Moving To Hawaii

Moving To Hawaii

Here’re 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. Yes, living the Hawaii life is expensive.

Based on what I read in the local paper about real estate in Hawaii, 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 its 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 if you want the metropolitan Hawaii life.

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, but it is some of most expensive real estate in Hawaii.

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 some ways, 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. This is living the Hawaii lifestyle at a very laid back pace.


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 real estate in Hawaii, 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. This is where the best bang for the buck is when it comes to real estate in Hawaii.

Below I’ll share tips for moving to Hawaii. How to ship a car to Hawaii. And other tidbits about living on the island that are important to know about. Like:

Moving to Hawaii

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 and just show up with clothes and a toothbrush ready to start my new Hawaii life.

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 your stuff 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 the animal 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 paperwork 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 microchips
  • 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 website for 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 with the paperwork.

Jobs In Hawaii

If you’re thinking about moving to Hawaii and then finding a job. 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.

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.


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.

Housing Costs

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. The upside is property taxes are cheap compared to Ca. for example.  Check Craigslist for current rental prices in Hawaii for the current rates. I’m sure they’re higher than the numbers I used when I originally wrote this article in 2009. 


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.

Medical Care

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.

Buying Property

Eventually, the whole west side of the big island is going to be built out. And if you think it’s expensive now, just wait a few more years. For a long time, big island real estate was pretty cheap. Not so much anymore. But, compared to Maui or Oahu, it’s still a good deal, though.

I’ve built 2 houses here in Kona and learned way more about it than I ever wanted to. :-)  The key is knowing the right people here. And after 18 plus years in business and a hand full of real estate transactions, I do.

The thing about real estate agents on this island is they come and go on a regular basis. Let me recommend some of my friends that have been involved in Hawaii real estate for many years.

Living On An Island

You’ve moved to Hawaii, now what? Some people get totally into the Hawaii life style 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. If you’re thinking about investing in real estate in Hawaii, I don’t think you can go wrong.


  1. I wrote this page in 2009. I updated this page in December 2011. The main thing that's stayed the same? No jobs here. And don't move here if you're not guaranteed to make 50K min. Or life is going to be really hard.

  2. So not true.

  3. What part is not true?

  4. julie lohrey says:

    Why are there less people living on the big island than the other main islands?

    • The big island doesn’t have a lot of beaches compared to the other islands is one. Another is developing here is fought every step of the way, other wise the place would probably look like Honolulu. There’s probably more, but that’s what comes to mind.

  5. connie sorensen says:

    Loved reading this article, my husband, Scott, and I are seriously considering the move to Kauai, HI…we left the panhandle-gulf coastal town of Fort Walton Beach, Florida after being born and raised there, our first stop was Lincoln City, OR to see some of the country that’s not so flat, and some bigger waves! However sun, warm breezes, palm trees, emerald blue waters and endless summers run thick in our blood…and we find ourselves already considering island living. We honeymooned in Kauai about 25 years ago and fell in love with the smaller garden isle…and would love to make that our next stop on this bucket list of ours! You mentioned renting month to month until deciding on a more permanent rental (we are not looking to purchase at this time), are their rentals out there that are month to month that allow one pet (dog). Also you mentioned utility bills running as much as $400 a month for cooling, is ac a must thing with the all year round 75 degrees? and are there rentals that include utilites as part of rental fee every month? and last are there any good sites for finding low cost rentals that allow pets…we consider ourselves to be minimalist and therefore don’t need a lot! lol. Thanks so much!!! pls feel free to pass on any more information you might have that would help us with the move!!!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Connie,

      Rentals allowing dogs are few and far between. I’ve found them twice though when I had a dog and was renting. So it is possible. Kauai tends to be cooler than Kona where we live, so I doubt you would have to run the AC like we do over here. Especially if you live at a higher elevation. Our house is about 100 ft. above sea level where it can get pretty warm. But if we lived at 800ft. we would never need AC.

      I’ve never seen a rental that includes utilities here. I would check out the Kauai Craigslist for rental prices. Good luck.

  6. I am originally from the big island born and raised, when I joined the military, I was stoked about getting stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas…I was younger then, and I just wanted to get away from ‘Hilo life’, 12 years later, now that I am older, and have lived the ‘mainland’ life for a while, I really miss the slowness of Hilo, going to the beach, hanging out with my family and friends, fishing, and cruzing Kona, BUT, I do NOT miss the prices for food and milk, (haha), competing with 400 other applicants for one job, my own classmates giving me attitude cause I lived in the mainland for so long (they think I am better than them, which is not true), and not having a true ‘dollar store’..and having a crappy school system..all in all, I am considering selling all my stuff, returning to Hilo and living the slow life, and just living simple, I am not sure that my children will agree, but I am tired of driving 6-8 hrs away to go the beach or having a permit to fish. So this website was very helpful to me, on making keen decisions. Like, mailing my sewing machine, and laptop with quilts for example, I would have not thought of that, so thank you, for giving me a list of what needs to go, what can I live with out, and what I may need in Hilo. :) Mahalo nui loa. ~D.

  7. I moved here 3 months ago when my company offered a transfer. I thought it would be an adventure, a new start and a better life. I am miserable!! I cannot find a place to live that is affordable and takes pets (no, not even my tortoise!) My belongings sit in a container at the docks while me search continues. I desperately need a Dr. to get a prescription refilled and cannot find one that takes new patients. For the first time in my life I have breathing issues, I’m told due to “vog!” I miss my my friends, family and pets (a bird!) that had to be left behind due to USDA regulations. Going to the grocery store I feel I need a financial adviser to tag along. Ive seem the beach 3 times in 3 months as I work ridiculous hours. I rent a bedroom and hide my tortoise for $900 a month. There’s a heck of a lot they don’t tell you about living in paradise!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Amanda,

      I would try going to the Urgent Care clinic over by Safeway, if it’s still there. Or the same type of Dr’s office that is in the Keauhou shopping center and see if their Dr. will renew your script.

      I would put an ad in West Hawaii Today saying something to the effect: “Female seeks ohana or similar that will allow a well bahaved quiet pet” or something to that effect.

      Living here and working to pay the bills definitely is not like being here on vacation. Nothing like a trip to Safeway for a little dose of reality.

  8. Mid westerner says:

    We are considering moving out there (to Oahu). We are working with a company and have an offer on the table. The offer is a step down from my current salary. The relocation package is about half what I would expect. I know living in paradise would be wonrderful, but I think I am confusing what I want with what I need?

    Any advice?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Derek,

      I don’t think most people move to Hawaii and improve their inome in the process. I’m sure there are exceptions, but for me it was more about being warm than anything else. It definitely was a step down income wise. But for me, I’ll take quality of life over money.

      But to make it here, you need every fiber in your body convinced living in Hawaii is your destiny. Doesn’t sound like you’re there yet.

  9. Michelle says:

    My husband and I are seriously considering a move to The Big Island from Michigan. Is it possible to live on an RN’s salary ( around $4500 a month gross)? I’d like to know if this move is feasible before I apply for positions.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Michelle,

      I have a couple of long term clients (over 8 years) who are nurses and they do just fine here. So I don’t see why you couldn’t. Just off the top of my head, I know someone that rents a nice 3 bedroom place for $1600 per month and that is typical here. You don’t have to buy heating oil, winter clothes, snow tires etc. If you rent or buy at higher elevations say over 500 feet you won’t need air conditioning either so your electric bill will be a lot cheaper. Ours is about $300 per month, but we run the AC all the time. Our elevation is about 100 feet.

