Updated May 24, 2023

For some, there comes a time when it feels right to pack up everything and leave Hawaiʻi for the mainland.

Moving to the mainland is a big operation, one that requires you and your possessions to travel a few thousand miles to your destination. Understandably, these kinds of moves come with a number of questions.

After helping tens of thousands of individuals and families with their mainland moves, we’ve heard a few common questions pop up over and over again.

Below, you’ll find the answers to the most common questions we get around moving to the mainland from Hawaiʻi. We hope these answers give you what you need to plan the right mainland move for you (and anyone else you’re moving with)!

First, let’s talk about the patterns we’ve seen in our customers moving to the mainland.

Q&A: Mainland Moving Trends

#1: Where do Hawaiʻi residents go when they leave?

According to IRS data—which confirms what we’ve seen— California, Texas, Washington, Nevada, and Florida are the top five most popular mainland destinations for former Hawaiʻi residents. Learn more about these popular spots:

#2: Are a lot of people moving to the mainland from Hawaiʻi?


Number of people who left Hawaiʻi every day in 2022

For the last 15 years, more people have left the Aloha State than moved to Hawaiʻi, creating a consistent population decline. In fact, in 2022, almost 20 people left the state every day. (!)

#4: Does Royal Hawaiian Movers do mainland moves?

Yes! Given our name, some people think we only move people to and around Hawaiʻi. In cooperation with our sister company, DeWitt Move Worldwide, we can move you anywhere you want to go on the mainland. We even do international moves.

In partnership with our colleagues at DeWitt Move, we specialize in executing mainland–Hawaiʻi moves simply and seamlessly. Plus, you’ll have one point of contact throughout who will make the whole process easy. Just get in touch with us for a complimentary quote to your destination.

Q&A: Moving to the Mainland from Hawaiʻi

#1: How much will it cost to move my possessions from Hawaiʻi to the mainland?

Everyone’s move is a little different, so it’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. (That’s why we recommend doing an in-person or a virtual survey with one of our experts!)

That said, there are a few major factors that go into calculating the cost of your move:

  1. Your final destination– If your new home is close to a port like Long Beach, California your move will be less expensive than one to a destination that’s far from a port, such as Denver, Colorado.
  2. How much you want to move– Your move will ultimately be priced by weight. The more you want to take with you, the more expensive it will be.
  3. What you want to move– If any of your items require special handling, such as a piano or a fragile piece of art, that will also factor into the cost of your move.

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, check out our article on the 3 Factors That Determine the Cost of Shipping a Container to and from Hawaiʻi.

You can also request a complimentary quote from one of our experts. We’ll take into account all of the individual factors that go into your move, and we’ll give you a quote you can rely on, one that won’t change suddenly on Moving Day.

#2: What about online moving calculators?

As you do your research, you’ll probably see websites that allow you to enter a few variables and generate an estimate for your move.

While these online moving calculators can be useful for gathering a ballpark idea of your moving costs, these estimates are not guarantees. In fact, these forms don’t always capture the full picture. As a result, the quotes they generate can shift dramatically on Moving Day.

If you want to get an accurate, reliable quote that you can count on, we recommend getting an in-person survey—or a virtual one. Most reputable moving companies will offer you this option at no charge. Why not take advantage and get a quote you can trust?

#3: Should I ship my belongings to the mainland or sell everything in Hawaiʻi and start over?

This is a great question. We always recommend that our customers downsize before they move. Not only does it save you money on mainland moves, but it also ensures that you’re only paying to move the items you really love.

Some customers take this advice and call it a day. Others take a more radical approach and sell the majority of their items in Hawaiʻi, and then use those proceeds to start over on the mainland.

As you make your decision, keep in mind that we have affordable options for smaller moves to the mainland. Instead of sending an entire 20′ or 40′ container worth of items, you can pack your belongings in a sturdy wooden crate called a lift van. Doing what’s called a “less than container load” move can be an affordable way to take a few meaningful pieces with you while staying within your budget. Our team would be happy to get you a


#4: Should I take my car with me to the mainland?

Shipping your car to the mainland is an investment in the future life of your car. Ask yourself: Will you keep your car, truck, or SUV for a number of years to come?

#5: What about moving insurance?

