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How to Move to Hawaii: The Only Guide You Need

If you’ve ever dreamt of making the leap to paradise and calling one of the beautiful Hawaiian islands home, you’re in for a treat. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m here to be your friendly guide on this incredible journey.

Moving to Hawaii isn’t just a change of location; it’s a transformation of lifestyle. From the warm tropical climate to the unique Hawaiian culture, there’s something truly magical about island life. But before you pack your bags and say “Aloha,” there are a few things you should know.

In this guide, I’ll share my personal experiences and insights on everything from the cost of living to finding your dream home, and even embracing the laid-back island lifestyle.

So, grab a piña colada (or a fresh coconut, if you prefer) and let’s dive into your ultimate guide to making Hawaii your new home sweet home.

Moving to Hawaii: What to Consider Beforehand

Before diving headfirst into your Hawaiian dream, these considerations will help you make an informed decision.

1. The Island You Will Move To

Hawaii is not just one big island; it’s an archipelago of diverse options. Here’s a quick rundown of some popular choices:

Island You Will Move To


Oahu, home to Honolulu, offers the bustling city life fused with stunning beaches. It’s a great place to experience Hawaiian culture and enjoy scuba diving, hiking, and surfing.


Maui boasts breathtaking landscapes, including the famous Hana Highway. It’s perfect for those seeking a balance between natural beauty and modern amenities.


Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is a lush paradise with outdoor activities like hiking in Waimea Canyon and exploring the stunning Napali Coast.


The “Forbidden Isle,” Niihau, offers a unique and secluded experience, but access is highly restricted.

The Big Island

Hawaii, the largest island, offers a diverse landscape, from volcanoes to beautiful beaches, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and stargaze at Mauna Kea.

2. Ability to Afford Hawaii’s Cost of Living Expenses

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the cost of living in Hawaii. It’s no secret; it’s among the highest in the U.S. Everything from groceries to gas comes with a premium price tag.

I can’t stress this enough – high-quality, full-coverage health insurance can be a challenge to find, and you don’t want to leave yourself vulnerable.

The reality check here is that many people in Hawaii work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Rent alone can consume about half of your income, with health insurance and childcare gobbling up even more.

3. Whether You’re Renting or Buying


Should you rent or buy? Well, it depends on your financial situation and your long-term plans.

If you’re in a position to buy, you’ll step into the stability of homeownership. But, finding a quality rental in Hawaii can be tricky, and owning your home offers long-term security.

Renting, on the other hand, allows you to test the waters before committing. About 40% of residents rent, so you’ll be in good company. Expect to pay a premium for renting, which varies by island.

4. Ideal Time to Move There

Timing your move is crucial. Consider arriving between March and May or from August to October.

These months have fewer tourists and ideal weather for settling in. Plus, flights and accommodations are more budget-friendly.

How to Move to Hawaii: 9 Pro Tips

Now that you’re on the path to island life, let’s dive into some pro tips to make your move to Hawaii as smooth as the Pacific breeze.

From navigating volcanic activity to embracing a new culture, I’ve got you covered with practical advice for your journey.

1. Get Your Pets Checked Out

Hawaii is a rabies-free state, which means strict regulations for pet owners. Ensure your furry friends are up to date on vaccinations and meet the state’s entry requirements. It might take some extra paperwork and planning, but this way your pets get to enjoy the island paradise too.

2. Look Out for Volcanic Activity

Volcanic Activity

Living in Hawaii means being in close proximity to active volcanoes. Keep an eye on volcanic activity updates from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. While volcanic eruptions are not an everyday occurrence, it’s essential to stay informed and be prepared.

3. Embrace the Totally New Culture

Prepare for a dose of culture shock. Hawaiian culture is rich and diverse, varying widely from the mainland United States.

Dive into hula, try local foods like poi and poke, and respect the ‘Aloha Spirit.’ It might take time to adjust, but immersing yourself in Hawaiian traditions can make your transition smoother.

4. Look Up Crime Statistics in the Area

Safety is a priority, so check crime statistics for your chosen neighborhood. While Hawaii is generally safe, like anywhere else, some areas may have higher crime rates. Being informed will help you make the right decision for you and your family.

