When you close your eyes and picture paradise, Hawai’i probably comes into view. It’s got a little bit of everything — beautiful sights, tropical weather, unique things to do and fantastic culture. Whether you want to relocate 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 Hawai’i to make the process as comfortable as possible.
Step 1: Where to Move?
Hawai’i recognizes 137 islands, but only seven are inhabited. If you’re unsure about which island is best, do your research to find out which island best fits your lifestyle.
Referred to as the Big Island for its size of 4,028 square miles, Hawai’i 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, Hawai’i 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 most massive 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 of tourists, it’s the most commercial 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, Kaua’i‘s signature is the beautiful waterfalls tucked into the beautiful greenery. It’s the fourth largest island at 562 miles and not as densely populated as Maui. You can find adventure hiking Kalalau Trail, a 22-mile roundtrip quest offering breathtaking vistas, secluded beaches, and incredible views.
Best is known for agriculture and ranching, Molokai is known as “The Friendly Isle.” It is a quiet destination with few 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 of tranquility. Lana’i 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.
Step 2: Planning a Move to Hawai’i
Once you know where to move, it’s time to start planning. Even if you’ve moved across town or the continental U.S., it’s important to understand that moving to Hawai’i is entirely different. You can’t just drive a rental truck to the new home.
Step 3: Shipping Your Belongings
Here are a couple of popular movers to start with, but there are many others. Read the reviews, confirm their services and compare quotes.
Step 4: Shipping a Vehicle
Here are some resources for shipping your car from the mainland. As always, be sure to read reviews.
Step 5: 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 in this blog post.