In this month’s customer spotlight, prior Kona Container/Car Guy customers Linda and Rod detail their move to the Big Island and offer helpful advice/insight to others looking to make the move. Moving to Hawaii is a new, exciting and often times daunting experience to most. It is our job to help you feel comfortable, informed and at ease throughout the process. Mahalo Linda and Rod for taking the time to help others who are thinking about taking the big leap to paradise!


Move date- October 2017


Why did you decide to move to Hawaii, and what excited you most about moving here?

After visiting Maui for 2 mos./year for the past 3 years, we decided to take a closer look at actually living here. The weather, Mother Nature, the ocean and raw beauty were mesmerizing. Although other places in the world are also very beautiful, we relished the idea of living in the United States – not a 3rd world country – albeit 2300 miles from the mainland.

What was your biggest worry prior to moving?

We had never shipped anything overseas before: so looking at shipping 2 cars plus a 20 foot container was a bit daunting. You and your company made it palatable and virtually worry-free. The fact that there was lots of communication between us was very, very helpful. And calming, I should say.

What was the most difficult part about your move and how did you navigate it? Was it moving pets? Finding housing?

We had already purchased our home in Kona. We did not have to move any pets. I suppose it was just the knowledge of taking such a big step in our lives, at this stage in or lives, (semi-retired), that was the most challenging, psychologically.

What was the easiest part of your move?

The easiest part of the move was working with you and your company. You made it seem easy, possible  and enabled us to look forward to  it!  And  that’s the truth!

What do you think others would want to know, or could benefit from your experience?

Sell/give away the “stuff” you really don’t need or want. We down sized like crazy! Still, we wanted to move some of our furniture, electronics, rugs, kitchen appliances, artwork, and the like, thus, the necessity for the container. As for the container packing, (we packed ourselves, or rather, my hubby did), he marked the container’s measurements on the floor of our garage, with a marker on the adjoining wall to show the height of the container. As he packed, he stacked, packed and stacked, and was constantly measuring the contents. As a result, we were able to take a lot more “stuff” than we first thought, although that container was stuffed full!

Vehicles: There is a cost to ship your vehicles, then get them registered in Hawaii. We examined maybe just selling our cars and buying cars once arrived in Hawaii. I concluded that it was substantially cheaper to ship our cars. If we bought cars in Hawaii even the sales tax we would have to pay could easily exceed the cost to ship cars. Plus I had read there was a possibility of rust or weather damage if you bought a used car in Hawaii. Other considerations include: is there a dealership for your car and how close to your new home, will your car be garaged (think vog when on the Big Island or heavy rain on the windward sides) and better the ‘devil you know’ in that you don’t want to end up buying a used car with a lot of problems versus keeping your existing car. I think that even if you have a car worth just a few thousand dollars, it is still cheaper to ship than try and find a used car in Hawaii. Do your research for used cars on the various islands, you may find that used cars are far more expensive, combined with less inventory, and this could lead to higher costs than you anticipate. Note that when your car enters the port for boarding a ship, your carrier will take automatic pictures of all sides, front and back of your vehicle in case there are any damage disputes.

A few tips:

Determine if you can bundle shipping multiple cars and achieve a lower rate. We wanted our cars shipped to Kona, but there is no deep water port in Kona, so the cars arrive on the other side of the island in Hilo. When our cars arrived, we could either figure out a wacky way (long bus ride, bribing a friend, short flight) to get from Kona to Hilo or just pay to have the cars transported from Hilo to Kona. We paid for the transport. You can’t pack anything in your car and it must be vacuumed to be free of seeds or anything else invasive.
Check your insurance carrier for coverage in Hawaii before you commit to transport – just to make sure there are no surprises.
Ask your shipper about insurance coverage for any damage or loss during ocean shipping and check your insurance carrier for coverage during the ocean going leg – just to make sure there are no surprises. Give yourself a bit of leeway as to when your car might arrive. Ocean storms, labor issues and other unforeseen circumstances can lead to fluctuations in the expected arrival time for your car.
When you go to the Hawaii DMV to register your car, plan on a few hours. And, if you are planning on transferring your state driver’s license to Hawaii be sure to read all the documentation you need. We saw many people wait in line for an hour or more only to find out they didn’t have the necessary paperwork. Check the DMV web page for details.

Hindsight being 20/20, is there something about your move that you’d do differently, if you had the opportunity to do it again?

The only thing I would have done differently is move here sooner!


Scroll to Top