Almost everyone has daydreamed about it at least once—packing your bags and moving to Hawaii. If this is more than just a passing fancy for you, you’ve probably also thought about the next logical question: 

What’s the cheapest way to move to Hawaii? 

After all, not everyone has thousands of dollars to throw at making this dream a reality. (Plus, you want to arrive in Hawaii with enough money to get yourself set up—and have some fun!) So let’s talk about how to move to Hawaii cheaply. 

Method #1: A Plane Ticket and Two Suitcases 

This is the simplest and cheapest way to move yourself to Hawaii. Buy yourself a one-way ticket, carefully pack two suitcases (plus one carry-on and one personal item!), and head for Hawaii. Buy anything else you need when you arrive. 

If you’re moving to Hawaii on a budget, a couple of hacks to make this method even cheaper: 

Use an airline credit card to get your first bag free

Alaskan, Hawaiian, American, Delta, and many other airlines that fly to Hawaii offer credit cards with 1) free miles for signing up and 2) one free checked bag when you book your ticket using the card. They also usually waive the annual fee for the first year. So if you don’t already have an airline credit card, now’s the time to sign up and use those bonuses toward your flight to Hawaii.  

(Or, if airline credit cards aren’t your style, fly Southwest, which always offers two free bags!)

By the way, you can check more than two bags, but it gets pricey quickly. On American, your third bag is $150 and your fourth is $200. On Alaskan, your third and every additional bag beyond is $100. Southwest charges $75 for every additional bag beyond your two free ones. In other words, choose carefully! 

Make the most of your carry-ons. 

If you’re on a strict budget, you’ll want to keep your checked bags under the 50-pound limit. (Airlines charge $100+ for bags over 50 lbs.!) Make full use of your carry-on items to spread out the weight of all the stuff you’re bringing to Hawaii. Just make sure to 1) observe the size rules for the airline you’re flying, as well as any weight restrictions and 2) be aware of TSA regulations for what can and can’t go in your carry-on. 

Listen for the complimentary gate-check. 

Flights to Hawaii are often packed, especially during popular times of the year. That often means the boarding agents will offer complimentary gate check for carry-ons. If you’ve done as we’ve suggested and made the most of your carry-on, it might be easier to gate-check your bag and let the airline handle the rest.  

Method #2: Add a Few Boxes 

Sometimes, two suitcases (plus your carry-ons!) just aren’t enough to get your essentials to Hawaii.  For people moving to Hawaii on a budget, your next best bet is to look to the USPS. Specifically, consider two services to get your stuff to Hawaii the cheapest way possible: 

Media Mail 

Shipping via Media Mail offers you some of the cheapest rates available. However, there’s just one catch: You can only use it to ship things like printed material, records, and other media/educational material. Additionally, when going to Hawaii, Media Mail can take as long as 4-6 weeks. (So you’ll also need to be patient!) 

 However, if you have a book collection or a record collection you can’t bear to be without, Media Mail is the cheapest way to move it to Hawaii. Read more about Media Mail requirements on the USPS website. 

Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes 

Remember earlier when we were talking about weight restrictions for airline bags? If you’ve got some particularly heavy items—or you just need to send some extras, like sheets and towels—check out the USPS Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes. If it fits, it ships, up to 70 lbs. No need to mess around with weighing your shipment. USPS will even provide the boxes. (Bonus!) 

Read more about Priority Mail Flat Rate on the USPS website. 

Method #3: Pack Your Own Container 

Finally, if you’re moving to Hawaii on a budget, but you simply have too much stuff for Method #1 or #2, you can always pack your own container. Here’s how it works: 


Choose a 20′ or a 40′ Container 

Everyone’s move will be a little different, but a 20′ container generally fits the contents of a two-bedroom condo. Need a little more space? A 40′ container usually fits the contents of a three-bedroom house. 

Schedule Your Drop-Off & Pick-Up 

Your moving company will drop the container in a safe and legal spot of your choosing, which may be your driveway. You’ll have a set period of time to pack the container. To give you an example, we offer our customers three days to get their container all ready to go. 

Get Yourself Ready to Pack 

To help your move go smoothly, you may want to rent a few dollies as well as a loading ramp for Moving Day. 

Why do I need a loading ramp? Your container will sit on a chassis that’s about 48″ off the ground. A loading ramp will make it much easier to get your container loaded. 

Then, all that’s left to do is the packing, and you’ll be on your way to Hawaii—on a budget! 

Moving to Hawaii as Cheaply as Possible 

If you want to move to Hawaii on practically no money, here’s the key: Take only what you need. Obviously, getting yourself there is a non-negotiable, so you’ll have to pay for a plane ticket, regardless of your budget. However, beyond that, the less you take with you, the cheaper it will be to get yourself to Hawaii. 

Once you arrive, you can figure out what else you’ll need and buy it there. We think you’ll discover that, once you’re in paradise, you won’t need much! 

Need a hand getting a container to Hawaii—and on a budget? Request a quote from our Hawaii experts, and we’ll get you the best deals anywhere on DIY moves to Hawaii. 

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