Relocating to a new home can be one of the most stressful situations in life. Whether moving across town or the nation, preparation and organization make all the difference. For military moves, visit www.move.mil for information about moving resources and to learn about the allowances and responsibilities of a military-sponsored move.
The first step should be to inventory your personal belongings. The list, with photographs of any valuables, will be important for both insurance purposes and to help keep you organized during transit.
Plan for one full day to pack each room — though the kitchen and garage may take longer. Make a rough estimate of your packing schedule and then add 50 percent more time. It always takes longer than predicted to pack. Toss or donate unused items to lighten your load. Visit www.goodwill.org, www.salvationarmyusa.org or www.clothingdonations.org for locations near you or to arrange a pickup.
Pack for success:
- Consider what you are packing and control box weight. Books should go in small boxes while bedding can easily fill a larger box.
- Wrap fragile items with cardboard dividers, tissue paper or air bubble wrapping.
- Use bright colors when wrapping small items so they don’t get thrown out accidentally.
- Use crumpled paper or newspaper to line the top and bottom of boxes.
- Tape a copy of your inventory list to boxes to identify what’s inside and where it should go.
USCG Base Honolulu
If you believe an overseas assignment could cause a hardship for you or your family, your duty is to raise the issue. Getting the issue resolved or, sometimes, getting your orders changed will save you and your family a lot of stress. If you have doubts about a health, educational or financial situation, discuss it with your command, your sponsor and your prospective command.
USCG Base Honolulu
All members must obtain official entry approval from the receiving unit’s Servicing Personnel Office. Entry approval is necessary for the transportation of your dependents, household goods and privately owned vehicle. Your unit must send a “Request for Entry Approval” message to your new unit’s SPO after you have completed all Welcome Aboard message requirements.
The key to a successful transition is your sponsor. Commands are required to provide you with a sponsor to ease your transition during your move. Your sponsor at your new duty station can assist you in many ways such as helping arrange your Temporary Lodging Allowance, providing transportation from the airport to temporary quarters, helping make pet quarantine arrangements, showing you around the base and giving you general information about the community and on-base facilities.
Your sponsor has probably lived here for a while and can assist you in finding the best places to live, schools, education, recreation and important information for pets. Contact your sponsor as soon as possible before leaving for Hawaii.
A sponsor is assigned by a newcomer’s gaining unit and helps the newcomer before, during and after a move. If you haven’t been assigned a sponsor, you can request a sponsor through your new unit. Units try to match sponsors and service members by rank and family status.
If you do not receive a sponsor, visit www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil. Other sources of information include your local military and family support center at your current command.
If you are planning to bring a pet to Hawaii, it is imperative that you or your sponsor email the state’s Animal Quarantine Station at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the animal quarantine packet. Hawaii is a rabies-free state and has a strict quarantine law; required documents must be received by Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Station at least 30 days prior to arrival. For more information, visit the Animal Quarantine Branch’s FAQ page at http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/faq-for-animal-quarantine.
Pet restrictions apply to families living on the installation in privatized housing. Inquire with your housing office for information.
Moves are stressful for everyone — including the family pet. Pets can sense stress and a change in routine can be difficult for them. If possible, keep your pets in a quiet, secure area while movers pack up or unload your belongings. Movers will have your door open while they move boxes and furniture, and a pet may slip out the door undetected. Make sure you keep a collar with an ID tag on your pet at all times. Ensure the tag has your current phone number on it. It is also a good idea to microchip your pets. Remember to keep the microchip’s contact information up-to-date. If your pet escapes during any part of your move, you want the animal shelter that scans the chip to be able to contact you.
For more information, see the Pets, Vets & Things chapter.
ARRANGING HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPMENTS
As soon as you are alerted to your upcoming permanent change of station move, you can start getting your house and family ready. Clean up and get rid of junk. Hold a yard sale or donate serviceable items you no longer need. Gather important family records.
If you are moving overseas, begin to plan what items will go in unaccompanied baggage, in your household goods shipment and in permanent storage.
Accompanied members are authorized to ship their full weight allowance, but keep in mind that homes in Hawaii are sometimes smaller than those on the mainland. It may be best to leave personally owned ranges, refrigerators, washers, dryers, oversized furniture and cold-weather clothing and equipment in storage on the mainland. If you have any gas appliances (i.e., stove, dryer), you may want to consider selling or storing these before you arrive. Gas appliance fixtures do not exist in privatized family housing and are uncommon on the economy. Consider shipping lawn care equipment such as lawn mowers and weed eaters. These items are available for use to family housing residents through self-help stores but may not be available at the time you want them.
