Some things to think about when moving to Hawaii:

Do I have everything I need? What should I leave behind? How could I get grandma over there? Should I send our car?

I’d Take These Things to Hawaii


Of course I would. But, this is a little more complicated than you might think. I’m here in Thailand with my Thai wife. We have a six year old daughter. Grandma (wife’s mother) stays with us too. Been with us for six years. She has a place to go back to in Northeastern Thailand with her brother and some other relatives if we leave, but it just doesn’t seem right to leave her behind.

So, my wife and daughter are coming, absolutely. That will take a number of months to petition for it and get everything approved, and whatnot. Shouldn’t be too hard, I have friends who successfully moved their wives from other countries to the USA. It’s a huge hassle, but it is what it is.

Grandma I think we could make a case for coming over to watch our daughter. Grandma would definitely benefit from the improvement in health care quality. Here she pays $1 for any ailment she comes down with, which sounds great, but that’s about the level of treatment you get too. So, not that great! She has a number of ailments, and I’m sure we could get her worked on and up to par within a couple months of arriving. No more hacking cough, no more crippling back problem.

It would take about a year to get my family over to Hawaii. It would take at least another year to bring grandma.


  1. Notebook Computer
  2. External HDD Backups
  3. Camera stuff
  4. Huge Inventory of Jewelry – no, we dont’ wear it – we sell it on a website. That would have to come. I have no idea how, but someone would have to start mailing it to us in packages of 5-10 at a time. That will take months, but worth it to be able to keep selling it after we arrive in the islands.
  5. Mobile Phones – I think I can just replace the SIM cards and be up and running in the states.

Computer printer, TV, radios, sports stuff, tools, all of that has to stay here. We’ll probably give it to my wife’s brother or one of her friends. Refrigerator, tables, furniture, we have a bunch of that – maybe we’d need a storage unit or we could store it in my wife’s aunt’s or brother’s house. Then we’d have to drive it or ship it up there – about 1,000 miles away.

Our daughter’s toys – would almost all have to stay. She has some big toys! Bike, scooter, other scooter thing, that would all stay. The quality of toys and just about anything here – is junk. It’s from China and nothing lasts. Better to get something new when we get to Oahu or Maui.

Is there any point in shipping a car or other vehicle to Hawaii from the mainland USA, or worse, from some other country? You know, unless it’s an Acura NSX.

Probably not. I mean, if you own money on it and you wouldn’t be able to get a loan for another car, then I guess you have no choice. But, if that’s your situation, you should probably question whether you’re in the right financial situation to make the move at all.

Oahu had two vehicles for every person residing on the island – and this was back in 1985. Today it must be worse. There are many vehicles for sale because so many people are constantly leaving the islands just for normal turnaround. Go to Craigslist Hawaii and check out the car section here. There are always very decently priced vehicles and you can always find a bargain. I strongly suggest you sell your car back in the mainland, or wherever you’re from, and buy a different car once you choose the island you want to live on.

Living in Hawaii can get you financially sometimes. Expect to have some financial emergency where you need to come up with $5,000 or so in the first year. Could you get through it, or would that send you packing?

Be honest with yourself about what your financial state is because you’re probably going to spend more in Hawaii than you think you are. Probably. Not all of you will, but most of you definitely will spend more than you thought possible. I sure did the second time I moved there, and I knew what it was like! Hasn’t changed much in 30 years, believe me. The food is what got me. Delicious food and a couple choice restaurants where I used to eat most of my meals each month – Roy’s, for one! Whatever you do, don’t miss the seared ahi!


I can only speak for men, but here’s what I’d take of my clothes if I were coming from the mainland USA, Thailand, or anywhere.

  1. All Shorts – all of them I have.
  2. All Lightweight Shirts.
  3. All One Pair of Pants – I have only had one pair of pants here in Thailand for the past eight years. I just don’t have to wear them, so I rarely do. If I already had pants, I’d bring 2-3 pair max.
  4. All Running Socks, Shoes, WaistPack.
  5. Hats. I have a couple Aussie outback hats I like – they’re actually US Marine issue hats somehow Thailand got ahold of. They keep me cool in the hot sun and though I sweat like mad in them, they never smell. At least I think they don’t! Perfect for the sometimes relentless Hawaii sunshine.

All of my clothes would fit into one suitcase, except for my shoes. I’d probably have someone mail me my running shoes because they’d be another carry on and probably mailing would be cheaper. Maybe not. Have to check that.

The thing about bringing clothes to Hawaii to wear is that you probably won’t want to wear much of what you brought after you are there for a couple weeks. You will have figured out what other people are wearing, and you’ll probably want to try to blend in as if you live there to separate yourself from the tourists. This is what locals do when they’re first becoming ‘locals.’

accepted by native Hawaiians

The styles are really different in Hawaii. If you’re a man, and you’re working, you’re going to be buying some aloha style shirts. Flowers on them, shells, whatever. You really do have to fit the mold in order to get hired in some places. I think at the State level, and other government offices – you have to really fit the mold, or, offer some skills they need desperately – to be hired.

I remember finding just two brands of shirts I liked, and they were insanely expensive. I think I have a photo of me in one of them, I’ll drop below. For the life of me I cannot remember the brand. Each shirt was $120+ and I think they were silk. I could be wrong, but pretty sure. I bought them at a little outlet shop in Ka’anapali at the shopping district there. That place also has some amazing dinner restaurants right on the ocean that are not to be missed.

Don’t click that, it doesn’t go anywhere – just showing you one of the shirts. Guess you can’t see it too well anyway. God I loved those shirts! So, you can see, if you fall in love with any designers shirts or pants or whatever else, you’re going to pay far more than you expected to pay. Prior to moving to Hawaii, the most I paid for a shirt was something like $80 for a POLO shirt – long sleeved. Hawaii is oh so expensive if you don’t control yourself.

I think most people have this idea they should bring everything they own to Hawaii – ship it – and then sell it if they no longer want it.

That is really the wrong way to go about it, and so many people do this there is a glut of old furniture nobody wants to buy. Leave your tables, chairs, furniture, refrigerator and all appliances, cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, boats, and camper, riding lawn mowers, and the rest of it – home for someone else to enjoy, or put it in storage.

It’s probably safe to assume that you will start a completely new life in Hawaii when you arrive. You’ll be amazed at the transformation you’ll undergo, that almost all of us go through after arriving.

Last time I moved to Oahu from Florida I brought basically what is above – and a car and an SUV. Probably I could have left everything at home in Florida and got along better. It becomes a huge chore to try to sell old things in a market where there is a glut of the same stuff nobody wants. I think it would be much better if you hold yard sales and get rid of as much as possible before you depart for the islands. Give the rest to family or friends and they’ll be happier to see you go enjoy your life in paradise!