How to Move to Hawaii
A move to Hawaii, even from the continental United States, can require much more planning than a move within the mainland. Hawaii has many characteristics - geographical, economic, logistical - that can make relocating to the islands challenging. To ensure that your move is as stress-free as possible, you should carefully consider finding employment and a place to live before arriving in Hawaii.
Choosing an Island
Choose Oahu.The island of Oahu is the most populated island in the Hawaiian chain. Oahu contains Honolulu and Waikiki Beach. This island offers the best chances at finding employment as well as great options for entertainment.
- Oahu tends to offer higher salaries than most other islands.
- Honolulu is the most like other major American cities so it can be easy to adjust to culturally.
- Many of the jobs on Oahu are either tourism or construction based.
Decide to live in Maui.Maui is actually slightly larger than Oahu in terms of geography, but is far less populated. Because of that, Maui is great for people who would prefer less hustle and bustle and a bit more relaxation.
- There are fewer jobs in Maui to choose from, due in large part to the smaller population.
- Most jobs in Maui are tourism or agriculture based.
- Although less hectic than Oahu, Maui still offers lots in the way of entertainment.
Choose to live on the Big Island of Hawaii.The Big Island is, as the name implies, the largest of the Hawaiian Island chain. It offers a similar lifestyle to that of Maui and even Oahu in areas.
- Most jobs on the big island are tourism based, but there are also many agricultural jobs on the island.
- The west shore, or Kona Coast, is where most entertainment and tourism is located.
Move to Kauai, Molokai or Lanai.These islands are the least common places to settle for people relocating to the Hawaiian Islands. While tourism is still a common way to find employment, it is less common on these islands than the larger ones.
- There are also state and federal government jobs available on each of these islands.
- These islands offer the most solitude, but may be difficult to afford due to limited employment options.
Finding a Place to Live
Research the types of homes available in Hawaii.Most of the housing in Hawaii is similar to what one might find in the mainland, but tends to be far more expensive by square foot. As a result, you may want to consider moving into an apartment or condo as opposed to a single family house.
Decide whether to rent or buy.While the housing market nationwide has reduced in costs in recent years, Honolulu is recognized as one of the few places that it is still considered a more economic decision to rent rather than to purchase a home.However, you may still consider purchasing a home elsewhere in Hawaii.
- Homes are more affordable on the less populous islands, but work may be harder to find.
- Leases in Hawaii can be as short as monthly, or years in length.
Decide between purchasing and lease holding.In Hawaii, a large portion of the land is still owned by a few large trusts that remain from the days what Hawaii was a monarchy. As a result, you may choose to purchase a lease-hold on some land.
- It may be difficult to find land that is for sale if you are on a budget.
- Most lease-holds last for 55 years, with payments fixed for thirty years and then adjustable based on the current market.
- Financing is available for lease holds as well as purchases.
Look for a place near your job.If you have already found work, it’s important that you find a place to live near your job. Traffic can be extremely heavy on the Hawaiian Islands and commuting between islands can be difficult.
- Traffic can be so bad in Hawaii that many executives opt to fly to work instead of commuting by car.
- Traffic is far worse in high tourism areas that also offer many jobs in the tourism industry. If you work in tourism or a related industry, you may want to live close to your place of employment.
Contact a realtor.You may have the most success finding the right place to buy or rent by working with a realtor that specializes in the real estate market of Hawaii. First, you need to Find a Good Real Estate Agent, then begin exploring your options.
- Realtors will know of properties within your price range and help you find ones in the area you’d like to live.
- Purchasing a home without a realtor can be extremely difficult.
Use realty websites to find rentals or homes for sale.Even if you are working with a realtor, you can still use the internet to look for places you would like to live. Most large realty websites cover the Hawaiian Islands and can provide you with many options to purchase or to rent.
- Websites like Trulia.com and Zillow.com allow you to search for properties while sorting them by variables like price, number of bedrooms or size of the lot.
- Websites like HawaiiRealEstate.org and HawaiiLife.com both offer similar services that specialize in the Hawaiian Islands.
Prepare for common difficulties people experience moving to Hawaii.There are a few more common issues people tend to run into when moving to the Hawaiian Islands. Some of these concerns are:
- It may be more difficult to locate a rental if you are moving to Hawaii with pets, particularly large dogs.
- Most Hawaiian banks will put a ten-day hold on checks from the mainland, so you may want to open a local bank account and establish direct deposit for your income.
- You may need to have your vehicle shipped to Hawaii, and you will be expected to get a Hawaiian driver’s license and register the vehicle at the local DMV within ten days of its arrival.
Finding a Job in Hawaii
Look into your options.There are many different industries in Hawaii that one can find gainful employment in, but you need to have an understanding of what type of work you’re willing to do and any legal restrictions you may encounter.
- Medical, legal and government positions are among the highest paying jobs in Hawaii.
- Food service and transportation are among the lowest paying positions.
- If you are moving to Hawaii from another country, you will need to obtain a work Visa.
Choose a career field.If you already have an established career, it makes sense to pursue working within the same field once you reach the Hawaiian Islands. However, if your current career field isn’t an option, you may need to choose a different line of work.
- Tourism is the largest industry in Hawaii and offers many great opportunities for people relocating to the islands.
- Agriculture also offers many opportunities for employment on most islands.