Unaccompanied members should contact their military shipping and personal property office to find out their shipping weight allowances.
In general, housing in Hawaii is smaller and of different design than most CONUS locations. Although Hawaii is a full weight allowance area for the shipment of household goods, it is a good idea to contact the housing office in Hawaii before PCSing for a pre-move assessment on what to ship and what to put into storage.
All privatized family housing units are equipped with an electric range, microwave oven and refrigerator. Government-owned appliances are not provided for use in off-base community housing.
Base Honolulu uses the DPS program and functions as a satellite operation of the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office at Pearl Harbor. Call the HHG/POV/TLA specialists at 808-842-2019.
Unaccompanied Shipment/Express Shipment
You are authorized an unaccompanied baggage shipment (often called an express shipment). This shipment should be limited to clothing, linens, dishes, towels, cooking utensils and other housekeeping items. You may also ship cribs, playpens, baby carriages and articles necessary for the care of your children. Small radios, portable televisions, sewing machines and small appliances may also be shipped.
The Loan Closet includes items such as kitchen ware, linen items, baby items and other optional items such as a microwave, ironing board, blender, etc., for use while you are waiting for your household goods or unaccompanied baggage. If assigned to an island other than Oahu, you may not have Loan Closet access. Contact the Base Honolulu Housing Office at 808-842-2073 for more information.
Each service member is authorized to ship one privately owned vehicle at government expense. You must have permission from the lien holder to transport the vehicle to Hawaii. If the vehicle is co-registered, you must also show that person’s permission to ship the vehicle. If you are shipping a privately owned vehicle, it will require more time to arrive from the East Coast and Southeast portion of the continental United States. Allow at least three weeks for a vehicle to arrive from the West Coast.
All personal vehicles must be safety inspected and registered within 30 days after arrival. The City & County of Honolulu Pearl Harbor Satellite Vehicle Registration Office is at 1705 O’Malley Blvd., Building 192H, the former Hickam Control Center at O’Malley Gate. The office is open to all military personnel, their family members and civilian personnel who have base access. Appointments are mandatory; schedule online at https://jbphhwindow1.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php.
Be sure to make your reservations early. Hotel accommodations are usually plentiful except during high tourist seasons (December through March and May through August). Accommodations must be Temporary Lodging Allowance approved. TLA is authorized for all command-sponsored military personnel arriving on permanent change of station orders pending availability or completion of permanent living arrangements. TLA is an allowance to help offset the cost of living in hotels during your PCS move; it is not an advance but a reimbursement.
TLA commences the date your PCS orders are endorsed as having reported aboard, so have your orders endorsed with the time and date reported as soon as possible after arriving. You will not be reimbursed for temporary lodging prior to the report date endorsed on your orders.
The Coast Guard can approve up to 60 days of TLA once you have arrived, in 10-day increments as needed. There are many excellent hotel options in Hawaii for use while you conduct your search for housing. The Base Honolulu Transportation Office or your sponsor can provide additional information on TLA and local hotel options. Call the Transition & Relocation Programs manager at 808-842-2091.
DOD MWR operates the Hale Koa Hotel* on the beach in Waikiki; many Coast Guard members stay and love it there though rooms with kitchen facilities are not available. However, the Hale Koa has an Exchange, a barbershop/hairdresser, a florist, an MWR activities office and several restaurants — at military prices. Due to the popularity of this hotel, make reservations as early as possible. For more information, visit www.halekoa.com.
Waikiki is about a 30-minute drive to Sand Island, 20 minutes to the District or Pier 4 offices and 45 minutes to Air Station Barbers Point or COMMSTA.
* Recreation centers such as the Hale Koa Hotel are not government lodging facilities.
All flights lead to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport about 2 miles southeast of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s main gate and 7.5 miles south of Camp H.M. Smith’s main gate. The airport is 9 miles west of Waikiki Beach and 4 miles west of central Honolulu. Travel time to Waikiki is about 20 to 30 minutes by car, 40 minutes during rush hour. Your sponsor will greet you at the airport and help you get settled into your accommodations.
If you are not met by anyone at the airport and require lodging, contact your command duty officer or go to the USO. The USO of Hawaii’s lounge in the Overseas Terminal, at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, is available for use by all military personnel and their family members, reservists on active duty, retirees and Department of Defense civilians on orders. Call 808-836-3351 for more information.
