Living in Hawaii

Thinking about moving to Hawaii?  Not only is Hawaii a great place to buy a home, but the lifestyle in Hawaii is simply a life changing experience.  Here are some helpful tips if you are considering a move to Hawaii.

One of the best ways to research living in Hawaii is by visiting. If you can, come for a vacation, and take a look at the island through the eyes of a resident. Ask the locals how they like living in Hawaii. Visit the grocery stores, read Hawaii real estate blogs, visit the pharmacy, the library, and other places that are part of your daily life where you currently live. Get to know some of the locals and get the facts from them directly and follow local news and events on the internet. Ask for local quotes on insurance, inquire with a local Real Estate Agent about the cost of housing and inquire about a local doctor that takes your insurance.

One State, Many Personalities, Many Islands

Although Hawaii is one state, it’s made up of several different islands, each with its own personality and charm. With the verity in climates, scenery, and lifestyles, there is no question that Hawaii is a unique place to live and to visit. It has friendly people, lots of outdoor activities and great weather all year long. However, as with any new city or town if you are moving here, there are things you need to know. The first thing to realize about moving to Hawaii is that it’s more like moving to another country than to another state so be sure you do your research and prepare.

Cost of Living in Hawaii

No matter which island you’ve decided is your piece of paradise, it’s more than likely going to be a bit more expensive than you’re used to unless, of course, you’re coming from a place that’s actually more expensive. So it’s possible that you will need to make adjustments in your spending. Two expenditures where the increased costs can be shocking are food and housing.

Buying Food in Hawaii

One of the best ways to know where to go is to talk to your new neighbors to find out where they shop and eat. A big plus is that you won’t have any trouble finding the wonderful little farmers’ markets, local grocers, and small farm stands that are spread throughout the islands where you can often find fresh and affordable staples. Any local can tell you how to find them.

Shopping in Hawaii

You can find franchise stores on some of the islands, like Wal-Mart, and some of the wholesale stores like Costco, Sam’s, ChefZone, Marukai, where you can buy in bulk at lower prices. Eating out is another area where some planning and research can help. A guidebook for tourists is a great way to find out about good restaurants in the area. A Frommer’s travel guide is a good place to start and they normally have a lot of suggestions for things to do on all the islands. They also have a cost scales for planning within a budget.

Employment Opportunities in Hawaii

There are a lot of job opportunities in Hawaii that can help to offset the increased costs, and there’s something for almost everyone. The unemployment rate in Hawaii is below 3% and is among the lowest in the country according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and many employers will offer cost of living adjustments and/or incentives for relocating. Also, the wide variety of jobs and the diverse populations offer options for a second job, part-time or seasonal work, or entrepreneurship opportunities.

Homes in Hawaii

Housing is important no matter what state you live in, and there are many factors to consider when choosing where to buy a home. If you have children, you’ll want to find a desirable school district. Different neighborhoods vary in amenities and have their own unique energy and lifestyles. Choosing to rent or buy a home is a big decision, and you should do your homework before you make a commitment.  Click to see the available homes for sale on the Big Island. You may decide to rent for awhile until you learn more about the types of communities that Hawaii has to offer. If you are buying, be sure to do your research, identify your needs and wants, and get the help of a real estate agent who specializes in The Big Island.


One of the first things you’ll want to do when you move to Hawaii is apply for a local driver’s license or identification. Hawaii has several requirements for obtaining a new identification or driver’s license, and you’ll want to get one as soon as possible. This is one of the steps to establishing your residency and remember to update your address with the postal service.

Not everyone has a car or needs a car in Hawaii, but if you’ve decided to ship your car, remember to transfer the registration. Once your car arrives you’ll need to get a new registration and a current safety inspection. Hawaii automobile insurance rates can be more expensive than you’re used to on the mainland, so be sure to shop around.

Library Card

Get a free library card. Hawaii State has more than 50 library branches, with free borrowing of books, CDs, audiobooks, magazines, and more. Card holders can borrow DVDs for $1 per week, and can request to borrow from any of the branches. You can get a free library card with a state identification or other proof of local residency. Libraries also have a lot of fun and educational activities for children and adults.

Be Prepared

Living on the Big Island and being surrounded by the ocean can have it’s downsides and you’d be wise to find the nearest evacuation areas, emergency shelters, and emergency numbers as soon as you are settled. Hurricane season starts in June and runs through November, and you’ll need to prepare for possible flooding, utility outages, high winds, traffic problems, and store shortages such as food, batteries, water, non-perishable foods, etc.

Navigating the Islands

Once you are living on the island you will want to explore and that is a great time to learn about the best transportation routes and how to get to your favorite places. There are a few areas of the island where there’s only one road in or out so take that into consideration when thinking of traveling, Oahu has an extensive public transit system and they are currently building a raised rail system along the Leeward, West, side of the island in an effort to improve traffic flow for commuters.

Have Fun 

No matter what else you do as a new resident, you’ll want to explore and find your favorite things to do and places to go and, there’s a lot to choose from. All the beaches are free and open to the public. Each one has it’s own unique offering from ambience to activities. So, whether you are in the mood for an active beach full of fun loving people or a quiet more secluded one, one where you can rent kayaks or one where you can take surf lessons, you can find it in Hawaii. Learn more about the beaches here.

And, Finally…

Moving to Hawaii is an adventure for sure and can take some real planning and preparation. A good agent is an invaluable ally and can help your make your move go smoothly. If you would like more information on planning a move to Hawaii, or the Hawaii lifestyle, please contact me.

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