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Moving To Hawaii: 10 Things to Know Before Moving

Planning a move to Hawaii and looking for information about the land? Here are the top facts about the city to help you decide right. The truth is that; there are great opportunities in Hawaii waiting for you to explore.
Moving To Hawaii Key Things to Know Before Moving

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Moving to Hawaii can come with a great excitement when remember beautiful things and quality life of the city. The temperature of Hawaii is warm year-round; it offers ocean surroundings and beautiful mountain views. It is a state where residents practically live in paradise.

If moving to this incredible location is in your plan, then you will need to learn in advance when to expect in the land. Are you planning to relocate to aloha State?

If you are determined about relocating far from the mainland to one of these Central Pacific Islands, you should get yourself prepared mentally for the tasks ahead of you.

There is so much to think about before you relocate to the islands, such as tackling changes in traffic and transportation options, adapting to island culture, and increased living expenses.

Even with the great benefits of island life, some people find living in Hawaii as a culture shock. The more you figure out about things to expect from your Hawaiian move, the better experience you will have.

You can learn a lot about relocating to Hawaii by reading this article. We discussed all your concerns, such as how to determine where to live on the islands and everything you need to know or expect when you move to Hawaii.

1. High Cost of Living in Hawaii

The median price of a single-family home on Oahu is $957,000 in 2020, so anyone who relocates to Hawaii should know that it is a really costly place to live. Hawaii is far away with most goods being transported across the Pacific Ocean.

Tourism and a short supply also increase the costs. Food is costly in Hawaii unless you grow it in your garden. But property taxes carry one of the lowest percentages in the United States.

While living in some locations in the country, such as San Francisco, Seattle, Manhattan, and San Diego might be expensive than Honolulu, Honolulu’s average income is lower. Before you move to Hawaii, check your lifestyle and determine if you may be able to let go of some luxuries available when in a place with lower cost of living.

2. You will have to learn the Aloha Culture

The culture of Hawaii is packed with family ties, started by people who have been on the islands for generations. When you have openness to the way of life of Hawaiians after moving there, you will also become a member of the big happy family. Aloha interprets to be a peacemaker, to respect the island, and to love your neighbors. Everything on the islands moves on slow pace, partially due to cultural preference, and partly because of the isolation from the mainland.

If you like a slower pace, you will enjoy much relaxation and lower stress here. A lot of Hawaii residents use a different dialect. There are different words that you will hear more often, like Pidgin and Creole influences combined into words spoken from the native language of Hawaii. Don’t get surprised if you failed to understand every word spoken by Hawaiians, all you need is patience, and you will pick up in the long run.

3. Costly Housing in Hawaii

With $900,000, you will buy a small piece of an old house in Manoa or a large condominium in Waikiki. It is likely to be an old single wall building, which means the walls have no studs, and the house was constructed in the 1960s. My house was built in 1948. The size of your yard might not be up to the one you are used to, especially if you decide to live in Honolulu, and the bright red dirt here might surprise you.

But it is a non-growing small island, and there is no space for expansion, so the price will likely continue to rise forever, as a lot of people want to live in paradise. If you travel a bit to the west region you can pay around $700,000 for a small home in Royal Kunia, Ewa, Makakilo, and Kapolei.

If on the North Side, you can pay around $1.5m for a big yard or even an acre. Up there is very calm, rural, and peaceful. It will possibly always be much farmland and a countable house, but you get much more land on the North Shore, and you also will be able to surf bigger waves.

4. Schooling in Hawaii

If you have children, conduct your research and apply for schools in advance. Public schools in Hawaii often have scores lesser than the country’s average, which is why a lot of families in Hawaii decide to homeschool or enroll their children in private school. The leading 3 most notable schools are Lolani School, Punahou School, and Kamehameha Schools.

There is much competition, so if you want to out your children here, begin to apply early and also ensure you save more money as tuition is costly and can increase up to $18,450 per annum. In addition, all these schools are located in urban Honolulu where the cost of housing is the highest.

5. Everything is a Bit Slower in Hawaii

To be serious, everything runs slowly in Hawaii. From the pace of life to internet speeds, living in Hawaii teaches you how to slow down. Adapt to talking, walking and living a bit slower. Don’t even think of the same- or next-day deliveries from Amazon. The slow pace reflects in attitude too; there is no space in Hawaii to accommodate your impatience. So, sit back, calm down, move slowly, and enjoy living in Hawaii.

