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Moving To Hawaii From California: Benefits, Cost & More

Moving to Hawaii from California can seem daunting. Any move between the two states will take you at least 2,500 miles over the Pacific Ocean. You’ll be faced with totally new surroundings and will have to acquaint yourself with a totally new local culture. To help you decide if the move is right for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide comparing the two states. Here’s what you’ll learn:

    Best Movers from California to Hawaii

    If you’ve already made up your mind to move from California to Hawaii and are just looking for a great mover, here are the best options to consider today:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    International Van Lines

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    Allied Van Lines

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    North American Van Lines

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support
    Provider Superlative Service Model Average Cost Our Rating
    International Van Lines
    Best Full-Service Mover Full-Service Carrier, Broker $2,400 – $5,400 ★★★★☆ 4.8/5
    Allied Van Lines
    Best for Extended Storage Full-Service Carrier, Broker $4,400 – $7,400 ★★★★☆ 4.6/5
    North American Van Lines
    Best Customer Service Full-Service Carrier, Broker $4,400 – $7,400 ★★★★☆ 4.6/5
    JK Moving Services
    Best Insurance Options Full-Service Carrier $4,200 – $7,200 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
    Safeway Moving Systems
    Best for Military Moves Full-Service Broker $2,700 – $5,700 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
    U-Pack
    Most Affordable Moving Container Service $2,100 – $3,100 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5

    * Average moving cost is based on a 2,500 mile two-bedroom move. Cost can vary significantly based on move weight and distance. Be sure to request a free quote to get an accurate estimate for your move.

    Should You Move from California to Hawaii?

    Hawaii, by all accounts, is a paradise. Ideal weather conditions year-round, a wealth of recreational activities, and a positive overall attitude make the islands some of the most sought-after destinations in the country. Still, there are pros and cons when compared to California. Here, we’ll compare the cost of living, culture, and more so you can decide if moving to Hawaii is right for you:

    Housing Costs

    You won’t save money on purchasing a home by moving to Hawaii from California. California is currently ranked #3 in the nation for the most expensive housing, but Hawaii is #1. That said, renting can be slightly cheaper. Here’s what you can expect:

    California Hawaii CA to HI
    Avg. Home Cost (source) $683,996 $730,511 +$46,515 (6.8%)
    Avg. Rent (source) $2,542 $2,333 -$209 (-8.2%)
    Utilities (source) $401 $442 +$41 (10.2%)

     

    • Home Cost. Both states have steep home prices well above the national average of $329,000. Still, if you can afford a home in California, you can likely afford a home in Hawaii as well, which is 6.8% more expensive on average.
    • Monthly Rent. Renters may save some money by moving between the states. While the monthly savings may not seem significant, you can save an average of $2,500 per year.
    • Utility Bills. Utilities like electricity, water, and internet are 10% more expensive in HI compared to CA. That’s $41 each month or $492 every year, which will of course offset any savings realized from reduced rental rates.

    Cost of Living

    Basic necessities and amenities are more expensive in Hawaii than they are on the mainland. The cost of living on the islands is 70% higher than the national average, spurred by high housing, grocery, and utility costs. California is an expensive place to live as well, but you’ll definitely need to have a well-paying job lined up to live comfortably in Hawaii. Here’s how the two states compare:

    Expense CA to HI
    Groceries -3.0%
    Restaurants 5.8%
    Transportation 2.3%
    Childcare 4.8%
    Entertainment -6.5%
    Clothes -2.2%
    Average Difference 0.2%

     

    As you can see, these states are roughly comparable in terms of overall cost of living, with Hawaii only slightly higher. Transportation, restaurants, and childcare are the larger expenses, so if you don’t eat out much or aren’t raising a family, Hawaii could be more affordable for you.

    Sales Tax: At 4%, Hawaii’s state sales tax is under the national average of 5.09%. California, however, has the single highest sales tax rate in the country, at 7.25%.

    Weather & Climate

    Hawaii’s climate is ideal and consistent year-round. Annual high temperatures range from 78 to 85 degrees, with nighttime temperatures dipping about 10 degrees. There is a bit of a wet season between November and March, but rainfall is not too severe. While both California and Hawaii are known for their extremely pleasant weather, Hawaii experiences a virtually year-round summer, with winter highs averaging around 78 degrees.