      So yes, I think you could definitely make here comfortably on $4500 per month.

  10. Shannon from Nashville says:

    I am looking to slow down and raise my kid in a low key,” less stuff” environment. Will expect to find private school for him (8 years old) if public school is sub par. I want rustic farm type set up. Hope to find RN job close to home. looking at big island or Kauai. I am setting a 2 year plan to devise my plan. I will rent first and make sure it is a good fit for us ( me , boy and pug dog) . with stick stuff in storage here on mainland and just take tooth brushes. Seems smart. how hard will it be for my kid to fit in blonde headed tennessee by…. any other pointers are very much appreciated.. :)


    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Shannon,

      There is a pretty nice hospital in Waimea, which is also called Kamuela, besides the hospital here in Kona. Waimea has an excellent private school called Hawaii Preparatory Academy. If you can swing it, this is how I would do it. I have a client who’s son went to public school here in Kona and then was accepted at MIT. But he’s the only one ever accepted from a public school here. Many of HPA’s students go on to well known colleges.

      • Shannon from Nashville says:

        I have not ruled out public school entirely. HPA is $$$ and I am sure well worth it. How awful are those frog on the east side? :)

        • Joe Trent says:

          To me, the Coqi frogs sound like crickets, but louder. Some people here actually like them. I guess eventually you would get used to them as you would living next to a freeway. :-)

  11. Jamie Mitchell says:

    I am considering moving to pahoa in november from Ohio. I have been a LPN since 2007 and will coming to Hawaii at a newly licensed RN, I heard nurses do okay financially but I am worried about a couple of things… Do job offers fall through? My son has high-functioning autism, how are is the big island with IEP’s and special needs? How much is private school? Also my husband is ex-military and currently a juvenile corrections officer, and job ideas for him?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Jamie,

      My wife’s grandson is mildly autistic. I don’t really know the details, but I know he’s yet to attend school here. He’s 7 years old and is currently being home schooled.

      Pahoa is about 100 miles from Kona, so I’m not really the one to ask about jobs, schools, etc. over there. Sorry.

  12. Wow. Reading this has been so helpful. My husband spent about 6-7 years of his childhood on Kauai but they moved because his brother was entering high school and was being seriously bullied. We want to move to the big island but we have been fearful of the effects of bullying on our 2 little blondies. I’m a psychologist so I would hope that I could make an ok living. However, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be enough for private school should the public education not work for them. What do you hear about the charter schools on the island? Thanks so much!

  13. Joe, this is by far the best website I have seen for Hawaii info. My husband and I live in the burbs of Phila, Pa. We hate the winters. We are in our 50’s and trying to see if Hawaii is the place for us. We were considering Maui but after reading this I am not sure we could afford it. I have been looking into 2bedroom 2bath condos or a house with the same in Maui to buy. At this point I do not even begin to know what part of Maui to look in. Are there any places in the $250,000 to 300,000 or is this just a fantasy of mine. What are the prices like on the Big Island where you live. Thank you for any help you can offer!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Kathy,

      Mahalo for your complement about the site, I really appreciate it.

      It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Maui, but I still recall it had a lot of tract homes that probably would be in your price range. I did a quick check and found this: I suspect that is what’s typical in the 300K range over there.

      I did another quick check here in Kona and found this: 30K less and sounds pretty nice even though they say it needs some TLC. It’s in a good neighborhood here in Kona. The one in Maui? I don’t know.

      But a friend of mine has place over there, I’ll ask him for the inside scoop on where the best areas are and post back here.

      P.S. The condo’s across the street from us are less than 8 years old and in the 200 to 300 range.

  14. Joe, thanks so much for the quick response. I will look at both websites, and the condos you are in. Let me ask you something about the condo fees, what does it include just maint. or are any of the utilities included. I have been trying to read up on that too since I see some of the fees are really high so they must include some? Are you close to the beaches? I look forward to hearing to hearing about input on Maui.

    Thanks again,


    • Joe Trent says:

      Our house is across the street above the condos. Sorry for the misunderstanding. We are about 1/4 mile or less from the beach.
      View from our house above Alii Cove condos in Kona
      Condo fees do not cover electricity for sure. Water maybe, trash probably. Our water bill is about $60 per month, (we have a lot of landscaping that needs water) weekly trash pickup is $73 per month and the gardner is about $200 per month. So I see how the fees are so high for condo maintenance etc. Check out the Konafriends Facebook page for more photos.

  15. Aloha! Thanks for all the helpful information. I am moving to Oahu at the end of the month and have been searching in so many places and ways to find the best way to send my TV, computer, and printer (plus a few more heavier books and items) through the mail but my cheapest rates have been nearly $350 for just my TV and printer. Where can I ship 10 boxes of stuff for just under $350 like you said?! Coming from California…Mahalo in advance :)

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Jurija,

      Nan’i Joan from Hilo sent me her story and I included it in my article. If she stops by this post maybe she’ll give you the answers you seek. She did say parcel post which would be cheaper than 1st class mail. But it takes longer because it comes on the boat. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

  16. Jill Schultz says:

    My husband has been working in Hilo for what was supposed to be a temporary position since Nov 2012 after losing his job in Idaho. I stay behind with our 11 year son because of school/house. He loves Hilo and his job, so we will be joining him in June. He has a rental already secured, will buy furniture as needed as we go along, and we have started the enrollment process for school. I am using the flat rate boxes to ship the little stuff we think we need. Any semi last minute advice for continued smooth sailing?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Jill,

      Sounds like you guys got it figured out. The only thing I can add is don’t forget your umbrella. 😉

  17. Hi Joe,
    Great website! I’m looking for something even remotely similar to moving back to O’ahu. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Howzit Chris,

      I’m not sure I understood the question. You want to move back to Hawaii, but not necessarily Oahu?

      Glad you like the site. I’m building another site about Kona that is geared towards people who are moving and or already live here.

      You might want to check it out too.

  18. My husband and I have only dreamed of moving to Hawaii from little Rhode Island on the mainland. Your website has given us enough information to seem possible. Thank you. I am an RN so I think I will be ok but my husband is a self employed master plumber; he does pretty well here. What do you know of the licensing process of his trade and is there a high demand for his trade with good pay? He can bill out between $75-$85 an hour here.

  19. Rosi Wilkins says:

    Aloha Joe! Great information; informative and hopefully eye-opening for most of your readers. I am always amazed at people who have never visited the islands (or did a week vacation) and suddenly decide they need to move there. My husband is originally from Houston, but lived on O’ahu for 5 years. He lost his heart to the people, the culture, the food, the way of life. 12 years ago, he took me for the first time and I too fell in love with the islands. I would encourage anyone with thoughts of moving to “paradise” to rent and explore FIRST before attempting to move there permanently. It is not the mainland. Arriving here and expecting what you had at home will lead to huge disappointment. I implore anyone interested in moving to any island, to exercise some due diligence. For us, it is HOME and nothing makes me happier when I am mistaken for being “local”. Mahalo for the read.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Your welcome Rosi! Your post had lots of sage advice. I too am amazed when someone say’s they’re moving here and I ask “have you been to Hawaii before”? And they say no!

