Listed below are the following categories: Getting Here; Bringing Pets to Hawaii; Purchasing or Renting a Home; Getting Around; Shopping; and DMV and Utilities. While the majority of this information is based on our experience in Oahu, many of the resources will be helpful for moves to other islands. 

Keeping all of this information straight is a chore. We highly recommend Evernote (a free app) as an organization tool. We use it to help keep track of all aspects of our lives and relied on it to share research on our move. Easy to install, easy to use. 

Getting Here

Getting your pets, cars and belongings shipped to Oahu.

Matson shipping

We contracted Matson to ship our car from Oakland, CA to Oahu. They did a great job and we received our car in under 2 weeks. 

  1. Matson departs twice weekly from Oakland, CA to Honolulu, Oahu; twice weekly from Long Beach, CA to Honolulu, Oahu; and weekly from Seattle,WA to Honolulu, Oahu.
  2. Vehicles are transported in specially designed auto frames, containers, or in secure garage stowage.
  3. They have strict regulations in regards to shipping your vehicle, i.e. car must be empty, well vacuumed, washed and have a low amount of fuel. In other words, you can't use your car as a means to ship personal items or an inexpensive tank of gas to the islands. 


Hawaii Department of Agriculture 
State of Hawai‘i Animal Quarantine
Hawaii Humane Society | Community Resources , List of Pet Friendly Housing and Animal Services Directory 2016
Island Pet Movers
Once you find a home to purchase or rent, ask about the breed/weight restrictions and number of pets allowed.  

Purchasing or renting a home

Get a lay of the land or find out the various ways people purchase homes in Hawaii.  Click below to submit your questions. 

EMILY GARCIA | REALTOR® Associate RS-77391, Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers:
Phone: 808-358-7495  email:
MRP, Military Relocation Professional

Buying A Home In Oahu, a Quick Start GuideA link to a blog post on our site

Long Term Home Rentals | Craigslist & Hicentral

The best way to find housing rentals in Oahu or any of the Hawai‘ian islands is on Craigslist or (Oahu). If you've never been to the islands before, we recommend giving yourself at least a month on the island of your choice to scout out neighborhoods and find a rental. Be skeptical if a rental price seems too good to be true in an otherwise high end neighborhood. It's usually reflected in the condition of the property or an indication of a scam on Craigslist. 

Privately Owned Rental Properties vs. Developments

  • Renting a Privately Owned Condominium / Single Family Home: When looking at these types of homes, be prepared to attend group showings. This isn't an absolute but if a property is in high demand, you may have to work around the property managers timeframes. 
  • Developments: When a developer / company owns all of the condominium units and has on-site property management, you're more likely to be able to view the properties at your convenience and possibly complete the application approval process within the same day. 

What will you need to apply?: The application process is thorough. For starters, have any referrals from previous landlords, your credit history, credit score, proof of funds (i.e current bank account statements) and a valid ID. Double check the requirements with the owner or property manager.   

Additional Housing Questions

Some considerations when selecting an area or property: 

  1. Flight path: Military jets and flights in/out of Honolulu airport can be noisier on various parts of the island.
  2. Tsunami or flood zone: We haven't experienced any problems with tsunamis or floods (have lived less than a mile from the oceanfront on the leeward side of Oahu), but it's good to know.  
  3. Pest control: Ask / take note if the property has any pest control issues. For rentals: Find out what the policy is if you get one. 
  4. Commute Time: If you'll be commuting check into it. Google Maps tends to be accurate source, try entering in your destination points during the time you'd be commuting. 
  5. Parking: If the property you are looking at doesn't come with parking, additional options may be renting one from another home owner or building in the area. 
  6. See the property in person: Don't rely on pictures alone, this aspect of Google maps is frequently outdated. If you are being wooed by beachfront property, try to find reviews about the beach.  All of the beaches we've been to have been beautiful, but each one varies. Some can have a lot of reef or strong currents which can make it more challenging to enjoy.  

getting around

Getting around and places to stay. There are plenty of resorts and major car rental companies, if you are looking for more of a glimpse into neighborhood life, these may be of interest. 


Formerly Relay Rides, this is a cost effective way to rent a car in Oahu. Here's a link as to how their service works


These are primarily vacation rentals, but sometimes people negotiate extended stay rates while they are house hunting.  


Oahu = mega shopping. Primarily clothing, accessories and outdoor equipment—there are outlets, such as the Waikele Premium Outlets,  the Ala Moana Mall (the world's largest open air mall), Luxury Row (Chanel, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Coach, Tiffany & Co...) and everything else from boutiques, to Ross / TJ Maxx, Target and Walmart. Home Depot and City Mill are the major all inclusive hardware stores.

Groceries & Gas in Oahu

After housing, groceries and gas are our most frequently asked questions. We recommend getting a Costco membership, the gas prices are the best. In addition to farmers markets, you'll find Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and major chain grocery stores including Safeway, Whole Foods, Foodland, Times, and Down to Earth.


We recommend getting an Amazon Prime membership. Save on shipping and they have everything you can think of.

DMV and Utilities


The Hawai‘i DMV is operated by the Department of Customer Service, links listed below:
Driver's License Information
Driver's License Locations
Driver's License Service Line Cameras: see if there's a wait before you go
Driver's License Application Form
Driver's License Requirements

Registering to vote

Voter registration and permanent absentee voting, the State of Hawaii Office of Elections


After going through multiple service providers, Time Warner Oceanic has provided the most uninterrupted service for us on the Leeward side of Oahu. 


Hawaiian Electric is the primary electricity provider. 

Water Service

The City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply provides our water.  Stop, start or transfer your water service here.