Hawaii Relocation Tips

Whether you are contemplating a job relocation or simply moving for the Maui lifestyle, a move to Hawaii is a major undertaking. Moving your loved ones and belongings across the ocean takes careful and thoughtful planning and it’s never too early to start sorting through the details of your future move.

It’s no secret that the cost of living in Hawaii is one of the highest in the nation, so do your research prior to making the move. Talk to folks who have made the move, as well as long-time residents. Utilize the Internet, as it is an amazing tool to gather information about moving to the islands, as well as what you need to do to get settled once you’ve arrived in the 50th State.

Hawaii Moving Guide: Table of Contents
Post Office – Forwarding Your Mail
Preparing Your Pet for the Move
Driver’s License
Car Registration
Setting Up Your Utilities

Housing – What can you afford and where?

The first thing you will need to do, if you haven’t already done so, is narrow down where in the state you want to live. Keep in mind that Maui’s communities have their own unique personalities. The Hawaii Tourism Authority maintains a website at www.gohawaii.com which provides an excellent overview of each island’s characteristics. Although this website is aimed at visitors, it’s a good place to start in order to get a feel for each island.

Choosing a School

If you have school-age children, a home in a top school district may be your priority. You will find that the quality of schools may vary even within a school district. For instance, a district may have many high-quality elementary schools, but a weak middle or high school. I can provide you information on particular schools and school districts and you can also do your own research by asking family, friends and acquaintances for school recommendations.

What can You Afford?

Before you begin looking for a home, you must find what you can afford, and this will help save tons of time. Speaking to a LOCAL loan officer is critical. Only local loan officers know and understand the unique requirements of buying a home in Hawaii. Usually when someone moves to Hawaii and tries to use a mainland lender/loan officer, they discover that that lender has overlooked something relating to the local laws.
Preparing for the Move – Moving Costs

Post Office – Forwarding Your Mail

Prior to your move, you should submit a Change of Address form with the United States Postal Service. You can obtain a form from any U.S. Post Office or submit it electronically at https://moversguide.usps.com/icoa/icoa-main-flow.do?execution=e1s1

Packing Like a Pro

• Develop a master “To Do” list so you won’t forget something critical.
• Pack like items together. Put toys with toys, kitchen utensils with kitchen utensils, etc.
• Decide what, if anything, you plan to move yourself. Precious items – such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the 
  move – should probably stay with you.
• Use the right-size box for the item. Loose items encourage breakage.
• Put heavy items in small boxes so they’re easier to lift. Keep weight under 50 lbs. if possible.
• Don’t over-pack boxes and increase the chances they will break.
• Wrap every fragile item separately and pad bottom and sides of boxes.
• Label every box on all sides. You never know how they’ll be stacked and you don’t want to have to move other boxes aside to find out
  what’s   there.
• Use color-coded labels to indicate which room each item should go in. Color-code a floor plan for your new house to help movers.
• Keep your moving documents together, including phone numbers, driver’s name, and van/container number. Also keep your address book
• Back up your computer files before moving your computer.
• Inspect each box and all furniture for damage as soon as it arrives.
• Remember, most movers won’t handle plants.


Matson offers the most frequent, reliable service in shipping household goods and automobiles to Hawaii. There are other companies that offer shipping services, but www.matson.com is a good place to start to get a price quote based on your particular location and situation.
Check with me for other Maui shippers.

Horizon Lines
West Point Relocation
Ship to Hawaii (Airfreight Discounts)
Island Movers

Preparing Your Pet for the Move

Hawaii has strict animal quarantine laws in order to keep rabies out of the state. There are two rabies quarantine programs for dogs and cats entering Hawaii: 120-Day or the 5-Day-or-Less Quarantine programs. If certain pre- and post-arrival requirements are met, your pet may be eligible for the 5-Day-or-Less Quarantine Program. For complete information on the quarantine requirements for your pet, see the Hawaii Rabies Quarantine Information Brochure at http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/aqsbrochure.pdf. In addition, airline arrangements to transport your pet to Hawaii must be made directly with the airline.