      My wife is Pilipino German born in California, since she appears to be hapa, I always let her do the talking when going out to dinner, the hostess tends to always give us a good table. :-) Mahalo’s for your post.

  20. Hi Joe,
    My wife and I visited Maui in February and are now considering purchasing a property on the Hawaiin Islands. We have looked on “Big Island” online and have found some reasonably priced homes on the east side of the island. The areas we like seem to coincide with lava hazard zones 1-3. How likely in the past 20 years has lava destroyed homes or multiple homes in built up areas on the east side? There is a really nice dwelling in Volcano that we may consider, but it falls within zone 1. Can you insure a residence on zone 1? How is the VOG on the east side of Big Island?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Robert,

      There has only been one or two homes in the last 20 years taken by the lava. But they were down in Kalapana which basically was un-inhabited due to previous lava flows destroying most of the structures in the area.

      I’m told that insurance in lava zone 1 is limited. A friend of mine is a real estate broker that I’m going to see today, I’ll ask him if he knows who does insurance in zone 1 besides Lloyds of London.

      According to the vog map I see on the nightly news, it looks like the Hilo side gets a lot less than the Kona side. I’ll reply back to this later this evening with an insurance answer.

      • Joe Trent says:

        Part 2 of Answer for Robert.

        My broker friend says he doesn’t know anyone that offers home owners insurance in Lava zone 1. That doesn’t mean it’s not available though. But it will be hard to come by. I would think twice about it, just because of the resale hassle in the future. I personally would never buy in Lava zone 1 because of just that reason.

        You might think about Ocean View, 50 miles south of Kona, it’s cheap. But, they do get some vog and the road from Kona to Ocean View is twisty the whole way. It’s always something…

        • Hi Joe,
          Thanks so much for the response to my inquiry. I will take your advice and see what Ocean View has to offer!

          Kindest Regards,

  21. Hi Robert,

    Great website…very interesting and informative!

    My husband and I are hoping to move to the Kona area in a few years (4 or 5) when he qualifies for early retirement at his job (freedom 55!) and while we prepare for that, we plan to continue to visit on every vacation in between so that we can be as well informed and prepared as possible. One obstacle is that we are Canadian, so we may have to return to Canada for a period of time every year, and there are probably many other problems and headaches, which is why I’m wondering if you have any Canadian friends living on the Big Island who might be interested in talking to us or visiting with us in person some time to provide any words of wisdom in this regard?

    Thanks in advance for your time!

    Kind regards,

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Kim,

      I only know one Canadian that lives here full time, she just keeps changing husbands… That’s not going to work for you guys. :-)
      I have 6 to 10 Canadian clients, but they’re all snow birds. I did a quick search, seems like you have to leave the country every 6 months.

      I notice this topic comes up frequently in the searches that people find this site with. So eventually I’ll do some serious research for more concrete answers and will post them.

      Robert, :-)

      • Hi Joe,
        So my mission in life is to live and work in Hawaii. I am a Canadian citizen. I am planning on either getting a CGA designation, then trying to find an accounting job or starting a restaurant/food business in Hawaii. Any insight would be much much appreciated!


        • Joe Trent says:

          Aloha Morgan,

          Better plan on being a part-time resident. To live and work here full time you’ll need a visa and green card. Getting those will be the equivalent of winning the lottery. I’ve linked above to the U.S. Embassy for more information.

  22. oops…not sure why I called you Robert! Sorry :)

  23. Christine says:

    Aloha Joe,

    Are there any Porsche or BMW dealerships on the Big Island? The last time we were there, we did not see any. I want to make sure we didn’t miss it.

    We are planning to move to the Big Island and I want to make sure if we should bring our cars there. Thanks.


  24. Vinnie Harris says:

    Hi Joe,
    My wife and I are getting ready to retire. Have been to all the islands several times and are considering Kauai because even the mild VOG really trips off my asthma for some reason.
    Didn’t have any problems in Kauai the 5 times we were there. What do you think it would cost (not including the land) to put up a 1500 sq ft kit home (HPM, Honsador, etc.) with average furnishings. I see these homes online, but have no idea what the labor fees will be.
    Also is there a similar site for Kauai.
    Enjoy your honest and personal answers.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Vinnie,

      The seat of my pants answer to how much it will cost to build is 150K. Plus materials, plus land. I remember it cost 55K to frame our 2 story house back in 2005. Rates probably are less now because construction is pretty slow still. I know people in the construction industry, I’ll ask one of the what the current per square foot ball park is and post back here for a more accurate estimate.

      I don’t know of any website for Kauai that has in-depth local knowledge. But, the good news is, I have a couple of friends who live there to get real information from. Since I’ve had a lot of inquiries lately about the garden isle, I’m going over there soon for some research.

  25. Robert says:

    Hi Joe,

    I will be visiting BIG Island to look at real estate 3rd week of May. We are looking for a condo or vacation rental with a view. 5 days in total split between Kona and Hilo area…..any suggestions?


    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Robert,

      Use the search box at this website to browse the local condo listings for sale. Feel free to ask me any questions about the areas they’re located in.

      If you see something that piques your interest, let me know and I’ll get my broker friend to show it to you. You don’t want to call up the listing agent and have them show it because they represent the seller. Kinda like discussing divorce strategy with the other sides lawyer if you know what I mean.

      • Joe Trent says:

        I just got reminded that if financing, get pre-qualified 1st is the most important thing to do if going to look at property with a real estate agent. Read this article I wrote for more info.

  26. Thomas says:

    Hi Joe,
    I’m exploring relocation to Hawaii. I’ve not been there yet, but am a bit more prep’d for island life than some mainlanders I guess. I’ve lived in Hong Kong & Singapore for the last 12 years & my Filipina wife and I are now living at our place in Manila. I’ve traveled extensively throughout China & Southeast-Asia for the last ten years. I have a job offer in Honolulu. My concern now is to sort out an initial salary that allows my wife and I to get started living there. We are used to living in small flats after living in Hong Kong, so we don’t need a big place. What salary would is needed for us to get a small place near Honolulu and get things going?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Thomas,

      Honolulu is the 3rd most expensive city in the U.S. to live in. According to this site.

      Having said that, there are other parts of the island that are more affordable. But I’m not an expert when it comes to the island of Oahu, I live on the island of Hawaii.

      But I’d say the salary requirement would be similar to live in a nice place in Hong Kong. I remember the last time I was there (both Hong Kong and Honolulu) I thought it was pretty pricey. But everybody says that about Hawaii because they’re mainly familiar with the hotels.

      So to answer your question, to live in a decent area, you would probably need to make $4000 per month minimum. There is a good thread over at Yelp discussing this very topic.

  27. Joe, Aloha

    Why have I been looking for the past two months regarding Hilo and I just found your web site today and all my questions have been answered, almost

    I am retired. A long time ago I was a private fire investigator and worked every fire in the Island. I didn’t realize until I left in 85 for Afghanistan that I had been the only one. And yes we are coming back.
    Question. My wife is a new RN, 4.0 and ready to go. All of the hospitals advertise for RN’s and others and state that you must have 6 months of work experience before a local hospital will hire you but we are hearing that a hospital in both Kona and Hilo will take an RN without the 6 months boots on the ground. Can you help here, I don’t want to call the hospital, very expensive. We are coming, no question about that. Planning a recce in July for 7 days to speak with the hospital but would be nice if we already had an answer. As we get closer to final days I will ask you about 2 bdrm condo above 500ft for rent.

