In 2 weeks, I will have officially been living in Oahu for a year! I just have to say, time flies!! And while I am surprised to continue to receive questions about my move, I suppose this post is long overdue!! I want to cover it all here so it’s easy to bookmark and reference when you need it! You have a few options when it comes to moving to Hawaii. I’ve met a lot of people that moved here and I talked to them about how they moved as well.
What I found interesting was that pretty much everyone I have talked to just came here with a couple suitcases. (fun tip – Southwest allows 2 bags free) Now this is only possible if you don’t own your own furniture or have many belongings because you live with your parents or friends. I suppose you could sell everything you own before moving but I personally think that is not very smart cost wise.
When they got to Hawaii they either moved into a pre-furnished unit/house or moved into an empty one and bought all new furniture and appliances. It’s hard to find nice furniture in Hawaii that isn’t way overpriced so you will likely want to buy it online which is still not the best choice since many companies (such as Pottery Barn and Ikea) won’t even ship to Hawaii and the ones that do (Wayfair) have exorbitant shipping prices.
If you do happen to own stuff – like a decent amount of stuff that won’t fit in a suitcase, you have to find a way to ship your items to Hawaii. For me, I had a little less than a one bedroom worth of furniture and boxes, plus my car.
You can go directly to Matson if you have a LOT of stuff because with Matson, you need to pay for a whole moving container which costs about $8,000. If I remember correctly, a Matson rep told me that one of their moving containers would fit about a 3 bedroom worth of items or 2 cars. The rep even told me that you can build shelves and get creative with your container in order to fit more in it. The only problem is, you also have to move everything into the container yourself. And once it arrives in Hawaii, you have to move everything into your home yourself. I don’t know if they send someone to transport/tow the container to and from the port for you or if you have to do that yourself too.
I really wanted someone to do all of the moving and packing of valuable items, and I certainly didn’t need a whole container. If you are like me, you will want to find a moving service that ships to Hawaii from the mainland. They too use Matson or Pasha but with a moving service, since you only need part of the container, you will be paying for cubic feet and special packing services. I called a few companies that ship from the Bay Area to Oahu and settled with the company Hawaii Moving Pros. The sales rep Chris was great. We went over every single item and I measured everything carefully and he created the quote which came out to 264 cubic feet, $3,542. He also said they would price quote me for the car, since their normal price is $1500 to send over a car, and I in fact was able to find a company called Prime Moving which quoted me $1350.
Moving day would have went smoothly too but when the team came to pick everything up, the moving manager tried to charge me more since they claimed the items on the quote sheet didn’t match, and the rule is if you add anything on move day, the price per cubic foot will be doubled. This wasn’t true at all, and the moving manager later claimed it was just because he didn’t understand the new iPad system he was using. In fact it would have been nearly $1000 more than I was originally quoted and I argued with him and his boss (via Facetime) for almost an hour. I even started going through the boxes that were already on the container to figure out what I could not ship with them to lower the cost (small items that would fit in a suitcase). After everything, he “accidentally” just deleted the new quote and just reverted back to the original quote. It honestly felt soooooo staged, as though they were hoping I would not notice the higher cost (or even just accept it) and they could charge me more without incident. It was super distressing because I am not a confrontational person. This is why I cannot recommend Hawaii Moving Pros.
I received my items about a month later, which is the typical wait time when shipping items to or from Hawaii. It was easy to schedule a move in date, and they did a great, very quick job bringing everything into my new apartment and unpacking items with care.
If you decide to go with a moving company like I did, here are some tips:
- If you want to receive your items right when you arrive, start planning to have everything ready to be moved a month before you leave for your new destination. If this means selling a lot of furniture, you will probably want to start earlier in case it takes a while to sell your items.
- Call around and get quotes from multiple companies. Look to see if they have reviews. I couldn’t find reviews for any of the companies I reached out to, though Royal Hawaiian Movers is BBB accredited I could not get a response out of them.
- Look at every single thing that you own very carefully and decide what is worth it, since you will be paying for each cubic foot.
- Go over every item carefully when working with the moving agent, so there are no surprises.
- Have them pack big fragile items for you! All of my fragile items arrived undamaged.
- Don’t forget to tip the movers!
That concludes my post, and I hope it was helpful! Please let me know if you guys have any questions 🙂