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How to Move to Hawaii

So, you want to move to the Aloha State. The tropical climate, crystal-clear water and outdoor activities are just a few reasons people leave the mainland to start a life on this island. However, before you pack your bags and wave goodbye to your hometown, there are a few things you'll need to consider. 

Planning a big move to Hawaii? Here’s everything you need to know:

Moving to Hawaii?

Ready to wave goodbye to the mainland and settle down on one of the major islands in Hawaii? We don’t blame you! The Hawaiian lifestyle has rich native culture, delicious seafood and stunning beaches. But before you start the journey by air or sea, there are a few drawbacks you'll need to consider to ensure the island lifestyle is best for you and your family. For starters, you'll need to consider:

Hawaiian Polynesian Family


  • The average cost of living in Hawaii 
  • The fear of natural disasters 
  • The lack of seasons 
  • Travel to the mainland will be challenging
  • Some individuals feel isolated




Preparing for Hawaii’s Weather

The weather, pretty scenery and abundance of things to do in Hawaii make the state extremely livable. The weather is generally great year-round. The best months are April, May, September, and October. The coldest month is February, but even during the winter months, the weather tends to be relatively warm. 

Some parts of the islands also see a significant amount of rainfall. Once you adjust to the increase in rain, you'll find that there are still tons of activities to do even on a rainy day.

However, moving to Hawaii also puts you at risk of hurricane season. Hurricane season is from June to November. You should have an emergency preparedness kit in your apartment or house with supplies that will last you for at least two weeks.

Finding Your Home

After selecting an island, you’ll need to choose a residence. Housing styles are similar to what is available on the mainland. Most people wind up living in an apartment or a condo initially. You’ll also need to decide whether to buy or rent a residence. It may be wise to rent first to decide on location and make sure that you like your new job. 

It’s important to note that housing prices and the overall cost of living in Hawaii are significantly higher than the national average. Before you make the move, make sure you can afford the lifestyle.

Even though there are potential drawbacks to moving to Hawaii, some individuals love the laid-back lifestyle and tropical climate that this state has to offer. 

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Employment and Economy 

Hawaii is not a cheap place to live. The cost of living in Hawaii is higher than it is in many other states. That being said, there are ways to bring your costs down. In Honolulu, you could easily spend around $1,700 a month for a one-bedroom or studio apartment. But, if you rent a room in a house with other people, you’ll save money as this type of lease is around $800 a month.

If you’re heading to an island with a smaller population, houses are more affordable, but you may struggle to find employment.

Food is also priced higher in the state than it is in others because much of it is shipped from the mainland. In Hawaii, food for one person can easily come to around $500 a month. You can save money on food by shopping smart though. Head to the Chinese market first thing in the morning or on the weekends to buy vegetables and fruits. The market sells these items at reasonable prices. You’ll also want to plan to spend more on everyday products like toothpaste, shampoo and cleanser. 

Integrating into Hawaii's Community

Access to the ocean means that you’ll be able to snorkel, scuba dive and surf or spend your weekends relaxing on a warm sandy beach. The ocean isn’t your only option for entertainment since Hawaii is also a state with exceptional hiking. There’s plenty of shopping to enjoy as well as cultural events. Those who live in Hawaii rarely wonder how they’re going to fill their weekends.

Navigating Transportation and Travel

Many major cities in Hawaii have public transportation. You can easily catch a cab to go to dinner, take a shuttle to the airport or get around by bus. 

While a car isn't technically necessary, it will make your life much easier, especially if you plan to live in a more low-key community. A car will make traveling to and from different parts of the island quicker and easier. You'll also be able to drive to all of the beaches and tourist destinations that moving to Hawaii has to offer.

Engaging with Hawaii's Culture and Community

Once you move to Hawaii, you’ll find that "island time" is real and a big part of the community culture. Hawaii time encourages individuals to enjoy life in the slow lane and to let things happen when they happen.

From your daily commute to a more relaxing work environment, life is more laid back in Hawaii. Those who live here understand that the secret to living a happy life is what you’re doing when you’re not at work. However,  you may find this frustrating if you’re accustomed to a more fast-paced lifestyle. But it's important to remember that it's a big part of everyday culture. 

Education and Family Life

According to U.S. News & World Report, Hawaii's school systems are ranked #24 among the states for education. They're also ranked #10 for crime and corrections and #1 in health care. Overall, Hawaii is a great place to consider raising or starting a family, especially if you love the slow-paced lifestyle.

Moving to Hawaii can provide you and your family with opportunities and activities. During the week, you can enjoy a cultural event in your community, and on the weekends, you can take the kids out to enjoy the beaches and outdoor activities.

Enjoying the Tourism and Beaches

Of course, the true beauty of moving to Hawaii is being able to say you live where people vacation! Every weekend is like a trip to a tropical resort with your friends and family. Some of the most popular tourist attractions include:

  • Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden 
  • Battleship Missouri Memorial
  • Waimea Canyon State Park
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Bishop Museum
  • Kualoa Ranch
  • Wailea Beach
  • Kailua Beach
  • Sunset Beach
  • Hamoa Beach

That's just skimming the surface! Depending on which island you decide to make your home, you'll find there's always something to do, even if the activity is simply laying back and relaxing on one of the over 100+ beaches on the islands.

Moving to Hawaii With Reputable Movers

Ready to make Hawaii your new home? North American Van Lines® is here to help you plan and prepare for the big move across the sea. Our team will handle the planning and logistics, source custom crates and help you unpack your belongings. When you work with us over our competitors, you don't need to worry about hidden fees or excessive charges. The price you see for our moving services is the price you pay.

Planning a move already? Check out our moving to Hawaii checklist and other free online resources

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.