    Mahalo and many thanks//hoseloader

  28. Molly Bache says:

    Do you think one person could support themselves on $32,000? Single, no kids, no pets, very minimal gas usage (ride a bike 95% of the time, vehicle for big trips only). Simply paying for rent, groceries, & utilities?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Molly,

      Yes it can be done, there are people here doing it. I’d look on Craigslist for an Ohana or something similar in the 600 to 800 range.

  29. Good Day Joe

    Things change very quickly since my last posting.I have been recruited for a position with the Hawaii Government, rail division on the new Honolulu Metro. What I need is a reliable property agent in Honolulu. I am looking for a 2 bdrm, unfurnished condo in the Waikiki area,

    Help if you can

    Mahalo Joe

    • Jeremy D. says:


      If I may make a suggestion about your property search? Take a gander at The owner/operator is a broker or agent, but the site is pretty much the best way to self search for housing on Oahu. You can do comparables, search by neihborhood, map, or features…it was invaluable to me when i was looking for a home. They don’t advertise or anything, no registration, and you don’t have to use them as an agent. I’m not affiliated in any way, just thought it could help. My agent is David Buck and he is a super mellow guy with a good attitude. Hawaii Life R.E. I think.

      About traffic and commute times:
      They say Honolulu has the worst traffic in the Nation…I don’t know what their criteria is, but it isn’t a pretty thing. I can’t stand traffic and chose my home and job location to avoid it. If you are working in “Town”, it typically takes 30-60 minutes to get to town with traffic moderate commuter traffic coming from the West side of the island like Kapolei, Ewa Beach, and Mililani. Pearl City and Aiea are probably about 20-25 minutes. I live in town near Iolani High School (for reference) and can get to downtown in about 10 minutes, Pearl Harbor in 20 minutes every morning at 5:30AM. I think a commute from Waikiki to the downtown area, Punchbowl Street and King Street for instance, might take 10-20 minutes without a freeway.

      Oh, and make sure that your property search includes homes/condos that include parking.

      Good luck with the move!



      • Joe Trent says:

        Awesome comment Jeremy. Big mahalos for that.

      • Aloha Jeremy

        Many thanks for your remarks and also a lead. We are looking for a 2 bdrm, 2 bath unfurnished condo in a high rise some where in the Waikiki area and very close the bus stop. My new offices are right down town so the bus is the way to go. I was even told by a friend who works in the same building to sell the car and take the bus. We are anxious to get started.

        Thanks Joe

  30. Steve Webb says:

    Hi Joe,

    Coming to the Big Island to look for land to build a home and retire within the next 2 years. Is the Kohala Coast/Kohala Ranch a good place to be? How about Puakea Bay Ranch? Those areas interest me. Any suggestions for a builder/contractor, and if it’s possible to build for $150/sq foot? Finally, it appears certain pensions are tax exempt. Does it appear the government is looking to end that? Thank you so much!!


    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Steve,

      The Puakea Bay Ranch is gorgeous. I wrote a post about it a few years back.

      The thing you have to be mindful up that way, is making sure you design with the wind in mind. My friend Paul Bleck is an architect and has lots of experience building houses on the Kohala coast. I would be happy to introduce you to him when you’re in town.

      I would love to retire and buy a house in Kohala Ranch someday. Views for 35 plus miles, almost no vog, quiet country living. So yes, it’s a good place to be.

      Paul is on vacation right now, when he comes back, I’ll ask him who his recommendation for a contractor up that way would be.

      As far as pensions and tax questions go, I’d ask a CPA.

      P.S. We built for about $138 a foot in 2005. Not including land. Our house isn’t the same caliber as Kohala Ranch, so I’d expect to pay more up there. But I’ll find out the current costs and write a separate article and let you know when it’s ready in my newsletter. You are signed up for the free newsletter right? :-)

  31. Steve Webb says:

    Thank you so much, Joe! I would love to meet Paul; we will be there the second week of July. My wife doesn’t like a lot of wind, so is Kohala Ranch (up on the hill) have any less wind than at Puakea Bay Ranch? I’m hoping the wind isn’t too crazy! Can’t wait for the article, and I haven’t signed up for the newsletter, but I will look above and see if it will let me do that. Thank you again so much!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Steve, Sorry for the very late reply, but I wanted to talk with one of my clients that lives in Kohala Ranch about the wind before I got back to you.

      They’ve lived there for 18 years and love it. But, there is wind in some parts of the ranch. You’ll see 3 different areas of the ranch mentioned in sales literature, The Summit, The Meadows and The Heathers.

      They tell me the Heathers doesn’t have any wind. The first two I mentioned, Summit & Meadows, can get very windy.

      Having said all that, I called my my architect friend Paul Bleck and asked him to give me an idea of the cost per foot to build the average house in Kohala Ranch. He said from the low $200’s per square foot. From my conversation with him I gathered that $280 a foot would build a very nice house. Granite counters etc…

      Paul has a lot of experience building custom homes in South Kohala, so I asked him what he thought about the wind in Kohala Ranch, he said it’s windy until proven otherwise… but he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve when it comes to positioning the house, landscaping and building walls designed to block the wind.

      I would ask Paul who he recommends for a contractor if you decide to build. I almost forgot to add, I know some of the best Realtors on this island. Be sure to check with me for a good recommendation when you’re ready to buy a lot. Or home, whichever you decide.

  32. Aloha Molly, I'm sorry for the late reply, I missed your comment.
    To answer your question, yes.

  33. Ashley Conzel says:

    Hi, Joe.
    I’m planning to move from the mainland (Arkansas) to the Big Island in the not-so-distant future, and am wondering what areas to avoid. I’ve looked at many sale listings online, but the only way for me to get a real sense of areas to avoid would be to ask a local, particularly one who isn’t trying to sell me a house. I love Kona, but am open to other areas on Hawaii; budget is probably $275K or so. Any tips on quiet neighborhoods/areas would be much appreciated, as well.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Ash,

      I’m waiting to hear back from my friend who’s in real estate what quiet Kona neighborhoods have homes $275K or less. I let you know what he says tomorrow.

  34. Just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for the information you’ve provided here as it proved invaluable in our decision to move here.

    Long story short – my husband and I were full-time RV living and had discussed relocating to Hawaii in a few years. A freak storm wiped out our travel trailer so we decided to go to Plan B and relocated to Kauai just a few months later. We’ve been here for just under 3 weeks now and absolutely LOVE it. The lifestyle and entire island are so laid back – just what we were hoping for. We’re self-employed (just need the internet to work) and didn’t have to deal with job hunting or anything like that which made our relocation far easier.

    Your blog helped us in shipping our vehicle and deciding to pare down our belongings to 2 large suitcases and 2 duffel bags.

    Moving here is proving to be one of the best ideas we’ve had in a long while. Thank you!

  35. Oldguy Nurse says:

    Looking at a job with… an aeromedical transport company… (haha) based in Hilo. Without disrespect to anyone or any company, does anyone have input on moving from the mainland to live/work/play on the big island as a flight nurse? I’m pretty laid back, and could most certainly spend my time enjoying the simple life and a nice fishing boat.

