Moving to Oahu may be something that you’ve always hoped would happen with your military career. While it may seem exciting to move to an island for your PCS, you will find that there’s a lot that you will need to do before you can get settled in and enjoy the island life. If you are in the military and moving to Oahu, here are some tips for your PCS that will make your move easier.

Start Going Through Your Items To Determine What You Want To Move

If you’ve been in your current location for a while, there’s a good chance that you have accumulated a lot of items. However, you probably don’t need to move all of them with you. You do need to keep in mind that a lot of houses in Oahu are smaller than homes on the mainland, so you should try to downsize as much as you can. You don’t want to end up moving a bunch of stuff that you just don’t need. You can figure out what you want to move by going through each room and making a list of what items you should keep, donate or throw out. Once you finish doing this, you should make a plan as to when to start packing up all of your items. Because this will be a big move, you need to be as organized as possible. Label each box, and create a note in your phone as to how many boxes you have. This will make it a lot easier to determine if all of your items have been delivered. If you are worried about arriving to Oahu before your belongings do, there is a program that allows newcomers to borrow furniture until theirs arrive from the mainland. If your belongings arrive from the mainland before you have secured housing, it will be up to you to find a place to store them. Fortunately, Oahu does have a few storage facilities available.

Make A Plan For Moving Your Pets, Kids And Vehicles

If you will be bringing pets, kids or vehicles, then there are some extra preparations that you will need to make. You can make things a little bit easier by doing as much research and preparation as possible. This is what you need to do to make the move easier:


Oahu does welcome pets from the states. However, they do have some requirements to ensure that diseases aren’t spread by animals that have been brought from other areas. Hawaii requires that dogs and cats have their rabies vaccinations and that they get blood testing before they arrive. If they don’t, they will need to remain in quarantine for 120 days. Even if your pet is up-to-date on all of their vaccinations and has had the required blood work, they may still need to be in quarantine for up to five days while this information is being verified.


Moving can be very stressful on children. You can make it a little bit easier by preparing them as much as possible. Show them pictures and videos of Oahu. Talk to them about all the fun things that you will do there, and have them help you with the planning and packing. Do keep in mind that moving can take you longer if you have children, so you need to allow for extra time and not wait until the last minute to get things done. If you will need to enroll your children in school, Hawaii’s department of education can help you. Homeschooling is also popular in Oahu, and there are various support groups available as well.


The government will pay for shipping for one car for military members. If you have more than one vehicle, you will need to pay around $1,000 to have it shipped. It can take up to a month to receive your car. After you’ve moved to Oahu, you will need to call or visit the Vehicle Processing Center to find out more information about making arrangements to pick up your vehicle. You will have 30 days to register your vehicle once it arrives in Hawaii. The vehicle will have to pass an inspection, but this can be completed at many auto shops around Oahu.

Secure Your Housing

After you arrive in Oahu, you will have 72 hours to report to your housing office, and they will make you aware of all of your housing options. These are the housing options that you have when moving to Oahu for your PCS:

Staying On Base

If you want to stay on base but there’s no housing available, you may need to stay at a TLA-approved hotel temporarily. Do keep in mind that there’s a good chance that you will need to be put on a waiting list for base housing as it tends to be competitive.

Renting Off-base Housing

If you decide that you’d rather live in off-base housing, you will need to provide the housing office with documentation of your home search. You will also be given a basic allowance for housing to use to pay for your rental. The amount of money you will get for housing will depend on the average rent in Oahu at the time of your move.

Purchasing A House

Many military members choose to purchase a house in Oahu if they think that they will be living there for a while. If you plan on buying a house, you should try to find a house as soon as possible. The military will provide you with an allowance for temporary housing for no more than 60 days.


Attend A PCS Briefing

In order to help you get acquainted with your new surroundings, there are monthly PCS briefings that take place on base. The housing office or your sponsor can let you know when these briefings occur. They are free to attend, and you can bring your spouse as well.

Figure Out Your Commute

Since there’s a population of around 1 million people in Oahu, you will probably have to deal with a lot of traffic during your commute. This is why it’s a good idea to drive around a bit to see how much time it takes you to get from one location to another. If you plan on driving to and from Honolulu, it can take you at least an hour to get there.

Get A Temporary Mailbox

You should plan on reserving a temporary mailbox at least 30 days before you move to Oahu. This will ensure that you start receiving your mail shortly after you move to the island. You can reserve a temporary mailbox for up to 90 days. This will allow you plenty of time to establish a residence when you move to Oahu. You can find out more information about reserving a temporary mailbox by contacting the post office on your base.

Take A Few Days To Explore Oahu

In order to get acquainted with the area, you should take a few days to explore the island. You can use this time to find out where the local hospitals, gas stations and grocery stores are. It’s also a great time to do a little bit of exploring. If you like to hike, head over to Diamond Head or the Kuliouou Ridge Trail. You can learn a lot about the history of the area by visiting Pearl Harbor or the USS Missouri, the USS Arizona or the USS Bowfin. Popular attractions in the area include Ala Moana Center, Kualoa Ranch and Paradise Cove Luau.

Connect With Other Families

It can be difficult for any military family to move to a different location. Since your friends and family members can’t just hop in a car to come visit you once you move to the island, you may find that you are feeling fairly lonely. This is why you should start to connect with other families as soon as you move to Oahu. You can meet a lot of people on the military base or just by spending time in the city. Get to know your neighbors, and try to connect with others at your child’s school or your place of worship.

Moving to Oahu can be exciting for both you and your family. In order for the transition to go as smoothly as possible, you should follow the tips mentioned above. If you are having a difficult time finding something or settling in, reach out to your base. They are there to help you make this transition as smooth as possible for your PCS. Hawaii is a peaceful place like no other, and even though moving from the mainland to Oahu can be stressful, in no time you’ll start soaking it in and will begin to feel like a local.

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