Shipping Your Car to Hawai’i: The Basics

Shipping Your Car to Hawai’i: The Basics

  • Karen E. Bail
  • 03/18/22

A major move will always come with a rather lengthy list of things to accomplish. It’s not easy to relocate one’s life to a new area—and that goes double when your new area is a prime piece of real estate in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

However, a little forethought and planning will always go a long way, and the same holds true for a pending move to the Big Island. 

How long will it take?

All told, from start to finish, the process of moving the car itself will vary depending on its original location. For the most part, you’re looking at a timeframe of 8 to 20+ days from most major points on the mainland—which also means it’s wise to make sure your rental car is ready to go beforehand upon your arrival to the island!

How much will it cost?

It all depends! Needless to say, shipping a vehicle from New York City is an entirely different proposition than doing so from California, so distance definitely matters. It’s also good to keep in mind that the prices on shipping your car to the Big Island are always changing, depending on several factors: 

  • The time of year (the summer is usually a bit pricier)
  • The current price of gas
  • How you plan to drop off and pick up your vehicle for its journey
  • Whether you store your vehicle in a container or not

Typically, expect to pay at least $1,500 to ship your vehicle from the mainland to the Big Island, and possibly quite a bit more (and make sure you shop around and get a quote!).

Open or closed?

Whether or not to go ‘open or closed’ is definitely worth considering when it comes to moving your vehicle over to paradise. An open transport means that your car will be shipped and secured on the ship without an enclosure, whereas a closed transport will secure your vehicle inside of a shipping container to make the trip. 

How about scheduling, dropping off, and picking up?

For those travelers fortunate enough to live near a major port, you’ll likely be able to drop your car off yourself and save on some costs. However, if you either need or prefer your vehicle to be brought to the nearest port for travel, that’s another expense that will factor into your overall quote. Same goes for disembarking: if you can roll up to the port yourself for pickup, you’ll save yourself a bit of money in the process. 

What documentation will I need?

You’ll need to procure a few documents in order to get your car moving. These include: 

  • A vehicle title or letter authorization letter 
  • The current registration
  • Your photo ID (that matches the name and registration info)

Be forewarned: it’s also important to note that all registered owners must authorize the movement of the car!

Anything else I should know to make moving my car a success? 

Let’s hit a few of the highlights: 

  • It’s best practice to clear the car of any and all personal items before shipping
  • Make sure your gas tank is less than a quarter full at the time of disembarking
  • Remove any accessories not standard or bolted to the vehicle
  • Don’t forget the keys! Now’s probably a good time to invest in a spare set as well


Work With Us

Karen provides the most current and accurate market information, tapping into her vast network of industry professionals. She continually draws from her extensive marketing experience to offer creative marketing strategies and produce impeccably high-quality marketing materials.