Things to Know About Hawaii Before Moving From the Continental U.S.

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Must Know About Hawaii Before Moving From the Continental U.S.

  1. What Do I Need to Know Before Relocating to Hawaii?
  2. Estimates & the Moving Calculator Are Crucial to Hawaii Movers 
  3. Making an Informed Decision Before Moving Overseas
  4. Finding a Hawaii Shipping Carrier
  5. What Shipping Container Sizes Are Used?
  6. How to Use Freight Forwarders Going to Hawaii
  7. Should I Use Shipping Cube Services?
  8. Using Full-Service Moving Companies to Hawaii
  9. Mail Services Available for Air Transport to Hawaii
  10. So, What is the How Much is it to Move to Hawaii After All?

1. What Do I Need to Know Before Relocating to Hawaii?

Crossing the ocean from the contiguous U.S. to get to the remote Hawaiian Islands can be challenging financially and logistically without preparation or planning. If you’ve already decided to keep to keep your household belongings, the most cost-effective approach is to go through a shipping company or shipping services. Needless to say, before jumping into a move, it's critical to know what options are available and which are the best for your needs, such as shipping household goods overseas. Reading the basics of shipping to Hawaii before getting into the details may prove helpful. 

Moving Authority has compiled the best Hawaii moving companies, freight forwarders that ship to Hawaii, and other tools and resources to help simplify relocating to Hawaii. Our free moving calculator provides a quick and simple solution to converting inventory into the correct weight and cubic footage necessary for any overseas estimates. With these estimate conversions, it's easy to figure out information regarding requirements for any shipping containers, cubes, or packaging Hawaii.

There are various ways to transport  household goods from the mainland to Hawaii, though there are multiple solutions depending on your relocation needs (i.e. if bringing many items, few, or even none!):

  • Directly booking a shipment with a shipping carrier 
  • Going through freight forwarding services
  • Shipping Cube Services
  • Full-service moving companies
  • USPS, UPS, FedEx

2. a Moving Calculator is Crucial to Hawaii Movers 

Regardless of which shipping approach best meets your needs, it’s always crucial to make sure you get estimates of at least 3 different companies. Preparation is crucial for propective Hawaii movers due to the logistics and coordination involved. Knowing what kind of moving expenses to expect can significantly improve the relocation process. Ask questions about the range and prices of services provided in order to conceptualize and outline a budget of possible expenses there may be. Take inventory of your household goods so you can provide companies with information over the phone or on an online estimator. The more you know about your inventory and the necessary services you require, the more precise your quotes you receive will be.

3. Making an Informed Decision Before Moving Overseas

It’s also essential to do some research before hiring any service, especially prior to making any decisions. There are some critical elements to finding a reputable moving service, especially if you’re planning to move to a new state as remote as Hawaii. The first question you should ask is for their license and insurance information.

If speaking with moving companies, they should provide a U.S.DOT number that you can cross-reference by contacting the U.S. DOT. Testimonials and reviews are also important ways to gain insight into different companies’ quality of service. Making an informed decision is crucial when it comes to trusting a company to coordinate your move or a carrier to ship items to Hawaii.

4. Finding a Hawaii Shipping Carrier

Using shipping companies is a common way to move household goods and/or vehicles from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii and is a very simple process. Many planning to ship household goods overseas are bringing larger items such as furniture. If you have a large quantity of items or any bulky items like furniture, you’ll most likely want to use a shipping container as a means to ship to Hawaii. Shipping carriers, like Pasha Hawaii, also handle shipping cars between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii (although a full-service moving company can coordinate this for you). 

There are different shipping companies that handle ocean transportation to Hawaii, so we've compiled 3 reputable carriers that travel to and from the states to the remote state of Hawaii:

  • Matson
  • Pasha Hawaii
  • Horizon Lines (acquired by Matson)

**It’s important to note that Pasha Hawaii only handles car shipping to Hawaii or large, oversized cargo shipments.**

However, there is another carrier, Young Brothers, though this shipping company only ships between the Hawaiian Islands. Young Brothers may be helpful for any relocations that need help shipping between Hawaiian Islands. This carrier does not transport to or from the U.S. mainland.

Generally, if using shipping companies directly, the process is pretty straightforward. First, you need to pick a shipping carrier and book a shipment with them. Once booked, pack and label your belongings just as you would if you were relocating somewhere on the U.S. mainland. Your shipping carrier will drop off the appropriately sized shipping container.

After carefully loading the container with the usual boxes, furniture, and other household goods, the shipping company will send a truck to pick up the packed container and bring it back to it's designated port for ocean transport. Once the shipping container has reached its destination, at which point it will then be dropped off at your new place in Hawaii to be unloaded. Finally, the shipping carrier will return to pick up the shipping container once emptied. This type of service is called port-door/door-port or simply door-door.

5. What Shipping Container Sizes Are Used?

Once you have an idea of your inventory, choosing a shipping container for your household goods will be more accurate. Based on Matson’s shipping container measurements, there are 4 different sizes to choose from:

  • 20′ standard container  (1,171 cubic feet)
  • 40′ standard container (2,387 cubic feet)
  • 40′ high-cube container (2,686 cubic feet)
  • 45′ high-cube container (3,030 cubic feet)

If these generic container sizes seem too big, shipping a Less than Container Load (LCL) is a simple way to resolve this issue. If you don’t have enough items to fill up the above container sizes, it can be frustrating wasting your money on empty, unnecessary space. With LCL shipping, you have a couple of options to pay only for your allotted container space.