    California’s diverse climate zones pale in comparison to Hawaii’s numerous microclimates. In a relatively small land area, Hawaii’s Big Island experiences eight of the 13 different climates, from desert to rainforest.

    California Hawaii CA to HI
    Average Temp July 87.1 85 -2.1
    Comfort Index Summer 8.7/10 8.3/10 -0.4
    Average Temp Jan 53.5 78 24.5
    Comfort Index Winter 7.5/10 8.9/10 1.4
    Average Sunny Days 69% 66% -7%
    Average Daily Rainfall (in) 1.69 0.45 -1.24

    Source

    Job Opportunities

    From a worker’s perspective, things may be tough in both California and Hawaii, though the outlook may be slightly better in Hawaii. Hawaii is very much a tourist economy, with most jobs available in the tourism or service industries. Medical professionals and teachers are in high demand here as well, but the job market is extremely competitive. You should have a job locked down before making the move to Hawaii.

    • Unemployment Rates. Both states are higher than the national average when it comes to unemployment. Hawaii’s unemployment rate is currently 4.3%, which is less than California’s 6.9%.
    • Average Salaries. Hawaii has the second highest average salary in the nation, at $73,973. This is 18% higher than California’s average of $62,356.
    • Income Taxes. Both states have a graduated rate income tax system. As you make more money, you owe more in taxes. Hawaii’s rates range from 1.4% to 11%, while California ranges from 1% to 13.3%.

    Things to Do

    California’s provides plenty of tourist attractions and recreational opportunities. From its excellent surfing and beaches to ski mountains and resorts, you can find almost anything there. Of course, Hawaii is known as a paradise as well. The beautiful landscapes and conservational spaces mean that the island is open for exploration. From sunbathing and diving with manta rays to visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you’ll always find something to keep you occupied.

    Lifestyle & Culture

    Hawaii’s “Aloha Culture” is described as something which must be experienced, rather than described. In short, it means living in harmony with yourself, others, and your surroundings. While this may not be totally unique to the islands, their culture is truly unique. If you’re new to Hawaii, you should know that it takes some time for locals to truly warm up to you. They’re friendly nonetheless.

    Like any location, it has its negatives. “Island Fever” is something that many deal with from time to time. However, the idea of “Island Time” is something that most mainlanders truly can’t have an appreciation for until they make the move. Once they’ve adjusted, people rarely go back to their old pace of living.

    How Much Does It Cost to Move from California to Hawaii

    The shortest flight from California to Hawaii is roughly 2,500 miles. We’ve used this distance to provide average moving costs for moves of varying sizes. You should bear in mind that the price points here are just approximations. You should get quotes of your own, from each mover you consider, prior to booking.

    Average Moving Costs

    Provider 2 BR Cost 4 BR Cost Get A Quote
    Full-Service Move International Van Lines $2,400 – $5,400 $6,200 – $9,200 Free Quote
    Allied Van Lines $4,400 – $7,400 $10,900 – $13,900 Free Quote
    Safeway Moving Systems $2,700 – $5,700 $7,800 – $10,800 Free Quote
    Moving Container U-Pack $2,100 – $3,100 $4,100 – $5,100 Free Quote
    PODS $2,200 – $3,200 $4,200 – $5,200 Free Quote

     

    DIY moving from California to Hawaii isn’t a viable option. You’ll need to hire a full-service company or moving container service to assist you.

    Cost Factors

    When budgeting for a move of any size, there are several factors that will affect your final cost. Here are a few of the most significant factors to consider when booking a move:

    • Move Distance & Shipment Weight: Shipping weight and move distance are the main factors that determine your move’s price. The larger your home and the further away you’re moving, the more expensive your relocation will be.
    • Air vs Ocean Freight: Air freight can be more expensive, but it is also faster than ocean freight. Not all movers will offer you a choice between the two, but some do.
    • Service Requirements: Add-on services like full-service packing, car transport, and other services can substantially inflate your cost. To save money, try to do as much work yourself as you can.
    • Season: Peak moving season falls between May and September. If you must move during these months, then you should book as far in advance as possible. Doing so can help to mitigate some added costs associated with the busy season.
    • Advance Booking: If you book your move within a few days, you’ll likely be charged fees or an increased rate for convenience. The earlier you can plan, the more likely your mover will have availability and the more you can save.

