FROM HAWAII TO CALI
On August 29th, my family and I took a one-way flight from Honolulu, HI to Los Angeles, CA. My husband received a job offer we couldn't refuse and decided we would save up enough money to move back someday. We were saddened to have to leave the islands, but realistically, the jobs there don't pay enough to support a family - especially with a Type 1 diabetic toddler and two dogs. On a positive note, this would be my second time living in LA since I left in 2011 after earning my Bachelor's degree and valuable work experience in the fashion industry. I would prove to be a good apartment scout and tour guide to my husband with some help from a good local friend.
There were tons of things to prepare for other than the usual on a common moving list. Not only did we have to consider what was required for moving to California with two dogs, but most importantly, the needs of our daughter. I hope the following will be helpful in preparing for your move or just to give you some insight in our experience. Here's how we did it:
1 MONTH PRIOR TO MOVE
- Give current landlord 30-day notice
- Find new apartment/home & secure deposit/hold on unit
- If possible, have a trusted friend or realtor who's very familiar with the area you're searching
- Keep the prospective homes list under three apartments within the same area (close to work vs. closer to the beach)
- Email rental agreement & other required documents to hold unit until arrival
- Have the following ready - SoCal Gas account number, LADWP account number, proof of income (pay stub or notarized offer letter), copy of valid drivers license for all tenants over 18 years of age, copy of service dog authorization from child's doctor (if applicable), proof of renters insurance, and Cable/Internet provider.
- NOTE: SoCal Gas will send you an email with your new account number after setting up service via their website as confirmation. However, LADWP will not contact you, unless necessary, or provide you with an account number until the day of start service requested.
- Schedule or re-schedule all doctor's and/or dentist appointments
- Luckily, Coral only has to see the dentist every six months. So, she's not due for another dentist visit until November. Both my husband and I had already pre-scheduled our dentist appointments (same office) from our last visit and it coordinated well prior to our move in the first week of August.
- Coral see's her Endocrinologist every three months. I had to call their office to make sure they would send all her prescriptions to the new pharmacy closest to our new home. There's always miscommunication with the receptionist and I'm glad I won't have to deal with her incompetence anymore. It's not only a huge pain the okole (butt) if she calls in the wrong prescription or incorrect amount, but it affects Coral's health directly and our wallet. That's no joke.
- Book tickets with Hawaiian Airlines
- Call and make reservations for Joey & Bugz
- Book rental car reservation(s) - old residence & new residence
- Schedule Joey & Bugz's appointment with Waipahu Waikele Pet Hospital
- A licensed veterinarian must examine and complete a health certificate 10 days prior to departure
- The vet will also provide an acclimation letter specifying a range of temperatures safe enough for the pet to travel
- Some vets may state that a microchip is not required on the health certificate to travel to California, but you will need to register them locally anyways. Bugz's HomeAgain chip wasn't scanning the day of our appointment, so I got a new one for him for $30 with SaveThisLife
- When asked, the vet said half a tab of chewable Benedryl may be given to calm them during the flight. I used Pet Naturals of Vermont found at Petco or Amazon.com. Give a week prior to departure to see how pet reacts.
- Find & purchase a carrier for Bugz & kennel for Joey
- Disclaimer: Check with your airlines for their specific requirements when traveling with pets & their final destination for any quarantine requirements. See California state requirements here.
- Hawaiian Airlines allows one pet per traveler in-cabin. There's no way my husband and I would be able to push Coral in her stroller, along with five suitcases and carry two dogs. So, we decided Joey would do best in a kennel (he's done it before) and Bugz holds his pee & poop better so in the carrier he goes. See Hawaiian Airlines requirements for traveling with pets here.
- I bought Bugz a Petmate collapsible carrier (Sherpa mat included) from Amazon.com for $24.99
- Joey's airline approved kennel was bought from Petland in Kahala on Oahu for about $70. They have the BEST selection of hard-sided kennels on the island vs. Petco or Petsmart. It had metal bolts, vented sides all-around, and double-prong front door. I placed a towel inside for him since they don't allow dog beds inside the kennel. The dog must be able to stand and turn around inside the kennel.
- Finalize & complete all Island Doggie orders before mid-August
- Email customers moving notification
- Sort & sell stuff not worth packing & moving
- I used an app, Offer Up, to post photos of my stuff for sale and sold things a lot quicker than on Craigslist.org
- Surf & take Coral to the beach as much as possible
- Call all utilities and other service providers with change of service or address
- Oceanic Time Warner Cable doesn't transfer your service to their mainland company known as Time Warner Cable. So, I had to call OTWC to request the date of "stop service" and then call TWC to request the date of "start service." Somehow, TWC thought I was requesting to start service the day I called on August 26, when we were not arriving at our new home until August 29th. The technician called to say he was there and I had to ask him to reschedule for Tuesday morning the 30th like I originally requested. SMH.
- Notify GEICO of change of address and add Renters Insurance
- Call AT&T for change of address for our mobile phones
- Call our banks
- Schedule & book shipping with Matson for car
- VERY IMPORTANT - if you still owe payments on your car, you will have to get an authorization to ship letter from your bank or lien holder prior to shipping. I did not know this was HI state law. No trouble shipping my Passat from LA to HI in 2011. I had all documents ready accept that stupid letter.
- I showed up at Matson the Friday prior to our departure since they don't ship out on weekends. The clerk told me I needed it, went to First Hawaiian Bank, waited 15 minutes, they required me to sign in-person to complete a Change of Address form; I had them expedite the Authorization to Ship letter (approved based on my excellent payment history & proof of income) and picked it up from their separate office on Dillingham near OCC from the actual woman who signed it. Drove back to Matson around 3pm that same day and handed him the following items:
- Matson Booking Number (print online receipt & bring to clerk)
- Current registration
- Certificate of Title (if selling to off-island recipient) or Lien Letter (that's what I was missing)!