6. How to Use Freight Forwarders Shipping to Hawaii

Freight forwarders are a great option for those moving to Hawaii on a budget. Even though they will go through the same shipping carriers, freight forwarders are able to receive cheaper rates due to the mass amounts of shipments they book. Since they save due to bulk shipments, freight forwarders will book shipments for a discounted price. However, because these freight forwarders will not ship out until reaching capacity to obtain discounts, oftentimes the shipping process can take much longer than booking directly with a carrier. 

On the flip side, freight forwarders are a great way to ship LCL. If you don’t fill up your container, they will essentially pack your shipment up and onto a pallet. They will only charge you for the allotted space necessary to fit your belongings. Pallets are beneficial as they are sturdy and are very accomodating for transporting both household and commercial goods. 

3 licensed and reputable freight forwarder carriers that specifically ship back and forth to Hawaii are:

7. Should I Use Shipping Cube Services?

A shipping cube is a great option for those without bulky/large household goods or for those who simply have a small load or LCL. Shipping cubes generally work the same way that a regularly sized shipping container works. The main difference being that a cube is a smaller version that can be locked and is easily accessible. Once you pack and load it, the company drop by to acquire the container and take it to the port. The process doesn't stop there as the shipping cube will then be put into a larger shipping container for tranportation. Post ocean transport and arrival in Hawaii, the company drop it to your new home and picks it up once it’s been unloaded.

Even though shipping cubes are more expensive per cubic foot than a typical shipping container, if you have a small or LCL, it might still be a better bargain than using shipping containers. This is an appealing way for people that are typically shipping very little of their belongings to Hawaii.

3 of the top and most convenient cube services available to use for shipping items to Hawaii are:

  • PODS Moving & Storage
    • Sizes: 7', 12', 16'
    • Equipement rental
    • Packing supplies

  • U-Haul: U-Box (most affordable)
    • Size: 8'
    • Delivery/Shipping
    • Storage
    • Packing supplies
    • Local movers

  • U-Pack Moving - ReloCube Containers
    • Size: 8'
    • Equipement rental
    • Packing supplies

**Door-to-Door Moving and Storage is no longer in operation and all customers and containers have been acquired by U-Haul**

8. Using Full-Service Moving Companies to Move to Hawaii

Full-service moving companies can be extremely helpful when relocating to Hawaii. Ideally, they can take care of the entire packing, loading, moving,shipping, unloading, and unpacking process. They will take care of booking a shipping carrier or dealing with other third-party services necessary to get the job done. Instead of you trying to organize, arrange, and correlate different services, a full-service moving company will do all of this.

When looking for trustworthy moving companies, remember that just because they are a full-service moving company doesn’t mean you have to utilize all of their services. In fact, one con to using full-service movers is that they are typically on the more expensive side when it comes to 

When exploring the idea of using a full-service moving company, keep in mind that you do not have control over any or which third-party services they choose to use. This can sometimes make the process more difficult due to an inability to communicate your needs directly. Still, when comparing the work it takes coordinating a DIY move to Hawaii or hiring the professionals, the latter seems much more appealing.

Full-service moving companies are a great option for those moving to Hawaii and want everything planned, booked, and coordinated for them. They’re also great for those who already know what services they want or need help with specifically, such as loading and unloading your shipping container. Don’t forget to be sure to check for U.S.DOT numbers or licensing, insurance, reviews or testimonials, and to obtain quotes or estimates prior to hiring any one company.

Some well-known and respectable full-service moving companies stationed in Hawaii are:

9. Mail Services Available for Air Transport to Hawaii

If you own, have gotten rid of, or are simply taking very few things, using mailing services or sending your belongings via air transportation may be the best choice. There are a few alternatives that might be right for this kind of move, especially if you’re relocating but you haven’t secured a home or rental in Hawaii yet. USPS is the cheapest way to mail to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland. There are several different ways to go about mailing what little belongings you need to relocate and transport to Hawaii.

  • Media Mail (Delivery Transit Time: Typically 18 days): Sounds exactly the way it is, they will literally only send books, CDs or DVDs, and other certain types of media. This is the cheapest way to send these kinds of items through the postal mail. Also, remember that they will go through your belongings checking for packages that are non-compliant. 
  • Parcel Post (Delivery Time: anywhere between 18-30 or more days):
    • Another cost-effective way to send your items to Hawaii is through using the service Parcel Post. Even though you can save some, it can take some time (anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks) for delivery. They are also not treated like priority mail, to say the least, and it’s not recommended to send anything you value highly or that is valuable using this service.
  • Priority Mail (Delivery Time: Typically 3 days):
    • This is the most expensive option the U.S. Post Office offers because pricing is based upon the weight and size of the box being sent.
  • UPS & FedEx ‘Ground Service’ (Delivery Time: Typically 3-6 days):
    • Ground service is the only alternative shipping method the UPS & FedEx provide. Although it a quick and efficient choice when you need to ship stuff to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland on the fly, it’s also quite costly. Generally, ground service shipping substantially more expensive in comparison to using USPS priority mail services, although FedEx is slightly less expensive.
The post office is a great option for people relocating with few enough belongings that it’s economical to transport them through mail to Hawaii. The USPS is particularly useful when relocating to the Hawaiian Islands. Many people find it beneficial to use postal services if they have yet to set up a new mailing address in Hawaii. With USPS, you can begin shipping packages before you’ve arrived since the Post Office holds packages for 30 days if necessary. The USPS is an incredibly helpful resource for shipping packages to Hawaii without having everything completely set up beforehand. 

10. So, How Much is it to Move to Hawaii After All?

There are always factors to take into consideration during a long distance relocation. However, moving expenses will add up quickly during a Hawaii move without preparation or calculating the moving costs of services and materials your move requires. Price is definitely a deterent to prospective Hawaii movers, but if planned out properly and according to your individual bugdet, the costs of relocating to paradise are manageable.