    • Joe Trent says:

      My wife say’s I can’t write stuff like I did in the post about the other side of the island. So I’ve removed said insulting statements and edited one sentence out of your post referencing the above post I’m talking about.

      • Oldguy Nurse says:

        No problem, my statement intent was to avoid company or service bashing, not the area. I’ve already youtubed the heck out of Hilo, and have no issues that I can see, except too many crotch rockets and not enough Harleys. 😉 Forget PC, I found your post very truthful, which was very helpful.

  36. Bud Grovhoug says:

    Thanks for the info…
    I'm a disabled veteran on a fixed income (100% disabled & Social Security).
    My wife is a NMA (non-medical assistant) for me and doesn't work.
    I flew in the Air Force and have been to Oahu many times…my wife and I were kicking around the idea of moving there,,,
    Is there any advice for our situation…

  37. I wouldn't move to Oahu without a minimum 4K a month. And even then I think it would be tough.

  38. Aloha,
    I’ve visited the BI a number of times after falling in love w/ Hilo. I’ve always felt “at home” in Hawaii, so retiring in Hilo made perfect sence when a buddy (former local) did the same about 10-15 yrs ago. I’m about a year away from relocating & plan to sell my Orange Co. CA home in order to buy a place in Hilo. My pension is about 3K, but I’m still young enough to get a job to stay active & bring in a few bucks.
    I plan to ship my (paid-off) Mustang & possibly buy a truck to ship as well.
    My wife is also Filipina & I’m hapa (but I look more haoli) & my 16 y/o son has Down Syndrome. I’ve spoken briefly w/ the Special Ed. folks @ the school dist. HQ & have been assured that Sp. Ed. can accomodate him.
    I have no specific questions, but will appreciate any thoughts and/or concerns that come to your mind.


  39. Deiondrea says:


    Hi! I am relocating I think lolol to Hawaii. I am one of those who have never been, but my dad went last year called me and said this is perfect. I live in a small town in Tx but I have traveled a lot. I have two sons 16 and 7. I am really leaning towards Hilo area. I have a friend that has lived in the Kona area since about ’05, she loves it but relocated through a program. One of my main reasons for locating is my youngest is asthmatic and steady water and a recommendation from his dr to consider moving got me thinking. Why not live some where beautiful. He has gotten worse each year I do own my own home here and considering renting it to offset cost but only if I have too. I make 4000 a month which seems to be your magic number but is that doable for a family of three in Hilo? Is there any neighborhoods that are just not great or schools we should avoid. You mentioned Vog how bad is it in the Hilo area? And is there anything else we should consider? I am concerned now about a hospital or getting him a doctor. I am also a disabled vet is there a VA there? I found affordable housing in that area but I am concerned there is no comment about schools ect on those sites. Ok final question I think lolol! I understand there is a lot of rain? What is a lot and is it unbearable and is that considered a higher sea level? What is the average temperatures like is it cool cold or hot like in Kona? Are the utilities similar to what you pay. Ok I guess I have went too far lolol. Oh by the way we are african american and I like that there is a small town feel not urban city but will this be a difficult transition? We will be there in Oct/Nov for about 14 days to check out the areas learn and visit schools etc is there anything we should add on our to do list?

    Thank you so much and I appreciate this site! Have been researching for months now and it is the best!!!

    • Deiondrea says:

      **I am sorry steady temperatures and near water is best since his asthma is both weather and allergy triggered….

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Deiondrea,

      Hilo is another world compared to Kona. It’s almost a hundred miles away. All I know about Hilo, is every time I go there it’s raining. But, it’s a warm rain! I don’t think they have the vog over there as much as we do here in Kona, but they do get it bad sometimes, from what I’ve seen on the evening news.

      You would be better served asking folks who live on that side of the island instead of me. Check out You might be able to get all your questions answered by people who live there.

  40. We are looking for a house to rent in Hilo. When individuals list on Craigslist and other websites, is negotiating acceptable, or would it be insulting to make a lower offer?

    • Joe Trent says:

      You could ask for a lower rate if you were willing to somehow make it worthwhile for the landlord. Like, I’ll pay you X months rent in advance for X amount of discount.

      You wouldn’t insult me if you asked for a discount. I’d just say no and probably rent it to the next person. Hmmm. It might be risky… :-)

      • Thank you, Joe. That’s good advice. It’s a nice house in the right neighborhood – I probably shouldn’t haggle too aggressively. 😉

  41. Joe,
    I have lived in Alaska for 15 years, and will be arriving in Kona on the 20th of September. I will be working as a Dive Boat Captain, and only spending the winter there, returning to Alaska in late April or early May to run a charter boat here. Any suggestions on items to bring? I want to travel as light as possible, and rent a furnished Ohana. I looked into shipping a motorcycle, and was quoted $2500 by a freight forwarder here, which is insane. I have a 1 ton diesel truck here in Alaska, but it will be staying here…I can’t imagine shipping that there. Anyway, any thoughts/tips/suggestions you may have would be appreciated!

    Capt. Scott

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Capt. Scott,

      About all I can think of is a good swimsuit and a tooth brush! That’s the great thing about renting a furnished Ohana. I really can’t think of anything you really have to bring right now. If I do later, I’ll post back here.

  42. This is a wonderful article…Mahalo…should I dash my retirement dream? I am going to retire from NYS in one year….my hope was to obtain employment in a school district on Kauai for 9 months and spend summers in upstate NY State…(what can I say I am a dreamer…)…it does not sound like I get affordable housing for 9 months on Kauai….any ideas or thoughts? I can take it :O:!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Debbi,

      I like your dream! I would look for what’s called an Ohana. They’re a separate unit off the main house and generally rent for less than an apartment.

    • Debbi, we moved to Kauai nearly 3 months ago and are renting an ohana that is 1BR/1BA, fully furnished. For 2 people we pay $1450/mo (all inclusive, including internet and cable). Not sure what your budget is but there *are* places like this around. This particular one is located in Kapaa. I could give you the pertinent info if you’re interested. We’re leaving at the end of the month for our longer-term rental in Lihue. :)

      • Hey Cherie,
        Yes, I am interested in more information. It is a bit away, so I am not sure how fast I need to act. I plan on moving in July 2014 and staying until the end of the academic school year. :)…Congrats on your new place :)

        • Debbi, drop me an email: cherie at two digital nomads dot com (remove all the spaces first, of course 😉 )

          Thanks! You’ll love it here!

  43. We currently live in expensive Northern California and expect Hawaii to be expensive as well but hopefully can offer a slower less-stress pace of life for us. Is this a good (and realistic) trade-off? We have a one year old son and would like to raise him in a more peaceful and less materialistic environment. What island would you suggest for us? We are looking for good care/schools for him. I work a corporate job and would hopefully find another job before we move there. My husband owns a small business he plans to sell. He’d probably start another business or work for the hospitality industry as he worked for nine years for Marriott. Thank you!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Maria,

      “Is this a good (and realistic) trade-off?” I think so.

      I’m going to answer this next question as if one of my kids (young adults 22 & 30) asked about the schools.

      My answer to one of them would be: If you can afford to put my grandchild in private school, fine. There are a few excellent choices here on the big island. Do not put my grand child in public school here under any circumstance. The teachers are over worked, underpaid and have the least amount of teaching days in the country.