Transportation options from the airport include taxis, shuttles, rental vehicles and Oahu’s public transportation system, TheBus (www.thebus.org or 808-848-4500). For more information about airport transportation, visit http://airports.hawaii.gov/hnl/getting-to-from/ground-transportation.
Call your unit before arriving to confirm check-in procedures; ask your sponsor about the uniform for reporting aboard. All members must officially check in to their unit personally on arrival day; all overseas pay allowances become effective the date of PCS check-in.
Hand-carry to your unit: official orders; medical and dental records; academic transcripts; passports; ID cards; Social Security cards; and official birth, marriage, divorce, adoption and death certificates as well as car titles and shipping documents
In addition to checking in at your unit, unaccompanied members must check in with your unit’s local housing representative. Accompanied members must check in with the local housing officer by the next business day after arrival. Call the Base Honolulu Housing Office at 808-842-2073.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Hawaiian Island Relocation Handbook recommends that firearms remain on the mainland or at the home of record. If you bring firearms, you must immediately register them with the city and county of Honolulu Police Chief. Failure to do so can lead to large fines and imprisonment. Contact Base Transportation Office for assistance 808-842-2019.
If you are unable to reach your sponsor or unit, call 808-842-2091 for assistance.
Hawaii is a high-cost area, and housing can be one of the most expensive items. The first month’s rent and an additional deposit equal to one month’s rent are usually required. You should expect that utilities will not be included in your monthly rent with utility deposits required, but deposit waivers are usually granted to military personnel. In general, housing in Hawaii is smaller and of different design than most CONUS locations. Although Hawaii is a full weight allowance area for the shipment of household goods, it is a good idea to contact the housing office in Hawaii before PCSing for a pre-move assessment on what to ship and what to put into storage.
Your pets are part of your family, so it’s important to take the time to understand Hawaii state law and your housing community’s policies about them prior to your move.
Accompanied and unaccompanied members must check in with the local housing officer no later than the next business day after arrival on island. Upon check-in at the housing office, you will be provided your housing in-brief and counseled on available housing options.
400 Sand Island Parkway, Honolulu, HI 96819
Housing FAQ: https://tinyurl.com/y839w2aj
The Coast Guard maintains very little government housing in the state of Hawaii. Once the government-owned homes are occupied, newly arriving families are released to find housing on the economy. The Army, Navy and Air Force each have privatized housing partners. The Coast Guard has teamed with the Army’s partner, Island Palm Communities, giving Coast Guard members the same priority as Army members for IPC housing. See Page 12 for more IPC information.
Work with your health care provider, whether it’s TRICARE or another provider before you arrive in Hawaii to ensure a seamless transition in care.
Prime and Select
TRICARE is the health care program for active-duty and retired service members, their families and survivors. TRICARE provides health plans, prescriptions, dental plans and other special health programs to its beneficiaries. TRICARE’s mission is to enhance the Department of Defense and the nation’s security by providing health support for the full range of military operations and sustaining the health of all those entrusted to their care.
TRICARE offers a range of health care plans. TRICARE Prime is the mandatory health care option for active-duty service members. Family members of active-duty service members, retired service members and their families may also use this option. If you use TRICARE Prime, you are assigned a primary care manager at a military or network provider who delivers most of your care. If you need care your PCM cannot provide, you are referred to a specialist. Active-duty service members and their families pay nothing out of pocket for this option; however, there is less freedom to choose your provider. On Jan. 1, 2018, TRICARE Standard and Extra were combined into a new plan, TRICARE Select. Select is a standardized fee-for-service plan available to family members of active-duty service members, retired service members and their families. After you enroll in TRICARE Select, you may schedule an appointment with any TRICARE-authorized provider. Referrals are not required, but you may need prior authorization from your regional contractor for some services. You will pay a copay or cost share based on the type of care and provider you see. Costs for Select vary, but you will pay an annual deductible as well as a percentage of covered services. Non-network providers may charge up to 15 percent more than the TRICARE allowable charge; you are responsible for these extra charges. TRICARE also offers plans for remote and overseas locations, reserve military members, young adults who are no longer covered under regular TRICARE coverage and other scenarios.
TRICARE coverage is completely portable, so it moves with you when you relocate. Follow these simple steps to ensure you have no break in coverage when you move:
- Do not cancel your TRICARE Prime enrollment option before you move.
