My family was stationed in Hawaii from 2016 – 2018. We thought we had a solid three years to enjoy the beautiful island. But, the Navy had other plans. We had a quick 18 months instead. 

No worries. We rolled with it.

However, that unexpected, fast move plays a little into tip #4. We still kick ourselves a little about it. 

Contact lodging immediately

As soon as you receive orders, get on that phone to arrange lodging. It stays booked but knowing you’re on the list and confirming your other options sooner than later helps. And oh, once your room is booked, start saving those quarters for laundry.

Research the proper steps and costs for quarantining your pets

Yes! You need to quarantine your pets when moving to Hawaii. It’s important to know the appropriate steps, time, and cost for your pet. Learn more about all of that on the state of Hawaii’s Animal Industry Division site. We were able to complete the entire process at home. There wasn’t a need for our little Carlos to complete his quarantine in Hawaii. However, he did have to spend the night due to the time of the flight arriving.

Another component with the quarantine process…confirm that the flight the military has you booked on accepts pets. Not just the specific airline, but the actual flight you are on. Yeah. We experienced this saga personally—the pain and agony.

Go to the housing office immediately

You’re not officially on the waitlist until you arrive. So, make the housing office one of your first stops after arriving on island. But don’t be afraid to look at housing out in town either.

Explore the island and surrounding islands

We planned to spread our touring and island hopping across three years because we had people planning trips to visit us. We didn’t want to repeat some of the spots numerous times, so we waited. That came back to bite us in the butt. If there are places you want to visit. Do it! Don’t wait. You can always let your guest explore alone if you don’t want to repeat visiting a spot.

Would we visit Hawaii again? Yes. But it’s one of those destinations and neighboring islands that while living there you want to take FULL advantage of. Vacationing in Hawaii is a big expense, so why not enjoy it while stationed there.

Get your mind ready for sticker shock

Remember…Hawaii is an island. Things are a bit more expensive than here on the mainland. We were insulted when we went to buy some strawberries and saw they were $16.99. OUCH!

Leave your winter gear in long term storage

You do not need any winter gear. Leave all of that cold weather stuff in long term storage. However, sweaters and hoodies may come in handy. I needed a sweater some evenings during the “winter” months.

Have fun

Hawaii has loads of activities that require you to be outdoors. Hey! I’m not an outdoorsy person at all, but you can’t live in Hawaii and not ever go to the beach. Oh! The beach. Make sure you buy jellyfish sting spray. Those jokers HURT. And yeah, they say you can use pee to help ease the pain. Nope! Wasn’t about to try that method. 

There are loads of hikes to enjoy. Luaus. Beaches. Etc. Visit the MWR office to sign up for a few tours or find one or two adventurous friends who get you out for loads of adventures.

If you’ve been stationed in Hawaii, what additional tips do you have?