6 Things You Must Know Before Moving to Hawaii

  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: December 24, 2023
  • Updated On: January 24, 2024

Hawaii is a beautiful place to live. There’s no doubt about that. The lush greenery, beautiful beaches, and mountains surrounded by dazzling ocean with clear blue make this place nothing sort of a paradise.

But moving to Hawaii would mean a massive change in your daily lifestyle.

The culture of the main islands of the Aloha state is quite different from the US mainland. On top of that, buying a house is incredibly expensive, traffic congestion is a regular problem, and life can often be pretty slow-paced.

If you can embrace the sudden change in your lifestyle despite the challenges of the island state, Hawaii might just be the right place for you.

But before you get lost in your fantasies any further, let’s talk about the six facts you must know about moving to the Hawaiian islands.

A Vacation to Hawaii and Living in Hawaii are Two Different Things

Many folks dream of moving to Hawaii after spending a week or two vacationing in the Aloha Islands. Who wouldn’t want to, after all? Sunny weather, beautiful culture, relaxed vibes, and tantalizing natural landscape – Hawaii has it all.

A word of caution: living in the island paradise is not all rainbows and sunshine.

Living in Hawaii is different from having a vacation here.

When you’re on a week-long trip to Aloha Island, you will feel happy with almost every experience here and take it in the most positive way possible—even the ridiculously high expenses.

But when you move here, you will have to live with it for years. The different cultures, the not-so-familiar foods, and the super expensive price ranges that beat even the mainland’s most expensive cities. All of this will be your new norm.

In other words, don’t take your vacation experience for granted when you’re planning to move here.

You will still have to go to work, do your regular chores, drive your kids to school, prepare your household budget, and a lot more.

Living in Hawaii Can be Quite Expensive

Yes, Hawaii is a natural paradise. But living here does come at a cost. If you search for the most expensive places to live in the US, you will find Hawaii at the top of the list.

Now, you may ask – how expensive can it be?

According to MERIC’s 2023 cost of living index of US states, Hawaii scored a whopping 179, making it right at the top of the list.

The national average is indexed at 100, and 28 out of 52 US states have clocked below this set average.

In fact, the District of Columbia, indexed as the second most expensive state to live after Hawaii, scored just 148.7 in the MERIC index.

What’s more, Hawaii’s housing index is set at 309.7, making the cost of purchasing a decent home in the Aloha Islands three times higher than the national average.

Our point – living in Hawaii will be very, very expensive. So, make sure you do the math, save enough money, and have an annual income high enough to move in comfortably.

Moving to Hawaii with Pets Can be Challenging

Are you already worrying about how your cute pets are going to endure the airplane ride to Hawaii? Well, this should be the least of your worries right now!

Hawaii has declared itself as a rabies-free state. It means the Aloha state has implemented some of the strictest pet import laws to make sure it stays that way.

For you, though, this means a lot of testing, careful compliance with pet import laws, and a load of paperwork. And you must do them the right way.

Because one mistake on your end and your pet might have to spend its time in a quarantine facility. Clearly, it won’t be a fun experience for either you or your pet.

To find out more details on pet import laws, you should visit the Animal Industry Division of Hawaii website. 

Meanwhile, you should also work with a vet to ensure your pet passes through all the tests and vaccination requirements. If you do everything right, you will meet your pet at the airport right after moving to Hawaii.

Select Your Island of Residence Carefully

The entire state of Hawaii consists of 137 islands. Yet, only seven of them have people living in them. The majority of Hawaii’s population lives in the four major ones, which are Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii (also known as the Big Island).

The culture and atmosphere of these islands can differ vastly. You will find the overall vibe of Oahu to be quite busy, while life in Kauai would give you a more laid-back feel.

This is also true for other islands like Hawaii and Maui, each featuring its own unique characteristics.

So, here comes the big question. Which island would be the right fit for you?

Well, it depends on your preferences. The best way to find out is to visit the Aloha state and make the judgment yourself.

Otherwise, you might end up settling on an island that is too developed or quiet for you.

Insects and Wildlife will be a Part of Your Daily Life

Before you start packing your bag, hold on a bit and ask yourself a question.

Are you ready to deal with cockroaches, crawling centipedes, geckos, and the loud cries of roosters in the night? If you’re tolerant and brave enough to live with them, moving to Hawaii might be the right decision for you.

Hawaii is famous for its diverse range of wildlife with many exotic animals, including whales, geckos, wild roosters, colorful birds, turtles, wild boars, mongooses, and tropical fishes.

What’s more – each island has its unique wildlife.

While Kauai is known for Nene birds, Maui is famous for deer. If you’re looking to have some fun hunting wild boars, you can visit the mountains of Oahu.

Be Ready to Face a Lot of Traffic Congestion

If you’re thinking of Aloha state to be a rural place with big empty beaches, you might want to have a second guess. While it’s true for some places like rural Maui, other places like Oahu and Big Island have over one million state residents.

These places have some of the worst traffic congestion in the entire US. The rush hour traffic is no joke, especially in Kauai, Maui, and Big Island.

Fortunately, to reduce traffic congestion and make public transportation smoother, the state government is running ambitious construction projects similar to the Honolulu Rail.

But still, with millions of people living in limited geographical areas, traffic gridlock is a recurring issue in the four major islands.

Final Thoughts

Although moving to Hawaii can be quite expensive, it’s an amazing place to live. The sunny weather, breathtaking sceneries, exotic foods, and the Aloha culture make Paradise Island one of the best places to live and enjoy a relatively slow lifestyle.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.