The adventure of a lifetime lies ahead. You’re moving to Alaska or Hawaii and have chosen to bring your car with you. Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? We won’t lie, it can be expensive to move your vehicles over land and sea, and yet hiring a reputable and responsible shipping company to get your car to its destination safely is worth every penny.


Let’s start with a little graphic that compares and contrasts the costs of basic shipping to Alaska or Hawaii from the mainland USA and internationally:

Aerial image of a Large Vehicle carrier vessel

What Affects The Costs?

As you can see, there is a range of prices for each location. There are many factors that determine the final costs.

  • Type of Vehicle: Larger vehicles will cost more to ship to any of these locations.
  • Length of Time:  If you want your car to get there faster, it’ll cost more. If you can be patient, it’ll cost less.
  • Door-to-Door vs. Pick-up at Port:  Being able to drop off and pick up your car at the delivery port saves you the added expense of overland transport (which also varies in cost depending on a variety of factors). If your car needs to travel a longer distance, over land and water, it’ll cost more.
  • Destination:  The distance from the port of origin to the final destination will affect the cost of the transport. Routes vary as well.
  • Condition of the Vehicle: If the vehicle requires extra equipment to load and unload, it’ll probably cost more.

Shipping Your Car To Hawaii

How long are you planning on staying in Hawaii? If you’re only going for a short visit, then renting a car may be the more practical option (unless there are surging prices due to a rental car shortage. Check before you go!) 

Long-term rentals can take a huge bite out of your budget. For longer stays, you may decide to either buy a vehicle or ship your old vehicle.

If you already own a $30,000+ car, it makes sense to pay for the cost of shipping your car. If you own a $2000 vehicle, it might make more sense to buy something on the island because shipping may cost more than your vehicle is worth. If you plan to stay in Hawaii and decide to ship your car, you must register your car within 30 days of its arrival on the islands.

Whatever you decide, here are a 2 major factors that can add to the cost of shipping:

1. Location, location, location.
It is possible to ship your car to the Hawaiian Island of your choice (Hilo, Oahu, Kahului, Maui, Molokai) without a drastic price change; however, it is important to check with the transport company about this, because different carriers might have different fees.

The starting location, however, does affect the cost. Basically, longer distances matter. If you live in California and can drop your vehicle at the port, it will cost much less than if you need your car picked up and transported from New York.

Shipping times vary based on the starting location, as well. If you require land transport to the port, and then the ocean voyage, it adds to the gap before you will see your car again. On average it takes 8 to 12 days from a west coast port; 14 to 19 days from New York city; and 13 to 18 days from Chicago.

2. Shipping method.
The two main ways of shipping a car to Hawaii are by air or by sea. Shipping in an airplane can cost three to four times as much as shipping by sea, but it will get there faster.

The variety of shipping options also affect pricing. These include:

  • Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) Shipping: Transports where the cars are driven on and off of the cargo ship. This is the cheaper option. 
  • Closed container shipping: While more expensive, safest if you’re shipping a unique, exotic, or other highly valuable vehicle. 
  • Door-to-door shipping: This option may cost more, especially if it includes cross-country transport to the port before the car goes on the ship.
  • Port-to-port shipping: This is the cheaper option, which involves bringing your vehicle to the port and picking it up on the other side.

Some companies will combine these types (for example, port-to-door shipping) but each variation might come with additional costs. 

Shipping Your Car To Alaska
It may or may not surprise you that the furthest western state from the continental United States is Alaska. That’s the simplest explanation for the higher price tag of shipping a vehicle to an Alaskan port. In addition to all the factors already mentioned, here are 2 more major factors that affect your final shipping cost:

  • Type of car. Larger cars weigh more, thus requiring more fuel for the transport vehicle, and more labor to maneuver them on and off the transport.
  • Season: During the summer, fuel prices increase along with the demand for shipping. 

Technically, it is possible to drive your car to Alaska, but it may not save you much money - and it definitely won’t save you time. Why? Because it could take 6 days to get there—and your costs will include hotels, food, and gas. Depending on the season, you could also need special equipment to drive (including heavy chains). 

Start  Your Journey With A Transparent Price Quote From ShipLux

Should you ship your vehicle to Hawaii or Alaska? That decision ultimately comes down to your needs. While weighing your options, be sure to compare and contrast transport companies. Ask questions. Compare quotes. Be sure you understand all of your options. Finally, choose a reliable and trustworthy company like ShipLux, who provides Premium Service and handling, guaranteed price transparency, and 24/7 omni-channel customer service for each and every vehicle shipped.