You’re PCS’ing to Hawaii, Now What?
Whether it’s your first or fifth PCS move, there are so many things to consider when packing up your belongings to build a home in a new place. Relocating to Hawaii comes with a unique set of variables to consider. We’ve rounded up a list of seven things to think about when PCSing to Hawaii.
PCS Commitment Time
Orders to Hawaii can vary in time commitment. While some people are ordered for two years, others are ordered for three or more. One year might not seem like a lot, but that extra time is important to consider when thinking about where you’ll live, where your kids will attend school, and where your spouse will work.
BAH + COLA
Now that you’re moving to Hawaii, your friends and family have probably told you how expensive it is to live here. While they’re not wrong – Hawaii was ranked the most expensive state to live in 2018 – there are ways to navigate this hurdle. BAH for an E5 and above with dependents is approximately $3,000 a month. Although Hawaii isn’t international, it is considered overseas which means you’ll also get a monthly COLA allowance on top of your BAH.
When planning your household goods shipment to the Aloha State, remember that Hawaii is considered OCONUS or outside of the continental US. This will impact your weight allowance (you can calculate your weight allowance here).
Hawaii is roughly 3,000 miles from the mainland and that means longer shipping times. Think about this when planning your HHG shipment and deciding which items you’ll pack for your flight and which you’ll ship with the movers. 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.
It’s also important to remember that even big retailers like Target and Amazon don’t ship everything to the islands. If you need to get furniture while you’re here your options are limited – we regret to inform you there’s no IKEA. If you’d like something and it’s not available on island, you’ll want to buy it prior to your HHG shipment to send out with the movers.
When PCSing overseas – Hawaii included – you’re entitled to ship one POV (privately owned vehicle). It will take your car a few weeks to get here, so be mindful when planning. Here’s a guide on military.com about shipping your POV.
Renting vs. Buying vs. On-base Housing
As if your HHG and POV shipments aren’t stressful enough, you’ll have to decide if you want to buy, rent or live on-base. Fortunately, we’ve created a list of pros and cons to help. Check it out here: Should Military Families Rent or Buy a Home While Stationed in Hawaii?
Oahu might only be 44 miles long and 30 miles wide, but if you’ve decided to live off-base, there are a variety of neighborhoods to choose from, each with unique characteristics. Picking the right neighborhood will be crucial to building a home in your new duty station. In addition to finding a neighborhood that matches your lifestyle, you’ll also want to consider where you’ll be working when you get here. The traffic on Oahu can be daunting, and this can certainly play into your work-life balance. We want to make sure you have time to enjoy our gorgeous beaches and outdoor adventures. Feel free to email us and we can help you figure out which neighborhood is right for you!
PCSing with Pets
We can’t forget your furry-family members! When PCSing to Hawaii with pets you don’t only have to consider the military’s rules – Hawaii has its own set of standards for allowing pets into the state. Your animal must be quarantined upon arrival either by DAR (Direct Airport Release, the 5 day or less Program, or they could spend a full 120 days in quarantine. It’s important to start this process early.
While this all may sound very overwhelming, remember – you’re moving to one of the happiest places to live in the country. All the stress of your PCS will melt away once you’ve arrive and realize Hawaii really is as good as it sounds.