- Update your personal information in DEERS immediately when you arrive at your new location.
- Select a new primary care manager.
If you are already using TRICARE Select, moving is easy. When you arrive at your new location, update your personal information in DEERS. Then find TRICARE-authorized providers in your new area. Remember, you may have a new regional contractor and claims filing address.
TRICARE’s online tools can help you find and compare plans that you are qualified to use. Beginning in 2019, however, TRICARE will allow you to switch between plans only if you have a “qualifying life event” such as the birth of a baby or a move. For a complete description of the types of coverage programs and regions, visit www.tricare.mil. For more information about recent changes to TRICARE, visit https://tricare.mil/changes.
Routine dental care for patients who are not active-duty is limited.
The TRICARE Dental Program is a voluntary, comprehensive dental insurance program offered worldwide by the Department of Defense to family members of active-duty service members, family members of National Guard or reserve members, and National Guard or reserve members who aren’t on active duty. Active-duty military are encouraged to enroll their family members in TDP; otherwise, they should be prepared to pay 100 percent of their family members’ dental costs in the civilian community.
Consider the following to find the best dentist for your needs:
- Are the dentist’s office hours convenient for your schedule?
- Is the dental office close to your home or office?
- How are dental emergencies handled?
- Does the office appear to be clean and well organized?
- Is the staff helpful and friendly?
- What are the dental office’s financial policies and how is insurance handled?
For more information, to enroll or find participating dentists, go to www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Dental/TDP or call 855-638-8371.
Picking up from one place and moving to another is always a hassle, especially when kids and pets are involved. Knowing whom to call or where to find information can help make the transition easier.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross helps members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service.
The American Red Cross offers confidential services to all members of the military, veterans, and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources through the network of chapters in communities across the United States and offices on military installations worldwide.
Local Red Cross offices develop and maintain relationships with key community partners. Military families rely on the Red Cross to help them identify their needs and connect them to the most appropriate Red Cross and community resources. This key Red Cross service includes responding to emergency needs for food, clothing, and shelter, referrals to counseling services (e.g., financial, legal, mental health), respite care for caregivers, and other resources that meet the unique needs of local military members, veterans and their families.
The American Red Cross Emergency Communications Center is available to help 24/7. Call 877-272-7337 or submit an online request at https://saf.redcross.org/css.
Armed Services YMCA
The ASYMCA is made up of 13 branches and about 20 affiliate locations at local Ys and on some DOD facilities across the U.S.
It makes military life easier by providing programs and services to the young men and women of all five armed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
ASYMCA programs, services and events are designed to help the family come together, stay together and have the ability to adjust, bounce back and thrive wherever the services send them — with a particular focus on junior-enlisted men and women, the individuals on the front lines of defending our nation. Programs are offered at low cost and require no dues or membership fees.
Signature programs include: Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala, Art and Essay Contest, Military Family Month, Operation Hero, Operation Holiday Joy, Operation Kid Comfort, Operation Outdoors, Operation Ride Home, Parent and Me, Teddy’s Child Watch and YMCA/DOD Military Outreach Initiative.
Find ASYMCA locations by visiting www.asymca.org/locations.
Operation Homefront assists military families during difficult financial times by providing food assistance, auto and home repair, vision care, travel and transportation, moving assistance, essential home items, and rent-free transitional housing for wounded veterans and their families.
Helping military families gain long-term stability is a specific concern for Operation Homefront. Homes on the Homefront awards mortgage-free homes, impacting veteran families for generations to come. The caregivers for wounded warriors also need help and that is why Hearts of Valor was formed.
Operation Homefront’s annual gala recognizes extraordinary military kids. The organization also hosts multiple Homefront Celebrations, Star-Spangled Baby Showers, Back-to-School Brigades and Holiday Meals for Military events each year to show appreciation to military spouses.
Visit Operation Homefront online for more information.
United Service Organization
Since 1941, the USO has kept our military men and women connected to their families, home and country no matter where they are or under what conditions they serve. Programs for military families include Couples Seminars: Stronger Families, Comfort Crew for Military Kids, Operation That’s My Dress, United Through Reading, Baby Showers: USO and What to Expect Present Special Delivery and The Sesame Street/USO Experience.
The USO also provides transition services to support Americans’ return to civilian life after completing their military service. For more information, go to www.uso.org/programs/uso-pathfinder.
Visit the USO’s website to find a location near you.