Getting Your Possessions to Hawaii


Each year thousands of people move to Hawaii, pursuing the dream of living in paradise. While life on our tropical island can be wonderful, moving here can be a total nightmare. You can't just pack up a truck and expect it to be here when you arrive. All your stuff is going from the truck you loaded into a boat, across the ocean, back onto a different truck, then to your destination, and this can take weeks.

As if getting across the ocean wasn't enough, you have to get it to your new home, be it in Honolulu or in Kailua, it's probably a long windy drive to wherever your stuff is going to end up.

  • Think about getting rid of things before you come to Hawaii. Most likely your home here will be smaller than your home on the mainland. (And please don't call it "the states" as so many people do. We are the 50th state!) So any extra furniture and winter clothes might be better off just getting donated to a needy organization. You have to think about where you're going to be - Hawaii.
  • You don't need your snowblower, your tire chains, the winter sleeping bags, or the winter anythings in Hawaii. Leave behind anything that won't be needed in warm weather. In the dead of winter, most of Oahu is 70 degrees, even at night. On a freezing cold night it gets down to about 60. In fact I have never seen a home in Oahu that had a heater of any kind. When we get really cold, we turn on the oven.
  • The fragile items are going to need a lot of extra padding to travel across the ocean. A good transatlantic mover will come prepared with lots of padding and something very similar to saran wrap, only a lot bigger and stronger.
  • If your stuff is moving while there are 30ft swells in the open ocean, you can bet things are going to get damaged, no matter what you do. Since there is no way of predicting what the ocean will be like when you move to Hawaii, you should be prepared. I have actually heard of someone who's car fell off the boat into the ocean. I have no idea how this happened, but it did.
  • You should prepare your furniture by padding it with blankets, sheets, towels, and anything else that you have to cushion it while it moves around in the container. You should tape drawers shut, disassemble anything that isn't real sturdy, and box up everything. Everything gets boxed or it arrives in the port of Honolulu in pieces.
  • You cannot move anything that isn't in a box, unless it is a big piece of furniture, like a desk or a chair or a couch. You must box up lamps, brooms, surfboards, clothes, food, and anything smaller than the largest boxes you have.
  • Your car should be sent over to Hawaii a month early, because even though they say it will be here in a few days, it might not, and if you get here and have no car, you're going to be paying for a rental car. The ships coming to Oahu are not on your schedule, because your stuff is just catching a ride with some more important stuff, like a container full of books going to Japan.
  • Heavy boxes are a pain, so get as many small boxes as you can. It's better to have 100 small boxes than 25 big ones. Small boxes allow people
  • Children moving to Hawaii will have an easier time if you make them part of the move as much as possible. Let them help to pick new items for the house, and where furniture should go. Allow them to setup their own room and choose paint colors, and get them a new toy or something that is a welcoming gift to Hawaii. They need positive associations with their new home to overcome the sense of loss they will feel about their previous home.
  • Also a great thing to do for your kids is to fly out one of their friends early on. Pay for one of their best friends to come visit them and play in Hawaii. That will help the loneliness wear off a bit and show them that you care about those feelings.
  • Moving dogs to Hawaii can be difficult. They need several months of shots to get in the state, or they are going to be quarantined for a long time. It used to be 6 months, but now it is 30. If you get them all the right shots before they come, you'll have your pet in just a couple days. Talk to your vet about it.
  • Remember that if your move to Hawaii is work related you may have a lot of tax write offs, so keep all those receipts related to travel and the move. If you're just coming to live in paradise for fun, that's not going to work for the IRS.

Based on information from the Multiple Listing Service of the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®. active listings last updated on May 23rd, 2017 at 11:44pm HST. Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright: 2017 by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®.

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