PCSing to a Hawaii Military Base

Hawaii military moves

September 2020 Update: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations for entry into Hawaii have changed. Because moving is considered essential business, you can still enter Hawaii, but you may be required to quarantine when you arrive. Learn more about current travel programs and information, and check with your military branch for guidance on current practices:

If you’ve just received Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders to Hawaii, you may be feeling both excited and overwhelmed. After all, a military move to Hawaii is considered “overseas” or OCONUS (outside of the contiguous United States) and is a little different than a PCS stateside. But it isn’t difficult to complete once you know what to expect! Use the following information to learn about the moving options, the allowances you may qualify for, and how to find military housing in Hawaii.

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Hawaii military moving


How to PCS to Hawaii

Figuring out how to move your household goods to Hawaii is a critical part of planning a PCS. One option is a government move. In this case, your Transportation Management Office (TMO) will arrange the entire move, and the Department of Defense will pay for it. This can be a convenient option in some cases, but you don’t get much say about the process.

Another option is a Personally Procured Move (PPM), which allows you to manage the move from start to finish (and possibly make some money during the process). If the overall moving expenses are less than your allowance, you get to pocket the remaining amount!

If a PPM sounds ideal, consider using U-Pack®. As a self-move service, U-Pack simplifies military moves — we handle the ocean transportation while you get to control how your items are packed and loaded in the equipment. Get a free quote today to see how much your PCS to Hawaii will cost.

Planning to PCS

Because every military branch and base will handle moves differently, it’s best to talk with someone who understands the specifics for your situation. Your TMO will be able to answer any questions about financial entitlements, weight allowance restrictions, vehicle shipping options or other PCS details. Be sure to ask about OCONUS allowances you may qualify for. Some of these include:

  • Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA). This allowance covers expenses like hotels and meals, and can last up to 60 days (sometimes longer) while you’re awaiting housing.
  • Overseas Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). This non-taxable allowance helps offset Hawaii’s higher cost of living. It’s intended to allow members to purchase products for the same amount as they would if stationed in the contiguous U.S.
  • Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA). This is a monthly allowance that covers a military member’s private housing costs such as rent and utilities when base accommodations aren’t available. OHA is given based on location, military rank and pay grade.
  • Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA). This allowance helps offset the costs associated with initial occupancy. It can cover a variety of things like security-related expenses, rent-related expenses and miscellaneous costs incurred from buying necessities like appliances and furniture (which aren’t always provided).

Finding military lodging in Hawaii

A few months before a PCS, you should be allowed a Temporary Duty leave for up to 10 days. During this time, it’s a good idea to visit your new city and installation to look for living options. Keep in mind that temporary lodging on base isn’t always available (even when looking months in advance). This means you may have to live off-base at a nearby hotel until housing becomes available, or you can look into renting or purchasing property off-base.

If you choose to stay in a hotel, be sure to ask the TMO about TLA-approved accommodations so you can be reimbursed once the time comes. While you’re living in temporary lodging and receiving the TLA, you must be actively looking for housing (either on or off base) and provide proof (ask your TMO for detailed information).

Questions about Hawaii military moves?

If you have questions about PCSing to Hawaii, call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 or leave a comment below. We’re happy to help!