Here’s some things you should know if you’re thinking about moving to Hawaii. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition the average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,509 per month in the state of Hawaii. – This was true in 2009-2010, now in 2012 I don’t think so.
Based on what I read in the local paper, rents have dropped some. Not a huge amount, but not the gouging that was going on previously around 05 & 06.
This is an average of the whole state which includes Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and the island of Hawaii. To be able to afford that much rent you need to be making about $30 per hour or $60K per year.
Which island should you move to?
It depends on which island you might prefer. Each has it’s own flavor so to speak. Oahu is called the gathering place. They got that right, there’s about 1.2 million of them “gathered” over there. If you like the big city, then you may want to consider moving there.
Oahu kind of reminds me of L.A. with water around it, but it’s a whole lot safer. Besides all the amenities of a big city, Oahu does have some very cool things about it which would make it a nice place to move to.
Even though the average 2 bedroom rent is $1509 for the whole state you could probably find a pretty cheap apartment down in Waikiki for a lot less than $1500 per month.
Then There Is The Garden Isle
Kauai is small and similar to Kona in someways, but has some of the best beaches in Hawaii. Back in 2009 when the vog was really bad, I was looking at possibly moving there.
It’s really pretty. It’s also really expensive. If I was a serious surfer I’d probably live here because of the great surfing.
Has some great beaches like Kauai. But it also has too many people for my taste and it helps to be rich as it’s probably the most expensive of all the islands to live on.
The Island of Hawaii
The big island is more rural compared to the other islands. And more affordable if you’re moving to Hawaii on a budget.
The further away you get from Oahu the further you get from civilization in some ways. It is the major hub of all the islands.
But if you’re looking for a more laid back way of life by moving to Hawaii, then one of the outer islands is probably the way to go. Read this blog post about living the Kona lifestyle.
Below I’ll share tips for moving to Hawaii. How to ship a car to Hawaii. And other tid bits about living on the island that are important to know about. Like:
- Moving Pets
- Medical Care
Should you ship your vehicles? Or buy them here?
If you have a truck. I’d consider shipping it to Hawaii because trucks sell for a premium here. If you have an average no frills car. I’d sell it and buy one when you get here. Matson, Pasha and Horizon all ship vehicles from the west coast. Just visit my moving resource page for more info. The cost is around a $1000 for the average vehicle.
Pasha only ships vehicles, Matson ships everything. Horizon I’m not sure about.
And while we are talking about vehicles, if you decide to ship yours, it better be something that is popular here on the island. Why? Because let’s say you own a Ranger Rover, all of the sudden you’ve just been limited to about one shop that works on them here. And forget buying parts for it locally.
But let’s say you’re a Toyota, Nissan, Chevy, Ford, Dodge car or truck owner. No problem. Everybody has parts for those and there is a lot of different shops here that repair it for you.
If you just have to bring your yuppy mobile with you, go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Shipping Household Stuff
If I was moving to Hawaii again, I’d sell all my stuff on the mainland before moving to Hawaii and just show up with clothes and a tooth brush.
Nice used stuff is cheap to buy here from folks moving back to the mainland. Such as cars furniture and other household items.
There are lots of furnished vacation rentals here that rent for almost the same as unfurnished places so you really don’t need to even buy furniture if you don’t want to. Now that I think about it, it’s a great way to move here short term to see if you even like it.
Matson will rent you various sizes of containers to ship yourstuff to Hawaii if you just can’t part with it. Listen to the moving to Hawaii podcast episode where I talk more about this.
In the old days moving a pet to Hawaii required quarantine of theanimal for 90 days. And the reason for this is Hawaii is rabies free and the state would like to keep it that way. The state has since removed the requirement for the quarantine if you jump through the hoops correctly. This means if you do the paper work properly you can bring your pet home with you straight from the airport on arrival.
- Here are some of the requirements.
- Your dog will require 2 rabies shots 90 days apart and you can’t ship fido here till after 90 days has passed since the last rabies shot.
- Dogs and cats will require micro chips
- OIE-FAVN rabies blood test.
After the OIE-FAVN blood test you have to wait 120 days before moving your pet to Hawaii if you don’t want to have them in 90 day quarantine after they arrive here. All the rules and forms are available from the state websitefor complete animal info.
If the paperwork doesn’t scare you that the state requires, you can handle it yourself. But if you would rather turn it over to an expert, you might try this pet relocation service to Hawaii if you don’t want to deal withthe paperwork.
Jobs In Hawaii
If you’re thinking about moving to Hawaii and then finding a job.
Think again. There are none. You need to make $50K per year minimum to afford to live here. If you want to eat too that is.
You can live here on less, people do. But when I say 50K, I’m talking living comfortably.
Moving To Hawaii Update Sept. 2012
The job market on the big island seems to have turned the corner in a good kind of way. There are a lot of jobs listed in the local Sunday paper compared to a year ago.
