Moving/Relocating To Hawaii: 11 Biggest Must-Know Tips

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Moving to Hawaii, an island paradise and leading a simple life seems like a dream. That’s why it has become a destination for retirees and tourists. However, there’s a massive difference between going to Hawaii for a holiday and living there full-time.

As with any other place, there will be pros and cons when you settle down in the Aloha State. To get you started, here are 11 must-know tips about relocating to Hawaii. We’ll discuss adjusting to island life and its climate, the cost of living, cultural activities, and go-to spots.

1. Be Sure You Are Ready To Adjust To Island Life

Hawaii is beautiful. Just from the pictures alone, you can see why it is also called the Paradise of the Pacific. But, again, there’s a significant difference between living on the island and visiting for a week-long vacation.

For starters, you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. By air, this could mean anywhere from 5 hours to 12 hours of flight time, depending on where you are going to start in the continental United States. So, if you are the type to travel often or like long road trips, living on a semi-isolated island needs some consideration.

With that said, Hawaii is a heavenly mix of modern amenities and pristine natural wonders. Especially if you are a fan of spending your time with sand between your toes. Just weigh the pros and cons as they relate to your lifestyle.

2. Double Check Your Wardrobe And Get Familiar With Hawaii’s Climate

Another thing you will need to consider is the climate. Hawaii has a tropical climate, but temperatures do not go to extremes thanks to the ocean breeze. Temperatures in the summer vary between 88 °F to 75 °F from day to night, roughly between May and October.

What is known as winter comprises the rest of the year between October and April. Temperatures usually vary between 83 °F to 63 °F from day to night. Hawaii also receives between 25 to 30 inches of rain each year. Still, thanks to what is known as windward and leeward, rain distribution and local climates can vary between islands.

So, depending on what kind of climate you are used to, you might have some acclimating to do. Also, be sure to check that you are bringing the right wardrobe that’s fitting to the local climate.

3. Do A Little Research Regarding The Best Neighbourhood To Live In

Hawaii is made up of eight major islands, but two-thirds of the people living there can be found on the island of Oahu making it the most populous island. Very befitting of its name, which means “The Gathering Place”. There you will find Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu, where a majority of that two-thirds reside.

However, you will also find other major towns and counties. It has also been noted that Hawaii is one of the most diverse places in the United States, owing to years of migration.

Essentially, you will find all sorts of communities, cities, counties, suburbs, or towns here. That’s why you need to take the time to do a little research on where you want to settle down. Here are some of our suggestions:

Honolulu is the state’s capital and the most urbanised city in the state. It also has the largest population, so if you want the most modern city experience, downtown Honolulu is the place to be. Be mindful though that it does draw a lot of tourists throughout the year.

East Honolulu is just outside of Honolulu and is an excellent choice if you want a little bit of space, but still close enough to the downtown if you wish to go and visit. East Honolulu is also recognized as one of the safest places in Hawaii on top of its outstanding quality of life.

Pearl City is another major city in Honolulu county. Lying right in the centre of the island, Pearl City has a very ideal location just minutes away from any amenity you can think of. It is also very urbanised, as well as having several suburban neighbourhoods.

Hilo can be found on the biggest island, which is called Hawai’i Island, to differentiate it from the state. Hilo is the largest settlement on the island and home to over 44,000 people. It has gorgeous scenery, which includes volcanoes!

brown wooden clothes hangers on green plants

Image Credit: Unsplash

4. Learn About The Cost Of Living In Hawaii And Apply Some Budgeting Tips

Being isolated in an island paradise does come with costs. Based on recent trends, a single person will need around 1,450 USD to live in Hawaii before rent. For a family of four, it will fetch around 5,200 USD a month.

It should also be noted that housing in Hawaii is more expensive than the national average. According to a census between 2016 to 2020, the median housing cost in Hawaii is about 636,400 USD.

In a more recent study, housing prices on the island of Oahu have reached an all-time high of over 1,000,000 USD in 2022. Although, it should be noted that Oahu has some of the most expensive real estate in the state.

If you want to rent, a one-bedroom apartment can net anywhere between 1,300 to 2,500 USD. Meanwhile, for a three-bedroom for a family, average rent will fetch at least 2,400 up to 5,000 USD. That’s why choosing where you wish to live is essential, as proximity to city centres drastically affects pricing.

5. Be Part Of Hawaii’s Workforce And Find Great Opportunities In Its Thriving Job Market

With Hawaii’s high cost of living, it’s crucial to have a steady and reliable source of income. If you are looking to enter the workforce, try to go for the biggest industries, as they are most often the ones with the best opportunities.

According to Forbes, in 2022, Hawaiian Airlines, the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaiian Telcom, Hilton, and American Savings Bank are the biggest employers in the state.

It is important to note that the state’s economy is tied heavily to its tourists. Therefore service industries related to these are some of the most prominent. Service, transportation and retail trade are very significant industries.

When you think about it, goods, construction, raw materials, and even energy have to go through transportation, which makes it even more essential than usual.

aerial photography of building near sea

Image Credit: Unsplash

6. Treat Yourself And Your Family To Some Rest And Recreation In One Of These Tourist Spots

When you’re living in a place referred to as a literal paradise on Earth, it’s hard to think where exactly the “go-to” spots you need to visit. But don’t worry. We’re here to help you make a list of destinations for you and your family’s well-deserved rest and recreation.

Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial for a little history lesson on one of the country’s most historic events in recent memory.

Volcanoes National Park if you’re looking to add a little fire to your trip, an up close and personal tour amongst one of Hawaii’s many volcanoes is a must.