5. Research the Good Schools and Hospitals

If you have kids, explore your options for private schools and public schools. Hawaii’s education system has its unique features after all.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the healthcare system, including the availability of hospitals and medical services on your chosen island.

6. Downsize before Moving

Hawaii is paradise, but space can be limited. Before you pack, consider downsizing. Leave behind items that hold no sentimental or practical value. It might even be more cost-effective to buy furniture and household items once you’re there.

7. Heard of Island Fever?

Island fever is real and can affect newcomers. The time difference, the constant leisure activities, and the sense of isolation from family and friends on the mainland can be challenging. Give yourself time to adapt and find your island rhythm.

8. Prepare for Bugs

Hawaii’s tropical climate means a variety of insects, from geckos to centipedes. If you’re not used to it, seeing bugs regularly might take some getting used to. Keep your home clean and consider pest control measures to make your living space more comfortable.

9. Figure Out Suitable Transportation


Transportation in Hawaii can be quite different from what you’re used to on the mainland. Will you rent a car or ship yours?

Consider the cost and availability of public transportation as well. Most people rely on cars there, though, so it’s worth exploring your options to make the right choice for your lifestyle.

Moving to Hawaii: How to Pack Successfully for the Island

When it comes to packing for your big move to Hawaii, I’ve got a few pointers based on my own experience that can make your life a whole lot easier.

1. Embrace the Aloha Spirit

Leave behind those heavy winter coats and scarves. You won’t need them here. Instead, pack your suitcase with lightweight, breathable clothing. Think t-shirts, shorts, and, of course, your favorite swimsuit for all those beach days.

2. Island Essentials

Sunscreen? Check. Flip-flops? Check. Sunglasses? Double-check. These items are your daily companions in Hawaii. And don’t forget a reusable water bottle. Staying hydrated is key in the tropical climate.

3. Kitchen Basics

If you’re moving to Hawaii, chances are you’ll want to savor some of the local flavors. But dining out every day can add up quickly. So, bring along some kitchen essentials like pots, pans, and utensils to cook up your own Hawaiian feasts.

4. Electronics

Hawaii is paradise, but we’re still plugged into the modern world. Remember to pack your chargers, adapters, and any electronics you can’t live without.

5. Important Documents

Keep your important documents – like IDs, passports, and birth certificates – safe and accessible. You never know when you might need them.


Is it realistic to move to Hawaii?

Well, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s entirely possible to move to Hawaii. People do it all the time, drawn by the allure of the Hawaiian islands. However, it’s important to be aware of the unique challenges, like the high cost of living, before making the leap.

How hard is it to move to Hawaii?

Moving to Hawaii can be a bit challenging, but not impossible. The biggest hurdles are usually the cost of living and finding suitable housing. It requires some financial planning and flexibility, but if you’re determined and well-prepared, it can be a smooth transition.

Can you live in Hawaii as a foreigner?

Absolutely, Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures, and you’ll find a diverse community here. As a foreigner, you can live and work in Hawaii. Just make sure you have the necessary visas and work permits sorted out before you arrive.

Can I move to Hawaii without a job?

Moving to Hawaii without a job can be a bit trickier. While it’s possible to make the move and then job hunt, it’s often recommended to secure employment before arriving. The high cost of living means you’ll need a steady income to sustain yourself.

To Sum Up

So, there you have it – your ultimate guide to moving to Hawaii, straight from my own experiences.

Remember, Hawaii offers a breathtaking mix of culture, outdoor adventures, and a strong sense of community. But it also comes with a price tag.

The cost of living is high, and finding your ideal home can be a challenge. Pack light, embrace the island lifestyle, and be prepared to adapt.


  • Elizabeth L

    Aloha! I’m Elizabeth L. At LiveYourAloha, I am responsible for writing about sightseeing tours and Hawaiian culture. For the last 12 years, I’ve been working as a tour guide in Hawaii. It’s been a great way to see the world and learn about new cultures. I love nature and the outdoors, and have even climbed two of the world’s highest peaks! Making connections and showing my visitors the incredible beauty of these beautiful islands is a passion of mine. When I’m not out giving tours, you’ll likely find me on an invigorating hike or enjoying local cuisine on the beach.