6. Wildlife and Insects are a Part of the Lifestyle of Hawaii

Before packing your belongings and transport your vehicle to Hawaii, ask yourself, can you tolerate the sight of geckos, chickens, flying cockroaches, and stinging centipedes on your property? If yes, proceed with your home hunt in Hawaii. While there are no monkeys, squirrels, or some other animals found elsewhere in Hawaii, wildlife here is in varieties. Part of the best parts of living in Hawaii includes wildlife: whales, Geckos, wild boars, turtles, mongoose, roosters and fish.

7. Traffic and Transportation Expectations in Hawaii

Don’t forget that things move a bit slower in Hawaii, as mentioned above. Depending on your preferred destination, traffic can be a major problem. If you move to a busy location like Honolulu, get ready to spend more time on the road. Other islands are a bit different. For instance, there is not even one traffic light in Molokai. The population is so small that there is never traffic there.

Regardless of the island, you decide to live on, understand that you will likely need a car. Unlike many cities in the country, Hawaii doesn’t offer any fast transit options. Metro areas like Honolulu sure have public transport systems cover reasonable locations.

8. It Rains So Much – Like, for 10 Minutes at a Go

If you reside in Maunawili, Manoa, Kailua, the North Shore, or Kaneohe, it rains a lot than in town, Hawaii Kai, or the Leeward side, often in just a few minutes, the sun will shine and dry everything off. So you don’t need to walk around under an umbrella, it makes you look like a tourist. You can also depend on rain every night if you live in Mililani and on the Windward side, especially around Ahuimanu and Haiku plantation in upper Kaneohe.

It is always wet up there and all your household feels damp. However, if you want a climate that is a bit cooler but doesn’t want to spend up to Kailua and Kaneohe, Mililani is a perfect choice for a really cool climate and has better schools. Nice homes go for about $850k to $1m in Mililani as of 2021.

9. Prepared to Dip Yourself in the Local Language

There is a strong sense of community in Hawaii with its focus on family and assisting your neighbors. However, understand that those that did not grow up in Hawaii are possibly never seen as local. Even though Caucasians are usually referred to as haole, the term is not used derogatively. The attitude and respect you show to others are what makes you fit into the local culture.

Know that there is a long history of Hawaii being overthrown by the United States, and this come to learn from the Hawaiian locals, not to change the Hawaii lifestyle into your old culture. Since people spoke different languages, they created pidgin, making combinations of words, intonations and sentence structures from other languages. If you know a few Hawaiian and pidgin words, you will be able to adapt to the islands:

Some of the languages include:

  • Mahalo means thank you
  • ‘Ohana means family
  • Kokua means help or assistance
  • Pau means done, finished, all gone
  • Malihini (mah-lee-hee-nee) means outsider, tourist, stranger, non-islander
  • Shishi means urinate
  • Shoyu means soy sauce
  • Auntie or uncle (unko) means the respectful term for a senior (man or woman)
  • Brah or Sistah means a casual way of talking to a male or female
  • Grinds means delicious or ‘ono food

10. Checking Hawaii’s Employment Market

While Hawaii prides itself on an incredibly low unemployment rate, residents of Hawaii report that the job market is competitive. There are just so many people who want to reside and work on the islands that the rush for employment is tough. Family ties and connections are important in securing a job. It is very simple to secure a job on the islands if you can prove that you will be staying long-term.

Many employers don’t want to hire new residents since many people relocate to the islands, only to leave for the mainland after few months. Figure out your timeline and be honest about it with prospective employers. Some of the leading employers to consider include the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Health Systems, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hawaiian Airlines, and the State of Hawaii.

Choosing the Best Hawaiian Island to Reside

Choosing the Best Hawaiian Island to Reside

Each Island in Hawaii offers amazing scenery and sites to explore, so even though moving may stress you out and live in Hawaii is often not easy, remember to take the time to enjoy amazing Hawaii. Many people visit Hawaii every year as a tourist.

Being a resident of Hawaii, you will have a significant opportunity to call one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world your home. Enjoy the beauty of Hawaii, right from its sites to its views to its culture, and you will constantly remember why you choose to move to Hawaii. You can check your options by reading our summary of the 6 major islands below:

1. Oahu

Book tickets online to travel to Pearl Harbor, the historical venue that started the involvement of the United States in World War II. In addition, create time to visit Waikiki and the famous snorkeling location of Hanauma Bay closer to Hawaii Kai. Stop on the North Shore of Oahu by the world-known surf spots, such as Banzai Pipeline, and head to Laie to find out more about the Pacific Islands situated at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Conduct your research about the neighborhoods on the island, and we strongly recommend that you find a local real estate agent who can assist you in finding a place to rent or buy. The median rent on Oahu Island is around $1,600 to $1,700 per month.