Haleakala National Park is similar to Volcanoes National Park, but with a little less heat, as the park’s resident volcano, Haleakala, is already inactive. Still, there are a lot of gorgeous sites to see.

Halawa Valley is one if not the oldest settlement in Hawaii. The tour, which includes a guided hike to Mo’oula Falls, is a great way to see beautiful forests and landscapes free from human disturbance.

Waipio Valley Lookout is an amazing spot to observe scenic cliff walls that drop into the open ocean and a long stretch of beach. The sea breeze will be something you will remember.

7. Enjoy The Vibe And Colours Of The Local Culture By Participating In Festivals And Holidays

We’ve mentioned earlier how diverse Hawaii is, and with that diversity comes several festivals and holidays that showcase what brings people together. Also, it’s the perfect avenue for you to get to know your neighbours and make connections.

So, mark your calendars and be sure to take part in these events and hopefully more!

The Aloha Festivals in September celebrate everything about Hawaii’s story; its people, culture, and history.

The Honolulu Festival in March celebrates the island of Oahu and highlights the Asian, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures on the island through music, food, art, and so much more.

Kōloa Plantation Days in July to celebrate the many diverse ethnic groups that are in the state

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival in November celebrates the gastronomic journey that Hawaiian food takes you on. It is also a time for many national and international chefs to gather and showcase their best.

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in November and December for some thrill and adrenaline in celebrating the thrilling sport of surfing.

white and blue ceramic plate with white cream

Image Credit: Unsplash

8. Taste Island Flavours And Discover New Favourites

Besides having fun at festivals and holidays, food is another way to get in touch with the local vibe. Once you are in Hawaii, prepare some exceptionally fresh seafood. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you know what to expect. You’ll be surprised by the flavours and textures Hawaii has waiting for you.

Here are some of our top recommendations you should try:

  • All-Natural Shave Ice
  • Poke and Acai Bowls
  • Lomi Lomi Salmon
  • Huli Huli Chicken
  • Lau Lau

While some of these are fairly common in Hawaii, finding your favourite version is the second-best thing about trying out new food. Be sure to spend your time around town and check out different restaurants and how they add their personal twist to every recipe.

9. Prepare A Relocation Checklist To Keep Things Tight

When you’re moving, especially to somewhere as far as Hawaii, you mustn’t miss anything. Making a relocation checklist is one of the easiest but most effective ways to not get overwhelmed and stay on top of things.

You can begin by organising your checklist like this:

  • Essential documents (work permit, visa, passport, plane ticket, etc.)
  • Item selection for sale/keeping/donation
  • Packing-related activities (purchasing of materials, sorting, packing)
  • Contacts (new employer, landlord, emergency)

You can modify the list to your needs or even add more categories. The critical thing to remember is to constantly update when you do something and stick to the timeline. This way, you will never miss anything important, and you can track your progress.

10. Connect With Fellow Expats And Build A Community

Relocating can be tricky business, especially at the beginning when you’re experiencing culture shock. But, it doesn’t have to be too bad in Hawaii. Hawaii is one of the most diverse places there are in the United States, and it is also a favourite destination for many tourists and expats alike.

If you find yourself lonely or looking for a community, you should try looking for expat groups within your area. You will be glad to know that expat groups are quite common and often create events where people can meet and mingle. This is probably due to the fact that no matter where you come from, you all can relate to what it feels like to be new to a place.

If you are not too keen on attending events in person or don’t know where to start, don’t fret. Online groups and platforms are also available for you to take part in. Most online groups will have forums where people can chat, ask questions, give answers, and just connect with people.

You may find events and gatherings through these platforms that you can then attend in the future. It would also be nice if you get to meet people you have been corresponding with online.

11. Engage With Professionals To Help With Managing Your Belongings

When moving to a place as far as Hawaii, it will be more practical if you engage with a professional moving company such as Sanelo. This way, you won’t have to worry about how heavy your luggage can get over the long trip. Sanelo has had years of helping people relocate whether locally or internationally.

Engaging with Sanelo will make your trip more enjoyable and stress-free. As you relax on your trip, you are confident that your belongings are well protected by Sanelo’s shipment protection services.

Conclusion On Moving/Relocating To Hawaii

There are several reasons why relocating to Hawaii is an excellent idea. The amazing mix of urban living and modern amenities, side by side with gorgeous natural beauty and diverse geography, is certainly on top of the list.

But there’s also the wonderful people, the vibrant Hawaiian culture, the excellent food, the high quality of living, and the chance to form communities with fellow expats, travellers, and native Hawaiians. The agreeable warm weather is also something to note if you love spending your time out in the sun.

You might be a bit concerned with the high cost of living, but there are certainly a lot of opportunities available from several companies. Just be sure that you prepare for both the pros and cons of living in Hawaii, and we’re sure it won’t be long before you start surfing the waves.

If you’d like to learn more about cities in the state of Hawaii, check out our guides on Pearl City and Hilo.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Hawaii

How Can You Travel Between Islands In Hawaii?

There are inter-island ferries and flights available if you want to island hop. Most of the islands have airports, as well as some having ferry services. There are also cruises available to visit and sightsee all the islands.

Is It Expensive To Live In Hawaii?

Yes. The cost of living in Hawaii is higher than the national average. Studies have shown that the living index of Hawaii is a little over 190, which is the highest in the country.

Where Is The Cheapest Place To Live In Hawaii

The Island of Hawai’i, or the Big Island, is generally considered the most affordable island to live on.

Can Sanelo Help With Relocating To Hawaii?

Yes! Sanelo has years of experience assisting people with relocations. Call or email us, and a representative will guide you through the process.


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