Moving anywhere is a big deal.  Moving off the mainland to Hawaii is an even bigger deal.  If you want to make sure that your transition to a life in paradise goes just a little smoother, here are some of my tips to get you going in the right direction and planning the right way.

Time to Downsize

It’s important to realize that the cost of renting or buying a home is more expensive in Hawaii than on the mainland.   As of January 2014, the median cost of a home in Hawaii was $519,000.  That’s a lot of beans even if it is in Hawaii.  So, the smaller you rent or need then the better off your wallet will be.

You don’t need to bring everything you own.  It’s easy to find an apartment in Hawaii with full furnishings and all the stuff you’ll need to live.  You won’t need to bring cooking stuff, silverware, furniture, etc.    Just bring your ultra-personal keepsakes and clothing.

You need shorts, t-shirts, light jackets, sweatshirts, jeans, sandals, running/walking shoes and any other professional or dress clothing you need or desire.  Don’t worry, though.  If you need clothes on the island we have all the clothing stores you could need; Ross, Target, Walmart, Payless and even upscale stuff like Gucci and Prada.  You won’t be without…you’ll just pay a little bit more.

You’ll also need to bring all the important documents and stuff such as social security card, birth certificates, ID’s, medical
records, prescriptions, etc.

You can get really smart if you want to and have a friend or relative mail stuff from the mainland to Hawaii in bunches by using the USPS or some other service:  All except the important documents…always carry that on the plane with you, if possible.

Shipping a Car to Hawaii

The cost of shipping a car from the mainland to Hawaii is going to run you around $1,100.  You could always buy a nice island traveling car once you get here for somewhere between $2k and $4k.

You can coordinate and secure vehicle shipping with:

Matson :              800-4Matson

Pasha Hawaii:    866-363-7485

Horizon Lines:    888-448-4934


You need to have your plants inspected by Hawaiian customs if you want to bring them into the state.  Ensure that you contact the Hawaii Department of Agriculture prior to your arrival to plan and coordinate.

Bringing Pets to Hawaii

This can be a real hassle. Hawaii is rabies free and the State and the HD0A is determined to keep it that way.  If you plan on bringing a pet to Hawaii make sure that you contact the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (link above) at least 4 months ahead of your planned arrival date. Call the DoA at

Important Contact Information:

Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Quarantine for Dogs and Cats:  (808) 483-7151     e-mail:

Reporting Illegal Animals – PEST HOTLINE:  643-PEST (7378)


Office of the Chairperson
1428 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
Ph: (808) 973-9560
Email: HDOA