As I sit here on the couch, I notice there’s still a moving sticker, barely visible on the underside of my dining room table. I’m laughing because we have lived here for two years. But that’s how it is in the military. You’re never fully settled, and just when you think you are, you get orders. The move to Hawaii was especially painful and complicated. I’m hoping this list will help you learn from my mistakes and have an easier PCS to Paradise.
- Do NOT wait to do the pet requirements. You will need shots, blood work, and then a waiting period that must be met before your pet can come. This took us all together, about 5 months. Also, it costs you money out of pocket. The Army will only reimburse you for the Hawaii Government fees. Not the flight costs and not for the shots or blood work.
- Document your possessions! This will involve detailed pictures as well as serial numbers. It’s a pain. A safe of ours got damaged and because they didn’t document the serial number on it correctly, they refused to pay.
- Your personal documents. Get a file folder to take all of the documents you may need. Keep all of your travel and in-processing paperwork in there. This includes professional documents you might need for a job. Your HG may take over a month.
- Get on lists. In Hawaii, you can live on base at any branch and they will allow you to get on the housing list before you arrive. Also, get on daycare lists if you have small children.
- Join the local spouse Facebook pages. They will give you the DL on stuff to do, places to live, work, etc.
- Prepare for a LONG flight. Traveling with kids is always a nightmare from which you can’t wake up, but this is worse. You cannot have enough kid entertainment and Benedryl (j/k). We were on a plane for 10 hours with an 18 month old and an hour before we landed my husband literally said, “we’re not having any more kids.”
- Shipping a second vehicle can be stressful. We sent my husband’s Jeep from Georgia to Hawaii for $2000, which was cheaper than buying a second car here. However, there are lots of awesome “lemon lot” options on the island for cheap cars. We used a company we found on google and they had a truck pick the Jeep up at our house and take it to the boat in California. We didn’t have to do anything. It took 2 weeks to get to Oahu.
- Prepare yourself for a long hotel stay. You may get a house right away, but we were in the hotel for over a month and we did not pack accordingly for that. If you get a house before your HG arrives, you can get loaner furniture from housing. Fair warning, it’s basically patio furniture, but it works.
I hope this list can help my fellow spouses plan accordingly for their adventure to Hawaii! Aloha y’all!