      OK, I’m back to you Maria,

      Your husband starting a business might be a good idea depending on the type of business. Of course I’m partial to living on the island of Hawaii since I’ve been here since 1996. It’s pretty low key. Maui and Oahu are too busy for me. Kauai, Molokai and Lihue are simply too small. There’s a lot of resorts on the Kona side of the island, they’re always looking for people.

      I’m not a real estate agent, so I’m not trying to sway you one way or the other. Just share what I think. Good luck.

  44. Greg Sounhein says:

    Hey Joe,
    Do you know much about growing coffee on Kona as a living? My wife and I just bought land down south of Capt. Cook and plan to make a go at it growing coffee..never done it and we are a bit nervous about the idea, but we are go for it people so we will just have to make it work. We have spent about 6 months over there prior to the land purchase and have met lots of people who are willing to help, so things seem promising as far as the coffee business goes…we have already been warned about the “labor of love” and that it is not easy. For us, we know if it was easy everyone would be doing it so hard work does not scare us.
    The primary reason I am writing you is to see if you know anyone over there that grows coffee as to widen our network of help. Secondly, I have a truck ,a van, two trailers, and a ton of household stuff that I want to bring over there–I am working on reducing all this down as I know less is better…I also plan to buy a Prius or some sort of hybrid electric car to use to get back and forth from south Capt. cook (Honamalino) to Kailua for work while our coffee grows as this takes about 5 years and we need to eat. The truck and the van I was told make sense to bring over and that i should used a covered or enclosed carrier to avoid rust, but to ship my trailers I am finding little on how to do this practically and could use some help in this area. One trailer is a utility trailer (wells cargo) about 20 feet long…the other is a 4 ton dual axle dump trailer that I want to use on Kona to haul supplies to our land from Home Depot, Costco, etc.. Any idea on what the cost is and how to bring my trailers over?


    • Hi Greg,

      I think Pasha ships trailers. I fixed the broken link to the resource page with their contact info.

      I don’t know anything about growing coffee,but it will be easy to make connections once you get here.

      My friends Stacy and Dillion roast coffee, you might check with them for more industry info.

      Good luck on your upcoming adventure. Aloha.

  45. Anonymous says:

    As a 30 something white girl with no kids what are my chances of snagging a Daniel Dae Kim (korean guy from lost) type serious boyfriend if I move to the more rural/affordable areas of hawaii? Obviously, not my only reason for thinking Hawaii would be a nice place to live but cute guys are always a plus.

  46. Vic Balboa says:

    Joe Trent in your honest opinion what island would be a person's best bet in finding work?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Vic,

      Oahu would be the easiest place to get a job. There’s over 1 million people over there. So it’s your typical metropolitan city.

  47. Donna Bednar says:

    My sister and I want to retire to one of the island (preferable Maui, Oahu, or the Big Island). My sister is more concerned about making it there than I am. We would be making with our retirement, social security, and iras about $5500 a month total. We wanted to buy a 2 bedroom / 1 bath condo so that we would not have to worry if anything went wrong with the property. Is this reasonable or am I just living a dream?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Donna,

      My friend Heidi sells property here and Oahu, I’ll ask her to answer this question since she’s way more qualified than me.

    • Aloha Donna, Joe suggested I reply to you. I can help you find a property within your budget on Oahu or Kona. I am a Realtor on both islands! Go to my website and read a little about my credibility. I love my job and I love living here in the islands and I have been selling properties a long time here. I have raised 3 children here and now have 5 grandchildren, that is fun!

      Email me directly and we can narrow down what you and your sister have in mind and find it. Prices are still within reach. Thanks, Heidi
      Heidi White, Realtor (S)
      Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers

  48. Donna Bednar says:

    thanks Joe.

  49. My wife and I want to move to the big island in Oct 2014 Is a year enough time to plan and move. Also I am retired and make about 60k take home and wife is a PCA(personal care assistant) would there be any work for her. Next should we rent first and then buy in six months or so or just buy and move. any and all info a plus. Have a decked out f150 is it worth shipping and wife has a jeep patriot. One more question are there good pest control company's there. Don't hear a lot about pest control. Sorry for being so long winded but want to cover most bases for a smooth move. Thanks a bunch from northern Minnesota

    • Aloha Ken, I agree with Joe, Bring the F150 you will love having it here. I think there is a great demand for your wifes services. Renting first would be wise, you will then find out what areas & subdivisions suit you then shop and buy your dream property. We have Costco, Walmart, or my favorite the mom & pop stores, so you do not have to bring “stuff”.
      Let me know if I can help too. Regards, Heidi

      Heidi White, Realtor (S)
      Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers

  50. Aloha Ken, I think you should rent first so you can get a feel for the different areas. I don't think your wife would have a problem getting a job in her field.

    Good trucks are at a premium here, might as well bring yours, at least you know what you got.

    There are a couple pest control companies here, one's been here forever, the other is fairly new.

    I think I planned about 18 months or so before moving here. I would have moved at the 1 year mark but couldn't due to something I can't recall at the moment. I suffer from CRS… can't remember sqaut.

  51. Thanks for that info, we are moving for sure, if you can remember what things would you have taken with you that you did not or what are must bring items. I try to plan for everything think it 20 years in the Air Force.I am thinking along the line of 20ft container.regardless of cost.and as long as we at it what should we not bring for sure. I know we will take a few books sell the rest selling guns, most household about tools? if we have room should we stock up on bulky stuff like TP and paper towels, laundry soap. If you would let me I would pick your brain clean. and Thank you for this blog it has helped a bunch already. We are doing a pre move trip this winter to set up some things if we can before we move like a PO box if we can. drivers hand book and get a feel I want to move close to kona. we should be able to put down about3 or 400k on a house when we find one and hope to do a VA loan on the rest.I also have a service dog know any rules about that part as he is not a pet but a tool.Again I can't thank you enough for the time you spend helping us land locked people find freedom!!!!

  52. I wouldn't worry about the TP and paper towels. You can buy all that at Costco for same price as you would pay on the mainland. As a matter of fact, everything you buy at Costco here is the same as on the mainland. Same goes for Home Depot and Lowes.

    Any specialty equipment related to business or pleasure, I'd bring that with you. When I moved here years ago, I brought all my shop equipment. On your trip here this winter, check out the local furniture places, you might be able to buy a house full of furniture for less than the cost to ship a house full of it.

    Checkout for information about bringing the service dog. They should know all the info on that and they've been around for a few years now.

    Winter clothes, you won't be needing those anymore. Tank top, shorts, rubba slippa… and you're good to go. Formal wear is throwing on an aloha shirt. :-)

    When you're ready to go look at property, let me know. I can recommend a good real estate agent.

