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September 1, 2021

PCS To Hawaii Guide


PCS-ing Overseas

  If you are reading this than Congratulations on getting orders to Hawaii!! It is so exciting finding out that you are lucky enough to get to come here. If you are anything like me when you first received the news from your spouse that they have orders to Hawaii, your immediately have the thrilling and overwhelming joy rush over you at the thought of getting to move to one of the most beautiful places of earth. Which is followed immediately by all the anxiety of we have so much to do in such a short time.

Hawaii Beach View

  It can quickly go from a beautiful moment to very terrifying trying to figure out exactly where you need to go for information, what questions do you ask, what comes first… the list goes on and on. One of the first things people do is ask their friends and family. As good as their intentions are there is a lot of misguidance and confusion that can arise. As someone who had to move around much of my life and has done this move, I can tell you firsthand that most people, try as they might, do not give all the right answers, or they are very biased! I had plenty of people tell me the most horrific stories and I got a ton of people’s opinion, outdated information with little helpful tips. That is why with this guide, you will have all the important things you need to know to start this process and make it easier on yourself.

Where To Start?

First Things First

DO NOT stress yourself out!!! You can do this!!!

  Whether you are brand new to the military or this is your first move or not, an overseas move is not completely the same as any other move. There are certain things that you need to get started well before the packing of your Household Goods (HHG). Don’t worry there is also a checklist online you can use as well (not everything is on there). To start the list off you need to deal with EFMP.

Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)

  This is required by all to get done before anything else can start going. Some of you are already in it and this is not a new thing for you. But if you have never used this before, you will have to schedule an appointment here and then after they have done their evaluation and approved you and your family, they will sign off if you are clear to move here.
  Once the appointment has been scheduled then there are other things that you are going to want to start doing to make your life easier.

Wait Lists

  Once you know you are moving to Hawaii call and get on the waiting list. If you are going to need childcare, you need to call as soon as you know. Some of the wait times could be up to a year out. Also get on the housing list, whether you have decided if you are going to live on post or not. Get on the list!! Its better to be safe than sorry. You can always turn it down if you decide a different route later. (We will discuss all about housing options later)


  Most everyone has a pretty good sponsor that they get from their new unit, some are not as lucky. But if you have someone that is a good sponsor, they will answer all major things that you need to know and should help you along the entire journey. Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones! If you are so lucky or are not you can still use this guide to help you in, your move to the island.
  Something that you might want to consider is joining some groups on social media. *You will be getting a lot of opinions! Make sure to join the groups for your duty station and your spouse’s unit. Again, if you have a good sponsor, they will point you to the most reliable pages.

Hawaii Sunset View


  These are things that need to be scheduled as early as possible to make sure it is ready to go. Make sure that you or your spouse sets up the Household goods (HHG) pickup. You want this scheduled as this is an overseas move and normal picked up a month before you move. When you are scheduling this look at the amount of weight you are allowed so that way if you need to get rid of anything you have plenty of time to do it in. You are only allowed so much weight and if you go over that then you must pay the extra out of pocket.
  Next is the vehicle. The military will only ship one vehicle over for free. So, if you intend on bringing a second vehicle you will be out of pocket for this as well. An option for many people is, is they sell their extra vehicle and once they arrive on island, they buy an island car. There are always cars being sold by people who are leaving the island, there is always a good deal.
  Flights. You want to have these scheduled out as far out as you can. That way you have plenty of time to plan out your itinerary. Every place is different as to when you can schedule this. But it never hurts to find out just how far in advance you can schedule this. (It will help for if you decide to travel before the move etc.)
  Another major one is pets. There are certain things required for you to do if you intend on bringing pets to the island. Talk to your local vet to make sure you get these things done for your pet on time. Some of these things are time sensitive and must be done for your animals to be allowed to come to Hawaii. Note: you are responsible for shipping your pets, the military does not pay for this.


  As you can tell there are a few things that need to start right away, and Budgeting is a major one!!! Moving can be expensive and you need to be prepared. As I mentioned already there are a couple things that you will be out of pocket for. Your government card is ONLY for your hotel and food in transition. So, if you know that you will need a vehicle on island before your vehicle(s) arrive then you need to budget for that.


As I mentioned before you have options:

  • On post housing/base housing
  •   This is the list I was talking about before. You have the option to live on the installation. There are multiple options and no you do not have to work on that installation to live there. Ex. You could be in the army and live on the air force base. Look at all options and make sure to make a good choice. Traffic is not to be taken lightly here. That is why most people will tell you to live close to work.

  • Renting/Purchasing
  •   Maybe you are the type that likes to live off post, both are great options. The base housing allowance (BAH) is very nice here. If this seems to be right up your alley, then we are here to help. If you are not sure if you want to rent or buy (contact us/ link here) we will help answer any of the questions you might have! We have many places for rent, and we also love finding people a place they can call home.

Now the Fun begins

Now that you have all done all these things it should be about time for you to get ready for all the relatives to start scheduling to come and see you before you leave, then comes all the packing and everything that follows that! Then it is Bon voyage to the Island!!

*reminder* make sure to empty all your trash before the movers come or they will pack it in a box and will send it over here.

You need to make sure that you have all the answers that you and your family needs. There are things we have not discussed, not everyone’s needs are the same. That’s why is it so important that you stay in contact with your sponsor and/or are on the social media groups to get more specific questions answered. Also remember that the military has plenty of resources so make sure to ask.

Welcome to Hawaii!!
Mahalo for taking time to read this

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