There is a new website with local job listings and more. If I was looking for a job I’d definitely bookmark their site. Hawaiijobengine.com
I still think starting your own business here is the best strategy if you want to live here long term. Or figure out a way to telecommute to your current job on the mainland. It’s not uncommon for people to hold 2 or 3 jobs here just to make ends meet.
I never said this was easy. As a matter of fact I work harder here than I ever did living on the mainland. The price to stay warm… Above I said you should think about starting your own business, just know that Hawaii requires all employers to provide health insurance for all employees that work over 20 hours per week.
And don’t expect the local work force to have the same work ethic you have. Because they don’t. It’s a cultural thing. You either adapt or go insane. I choose to work alone. There are some good workers that live here I’m sure. But they’re few and far between.
Buying fruit at the local grocery store the first time will be a shocking experience. A bag of grapes, some bananas and a couple of nectarines is almost $20. Shopping for food here is not for the faint of heart.
If you shop at Costco you can save a lot of money on your grocery bills. Another tip is if you shop at Safeway or Sack and Save make sure to join their customer discount programs. You’ll save a lot of money.
If you don’t have your Makai or Safeway card when you go shopping… you’ll pay the tourist rates. Ouch!
The good news is eating out seems to be about the same as most places in California. Go to Costco here and buy their rotisserie chicken. You can’t buy it at the grocery store and cook it yourself for less money.
You can rent a nice 2 bedroom condo for around $1000 per month give or take $100. Houses rent starting around $1000 and go as high as you care to spend. For something nice you’ll probably pay around $1600 per month.
Electricity cost is the highest in the nation. Last time I looked it’s between 25 or 30 cents per kilowatt. That translates into a minimum $300 electric bill for a house like mine that has just 2 adults living there. It’s over $400 in the summer when we run the air conditioning. The water bill is about $60 per month, used to be over $100 till I cut back on landscape water. I’m thinking about installing an electric tankless water heater that can save on both electric and water bills in the future. Still want to move to Hawaii?
The upside is property taxes are cheap compared to Ca. for example.
If you have children that you can’t afford to put in private school, you might reconsider moving here. The schools here are severely underfunded and right now have the least teaching days annually than any other state in the country.
If you have serious health issues. Again, I would reconsider moving here. If you have to go to the Kona hospital you just about have to take your own nurse with you. Really.
A lot of doctors have been run out of Hawaii due to the high cost of liability insurance and the low reimbursement from health insurance companies. It’s pretty much a revolving door of specialists moving to Hawaii for a year or two and then moving back to the mainland. Doctors don’t like being poor. I don’t blame them. I don’t care for it either. If you’re seriously injured here, you need to be able to live long enough to be flown to Honolulu as our local hospital is only equipped to stabilize you enough to move you to another hospital on Oahu that has the equipment and expertise to save your life. Remember hearing about Kelsey Grammer having a heart attack here in Kona in 2009? The Kona hospital stabilized him and then he was flown to Honolulu.
Living On An Island
You’ve moved to Hawaii, now what? Some people get totally into the lifestyle and adjust well and live happily ever after. And… Some folks get “rock fever” after moving here and have to move back to where they came from. I just take a trip to the mainland for a week and that usually fixes me for 6 to 8 months. It’s good to travel right?
For some people the culture shock of moving to the aloha state is just too much for them and they move back to the mainland. For others, it’s like they’ve found the place they’ve been searching for their whole life.
One of the things I’ve noticed living in perpetual summer is that time passes very fast and there are no markers of the seasons to associate events passing in your life. Actually there is, but they are so subtle that it takes years before you recognize them.
If you’re still reading at this point you’re probably starting to see that living in paradise does have it’s challenges.
As I write this on an early February morning it’s about 72 degrees with a light balmy breeze. I will say that moving to Hawaii was probably the best thing I ever did. I don’t regret it for a minute. Mark Twain said something to the effect that Hawaii is great for resting your weary bones… I’d happily agree.
OK, you’ve decided you can do it. Visit this page for important local phone numbers for utilities, schools, etc.
The comment below I received a while back…
Shipping “Stuff” via parcel post…..
by Nan’i Joan to Hilo
The advice about selling your furniture and car and buying new or used on the Big Island is sound advice …
I did just that. Stuff that would cost more to replace than mail via parcel post, I packed in acceptable size boxes that arrived in 3 to 5 weeks from California.
My sewing machine, material, etc.($40 to mail) …desk computer, monitor, printer and accessories: 3 boxes ($32 to $45 ea.) All in all I shipped 10 boxes for under $350 and replacement of those items would have been over $2,000.
Things I mailed: only 4 or 5 books (they are heavy) ornaments, silverware, tools, ukelele, artists box of acrylic paints … things like that packed tight with comforters, linens, pillows. The use of paper was only reserved for a few breakable items.
Buy kitchen stuff here and lots of stuff at swap meets, thrift stores and from people leaving the island.
No need for shipping companies or movers if you can do the packing yourself….it will really save you money.
Aloha, Nan’i Joan