  53. Keep the questions coming…

  54. jessi berg says:

    This was the only site that gave me a true look at Hawaiian life! Not just the glamorous stuff, I went to Hawaii as a family vacation and I loved it, and I knew someday I had to live here. Now I have a brother who lives on the Big Island so I have known about the higher cost of living there but it has not changed my mind on wanting to live there. I am 18 and I’m planning on moving soon. I will be 19 before I leave, I know it is not the smartest decision to make but I have never felt the way I did on those islands, I felt at home the sounds of the waves the culture the music all draw me to it so I feel it is the right step in my life. Now that I explained that, I wish for you to help me figure out a plan, if you would be so kind.
    I have right now 5,000 dollars saved up and I plan to add 1000 by the time I am ready to go. I am a single female and I have no children or pets, I also have a wide arrange of skills so hopefully work won’t be too hard to get, I have looked into a few job offers all with 15.00/20.00 an hour salary’s I figured after taxes I would be looking at around 2,000 a month roughly. As for living I have looked into that also and found different places to live with roommates one that bumped rent down to 500 a month which i could afford. Do a lot of people do that down there? Please help figure out a good plan so when I move, it can be smooth and hopefully I can come out ahead. Thanks

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Jessi,

      You’re brave, ambitious and smart! I wish I had 5K saved. :-) I think I had roomates until I was in my 30’s because the rent was so high. Now, I just give all the money to the bank. Don’t be me. Find a nice room to rent, pay a little more for a nice house that has a Ohana if possible. It’s like having your own apt. without the full price rent.

      Read the classifieds at West Hawaii Today to see what’s available for rent, jobs, etc.

      Getting a job here before you move here is going to be a challenge I think. There are exceptions, but those positions usually require some specialized skill that is in high demand here. Like doctors for example. They can move here with a job the day they get off the plane.

      But if your skill set is “do you want cheese with that?” It’s going to require being here in person. Getting established is tough in the beginning, maybe you could stay with your brother the 1st 4 to 6 weeks? Then you would have a home base that you could go look at places for rent as they come available, plus look for a job in person. As far as plans go, that’s how I would do it if possible. Join our FB page and you might be able to make connections here before arriving. There’s a lot of local residents that like our page and regularly comment. There’s a lot of older (than you) women that monitor that page and live locally that might be inclined to take you on as a roomate, but they wouldn’t necessarily advertise a room for rent in the paper. Just a thought.

      • jessi berg says:

        Thanks so much! I will definitely check out that site. As for my skills “would you like cheese with that” isn’t in my vocabulary as I have never worked at a fast food place. What is in my skill set I think is a little bit more helpful, first; I have a combined 7 years of debate and oral interp training. This means that I can easily talk with angry people and keep my cool, I have also mastered the art of persuasive speaking because of those years spent debating also I have extensive leadership training from JROTC (National Guard) and through the Missouri Lutheran synod, and Zion Lutheran church. Also I have not a shy bone in my body so making conversation and discussing things with people comes fairly naturally. Hopefully with these skills I can get a job at a hotel working at the front desk or at a resort with timeshare customers as a sales representative. If all of that fails, I can sing, play the ukulele, viola, and dance a little (a little hula from my last trip there) and if all of that doesn’t work, because of my heritage (Native American and African American) I look very Polynesian with the curly unruly hair, and lighter complexion and almond eyes. So I could get a job at a those hula dancing dinner shows or something like that. I feel I am a quick learner and very bright for my age I already completed a year of college before my 19th birthday because I took 9 credits before college even started. I was a global studies major with a minor in communications and theater.
        As for a place to live, my brother will be leaving before I get there because he is a marine and is being deployed in December to Okinawa japan, if you know of anyone who would be willing to put me up for a few weeks could you give them my email? I don’t really know how this works… but I have been looking for small homes because now I have a friend who wants to join the adventure. So now we have a budget of around 1k a month. Thank you so much for your help!

        • Joe Trent says:

          I knew that cheese comment was dangerous. :-) Since you don’t mind talking to angry people, the rental car agency’s are always hiring out at the airport. Warning, they eat their young…

          I was trying to put myself in your shoes today after reading your comments. Craigslist had some nice sounding rooms for rent at around $650. But the one that caught my attention for you was this one. It’s a good example of what can come up when you keep your eye on Craigslist, if you were ready to move now, it might be perfect for you. Yes, it’s short term, but the price is right and it would buy you time to find a nice long term place to live.

          I will tackle work and transportation issues tomorrow night or Saturday. I know I didn’t write a lot, but I put a lot of thought into this today. I did check the 2 hostels here, I wouldn’t recommend either one of them. Renting a room is the cheapest, easiest way to get started here. You don’t have to put up money for deposits and utilities.

          Stay tuned…

          • jessi berg says:

            I wanted to let you know your link doesn’t work but I will hop on craigslist now and see if I can spot your deal. also honestly I can move at any time so if the price is right we may be having breakfast tomorrow on the beach :)

          • Joe Trent says:
          • jessi berg says:

            also what island do you recommend? I was thinking the Big island but Oahu might be calling my name.. ok that’s all for now!

          • Oahu would actually be an easier move for you. They have a good bus system so you wouldn’t have to buy a car right away, and there are a lot more job opportunities over there. I would recommend Oahu as the easier move for sure.

  55. OK one more question.
    To fit in better I would like to learn to speak Hawaiian properly are there classes one can take to help with that.
    I have read a little about it.But to have someone speak it, and learn that way, is faster for me. Don't want to be mistaken for a tourist for ever.

  56. Sorry I lied have more questions
    Can I get a P.O box there this winter that will take UPS stuff or is there like a u pack it that has P.O box that have a real address so I could send mail and boxes in advance of our move to Kona.

    It could be I am over planing things or could have Island fever because they say it is going to snow on Monday.

    I do tend to over plan and over think thing's But a good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow.

    Or should I go with the flow and just let thing happen?

    Again I thank you for letting me bend your ear. But you have lived there long enough to know what I don't and knowledge is everything.

  57. Please call me Joe. Mahalo. There's your first word. 😉 I don't know if there is any Hawaiian language classes on this side of the island. Check out my friends <a href="; target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hawaiian language site</a> for words and audio pronunciation. I doubt most of the locals know how to speak the language, so don't worry about being a malahini. (new comer).

  58. I am

  59. Please call me Joe. Mahalo. There's your first word. 😉 I don't know if there is any Hawaiian language classes on this side of the island. Check out my friends <a href="; target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hawaiian language site</a> for words and audio pronunciation. I doubt most of the locals know how to speak the language, so don't worry about being a malahini. (new comer).

  60. Ken Jackson , Check with I seem to recall they might offer an address where you can ship boxes to. I'll have to check into it when I get more time.

    I always work from a checklist (plan). So you won't get no argument from me about planning.

  61. Your advice to sell all the material goods and the car is the same advice my friends from Oahu have given me. If you come without a job, which I will be doing, they mentioned that it takes time to get set up in Oahu and you should come with some money, at least $5K as it’s like moving to NYC. The slow lifestyle and eternal sunshine is not a worry, I grew up at the beach in SoCal, but the job market is a worry. As a haole with an MBA and a variety of professional experience from tv production to non-profit, do you think the professional job market is robust enough and is Oahu full of people like me? I have researched the job market and it looks like there are a handful of very specialized jobs at the $50K mark. Your thoughts on the job market for highly educated folks that don’t work for a hotel chain and and are OK with $50K? I’m moving anyways but would love all the advice I can get from a longtime resident. Thanks.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha DC,

      When I think about Oahu, the slow lifestyle doesn’t come to mind, #2 worst freeway traffic in the country is what comes to mind. If I took a job for 50K after earning an MBA, I’d want my money back from the school I got it from. But, having said that, nobody moves to Hawaii for the chance to make big bucks.

