Kohala Mountain (Extinct Volcano)

Moving to the Big Island?

Tips for Moving to Hawaii

Have you been considering moving to the Big Island? Once you have made the decision, you will want to formulate a thoughtful plan to ensure the process goes smoothly. Transporting “stuff” across the Pacific Ocean comes with numerous logistical hurdles and can be expensive.


Essentially, you will need to choose between packing and shipping everything on your own, hiring a moving company to help facilitate the process, or you may just decide to leave it all behind (with a few exceptions of course).


There is a ton of helpful information to be found online about moving to Hawaii. Research all the sites, articles, and blogs you can find.  When ready, make a plan and go for it!

...Just think things through carefully

Once you have done your research, get outdoors for a long walk, hike, or bike to help clear your mind while putting the pieces together and weighing your options. Moving to the Big Island will require your full commitment and careful planning, so try not to rush things.

Moving to the Big Island - Helpful Tips

If I could travel back in time 20-years, I would have sold nearly everything before moving to the Big Island. Instead, I still have stuff from Colorado sitting in my closet collecting dust.

- Penn

Moving to the Big Island - Helpful FAQ's

  • What things should I bring when moving to the Big Island?

    The bare minimum. Even if you have decided to get a container and ship your things to the Big Island, you simply don’t need everything you use on the Mainland.  Do yourself a favor and downsize your inventory. A quick Netflix binge of Marie Kondo could probably help with this.

    Relocating household items to Hawaii is a big process and can be expensive, so it will be important to thoroughly scrutinize which items to bring.  

    You will need to estimate how many things you want to move to the Big Island with to help determine what type of shipping method is necessary (freight forwarder, cargo, mail, or a container) in order to get an appropriate quote and timeline.

    If you are trying to simplify, here are the key items to address:

    • Pets | Relocating with Pets
    • Valuables (photos, jewelry, etc.)
    • Clothing items (minimized!)
    • Documents, laptops, cameras, etc.
    • Can’t live without items (ie. bicycle)
    • Your car

    *If you opt to use a shipping container, then you can bring furniture and a lot of things with you – which could either be a blessing or a curse.

    >> Helpful Resources for Moving to the Big Island

  • How do I ship my stuff to Hawaii?

    Unlike shipping things on the mainland, there are only a few options to transport your things to Hawaii.

    • Shipping Containers, Crates, Pods, and Barges
    • FedEx, UPS, USPS
    • Air Cargo Aloha Cargo (from limited airports)

    Generally, a shipping company is the most cost-effective way to move most of your household items (big things like furniture, bikes, etc.).

    If you’ve successfully downsized to the point where a container is not necessary, then shipping your items by mail will be the way to go.  You can also supplement your container shipment by shipping important things via mail such that they arrive quickly.

    >> Helpful Resources for Moving to the Big Island

  • How much does it cost to ship a car to Hawaii?

    $900 - $2,000, depending on vehicle size, where you are shipping it from, and how fast you need it to arrive by. You can choose between shipping your vehicle in a container, specific auto carriers, or in secure stowage on the vessel.

    Note: You cannot pack your car with things you would like transported to Hawaii.  Most shipping companies require the vehicle to be completely empty of any belongings (except for maybe a child seat).

    >> Helpful Resources for Moving to the Big Island

  • How long does it take to ship a container to Hawaii?

    Generally, 2-weeks.  Depending on the company, the service you select, and a bit of luck – it could arrive in a week.  Or sometimes, it may take 3-4 weeks. A lot of it depends on when your container arrives at the port relative to the vessels scheduled departure date and how busy they are.

    >> Helpful Resources for Moving to the Big Island

  • How much does shipping a container to Hawaii cost?

    Expect to pay anywhere from $4,500 - $9,000 for shipping household goods to Hawaii. Four main factors will influence the price:  Location, Weight, Size, and Contents.

    • 20-Foot Container – Generally fits the contents of a 2-BR condo
    • 40-Foot Container – Generally fits the contents of a 3-BR house

    Here is a helpful post providing details from Royal Hawaiian Movers

    >> Additional Resources for Moving to the Big Island

  • What things CAN’T I bring with me to Hawaii?

    Invasive species (animals & plants), and hazardous materials.

    >> Helpful Resources for Moving to the Big Island

  • FAQ Disclaimer

    The following FAQ’s are some of the questions frequently asked in some, but not all of the areas the author(s) of this content are familiar with. The questions and answers are not intended to be exhaustive and do not constitute legal or tax advice in any such manner. Content is subject to occasional amendments without notice.

    It does not create an agent-client relationship for your particular question, issue, or concern. The questions and answers do not create any agent-client relationship or duty to assist you.

    The information is intended to be helpful and to get you thinking in a more sophisticated manner pertaining to the buying or selling real estate. Moreover, you are encouraged to contact Penn to dialog further on your issues pertaining to matters of real estate.

  • Penn Henderson

    Kona Realtor® (RS-83962)

    Big Island Kona Realtor - Penn Henderson - NextHome Paradise Realty Hawaii

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