii moving checklist, we advise you to downsize, minimize and say your goodbye to your belongings. You could only take the fundamental items you would need on the islands, and then basically restart there. It could be very exciting to start fresh after moving to Hawaii. However, many people would have trouble taking such a giant leap of faith. And we get it.
  • So consider putting things in storage for some time. Then, later you can keep the things you really miss or sell it all at a garage sale to earn your storage fees back.
  • Or, just sell as much as you can before the move and use the cash to pay the relocation itself. Either way, plan for this part of the Hawaii moving checklist to be the biggest step.

Warning: Watch out for dozens of companies that can “cheaply” relocate you to the islands. If the rates are too low and sound just a little too good to e true, they most probably are! Some carriers will engage in a lot of deceptive tactics that aim to nickel and dime you. So be very careful, do your research, and choose wisely.

Hawaii moving checklist: Transportation and shipping of your car

A lot of what goes into the transport of your car to Hawaii pretty much resembles the shipping of your belongings to the islands section. In fact, the easiest and cheapest option would be to just buy a car on-island. Or if you’re moving to one of the other islands, ship it from Honolulu. Unless you have a special car or a great attachment to it due to its sentimental value. In that case, prepare your checks but open your eyes for scams. Find a reliable mover and proceed with caution.

Moving pets to Hawaii is tough

Hawaii laws carefully protect the system from outside threats. Their list of forbidden species is long. It includes invasive plant species, non-native animals and pets carrying diseases. If you’re planning to include your pet into your Hawaii moving checklist, you basically have two options here. First one is to maintain excellent records of your pet’s shots and vaccination history. We urge you to opt for this one, as the other option requires an extended quarantine period once your pet enters Hawaii State.

Finding employment in Hawaii

Finding employment in Hawaii isn’t as easy as it is on the mainland. Start planning your job strategy ahead of your move. Additionally, after you find a job, or two, expect to have lower wages than now. Maybe you will have to work part-time. Or even as a contractor,  maybe holding more than one job at a time to pay the bills.

A cartoon of a man holding a laptop while hands offer him bags of money with different currencies
If you are fortunate enough to work remotely, keep in mind that although you may live comfortably on your salary on the mainland, it very well may not provide you with the same standard of living in Hawaii.

Hawaii Health Insurance

Insurance is not always a given in Hawaii. A full-time job is harder to find than on the mainland. In the end, you’re probably going to have to work this into your budget. Make sure to include this into your monthly costs early on, and don’t just wing it after you arrive. There is often a waiting period to be enlisted in some insurance plans. Also, you must be a resident for at least 6-12 months.

Part of kitchen and dining room with a brick wall and some minimalistic furniture you might not be able to include into Hawaii moving checklist
Quality furniture can be hard to come by on the islands, especially anywhere outside Honolulu.

Housing in Hawaii

When making your Hawaii moving checklist, put down that you will have to downsize a great deal after relocating to Aloha state. Sometimes, a 2,200+ sq. ft. home on the mainland is about $200 000, but in Hawaii, that same home costs $750 000!

So get your checkbook in order after getting this reality check from us, and happy house hunting in Hawaii. The islands are a dream once you sort the costs and logistics out.