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Making the Dream of Living in Hawaii a Reality (Part 3)

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Now that you've considered all your options and decided Hawaii is for you, how do you get here? This blog post is a continuation of Parts 1 and 2, working on the assumptions that you've made the commitment to live in paradise, have searched for suitable job options, and know what area you want to live in.

"OK, I'm sold! Now that I know where I'm living, what do I need to do?"

This is not your average move down the street or across town! Moving to Hawaii can take up to a month, so careful planning, budgeting, and preparation is needed. Depending on volume, hiring a moving company or utilizing container/PODs systems are the two most common ways to move to Hawaii. Royal Hawaiian Movers and Island Movers are two of the larger and more reputable moving companies on Oahu, and of course there are many national and international options such as UHaul and PODs. Here is a great article outlining the pros and cons of hiring vs. do-it-yourself. ShipToHawaii is another alternative for smaller moves (and for getting those "no shipping to Hawaii" packages to Hawaii too).

Whether you do it yourself or have a moving company assist you, here are some things to prepare:

- Make a list of important items and names/numbers of people involved. Write down notes and dates so you can make sticking to your timeline easier.

- When making a timeline, make sure you give yourself adequate time (with some buffer) to pack AND unpack.

- The more organized you are packing, the easier it will be to move and unpack. Mark boxes on ALL sides and make sure there is adequate padding when needed. Also, pack heavy things in smaller boxes so they are easier to carry.

- Let the moving company know where you want certain boxes -- marked boxes make the job much faster and efficient, letting everyone know where you want certain boxes delivered upon arrival. If packing boxes into a "pod" or container, pack essential items last so they are the first to come out of the pod upon arrival.

- Keep important items with you! This includes (but is not limited to) jewelry, important documents, passports, or family heirlooms.

- Back up your computer before your move! Put important documents on a thumb drive or a virtual drive, or store them via cloud.

- Immediately inspect everything when it arrives so you can contact the shipping company regarding any damages.

"Wait, what about my car?"

Matson and Pasha Hawaii are the two biggest companies that ship to Hawaii, whether it be containers or vehicles. All vehicles are shipped in closed metal containers to protect them from the elements. You can expect to pay around $1,100 per vehicle. Their pricing is based upon containers, but they offer many options (such as door-to-door, door-to-port, and port-to-port delivery, container pick-up, or packing personal belongings with vehicles), so be sure to contact your preferred company and work with them to find what suits your needs. Because shipping vehicles out of Hawaii is just as expensive, finding reasonably priced pre-owned cars is also an option.

"Hey, don't forget Fido!"

"Ohana" means family, and "family" means no one gets left behind! Hawaii is the only state that is rabies-free, and to keep it that way, Hawaii has a very strict pet-entry quarantine. Regardless of which island is your destination, all quarantines go through Honolulu. The two main options to get entry for your pet are a 120-day on-island quarantine and a five-day-or-less release. To qualify for the five-day-or-less, your pet must have had two rabies vaccinations in its lifetime, have had a vaccination within the last year (but not within 30 days), be microchipped, have had a blood sample tested for rabies and have completed the quarantine period prior to arrival.

There are costs for both, and more details can be found on the website for the department of agriculture. If you don't have time to do the paperwork yourselves, pet-relocation services such as Akona are available.

"Now that I'm here, I feel like the new kid on the block!"

Personally, I consider this the biggest hurdle -- the culture. Even if you get the perfect job and the greatest home and hire movers to do all of the work for you, the biggest part of making Hawaii your "home" is adjusting to the culture. While that could be said about anywhere you move to, Hawaii has a hugely unique culture unlike anywhere else in the world.

Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world but highlights a very unique "East-meets-West" environment. Knowing some history of Hawaii will go a long way toward helping you understand why "da kine stay talk liddat" (why someone speaks the way they do). Pidgin, Hawaiian time, aloha attire, geckos, poi, and leasehold are some of the things that make Hawaii unique, to name a few. The best preparation for the change in culture is to be open to learning new and different ways locals do things here. It sounds like I'm talking about "locals" like Hawaii is a tribal nation, but the subtleties make Hawaii unlike the mainland in many ways. Learning a little about Hawaiian history, embracing some local culture, and simply asking when you don't understand will help you "integrate" to the Hawaiian lifestyle much more quickly. As Dorothy said, "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."