Moving to or from Hawaii comes with its own unique set of complexities. After moving tens of thousands of individuals, families, and servicemembers to and from the Hawaiian Islands, we know them all. Plus, after thirty years’ experience as a leading military provider, we understand the unique challenges faced by our men and women in uniform. 

If your PCS orders mean relocating to or from Hawaii, we’ll walk you through exactly what to expect. We’ll also give you our insider tips for making your move as smooth and easy as possible for you and your family members. 

First Things First: CONUS vs. OCONUS 

As you may already know, a move to/from Hawaii is considered an OCONUS move (outside the continental United States). For CONUS moves, you’ll have the option for a Personally-Procured Move (PPM, also known as a Do-It-Yourself Move/DITY).  

OCONUS moves are most often Household Goods (HHG) moves, completed by an approved Transportation Service Provider (TSP), like Royal Hawaiian. Because an HHG move is the most common to and from Hawaii (and one we’re very  familiar with) that’s what we’ll walk you through in this article. Below, you’ll find the seven most important things you need to know. 

Calculate My Allowance

How to Calculate Your Moving Allowance

Your moving allowance is based on your rank, dependency status, and move type. To calculate yours, use the moving allowance calculator on the DOD Customer Moving Portal.
Calculate My Allowance

#1: How Much Can I Take with Me? 

Quick Tip

Moving allowances

Your moving allowance will determine exactly how much you can take with you to your new duty station.

If you’ve relocated before, you might already know all about moving allowances. If not: Your moving allowance is how much stuff you’re allowed to take, measured in pounds. If you go over this number, the extra cost will be charged back to you after the move.   

If you’re not in the moving business (like we are!), you might not think of your items in terms of their weight. In fact, figuring out how much your move will weigh can be tricky. Luckily, the DOD has a handy tool to help you estimate the weight of your move 

Your moving company can also assist with a weight estimate during your pre-move survey. 

#2: How Should I Use My Unaccompanied Baggage Option? 

Quick Tip

What not to pack

Hang on to these items, and keep them close during your move. You’ll need them! 

Because your shipment for your OCONUS move will take several weeks to arrive, you’ll also be allowed to expedite a smaller number of items to get you through until the rest of your shipment arrives. These expedited shipments are called unaccompanied baggage. 

Consider your unaccompanied baggage shipment carefully. This shipment will count against your total weight allowance. Additionally, if you pack it thoughtfully, your unaccompanied baggage will help you get set up quickly in your new home. Some items you might consider include: 

  • Personal clothing and hangers 
  • A basic set of kitchen items that will allow you to prepare meals and essentials (like coffee!) 
  • Linens like bed sheets, towels, and blankets (yes, it can get chilly at night!) 
  • Bathroom basics like a shower curtain and a bath mat 
  • A tool box with a basic set of tools 

Your unaccompanied baggage will also have its own weight limit, so make sure you ask your TSP during the pre-move survey so you can plan accordingly. Note that furniture and major appliances are not permitted in your unaccompanied baggage shipment. 

#4What Are My Mover’s Responsibilities? 

Quick Tip

What gets packed?

During a HHG move, your TSP will pack all of your belongings, transport them to your new location, and unpack as much as you’d like. 

To ensure a smooth, stress-free move, it’s important that you understand what your mover is supposed to handle. That way, everyone will be on the same page in terms of who’s doing what. 

Below, we’ll walk you through everything your mover is responsible for. 

#5What Do I Need to Do to Prep for My Move? 

Quick Tip

Getting organized

little prep in two areas can save you a lot of headache in the long run—and make your move run much more smoothly! 

Although your TSP will take care of the majority of the heavy lifting and logistics around your HHG move, there are two areas in which you might want to do a little prep work. 

#6What Do I Need to Do on Packing and Loading Day? 

Quick Tip

What to know

You’ll have three major responsibilities that you need to be aware of. 

On both Packing and Loading Day, you’ll have three crucial tasks: 

#7: How Soon Should I Schedule My Move? 

Quick Tip

When to book

In order to get your preferred dates, get started as soon as you receive your orders. 

When it comes to changing duty stations, the Department of Defense recommends not making any permanent decisions until you officially receive your orders. Once you do, however, visit your Transportation Office as soon as possible. The earlier you get into the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) portal to schedule your move, the more likely you are to get the dates you’re looking for.  

Finally, if we have the honor of assisting you with your move to or from Hawaii, we look forward to delivering a safe and stress-free move. We hope this guide has given you a clear understanding how your HHG move will work—and answered any questions you might have about the processIf you have more questions, you’re always welcome to reach out to us. Aloha!  

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