Once You’ve Arrived in Hawaii

There will be a lot of tasks to do once you have arrived in the islands. Your first stop should be at one of Maui’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Driver’s License (Hawaii has enacted a new Hawaii's Legal Presence Law)

Implementation of the Legal Presence Act will affect driver licensing requirements statewide effective March 5, 2012. Proof of “legal presence” will be required of all individuals renewing, reinstating and applying for a Hawaii driver’s license or learner’s permit. Existing permit holders must also comply with requirements before passing their road tests. These requirements apply to all U.S. citizens and foreign-born.

Go to Maui County’s website for more information:  www.MauiCounty.gov (Click on Finance Dept./DMV)

Every person who drives any type of motorized vehicle is required to be tested and licensed. You will need to take a written test of traffic laws and rules of the road as well as a vision exam. You should study the Hawaii Driver’s Manual prior to taking the written test. Manuals are available at local bookstores, Long’s Drug Stores and State libraries.

Car Registration

You have 10 days after arrival to register your vehicle and you have two choices: You can transfer to Hawaii registration, or get a permit to operate it until the out-of-state plates expire. Prior to registering your car, you must have a Hawaii Vehicle Inspection Certificate, also known as a “Safety Check.” There are many authorized safety inspection providers across the island, including many service stations. These providers will display a state-authorized Safety Inspection seal. You’ll need to show your Hawaii proof of motor vehicle insurance card to get your Hawaii inspection certificate. This means you will need to shop for motor vehicle insurance prior to registering your vehicle.

Setting Up Your Utilities

There are some tasks you need to take care of no matter where you move. Basic utilities and services need to be ordered before you settle in to your new home. Here’s who you need to contact:

Maui Electric
Hawaiian Telcom
The Gas Company (a propane provider)
Maui County Water Supply
Oceanic Time Warner Cable

Other Facts About Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the most diverse states with several unique population characteristics: 30% of the population is white compared to 39% Asian, as well as over 9% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. More info here.

Local Cultures

Fed by waves of Polynesian, European, American, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Indian and other immigrants, mainstream culture in Hawaii since contact has been shaped by the interactions and intermingling of its many ethnicities and nationalities. Exemplified in the iconic ukulele, as well as in the Plantation agrarian society that predominated from roughly 1850-1950, this uniquely local culture was built upon a foundation of treasured native Hawaiian concepts such as aloha.


From secluded rural areas to shoreline manors and urban townhouses, Maui neighborhoods are as diverse as their populations. Learn more about neighborhoods here.

Cost of living

Owning a home or condo in Hawaii has been better than most mainland real estate, and long-term ownership in Hawaii can be an excellent investment very likely to remain so due to high demand and limited supply.

However, isolated island living doesn’t come cheap: the median single-family home price in Maui is $980,000. A gallon of gasoline averages $3.25, a gallon of milk, around $7.


For many newcomers, Hawaii’s opportunities for fun in (and out of) the sun are the first step in integrating themselves into local culture.
Bird Watching
Learning Hula
Outdoor Yoga
Plein Air Painting
Scuba Diving
Stand-up/Paddle Surfing
Whale Watching


Hawaii’s Public Education system, like the rest of the state, has experienced a budget crisis that has created difficulties in a system that already had fierce critics in some districts. For many parents, the value of private schools is well worth the investment. Honolulu Magazine frequently publishes comprehensive information on both private and public schools.

Higher Education

The University of Hawaii is one of only 13 land, sea, and space-grant research institutions in the country and offers an array of graduate, undergraduate and community college programs on 10 campuses across the state.
Hawaii’s largest private colleges are:
Hawaii Pacific University
Chaminade University
Brigham Young University – Hawaii


Pacific Business News
Hawaii Business Magazine
Honolulu Magazine
Maui News

Fill out

U.S. Postal Service change-of-address forms or change your address online


• Newspaper subscriptions
• Magazine subscriptions


• Catalog companies
• Book, music, and video clubs
• Educational, religious, charitable, and fraternal organizations

Arrange to turn off, or change over

Gas (if you have propane)
able/Satellite TV


Credit card companies
Insurance agents
Service Providers
Financial Advisor
Stock Broker


Driver, pet, and other license data
Pet vaccination records
Voter, vehicle, and vessel registrations
Business permits