Read this before you PCS to Hawaii


By Malia Lilinoe

PCSing to Hawai’i? Prepare to immerse yourself in a completely different culture and enjoy everything there is about living the island life. Before my East Coast husband was done with training, Oahu was always #1 on his list because he wanted to go somewhere he wouldn’t necessarily go to. And Hawai’i it was. Fortunately, we were living with a couple of roommates at the time and it made it easier to secure a place before we got to the island.

I’ll be honest: we had zero expectations about PCSing here nor did we do any research. This was our first PCS, so we just headed into it full-on. As I am from Hawai’i and have traveled back and forth to visit my family quite often, it wasn’t necessarily a new place for me. But actually living on Oahu would be an adventure for the both of us.

With all the moves we’ve done since moving in together in 2011, I’ve always taken the path of making the best of every situation we end up in. I guess you could say that’s my life motto and it’s very fitting for this military way of life, when you’re constantly thrown left and right and never quite grasping where up is.

Now that we have our first PCS over and done with, I’m sharing five things I think you should know about PCSing to Hawai’i.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

The one thing we constantly heard and somewhat were prepared for was the amount of time it would take for our stuff to arrive on island. We were PCSing from upstate New York, so it took about 40 days for our things to get to Hawai’i. Since we were fortunate to secure a place with our roommates before PCSing, we were in our new home for about a month with zero furniture and plenty of days of eating out.

fast food is the best! from Flickr via Wylio
© 2005 ebruli, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

When it came to the furniture, we quickly learned about Aloha Furniture, which is furniture you can rent through base. If you’re sitting in an empty home, seek that option out. They will deliver and pick up the furniture for you!

Look forward to the things you will have around you.

The constant thing you will hear from your military friends is all the things they miss from the mainland. The list is never-ending. Hawai’i has so much to offer, beautiful sights, so much history and culture to learn about, and plenty of places to eat. I remember there were days when I missed having a Trader Joe’s nearby or even those times when you’re craving endless pasta at Olive Garden. Hawai’i is abundant in small businesses and when you’re there, you’ll have a newfound love for supporting local. There are just some things you’ll fall in love with and you won’t be able to get them anywhere else in the world.

Island fever? No roadtrips? Go island hopping!

Thankfully, I never fell “ill” under with “island fever.” For many it can be tough to essentially be stuck on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One of the many great things about living in Hawai’i is the opportunity to travel to the other Hawaiian islands! I highly suggest that you do this to make the most of your time there. It was our goal to travel to all of the islands before we had to move. And those adventures became some of our most memorable while we were there.

end of the day from Flickr via Wylio
© 2011 paul bica, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Oahu is a very busy island and definitely the most populated with about a million people on island. If you ever want to get away from that busy life and don’t want to pay an arm-and-leg to fly back to the mainland, head to one of the other islands like Kaua’i, Maui, or seek out the deep country life on Moloka’i. Every island has something different offer, so explore them all!

Hawaiian Airlines travels to all of the islands, but there are smaller airlines with much more affordable airfares like Island Air and Mokulele Airlines. Since the islands are so close, some flights are only about 20 minutes!

Save money whenever and wherever you can.

Yes, Hawai’i has a very high cost of living, but there are always ways to save. Shopping at the commissary is always a great option, but one of my favorite things to do during the week was visiting the local farmer’s market. They’re all over the island throughout the week and you’re bound to find good deals on produce. And the vendors are all local! Visit the MWR to get great prices on the many touristy things you can do on all the islands. We actually used them for some of the most popular places to visit on the island like the Polynesian Culture Center.

Plus, there’s so many outdoor activities that are free like hiking, heading to the beach to snorkel with turtles and dolphins.

Adapt to living the Aloha way of life.

Aloha! Spread Aloha. Aloha Fridays. Drive with Aloha.

You will hear the term “Aloha” everywhere during your time on the island and it has so many meanings. Believe it or not there was a law passed in 1986 called the “Aloha Spirit” law. Living on the island,the pace is much slower and just about everyone is courteous, welcoming, and kind. After about a year of living with our roommates, we decided to move out and find our own place. We were quick to make friends with our new landlords and they always welcomed us over to their house to have dinner or just to visit. There home was always open to us. You’ll quickly learn especially if you choose to live off-base that your neighbors can sometimes turn into family. In Hawai’i, you don’t have to be blood-related to be family.

Shaka! from Flickr via Wylio
© 2005 Ewen Roberts, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Even when you’re driving, you’ll experience the aloha spirit and many will give thanks with a shaka. So, while you’re in Hawai’i, stop rushing, slow down and enjoy the ride.

Hawai’i was a great first PCS and maybe some day in the far ahead future, we’ll return again for another tour. But with the military, who knows where life will take us. Things can get tough in Hawai’i, but you can get through it. Hawai’i has so much to offer and I encourage everyone to get out there and explore it all.

I’m Malia and a lifestyle & adventure blogger. I’m an independent, random, free-spirited person that just goes with the flow of things. I try to find balance in all aspects of my life, but it can be tough when you’re living a military type of life. I talk about my wonderful life with A, the mister, and adventures of all kinds. If there’s no adventure to be found, I love to snuggle up with a romance book and tunes to listen to. Visit Malia on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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