Moving Away From The Lower 48? Often-Overlooked Challenges Of Moving To Hawaii And Alaska

Posted on: 26 March 2015


In 1959, the United States added two far-off lands to its existing union of 48 states. These two states, Hawaii and Alaska, offer exciting opportunities for those seeking long-term relocation; however, if you are moving to either Hawaii or Alaska, there are some challenges that you will face. Here are some of the most often-overlooked challenges.


This may sound like a no-brainer, but moving to Hawaii is no small feat. Nearly every aspect of moving from the continuous 48 states to one of the eight islands that make up the Aloha State is a challenge. Yet, nothing worth having comes easy, so if you are planning on a big move to paradise, consider yourself lucky to face these challenges!

  • Pets. Hawaii is very strict on its pet policy, and if you disregard it, you could face up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $500,000. The people of Hawaii are not trying to make things purposefully difficult for Fido or Fluffy, though; it is the only state that is completely rabies-free, and it intends to stay that way. Unless you do not mind having your cat or dog quarantined for 120 days, you must plan ahead. If your pet meets certain vaccination, micro-chipping, and documentation criteria, your pet will qualify for the "5-Day-Or-Less Program."
  • Cars. Think long and hard about whether you will need your vehicle before you commit to bringing it with you. Shipping a vehicle from the mainland to one of the Hawaiian islands is very expensive; on the other hand, the purchase price of a comparable car on the islands will exceed the going rate on the mainland. Thus, if you foresee using your vehicle often, shipping might be one of those expenses that you just have to stomach. With traffic, good weather, and lax fashion requirements in Hawaii, however, you might be better off traveling by bicycle instead.


If you are relocating to Alaska, you need not worry about the relocation frustration that an ocean can cause. Relocating to Alaska has its own set of challenges, however; like Hawaii relocation, Alaska relocation requires some thinking ahead.

  • Cars. Unfortunately, relocating your vehicle to Alaska is just as difficult as if you were to take it to Hawaii. People often place "driving to Alaska" on their adventure bucket list; this should give you some sense of what kind of treacherous adventure you are about to undertake if you choose to drive your existing vehicle to The Last Frontier. If you do not have a four-by-four vehicle, you might be better off leaving it in the lower 48. Finally, many Alaskan cities, like Juneau and Anchorage, have efficient bus transit systems and ferries, so you very well may not need a vehicle. If you do decide to bring your car, consider having it shipped instead.
  • Alcohol and Tobacco. If you are taking a large wine collection with you to Alaska, or want to bring several cartons of cigarettes for fear that they will cost more in Alaska, be prepared. First of all, you need to respect Canadian laws regarding the transport of alcohol and tobacco, and this country has limits on the amount that you can carry across its borders. When entering Alaska, you are also limited on how many cartons of cigarettes and liters of alcohol you can bring in "duty-free," or without an excess tax.

For more information, contact a business such as Midwest Moving & Storage Inc.