    Best Places to Live in Hawaii

    If you’ve made the decision to move to Hawaii but are unsure of an exact destination, then these communities are worth considering:

    Maunawili, HI

    Maunawili consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Hawaii. This Oahu community is home to a little over 2,000 people and provides easy access to nearby Honolulu. Most of the homes here are modern, with plenty of amenities. You’ll pay more for the convenience of living here, with median home values exceeding $1 million.

    Mililani Mauka, HI

    This planned community shares several similarities with Maunawili. Residents love the laid-back and quiet atmosphere here. Amenities and shopping are plentiful, and the 21,000 residents have their choice of more than 40 schools. To top it off, Mililani Mauka is just a short commute to Honolulu.

    Waikele, HI

    Waikele is another Honolulu-adjacent community with plenty to offer. With only 7,500 residents, things are fairly spread out here. Median home values sit at $528,500, which is far lower than the norm in Hawaii. With affordable housing, residents get access to plenty of parks, golf courses, and shopping outlets. If you’re moving to Hawaii on a budget, then this may be one of your best options.

    Honolulu, HI

    Honolulu is Hawaii’s capital and largest city. Located in an idyllic spot on Oahu’s Southern shores, it sees upwards of 7,000 visitors a day. Median rent within the city limits is a costly $1,845, but that is below average in the state. That said, this price may be worth the convenience of living near so many work opportunities and activities. Residents here enjoy all of Hawaii’s outdoor activities while retaining the convenience of urban life.

    Mililani, HI

    Mililani may be the best place in Hawaii to raise a family. The schools here are the best on the islands, and the number of smaller, locally-owned businesses give this area a very close-knit community feel. This is another commuter community for Honolulu that still provides plenty of access to shopping centers and restaurants on its own.

    How to Choose a Moving Company

    Before planning a move, you should thoroughly evaluate each mover you consider. You should ask for proof of any required licenses and insurance policies before signing a contract. Reputable movers will expect this and should be able to provide documentation.

    • Service Profile: All interstate moving companies offer a varied range of services at different ability levels and rates. When you take inventory of your home, you should make a list of any services you may need. Discuss these with your rep to make sure they can handle your needs at an adequate rate.
    • Agreeable Pricing: Shopping around is an absolute must during any moving process. You should get quotes from multiple providers before settling on a particular mover.
    • Well-Reviewed: Consult multiple platforms to get a feel for past performance. Social media, Google, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau are all worth your time.
    • FMCSA Registration: Interstate moving companies are federally regulated and must maintain a license with the FMCSA. This governing body also requires active USDOT and MC numbers, which can be used to look up a given mover’s complaint history and registration status through this link.
    • Workers’ Compensation: Moving companies everywhere must carry this insurance coverage. It protects clients in the event of a work-related injury during a move. Without such coverage, customers could be held liable for damages.
    • Released Liability Coverage: This provides for a baseline level of reimbursement for lost or damaged goods. At $0.60 per pound, per item, this won’t cover the value of most items. However, you can purchase additional valuation coverage from your mover if need be.

    Start Planning Your Move Today

    Have you decided that you’re ready to move to Hawaii from California? If so, working with a reliable mover is essential. This is a major relocation with many logistical challenges. The following companies are the best options in the industry today. Request free quotes and compare rates before booking:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best Insurance Options

    4.5
    • Local, Interstate, Local, & International Moving
    • 24/7 Customer Support & Great Mobile App
    • Low-Interest Financing Available

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Moving to Hawaii from California FAQs

    How long will it take to move to Hawaii?

    In general, you should allow for a week to ten days for any shipments between the mainland and Hawaii. Keep in mind that weather and shipping routes can substantially change your delivery window.

    Is it possible to get a discount for my move?

    Discounts for moves between California and Hawaii can be hard to come by. Shipping rates between the two destinations can be steep, which is a big part of why the cost of living in Hawaii is so high. Some movers do offer discounts for certain groups, like military veterans or service workers, which could be worth asking about.

    Can my movers provide long-term storage for my goods?

    Most companies who offer interstate moving services to or from Hawaii own or otherwise have access to storage facilities. If you’re planning a move with the same company you’re storing with, they will often provide reduced rates or discounts.