2. Maui

Cruise from Lahaina Harbor on Maui to see the beautiful whales that travel to the warm waters of Hawaii starting from December to April. Drive to Haleakala, a 10,023-ft dormant volcano, which is also one of the most famous tourist attractions of Maui. Hit the road to Hana, where you will see 620 curves and 59 bridges and waterfalls, as well as natural pools. And when it is time for you to relax, remember the numerous luaus, like the Old Lahaina Luau, that will serve hula and delicious Hawaiian foods.

The median rent on Maui, even with the differences from Oahu is almost the same at about $1,500 per month; and wages are on the lower side here.

3. Kauai

If Kauai is your new Hawaiian home, you will always want to see Waimea Canyon, which is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Its attractive rock formations and deep gorges present amazing views. Wailua Falls in proximity to downtown Lihue and the Na Pali Coast is also a famous Kauai attraction for people who want to explore the amazing Hawaiian culture.

The median rent on Kauai is around $1,300 to $1,400 per month, but the wages are on the lower side than Oahu or Maui. Kauai is unique as the majority of its residents reside relatively in proximity to the coast, as the several insides of the island are highland swamps and impassible terrain. 

4. Big Island

You will definitely want to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, which contains dried lava from lots of recent eruptions from Kilauea. You might even see the red lava sputters or steam coming from the crater of Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

After seeing the Kilauea’s active volcanoes, check in to Parker Ranch, which offers views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, Big Island’s two dormant volcanoes. Tourists love Parker Ranch which offers them in-depth the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) life.

The median rent on this island is about $1,100, which is a major reason many people who don’t go for Oahu often choose this place. However, jobs are naturally difficult to find here and traffic is surprisingly worse on the Kona side because of the many people commuting starting from 3 am to 6 am right from Hilo (the eastern part) to work on the Western side where jobs and tourism are found.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hawaii

What amount of money do I need to relocate to Hawaii?

How much is the cost to live in Hawaii? Studies have revealed that the cost of living in Honolulu requires people living there to earn $120,000 or more to live comfortably in the state’s capital. This is subjective, but the U.S. Census reported the average household income in Honolulu was about $80,000 in 2019.

Is $65,000 a good salary in Hawaii?

Yes, 65K is ok, but not for everyone. If you are not in debt and are completely in for value then flash personality. The lowest amount you could live off in my opinion is around 50k, but that includes having roommates, walking, or catching the bus to work, and you reduce or completely cut out eating out.

What is the rental cost in Hawaii?

Neighborhood Scout reported that the median rent in Hawaii is a huge $2,413 per month. Those planning to relocate to Honolulu will pay an average rent of $2,257, whereas Kahului residents pay the cheaper amount at $1,784 per month.

Why would people relocate to Hawaii?

A major reason a lot of people decide to reside in Hawaii is the lifestyle. Life in Hawaii is calm and laid back, with things happening at a slower pace. Enjoy proximity to the center of activity and shopping, restaurants, and cultural events. Then you might enjoy this East Hawaii condo that features oceanfront views.

Is it dangerous to live in Hawaii?

There is still crime and traffic, and there are also rude people in Hawaii just like anywhere else. We have drug problems and homeless people in Honolulu, similar to any big city. Those who are new to Oahu tend to lice for around one year in the early stage; still having a feeling clings about just residing in Hawaii at all.

How bad is a crime in Hawaii like?

The statistics released in 2019 revealed an estimated overall crime of 3692 per 100,000 residents in Makaha. There are 28 chances of becoming a victim of crime in Makaha. The chance of being a victim of violent and property crimes is at 1 in 340 and 1 in 30 respectively.


So, that is all about living in Hawaii in a nutshell. We hope you find this article helpful and insightful as to what living in Hawaii is like. Just don’t forget to get prepared when you are moving here. Performing your homework as much as you can will be worth it in the long run. Your move is a great and fun time, but it should be handle with caution and realistic expectations, otherwise, you may end up as one of the many people who relocate back to the mainland every year.

Hawaii is a paradise for a lot of great reasons, but the economy also makes it a difficult place to live for most people.

For help obtaining free moving quotes from licensed mainland to moving companies, click the ‘Get Free Quote’ link on the page.

Dani James

Dani James

Dani James is a copywriter and blogger with more than eight years of experience writing for movers, real estate, and anything to do with getting from point A to point B. When he’s not finding new ways to save on moving costs, he can be found at home with his cat, binge-watching Marvel movies, and looking for new apartments he can’t afford.
Green Group

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