Moving To Hawaii

Tips For Shipping Your Car To Hawaii (Part 3) | Moving To Hawaii

Another common question I receive is, should I ship my car to Hawaii or buy something when I get here? Well there are arguments to be made for both sides. Let’s first give you an idea of cost. The vehicle I shipped was a Nissan Pathfinder from Atlanta to Kona, and the total cost was $1,790.00. You can subtract from that cost the closer you get to the west coast (would have cost closer to $1,150.00 if it had been dropped off to be shipped from Long Beach, CA). That was on a trailer that was open, obviously expect to pay more for something closed. Transit time was approximately 23 days from pick up to drop off. You really are at the mercy of when your vehicle arrives to the Port of Long Beach and when the next shipping barge leaves.

Shipping Companies

I recommend using McCain Shipping, who is contracted through Kona Container Guy. Great communication regarding the entire process, shipping updates, and all other essential information that you need to know. Essentially everything gets routed through Matson, but it helps to use this service and have someone to communicate with that you know you can count on.

shipping your car to hawaii

Ship Your Car To Hawaii Or Buy A New One?

So now you have an idea on cost, transit time, and a recommendation on who to use. Now the question becomes, should you just forgo the whole process and buy something once you get here? The answer is tricky. Being an island, there are limitations on the inventory of vehicles available here. You will see more Jeep Wranglers, high end pick-up trucks, and Toyota 4 Runners than you have ever seen anywhere else. But keep in mind that a number of vehicles that might be popular where you’re coming from might not even have a servicing dealership here on the Big Island. It’s a good idea to take a look at the make and model of car you drive and research who is going to maintain it for you. Do they have parts readily available, or will you be at the mercy of shipping them in, which can get costly. We made the decision to bring our Pathfinder but to leave behind a luxury sedan we had because it just didn’t seem wise to have it here for a number of reasons.

If you do choose to buy a car here, your options are limited. Most of the resale vehicles come from the auction in Honolulu or people that are moving off the island. I took a gamble and found a Jeep Wrangler that was 12 years old and only had 30,000 miles. Other options would be to get here and really evaluate what you might like. You can always buy here, and a lot of other people will buy something from the mainland and just pay to have it shipped here, so they get exactly what they want.

Do You Even Need A Car In Hawaii?

One other caveat I’ll provide is that some people think, “Well it’s an island, I probably don’t even need a vehicle.” That might be true if you decide to buy a motorcycle, but this island is called the Big Island for a reason. You will absolutely need some way to get around based on travel times all over Kona, between Kona and Waikoloa, and getting over to Hilo from the westside which takes about an hour and a half. Hopefully this has been helpful to read as you explore the idea of moving over to this amazing place. In my next post, I’ll talk about what to bring with you to Hawaii.

Moving To Hawaii Blogs

Making The Decision (Part 1)
Choosing A Moving Company (Part 2)
Tips For Shipping Your Car To Hawaii (Part 3)
Bringing Your Pet To Hawaii (Part 4)
Rent Or Buy On The Big Island (Part 5)
Moving With Kids (Part 6)

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January 20, 2020

Our family has always planned to have a compound with 1 main home and 3 little cabins for each family. From Kona to Waimea to Hawi, it looks like no zone will allow such a site ? Am I pretty accurate? So we would have to have some huge house ? Why is that better for zoning ? Huge houses ?!!! very disappointing… is there no where we could do this ? Or even build a private cabin campsite like a little KOA ? Love reading your info ! Thank you !

Julie Keller

January 24, 2020

Loving your blog series Chris! You provide first hand experience in a very respectful way. I’ll be sharing your blogs with my buyers when they ask the questions. What a great blog library of resourceful information – Big Mahalo!

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