- Photo ID of registered owner(s)
- Gas tank must be 1/4 tank or less (I had to drive around with the A/C on and windows down for a few miles before I could ship the car)
- BOTTOM LINE: Get that letter at least two days prior to shipping your car to save you the headache.
- After the clerk approves, you go into the adjacent waiting room where they process your information and inspect your vehicle. It must be clean without any personal belongings and you should probably get it detailed the day before. Especially if you're a beach addict with a toddler and two dogs like me. Sand. Dog fur. Crumbs embedded deep in the upholstery. My husband vacuumed the car, but didn't remove the car seat or lift the back seats of my Honda Fit. Soooo....I had to find a gas station with a vacuum and spent $5 in quarters with A/C on full-blast while I attacked the back seats for over 15 minutes the day I was trying to ship it.
- If shipping your car from HI to the mainland, Matson is the only and most reliable company to use. DO NOT use a competitor, like City Movers, because they will source out a third party, charge your credit card without authorization and end up shipping it with Matson anyways. Yep, that happened to my husband (he disregarded my advice to ship with Matson directly).
- Find & schedule moving company
- We used City Movers since not too many companies actually load up your stuff in a truck and haul it to your new home in the mainland from Hawaii. Moving personal belongings such as furniture, clothes, my Island Doggie stuff, and Coral's things was expensive since they charge per cubic feet.
- Get boxes from Home Depot or UHaul - double corrugated, if possible
- Affordable when hubby's new job pays for relocation
2 WEEKS PRIOR TO MOVE
- Going away BBQ - aloha oe (until next time)
- Good opportunity to give stuff away to friends
- Continue packing
- Clear out apartment - sell bulky furniture not worth moving
- I sold my Juki industrial sewing machine
- Our bed mattress and frame
- Coral's used crib and changing table
- Desk & office chair
- TV & stand
- Area rug
- Couch (so comfortable)
- Donate clothes, shoes & other giftable items to a church or not-for-profit organization such as:
3 DAYS PRIOR TO MOVE
- Ship car with Matson (usually arrives within two weeks)
- Have hubby pick you up at Matson with rental car (or friends car)
- Rental car companies like Budget, will offer car seats for rent
- We rented a car for our last weekend on Oahu and are renting a car in LA until mine arrives around September 13th
- Clean, what should be, an empty apartment
- Place important documents in a folder in large tote/carry-on
- Pack suitcases
- Use Ziploc vacuum sealed bags for clothes & linens to pack in suitcases
- Carry-on the following:
- One small suitcase for Coral's non-perishable diabetic supplies
- Bugz in Petmate carrier with documents ready
- My large tote with Coral's immediate diabetic case, seaweed, low-carb Blue Diamond Nut Thins, and insulated no-leak sippy cup w/ straw
- Hubby's 26L Da Kine backpack with more of Coral's diabetic supplies, snacks, diapers, and wipes
- One Hello Kitty mini-backpack for Coral including Melissa & Doug On-The-Go No-Mess Marker set, Melissa & Doug Water Wow, sticker books and window clings
- Check-in the following:
- One medium suitcase for Coral's and my stuff
- One large suitcase for my stuff
- One large suitcase for hubby's stuff
- One small suitcase for hubby's stuff
- One pretty chill Joey in a kennel thanks to the calming treats
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:55AM. We left our old apartment around 6:20am. Thankfully, my husband insisted on booking us first class tix because a very nice young man ushered me with Coral and all of our luggage from the curb to the counter. The Hawaiian Airlines lady at the counter was speedy and friendly and had us checked in quickly. TSA had to inspect Joey's kennel and had me take him out and then, put him back in. We rushed back to meet my husband at the counter after he had dropped off the rental car. We speed-walked over to the First-Class line for security check and told them about Coral's diabetic supplies (sharp needles, agghh) and her CGM (continuous glucose monitor on her arm and the Bluetooth receiver). We didn't want to risk the technical sensitivity of such equipment and so they took us out of line for the hand-swipe and manual inspection. That added another 12 minutes. We rushed putting her back in her stroller, grabbed our carry-on bags and headed to Gate 27 - felt like miles away. 7:40am and they were already boarding cabin passengers. I went up to the counter and asked if we could be excused to the front since Coral's diabetic and we had First Class tickets. The woman kindly told us to come around the other entrance, checked our tickets, and sent us on our way. We finally sat down in the third row of leather seats and I ordered a mimosa. Deep breath in...exhale. Haahhh...
- Be sure to have any & all documents readily available upon request
- Dog paperwork (health certificate - one to place w/ check-in kennel & the other to hand to guest services)
- Poop bags in case you didn't have time to walk the dogs prior to heading to the airport. #scoopthepoop
- Coral's letters from doctors for screening privileges with diabetic supplies
- Boarding reservations - your airlines miles membership number - save it to your phone!
- Matson booking reservation - they'll mail you a Bill of Lading to the address you provide (must bring upon pickup at Long Beach port along with ID)
- Make extra copies of any and everything to place in each carry-on bag especially if you're prone to losing stuff
- Riding First Class one-way was totally worth it since it was much more comfortable for all of us - including Bugzy!
- Bring an empty water bottle (hydroflask okay), and fill up with fresh water after security check-in to have with you on the plane
- Wear comfortable clothing such as leggings or anything stretchy and a lightweight loose-fitting top
If I missed anything, feel free to comment, and I'll check it out! Mahalo for reading and I hope you continue to follow our journey through Instagram (@islanddoggie) and Facebook.com/islanddoggie. We'll keep you posted via newsletter and social media once we've received our inventory from the movers. Your patience and understanding is very much appreciated.
A hui hou (until next time)!