Moving to Hilo? 8 Tips to Make Your Move Easier To The Big Island

Table of Contents

If you have a fantasy of going to a remote place, enjoying the most beautiful beaches there are, having your space, and leading a life of simple living. Then, moving to Hilo, Hawai’i, is the relocation you are looking for.

Living in Hilo, Hawaii, means you get to stay on the state’s biggest island, which is also called Hawai’i. Living in Hilo, however, is more slow-paced compared to the bigger settlements on the island of Oahu.

Despite being the biggest island, Hawai’i only has a population of a little over 200,000, with 44,000 living in Hilo, making it the fourth-largest populace of the state. If you’d like to know more about the city, the pros and cons of living in Hilo, and a lot of other tips to make your move more informed and more effortless, read on!

1. Prepare For What It’s Like Going To Be Like In The Big Island

The Island of Hawai’i, not to be confused with the state of Hawaii, is the archipelago’s largest of the Hawaiian islands. Hawai’i is made up of six volcanoes that overlap each other thus creating the landmass we know today. One of these volcanoes, Kilauea, is the most active volcano in the world.

Choosing to live in an area as remote as Hawaii and on a quieter island needs a lot of thinking. You will be living full-time on an island. If you wish to go to a different island, the easiest way is by plane. There are ferry services between islands, but it’s not as direct as you might think and will include some island hopping.

Up next, you have to consider that depending on where on the mainland United States you wish to go, travel will be anywhere between 6 to 12 hours. That’s a lot of time just sitting around.

body of water under cloudy sky during sunset

Image Credit: Unsplash

2. Chose Which Neighbourhood Is Made Just Right For You

Hawai’i is a bit quieter compared to the more populated Island of Oahu. So, in Holi, expect the neighbourhoods to be slower and have a suburban feel. However, that also means you get to experience a more traditional island feel.

The landscape is lush and vibrant. This also means you are closer to natural destinations like botanical gardens, waterfalls, nature hikes, uncrowded beaches, and even volcano trails!

If you need a little help choosing where to settle, here are a few of our recommendations.

Downtown Hilo is at the top of the list. Several neighbourhoods are just a few minutes walk or drive outside of downtown. This brings you to the centre of the action, the most opportunities, and closest to restaurants, shops such as the farmer’s markets, and other modern amenities.

Volcano is a hidden town in the middle of a lush rainforest. As of 2020, there are only about 2,000 people who live there. The peace and quiet are a great draw for a lot of artists and people who want to take some time to get away and relax with nature.

Keaau is a neighbourhood just to the south of downtown Hilo. Only about a thousand people live there, but the close proximity to the downtown doesn’t make it seem so lonely. You’ll also have the pleasure of living closer to beautiful beaches, botanical gardens, and even an Ohia lehua forest.

Mountain View is another settlement that offers a bit of a rural and quiet quality of life. There are several suburban communities as well as farms and ranches scattered about.

3. Find Employment Opportunities On The Island’s Leading Industries

Much of the economy in Hawaii is based on the tourism industry. That’s why hospitality and services, food and beverage, transportation, and healthcare are some of the biggest industries on the islands.

For 2022, a study was made to see which companies employed the most, had the best benefits, and other factors significant for any job seeker. If you are looking for employment on the island, try checking these companies out.

Hilo Medical Centre, CLH Labs, and Hawai’i Care Choices were some of the best places to work in Hilo. However, The county of Hawaii and HPM Building Supply came out as the biggest employers on the island.

Other companies from various industries that were also mentioned as having provided island residents with excellent opportunities are The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, HFS Federal Credit Union, Mountain Meadows, and Bay Clinic.

4. Learn Some Budgeting Tips As The Cost Of Living Might Need Adjusting

Hawaii is known to be quite expensive to live in. You will have to consider that most of the goods being brought into the state are carried over from the mainland, thus increasing overhead costs. Real estate is also limited, making housing costs more expensive than the national average.

According to a study on the average cost of living, Hilo has a livability index of 125 versus the national average of 100. This means it is 25% more expensive to live in Hilo than in the rest of the country. However, it is still important to note that this index is lower than the state average of 165.

According to a US census, between 2016 and 2020, the median cost of a home in Hilo is 341,500 USD. In the same time span, the median rent was 1,100 USD. But you should note that real estate prices fluctuate really fast, and prices also vary greatly from how close you are to the downtown or upscale communities.

