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By February 17, 2010 6 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I get my car to Hawaii?


travel nurse holding a little carLast week I was under the impression that I had concluded my three-part series on transportation options while on assignment. Then I realized that there was just one more subject I wanted to cover: isl and travel.

During my travels, I have been to Hawaii several times on travel assignments. While I am one that likes to drive to each of my assignments, until they construct one helluva bridge over the South Pacific, it remains a little hard to drive to Hawaii. However, I still managed to find a way to take my truck with me on my last two isl and assignments.

First, I might want to answer the question of why anyone would go to the trouble of getting their auto to Hawaii. For me, it’s simple math. While my first visit only lasted a single thirteen-week contract, subsequent visits often lasted nine months or more. To rent an automobile on the isl and would be at least $500 a month (probably more accurate would be $600-$700 a month). The cost to ship an auto to Hawaii, from California, is currently $1072 and on my last trip to Hawaii, my travel company even covered shipping one way.

However, let’s suppose that your company will not cover any shipping expense. To ship your vehicle there and back would be a total of $2144. But, if you rented a car while staying for 10 months ($500 a month x 10 months), you would be looking at $5000. So, if you do plan to stay for an extended period of time, you can save over half of what you would to rent a car.

Obviously, the savings you can expect will vary dependent upon your time spent on the isl and . Also, some isl and s such as Oahu can be navigated using public transport. However, if you are on an isl and such as Maui or Kauai, mass transit might not even be an option.

If you are staying for an extended period of time, and shipping your vehicle sounds like an option you might want to consider, the company with which I have traveled several times is Matson. While information is readily available on their website, a few of the things you should know include:

–Matson ships from the west coast with ports in California and Seattle
–When you drop off your vehicle, it must be washed so that a thorough inspection can be performed. Also, you cannot have any cracks or chips in your windshield.
–You must deliver your vehicle with ¼ a tank of gas or less
–If you do not own your automobile (i.e. if you still owe money on it), then you must provide additional paperwork such as title and registration, when shipping a vehicle FROM Hawaii (on the return trip to the mainl and )
–No personal items can be shipped in your car

That last item is worth repeating: No personal items in the car. Many people think that they can just load up their car with household goods and ship it over. Due to liability issues, Matson will not ship any items with your auto. However, I did pack a large crate in my truck once and then just unloaded it and had Matson ship it at the same time as my auto. Matson will ship household goods separately.

Travel nursing assignments to locations off the mainl and can be stressful enough, but to me, it was so much more fun having my 4×4 truck with me for 10 months rather than settling for a Ford Escort while I was there. If shipping your auto sounds like something in which you would be interested, check out their website or write me at for more info.

About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

6 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I get my car to Hawaii?"

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  1. niceangle says:

    That’s great post

  2. Mike


    Did you get your car safely to Hawaii?
    Aloha, Mike

  3. David says:

    Yes. I have been to Hawaii and back several times shipping my vehicle. My truck has four ocean trips without problems.

  4. I miss Oahu’s great beaches. Please post more pictures of Hawaii, esp. Oahu. Thanks!

  5. David says:

    Thanks Hawaii! We just appreciate you spreading the word 🙂


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