Hawaii PCS Checklist
You’re moving to Hawaii — congrats! We’re sure you’re excited for your upcoming move to paradise, but unlike other duty stations in the US, the Aloha State has unique factors that you’ll want to consider before you move. Here’s our Hawaii PCS checklist to help make the transition seamless.
Prepping for Your HHG Shipment
Once you get your orders your Household Good Shipment is probably one of the first things you’ll think about. Keep in mind that Hawaii is about 3,000 miles from the mainland — that means it will take some time for your items to arrive. Plan for it to take between 2-3 months. If you have essentials you’ll need in that time, pack them in your luggage.
It’s also important to think about your temporary housing when you arrive. Will you need any kitchen supplies or personal items during this time? Make sure to pack those in your luggage as well.
When planning, know that Hawai’i is considered OCONUS or outside of the continental US. This will impact your weight allowance (you can calculate your weight allowance here). Don’t forget to clearly delineate your pro gear for the movers at your current duty station, otherwise you might be charged for an overweight shipment when you arrive to Hawaii.
Finally, if you’re planning on buying furniture when you arrive, know that options are limited. We have big brand stores like Target and Walmart, while Amazon ships too, but not all items will ship to the islands. If there’s something you really want for your home, buy it on the mainland and have it sent with your HHG shipment.
Take inventory of your possessions with pictures.
Get appraisals for antiques or valuables.
Sort through items you no longer need — either dispose of them, sell them or donate!
Schedule dates with your mover based on your desired timeline — remember it will take about 2-3 months for your items to arrive and you can only keep them in storage once they do for a limited amount of time.
Make an inventory list of your household items and carry it with you.
Don’t pack cash, jewelry, important documents, or other valuables in your HHG shipment — take those with you in your carry on.
Prepping For Your POV Move
Now that your HHG shipment is under control, it’s time to plan for your POV move. When you’re PCS’ing to Hawaii, the military will allow you to ship one car. If you’re a multi-car household and you’re thinking about shipping another car, we’d suggest you don’t.
Not only is it really expensive to ship a car, but there are a few options you have here in Hawaii. If there’s a vehicle you have your heart set on, you can most likely get it on island. You can even call some local dealers to see if they have your dream car before you arrive.
For a more affordable option, you can take a look at one of the lemon lots on base. These are generally sold by people in the military that are PCS’ing off island and need to sell their cars. These are a few great options that allow you to avoid the hassle of shipping a vehicle at your own expense.
Prepping For Your Pet
We couldn’t forget your furry family members! In addition to the military’s rules for PCSing with pets, Hawaii has a strict set of standards for animals entering the state. You’ll need to have appropriate paperwork and it takes about six months to get this process sorted.
For more information check out our comprehensive guide to PCSing to Hawaii with pets!
Prepping For Your Kids
When moving to a new place with kids, you’re probably thinking about where they’ll go to school. Selecting a good school district is extremely important and will also dictate where you live. USNews ranks Hawaii schools each year. Check it out to see which neighborhoods you might be interested in. Honolulu Magazine also provides a private school guide that you might find helpful!
In addition to finding a school that’s right for your kids, don’t forget to pick up their current school records or have them sent to their new school. This is a task that’s easy to forget in the bustle of moving.
Prepping For Your New Home
So now that the family is all taken care of, it’s time to think about your new home. First thing to consider is where you’ll stay while you’re looking for a place to live. You’ll get TLA (Temporary Housing Allowance) to help you cover these costs. You just have to make sure you’re at a military-approved hotel. 2022 Approved hotels here, click your branch: ARMY, NAVY, MARINES, USCG, AF
TLA Q&A resource from Defense Travel
As you’re thinking about where to live, check out our Oahu neighborhood guide. This will give you an idea of the different options you have if you’re looking to buy or rent. Although Oahu is only 44 miles long and 30 miles wide, each neighborhood has a unique feel.
Now, the final question — and perhaps the question we get asked most often — should you rent, buy, or live on base? There are pros and cons to all of these options, and fortunately, we have a blog post that lays these out for you. Check it out if you’re debating on which option is right for you.
Prepping For You
Moving is stressful! Remember in the midst of your PCS to take time for yourself. Yes – this may sound like even more to have to consider on top of everything else. But just think about the day you’ll be in Hawaii, laying on the beach, with a mai tai in your hand — little daydreaming can help alleviate the craziness you’re experiencing. And that special time – living in Hawaii (?!) … will be here soon enough!