It has been calculated that a single person’s average cost of living in Hilo is roughly 2,200 USD with rent. Meanwhile, a family of four will need 4,600 USD a month for expenses, including rent.

5. Explore The Volcanoes Of Hawai’i Island

Being made up of overlapping volcanoes makes the geography of Hilo very unique. It also allows one to witness incredible views and trails unavailable in other locations.

Volcanoes National park is home to two volcanoes; Kilauea and Mauna Loa. If you have the opportunity to visit, go right ahead. At the park, you will see sulphur banks steaming with heat. Hike within products or lava tubes which are “natural conduits” formed by flowing lava. And, if you are lucky, an actively erupting volcano.

Scenes like these are singular and difficult to find. So, if you are lucky enough to spend your time here, do make it a point to witness the fiery majesty of the island’s creators.

vegetable salad on white ceramic bowl

Image Credit: Unsplash

6. Dig In And Enjoy The Flavours Of The Island And The Sea

Thanks to its origins as a volcanic island, the ground of Hawaii is rich in nutrients and minerals and local produce are top quality. That’s why it shouldn’t be much of a shock knowing that the island is rich with delicious and juicy fruits.

Seasonal fruits that its people enjoy include avocados, dragon fruit, jackfruit, lychee, and mangoes. Year-round fruits include apple bananas, coconuts, papayas, pineapples, and a whole lot more.

As for local delicacies, if you happen to head downtown and find yourself looking for a good meal with the locals, here are our recommendations:

Poke, which is fresh, diced raw fish

Acai bowls which are acai puree and a choice of fruits

Shave Ice which is ice shaved into fine snow added with flavours

Kalua Pork is a traditional way of cooking pork which involves cooking the meat in an underground oven.

7. Make Connections Through Events Via Expat Communities

When moving abroad, loneliness can creep up on you when you least expect it. You might miss your old friends, familiar places, favourite restaurants, and shops, but it doesn’t have to be all sad. Opening yourself up to new adventures is one of the biggest joys you can experience when making a move.

That’s why putting yourself out there and making new connections in your new community. The great part is that there are groups that facilitate these and create opportunities for you to meet new people.

Expat groups also often make use of online platforms, even popular social media websites such as Facebook, to create groups where people can connect, have conversations, ask and give questions, and post invites to their sponsored events.

The people of Hawai’i are also known to be very friendly and hospitable, and you should not be scared to venture out and make new friends and get involved.

8. Engage With Professionals For Maximum Ease Of Travel

When faced with a great undertaking, having an excellent partner that will be able to support you and take off some burden is essential. That’s why partnering with an experienced moving professional like Sanelo will make your relocation easier.

Sanelo also makes it more enjoyable as you won’t need to worry about carrying heavy luggage. On top of that, you’ll know your belongings are protected thanks to the shipment protection services that Sanelo provides.

If you’d like to know more and talk with one of our representatives, don’t hesitate to call or email us; we will guide you through every step.

Conclusion On Moving To Hilo

Hawaii is known to be a bit more expensive to live in, but Hilo is the more affordable choice when it comes to the cost of living on the island. With that, you get to stay in a literal paradise on earth. The small-town vibe is excellent for those who want to stay away from the hustle of urban living.

The location also means you are closer to gorgeous beaches and unique natural destinations. The neighbourhoods are great, and the people are equally welcoming with beautifully diverse communities.

If you want to know more about the state, check out our guide to Hawaii and Pearl City, HI.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Hilo

Is Hilo A Good Place To Live In?

Yes, Hilo is an excellent place to live in. Hilo provides a more quiet and more traditional Hawaiian experience. The Big Island is also less populated than the state centre that is Oahu, and is also cheaper than the state average.

Are There Expat Communities In Hilo, HI?

Yes. Hawaii, in general, is a go-to destination for expats and tourists alike. It is also worth noting that Hilo is cheaper compared to the state centre of Honolulu on Oahu island.

Does It Always Rain In Hilo, HI?

The summers of Hilo are hot and dry, but it does see a lot of rain, especially in the evening. On average, it gets 188 days of rain in a year, with December being the rainiest month.

Is It Expensive To Live In Hilo, HI?

Hilo, HI, can be a bit expensive compared to the rest of the country. However, compared to the state average, Hilo is the cheaper place to live in Hawaii.


For what moves you