The idea of moving to Hawaii sounds like a magical dream when someone first hears the idea, but a moment’s thought about the logistics of such a move is immediately daunting. There is no calling some friends and renting a truck or borrowing a pickup for moving day; to bring your belongings and furniture necessitates shipping everything across the ocean.

The idea of bringing your whole household across the ocean may seem discouragingly complex, but if the island lifestyle and Hawaii’s job market are calling you, don’t be dismayed: there are professional services dedicated to making the move as easy as possible.

How to Move Your Belongings to the Hawaiian Islands

The thought of trying to move a house full of furniture to Hawaii may seem too complex to contemplate.

So if you don’t want to pay significantly more for furniture it would be wise to bring the essentials with you. How can you do that? The easiest affordable option for moving to Hawaii is a company that can handle both shipping and ground transport.

Container Shipping

A company that specializes in handling the move to Hawaii will use large shipping containers for your move. They will be able to help you decide what size container you need; you can choose whether to load it yourself or have the company do it for you; and they will have trucks capable of picking up your container once it is full, and of bringing it to port.

A Hawaii moving company will also handle the logistics of making sure the container goes on the correct boat, and have another truck on the Hawaiian island of your choice, ready to take the container to your new home.

Container Size

Depending on the size of your home, there will be different container sizes which come at different price points. A household with a small or moderate number of possessions might only need a twenty foot container, whereas someone with more things might get a forty or forty five foot container.

These sizes also come in regular height and tall, for those with even more possessions.

Container Pick-up

A truck will bring a container of your choice to your home, and you will have from one to ten days to get everything you need into it. Then the truck will return, pick up the container, and head for the west coast.


Someone's possessions on their way to the main Hawaiian Islands

From the truck, the container will be moved to the port, most often in San Francisco. From there it will be moved to a container ship bound for the islands and your new Hawaii home.

Shipping could take as long as a month from port to port, and if your new home is one of the other Hawaiian Islands your container may have to be transferred from one ship to another after it reaches Honolulu on the largest Hawaiian island.

This whole process will be handled by your Hawaii moving company and often take less than a month to complete.

Container Drop-Off

Once the container reaches the island where you will be living, a truck will bring it from the port to your new Hawaii home. You will have one two ten days to unload the container and arrange your necessities before the truck will come one more time and get the empty container out of your way. Or, you can ask your Hawaii moving company to unload the container for you.

If you need to begin your island life before your furnishings arrive, there are furniture and appliance rentals that can help fill in the gaps with essentials.

Price of Container Shipping

The cost of shipping a container for moving to Hawaii can vary based on many factors. At a minimum you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars, and the price can be much higher based on container size, which island you will be living on, and where in the mainland you are moving from.

This cost may seem prohibitive, but remember that all manufactured goods in Hawaii are also very expensive, as the price of shipping them to Hawaii is factored into their price.

This cost is simply a factor of making the move to the Hawaiian Islands.

Island Life Considerations

It is hard to imagine being impatient while waiting for your furniture in Hawaii, the island state. Surely you can fill your days with Scuba diving, visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, watching green sea turtles from black sand beaches in the warm weather, and experiencing Hawaiian culture.

But without someone to handle the logistics of your move to Hawaii, you may find the early part of your new life to be much less idyllic than you imagine.

Small Mistakes can Create Big Problems

Those who have never dealt with port authorities, customs officials or shipping companies may find themselves experiencing culture shock when they learn of all the vagaries of moving containers from one part of the world to another. Moving to Hawaii is complex enough without having to worry about shipping logistics.


You will be talking to your local real estate agent about the housing market.


Navigating the Hawaiian job market (currently with lower unemployment than the national average, but still very competitive) can be tricky from across the ocean.

As everywhere, availability and cost of health insurance is always a consideration, which can potential further limit your employment options.

Living Hawaii style comes at a price. Cost of living in Hawaii is very high compared to the national average, so trying to move before you have found employment could be a very risky proposition. Rent, cost of goods and taxes are all very high. Take this into account as you assess work opportunities.


While much of Hawaii relies on English as their main language, you may find a language barrier with those who still speak the Hawaiian language. Navigating such interactions is of cultural interest but can make the day to day logistics of life more difficult.

Shipping is a Problem You Don’t Need to Handle Alone

With all these considerations and more to contemplate, it’s little wonder that most residents who moved from the mainland to Hawaii turned the most technical aspects of the move over to a moving company capable of handling all the potential pitfalls of shipping your earthly goods across the Pacific Ocean.

Waiting for Life to Begin

Most likely you will fly from the mainland to the Big Island Hawaii, and from there hop another plane to whatever island holds your destination. This process takes less than a day.

Upon arrival you can get a hotel, or you may choose to go right to your new Hawaii home; but unless you sent your furniture from the mainland long before you travelled to Hawaii yourself, your furniture will take weeks longer to arrive at your new Hawaii island home.

Renting Furnishings and Appliances

You may find it most expedient to rent the bare essentials in the mean time so you can at least sleep comfortably and cook your meals as you begin Hawaii life.

Hawaii residents enjoy delicious cuisine in local restaurants, but it is much more affordable when living in Hawaii to cook their own food most of the time.

Renting a range and refrigerator while you wait for your own appliances to arrive could pay for itself in food savings. But the quicker your own appliances arrive, the sooner you can stop making monthly payments for temporary appliances.

The Importance of Making Sure Your Belongings Arrive On Time

Living in Hawaii year round has great perks, and island fever can exaggerate their importance. Empty beaches during the off season when there are fewer tourists means more privacy and less traffic, and locations like Pearl Harbor and Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Hawaii, will be much less crowded.

Life in the Aloha State so simple yet so

But coming home to an unfurnished house because your container of possessions goes missing would be a very discouraging way to end an excursion to explore the wonders of your tropical island home, so it would be wise to turn over the logistics to a Hawaiian moving company that specializes in moves to and from the mainland.

Hawaii Real Estate

You may think that anywhere in Hawaii is better than where you are now, and in some ways you may be right, but there are major differences in lifestyle depending on where you put down your roots. When it comes to Hawaii real estate, location is key.

Many Islands, Many Options

The big island, which is also the most populous island, has many advantages, such as public transportation.

Other parts of the islands will require you to have your own vehicle (some companies also offer car shipping) and perhaps to commute via ferry between the other islands.

Diverse geography is fascinating but also a concern for your daily commute, and can present dangers if lava flows interrupt transit or wildlife disrupts your day to day life.

Whether you live on the west side or the east coast you will have to be able to get places, even if you live on the Big Island with easy access to Metro Honolulu. Discuss your options with your real estate agent and your moving company.

Living near the Na Pali coast, Haleakala National Park or the Valley Isle may seem like a dream come true, but has great costs, both financial and time related, as during the peak tourist season these areas become incredibly crowded.

North Shore Oahu or Urban Honolulu: Is Hawaii the Right Place for You?

Moving to Hawaii seems, at first glance, like a win win proposition, but many who make the move find that it is far more complicated and frustrating than you might think. Far from family and friends to help with your move, life on your Hawaiian island may quickly sour–especially if you are unable to build a sustainable lifestyle because you can’t obtain the necessary household goods.

Hawaii moving day can be the most wonderful day of your life, or a day of frustration and regret.

All the beauty of the garden isle can’t make up for the frustration that imperfect planning can create.

Whether you are going to settle in West Maui or the Big Island, whether you are seeking to learn more history of World War II or just the relaxation of the island lifestyle, whether you prefer urban Honolulu or the small town feel of a less populous island, a Hawaii moving company can make your move to Hawaii a much more successful and enjoyable experience.

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