- Other career fields common in Hawaii are nursing, education and hospitality.
Reach out ahead of time.Before you make the move to warmer climates, you should begin your job search by reaching out to any contacts you may have in Hawaii. If you don’t have any, use professional social media platforms to establish some.
- Let friends or old coworkers in Hawaii know that you are looking to relocate and would like to know about any job openings they may be aware of.
- Use LinkedIn to find employees of companies you’d like to work for in Hawaii and reach out to them. They may be willing to help.
- Use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to identify companies that you may be interested in pursuing employment with.
Contact a staffing firm.Staffing firms and recruiting agencies connect candidates to jobs for a living and can be a great asset for anyone seeking employment. There are some agencies that even specialize in finding work for people in Hawaii.
- Some companies, like Altres.com, offer only positions available in Hawaii and even list some jobs not available in other job boards.
- Recruiters will look for jobs that match your existing skill sets and abilities.
- Taking a contract or temporary position through a staffing firm is a great way to network as well as finding employment for a fixed period of time.
Check job boards.There are many websites designed to help job seekers find open positions around the world, and Hawaii is no exception. You can use websites to peruse job listings and apply for jobs you may be qualified for.
- Monster.com and Indeed.com both have postings listed in Hawaii, as well as many other job posting aggregator websites.
- Be wary of postings on websites like Craigslist that ask for personal information to be provided over the internet.
- Government job listings in Hawaii can be accessed via USAJobs.gov
Contact employers directly.If you have a specific career field in mind, or you’ve found a company that you would really like to work for, try contacting them and asking about any openings they may have.
- Some companies may have positions open that have not yet been listed on job board sites.
- You may reach someone that can help you land the position you’re looking for.
- Inquire about scheduling an “informative interview” wherein you can meet to discuss the company without any particular job opening that you are pursuing. It’s a great opportunity to network.
Preparing for Hawaiian Culture
Adjust to a higher cost of living.Most products in Hawaii cost more than you may be accustomed to coming from the mainland United States. All products must be shipped to Hawaii, dramatically increasing their costs and utilities are also more expensive.
- Things like electricity can cost two to three times the average price of the same usage on the mainland.
- Dietary staples like milk and other common groceries are also significantly more expensive.
- Property values are extremely high, so housing is more expensive than most places in the mainland United States per square foot.
Understand the risks associated with island living.Living on an island brings about risks that you may not be accustomed to now, but will need to adjust to after moving to Hawaii. While it is a safe place to live overall, you’re at a higher risk of experiencing some emergency situations than you would be elsewhere in the United States.
- Hurricanes and tsunamis are a dangerous reality for those living in Hawaii and other island nations.
- There are dangerous forms of sea life that thrive in the coasts of Hawaii. While shark attacks are uncommon, they are not unheard of.
Prepare your pets.Hawaii is a rabies free state, which means they take the risks brought about by imported pets extremely seriously. You will have to be prepared to leave your pets in quarantine for a period of time upon your arrival to the island.
- Depending the on the age, breed and species of your pet, it will be quarantined for anywhere from five to thirty days to ensure it does not carry the rabies or other communicable viruses.
- Your pet should have all necessary vaccinations before arriving on the island.
- Your pet also is required to be micro-chipped prior to arriving in Hawaii.
Respect Hawaiian culture.Hawaii is a very welcoming place with countless reasons to live there, but it is not without issues. Because of the colonial history of Hawaii, native Hawaiians suffered a great deal at the hands of others through economic, political and even violent oppression. Remnants of the tension between native Hawaiians and people relocating to the island remain to this day.
- “Haole” is a term for “mainlander” and is often used to describe those who relocate or visit the island from elsewhere in the world. It is not always used in a derogatory way, but it can be. You should become familiar with the term and what it represents.
- Be respectful of Hawaiian culture and keep in mind that you are relocating to a place with a rich cultural history.
- Learn the areas that are unsafe to travel in alone or at night. Like most places throughout the world, there are some areas that are more dangerous than others.
- Participate in community events and make friends with the people you live near in order to establish yourself as a respectful haole.
QuestionIs it expensive to move to Hawaii?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMoving is almost always expensive, especially if you have to move your things overseas. You should make sure that you're financially capable of handling moving costs before committing to a move.Thanks!
QuestionIs it really viable to retire to Hawaii?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on how much you have saved up, and how much you are willing to spend during your retirement.Thanks!
What is the cost of moving a car from Kansas City MO to Honolulu HI?
I really want to find a social media group of friendly Hawaiians and locals that I can socialize online with. Where can I find suggestions for such a group?
Can any American citizen relocate to Hawaii?
What does it cost to ship a car to Hawaii?
How do I move a car to Hawaii?
To move to Hawaii, choose which of the islands you want to live on and research your housing options. You can use realty websites to find rentals or homes for sale or work with a realtor directly. If you don't already have a job waiting for you in Hawaii, try to secure one as soon as possible, ideally near your new home. Search online or use a staffing firm to help you find employment quickly, then prepare your belongs and make the move!
- If your job requires a license, you'll need to apply for Hawaii licenses to practice in the state legally.
- Hawaii's Big Island is divided into 9 "lava zones," which indicate the risk level of a lava flow. These lava zones will dictate the price of home or renters insurance as well as indicating the danger to your property.
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