Thinking about relocating to the beautiful islands of Hawaii but worried about how to transport your car? You’re not alone. Moving across state lines and shipping a vehicle can seem like a daunting task. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide to shipping a car to Hawaii.
Why transport your car to Hawaii?
Moving to the tropical paradise of Hawaii comes with its fair share of challenges. While the beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and laidback lifestyle are undoubtedly appealing draws, transporting your personal belongings across thousands of miles can seem daunting. Your car is likely one of your most valuable possessions, so considering car transport options is important when planning a move to the islands.
Owning a vehicle in Hawaii offers several benefits. While public transportation is available in some areas, having your own car provides much more flexibility to explore the various islands. Driving is really the only practical way to access many remote beaches, hiking trails and scenic viewpoints. Your car also gives you independence to run errands, pick up groceries or go where you need without relying on others for rides. Furthermore, shipping your car ensures you have reliable transportation once settled into your new Hawaii home.
Factors to consider before transporting your car
- Age and condition of your vehicle – Cars over 10 years old may not be worth transporting due to the high costs involved.
- Special permits required for transport – Certain vehicles like RVs need additional documentation.
- Inspection and servicing needs – Get any repairs done before shipping to avoid issues en route.
- State regulations in Hawaii – Know requirements for registering a vehicle once it arrives.
Car transport options from mainland to Hawaii
Car shipping by vessel
The most common method is to have your vehicle shipped via roll-on/roll-off car carriers. These massive cargo ships drive right onto the vessel, where cars are secured for the 7-10 day ocean transit. You’ll need to drop off your car at a designated West Coast port like Los Angeles or Seattle weeks before the scheduled departure date. Upon arrival in Hawaii, you’ll be notified when your car can be picked up from the receiving port.
Major car shipping companies handle all aspects of loading/unloading and provide tracking during the journey. While the time in transit is longer versus air, vessel transport has the major advantage of being more affordable for shipping solo vehicles or in small quantities. Expect to pay roughly $1,000-2,000 depending on your vehicle and destination island.
Car transport by air
For those who need their auto ASAP or have tight relocation timelines, flying your car to Hawaii via enclosed carrier aircraft is the quickest option. Transit is just 2-5 days once loaded, with same-day pickup available at many Hawaii airports upon landing. However, air transport costs significantly more at around $5,000-15,000 or more due to limited cargo space and specialized handling requirements.
Auto transport companies schedule dedicated wide-body or smaller charter flights on a regular basis. Your car is driven onto the aircraft and secured in an enclosed cell for the transpacific flight. While faster, air shipping is really only justified if you’re transporting high-value or antique/collectible vehicles.
Tips for a smooth car transport process
1. Research companies thoroughly
Look at online reviews, accreditations and experience levels. Reputable transporters should provide proof of insurance and bonding to protect your vehicle.
2. Schedule early for best rates/availability
Book at least 4-6 weeks in advance, especially during peak seasons. Last minute reservations may incur surcharges.
3. Prepare your car properly
- Wash/clean both inside and out
- Fill gas tank to 3/4 level
- Remove/secure loose items
- Back up car contents on cloud/USB drive
4. Pack important paperwork
Titles, registration docs, bill of lading, contact/routing details and any permits should travel with your vehicle.
5. Note any vehicle issues beforehand
Inform transporters about pre-existing dents/damage to avoid liability claims later on.
6. Track shipment online or via calls
Stay on top of estimated delivery timelines and address any delays promptly.
7. Inspect car thoroughly upon arrival
Note condition at delivery and report concerns immediately for fastest resolution.
Other transport considerations for your move to Hawaii
In addition to your vehicle, you will also need to arrange shipment of household goods like furniture, appliances and boxes of personal belongings. Working with professional movers is highly recommended given the logistical challenges. They can containerize, pack and load all items into a consolidated shipment for transport via vessel or multi-stop trucking to Hawaii.
While relocating across such vast ocean distances adds complexity, advance preparation and utilizing reputable transport specialists makes the process much less stressful. Taking time to properly research your options, coordinate timelines and inspect deliveries helps ensure a smooth transition as you settle into your new island home and island lifestyle in sunny Hawaii.