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Moving To Hawaii

January 24th, 2018 - 1:17 PM

How to move to Hawaii​

When you close your eyes and picture paradise, Hawaii probably comes into view. It’s got a little bit of everything — beautiful sights, tropical weather, unique things to do and amazing culture. Whether you want to relocate to Hawaii for a change of pace or you’re moving for work or school, it’s a great place to call home. Here are the steps to take when moving to Hawaii to make the process as easy as possible.

Moving to Hawaii

Step 1: Figuring out where to move

Hawaii recognizes 137 islands, but only seven are inhabited. If you’re unsure about which island is best, take this quiz and find out which islands best fit your personality. Then keep reading to learn more about those islands.


Know where you’re moving to and want a moving quote? U-Pack® offers affordable moving to Hawaii — click for a free moving quote. Most Hawaii quotes require a moving consultant to go over the details for accuracy, so you’ll get an email with pricing in one business day.


Also referred to as the Big Island for its size of 4,028 square miles, Hawaii offers a mix of communities and more remote areas. Stick to the city areas for amenities like home postal service and trash pickup, or venture to the quieter areas for a different lifestyle. Explore local sights like Maunaloa Volcanoes, Kau Desert, Puna Fern Forest, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kealakekua Bay. 


The Valley Isle is known for lush flora. It’s the second largest island at 727 square miles and is known for a mix of tourism and smaller communities. Maui is home to mountain ranges including Haleakala, the largest dormant volcano crater in the world. It even snows on top of the mountain, so you don’t have to forgo winter wonderlands after moving.


As the most populated island and home to the state capital, Honolulu, Oahu is known as The Gathering Place. Because it’s most visited by tourists, it’s the most commercialized and developed. However, that growth doesn’t mean losing the Hawaiian beauty. There are still gorgeous sights, rainforest areas and beaches to explore.


Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai’s signature is the beautiful waterfalls tucked into beautiful greenery. It’s the fourth largest island at 562 miles and is not as densely populated as Maui. You can find adventure hiking Kalalau Trail, a 22-mile roundtrip quest offering breathtaking vistas, secluded beaches and amazing views.


Best known for agriculture and ranching, Molokai is known as The Friendly Isle. It’s a quieter destination with no traffic lights and very little traffic. The island showcases local culture with ancient fishponds made of lava rock walls and the Ka Hula Piko, a celebration of the birth of Hula.


The smallest of the openly inhabited islands at just 140 square miles, it’s a haven for tranquility. Lanai used to be a pineapple plantation, giving it the nickname of the Pineapple Isle, but is now a charming smaller community. You’ll find some tourists at the local resorts, but it will mostly feel like there’s an outdoor paradise at your fingertips. Explore back roads for off-the-beaten-path sights or relax on a serene beach.


This one is pretty much out of the running for moving to Hawaii — it’s privately owned by the Robinsons (descendants of the title-holding Sinclair family), and it’s only accessible by native Hiihauans, hence the nickname of The Forbidden Isle.

Step 2: Planning a move to Hawaii

Once you know where to move, it’s time to start planning. Even if you’ve moved across town or even across the contiguous U.S., it’s important to understand that moving to Hawaii is entirely different. You can’t just drive a rental truck to the new home. Instead, there are several pieces to plan and coordinate. But don’t fret. U-Pack makes it easy.

Shipping your belongings

U-Pack offers two types of equipment for moves to Hawaii. Which type is best depends on your needs (home size, destination, budget and delivery preferences), but here’s how they both work:

  • U-Pack ReloCubes.  Cubes are 6’ x 7’ x 8’ metal moving and storage shipping containers. You can use one or several, depending on the size of the move. They’re great for smaller moves or for door delivery in Oahu and Hawaii (unloading at the service center is available on Maui and Kauai).
  • Ocean containers. Ocean containers are 40’ x 8’ x 8’6” metal containers. You have the entire container to use, so they’re better for larger homes. Ocean containers can be delivered door-to-door in most locations.

With both equipment types, U-Pack brings the equipment to your home for loading. You have three business days to load before transportation begins. U-Pack shipments sail out of California two times a week. This means your belongings should arrive in the Aloha state approximately one week after they arrive in California. A U-Pack quote includes the estimated transit time so you can plan the details of any family travel.  

Once your shipment arrives in Hawaii, options are door delivery or unloading at the service center. If you need storage, we can provide ReloCube storage at origin, in California or at the service center in Honolulu.

To ensure availability, we recommend booking as soon as possible. Ocean container moves require a signed Bill of Lading (contract) seven days before the move date, so those must be scheduled at least a week prior.

Hawaii shipping costs

The details of your move will determine shipping costs. Click to get an online quote and tell us where you’re moving to/from, how much you’re moving and when you’re moving. Once we know those details, we will send an email with pricing within one business day. While typical U-Pack quotes are instant, we double check the accuracy of Hawaii moving quotes since they involve more complex transportation including the ocean shipping.

If you’d like a price fast or prefer to talk with someone, call a moving consultant at 800-413-4799. They can provide instant quotes over the phone. Read more about Hawaii moving costs.

Step 3: Shipping a vehicle

U-Pack is able to ship motorcycles or ATVs (as long as they’re used, and the fluids are drained). However, U-Pack doesn’t ship vehicles. We recommend Mr. Car Shipper®. Contact them at 877-528-9627 for a quote.

Step 4: Bringing a pet

Hawaii has stringent laws regarding the importation of animals, including a quarantine to prevent the spread of rabies (Hawaii is a rabies-free state). Learn more about the procedure for bringing a pet to Hawaii.

Step 5: Bringing house plants

You can’t put live plants into U-Pack containers (plants are on the Do Not Ship list), but you can still take them with you — just make sure you perform an inspection before bringing them into the state. Find out how to move plants, and make sure to follow the guidelines from the State of Hawaii Plant Industry Division.

Have questions about moving to Hawaii?

If you’re still looking for more information, leave us a comment below.