If you decide to use a moving company to help you with your mainland move, you’ll want to consider protecting your move. Every reputable moving company is required to offer you two types of coverage:

Want to see exactly how that would play out if your moving company damaged a piece of your furniture? Check out our article on everything you need to know about full-value protection.

#6: How do I find a reputable moving company for my mainland move?

When you’re making a long-distance move from the mainland to Hawaiʻi, you’ll have to hand over your possessions for a number of weeks. Make sure you choose a reputable company that will take good care of them.

To help you find a company you can trust, we put together this list of six steps for choosing a reputable moving company. Our recommendations will help you locate a company that will handle your possessions with the highest levels of care and professionalism.

#7: Do companies do door-to-door moves from Hawaiʻi to the mainland?

Yes! If you’re looking for a company that can pick up your items at your home in Hawaiʻi, then deliver them right to your new home on the mainland, that’s definitely possible. (In fact, it’s a service we perform for our customers all the time!)

You can even get help with packing and unpacking for your mainland move. A crew will show up in Hawaiʻi to pack all of your belongings for your mainland move. Once your belongings arrive at a warehouse near your new location, a crew will bring your belongings to your new home. Then, they’ll unpack everything they packed at your old home.

If you’re short on time—or you’re simply looking for the most convenient option—a full-service door-to-door move is a great choice.

#8: If I hire a company in Hawaiʻi to handle my move, who will deliver it on the other end?

As you probably realized, the crew that shows up to help you at your home in Hawaiʻi isn’t going to travel with your possessions all the way to your destination.

Generally, moving companies will partner with another company on the mainland to complete the final delivery of your possessions.

We partner with our DeWitt sister company, DeWitt Move Worldwide, to handle final delivery on the mainland. Together, we’ve completed tens of thousands of moves, so we know how to deliver a seamless move from start to finish.

As you evaluate your options for your mainland move, make sure to ask this question of any prospective movers. The answer will help you pick the company that’s right for your move.

#9: Do you ever move people back to Hawaiʻi?

Absolutely! Believe it or not, we’ve handled repeat moves for a number of our customers—in both directions. Some people love mainland living, and others miss that special something they can only find in Hawaiʻi.

If you decide that mainland life isn’t for you, Hawaiʻi will always welcome you back with aloha.

We’d be happy to help you make the return move!


#10: Can I take my cat or dog with me to the mainland?

Plenty of people take their pets with them when they move to the mainland from Hawaiʻi.

Often, pet owners will take an initial flight to a West Coast destination like San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, or Seattle. That strategy minimizes your pet’s time on the plane during that all-important first leg across the Pacific Ocean.

From there, some drive to their final destinations, while others recover during a layover and continue on to the next flight.

Not all airlines fly pets to and from Hawaiʻi. Your best bets will be:

Hawaiian Airlines
  • Takes dogs and cats
  • Accepts pets in both the belly as checked baggage and the cabin (as long as they fit the under-the-seat size requirements)
  • Flies pets between Hawaiʻi and the mainland, but will not fly pets on international flights

Read Hawaiian Airlines’ full guidelines for traveling with pets.

Alaskan Airlines
  • Takes dogs and cats
  • Allows pets to travel in the belly as checked baggage or in the cabin (as long as they fit the under-the-seat size requirements)
  • Restrictions apply at certain times of year for pets traveling as checked baggage. For example, the airline doesn’t accept pets as checked baggage in February. Make sure to book early!

Read Alaska Airlines’ full pet travel policies.


Policies change frequently, so make sure you check each airline website before making your plans.

Finally, depending on the airline, pet policy exceptions may be available for active US military or Foreign Service Officers traveling with permanent change of station orders. Some airlines even offer discounts for active servicemembers. These policies vary from airline to airline, but they’re worth researching if you’re doing a PCS move.

What If My Question Isn’t Answered Here?

Although we’ve covered some of the most common questions we get during our mainland moves, you might still have a few lingering queries about your move.

If that’s the case, feel free to reach out to one of our experts. 

They’d be happy to get you the answers you need—and schedule a complimentary quote you can rely on for your mainland move.

No matter where you’re headed on the mainland, we’d be happy to help you with a safe, easy, and affordable move.

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