      Your thoughts on the job market for highly educated folks that don’t work for a hotel chain and are OK with $50K?
      I’m not really qualified to talk about the Oahu job market since I don’t live there and I’ve never looked for a job there. But I will tell you this, if you really know your industry, you’ll have a better idea of the odds of getting hired in your profession than I.

      Like I said, I’ve never looked for work over there, but, I know my profession and the challenges of finding super qualified people. I could go there and get a job within a week or two if I wanted, because people with my specialized skills are hard to find. I would think the same thing about TV production people, which is good for you.

      Good luck on your move DC.

  62. Joe Trent- Joe thanks for all your information and thank you for letting me call you Joe.
    Next question I have not found an answer to is. Should I bring my genny for power outages. and storms. or is power outage not a problem
    Also look forward to using you shop for my truck when I get there. From what I have read you must run a first class shop. And I know I will need brakes and an alignment by the time I get there.

    By the way it did snow here yesterday! But knowing this is my last winter makes it less painful.
    As always Thank You for your time and knowledge.

    Ken Jackson malahini

  63. Ken Jackson, Nothing like a good generator. Yeah I'd never sell that. I think the longest power outage we've had was 2 or 3 hours. And I can't even remember when that was. It happens, but not very often.

  64. My wife could possible be appointed to a government position on Oahu, something I've dreamed of. (We've vacationed on 4 islands in the past.) If appointed our move would be totally paid for, vehicles and all, plus travel dollars, living money until settled and the job is $120k+ year for 2-3 years minimum. Other than being far from children/grandchildren, tell me this isn't a great opportunity? Is it true when you live in Hawaii even your enemies come to visit? 😉

  65. Aloha Hal, Yes, even the in-laws want to visit. :-) Your situation is so good you better pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming… :-)

    You watch Hawaii 5-0 right? That's Oahu, what's not to like? Start packing…

  66. RD Thompson says:

    Aloha Joe! I was really thinking about doing a teaching tour, but I know in order for me to be the best teacher for this experience, my lifestyle should reflect it.

  67. RD Thompson says:

    What is the best rental housing in O'ahu or the Big island

  68. Aloha RD, I don't have a good answer right now.

  69. Hi!
    I’m looking into moving there, not sure where we will settle yet, but I have a few questions I was hoping you could help or direct me with.
    I am Canadian and will be coming there as a LPN (licensed practical nurse) . I’ve read that it’s called LVP in most states.
    I’m curious to know if there is a high demand for nurses? Where are the major hospitals located?
    Do you know anyone that’s come over and been successful in finding a reliable position?
    I’m also considering going to school there as well to complete my RN/BSN and would love feed back on the university of Hawaii, and if it’s worth continuing my schooling there.
    It would be my partner and daughter coming over, and our two dogs.
    Also would love feed back on private schools as she will be starting school there. I’ve heard it’s a no-go with the public school system there.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Alii,

      I know the hospital here in Kona has a lot of openings for nurses, but Oahu would have the best schooling choices for both you and your daughter. Bringing dogs and renting is almost mission impossible. Very few places rent to pet owners here. Your situation is about as hard as it gets.

      I looked at hiring a Canadian once, the paper work for the employer is a nightmare. I know lots of Canadians that come here for the winter. But not move here and work. Goodluck.

  70. I should mention we where thinking of Kauai as my partner is really drawn there. But we are open to getting there and relocating after my schooling/ or for a job. I know we would like to rent and be very close to the water either way.

  71. Peter Gratton says:

    The University of Hawaii is super expensive. I worked for 24 years at UNLV [Las Vegas} and we had a lot of Hawaiian students because even with resident status the cost was around $18-$20,000 per year. Here is the site for current costs.
    I think your ideas are fine but the costs are much higher then you are estimating. Near the water means $$ in most cases. Also JOBS are low paying with high living costs. You need to be hired before you get to Hawaii or have the $$$ in the bank.
    Be very careful when doing ALL the paperwork for your dogs as any mistakes will mean quarantine for the pups. Required shots plus time between shots and time after final shot add up to quite a long time.
    Good luck take your time
    PS I was looking at buying a condo and living part time but looks like a long vacation is all I can afford at $50,000 a year income.

  72. We got offered work in honolulu. No kids. Making sixty btwn the both of us. Is this doable.

  73. Aloha Pamela, I'm sure there's lots of couples over there living on less. So, yes, it's doable.

  74. Hello to all, I am a Chef considering moving to Lanai, there’s a really good job opening with a local resort, I do have kids and pets… My main concern is my 12 yr old son, he has juvenile diabetes(type 1) and I need to know how accessible is an endocrinologist for his quarterly visits, I know his meds would have to be delivered since there are no pharmacies in town, we live in Texas (semi country) and I want my kids to grow in a more natural. Environment.. Thanks ahead for all your help

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Crystal,

      Oahu will have the medical care you need, Maui might. Either way, most likely you’ll be flying to and from to see the Dr. If you have Kaiser insurance through your new employer, they “might” have a specialist visit the island every month. That’s what they do here on the big island.

  75. MIkel kohen says:

    great web site. I am a divorce disabled veteran who receives around $60,000 in benefits. I am looking to live in pahoa or hilo. I am moving from oregon (2 year) and grew up in California so high rent and cost of living not huge. I live very simple and live in a place that is 600 sqf with two kids. Do you think I would survive there on my income?

    • Aloha Mikel,

      Glad you like the site. It’s definitely cheaper to live on the Hilo side of the island than the Kona side. You must like rain to live on that side, that’s why it’s cheaper. It will be like Oregon, but warm.

  76. MIkel kohen says:

    I do love rain actually. I was born in Arlington Va. And lived in Nashville for a while were you get warm rain. But we also got tornadoes and lightning storms.I have gotten used to the rain here in Oregon but it is more like light rain that just happens a lot. If it is like Oregon but warmer then perfect!

  77. Aloha Joe,
    Appreciate the good and candid information/feedback and somewhat entertaining on the site…..I’ve been out to Honolulu, Oahu and to Kona, Hawaii a few times, my first was for the Ironman tri back in 1983, 1984, 1997 and again in 2003. I also lived in Kailua-Kona for six months. They are very unique and beautiful places.

    Since then I’ve lived in NYC, Bay area of CA, Europe, the UK and NZ……After living in these places, Hawaii, isn’t really that expensive, housing is actually less expensive than San Jose, CA, London, UK and Manhattan, NYC and parts of NZ,…utilities and food are all about the same…

    Times have surely changed out on the Big Island and the entire Hawaiian Island chain. Back
    in 83′ it was really all about very basic living, there wasn’t any WalMart, Costco, WholeFoods markets, it was a very down to earth grass roots living type of place, no pun intended.
    We used to be able to pick various types of bananas, coconuts, guava, papaya right from the trees and eat them….

    What do you see from your time on the Big Island as the biggest differences, changes, since all of the time that you’ve been there for the better or not?

    My wife, children and I are considering a move to either the Big Island or Oahu. For work, Medical profession, Doctor, Exercise Physiologist, Sports physiology business…how do you see the marketplace?

    What type of businesses are generally doing well nowadays?

    Where do you see any specific employment needs or challenges and where geographically speaking on the Kona or Hilo side for the Big Island?
    if possible on Honolulu, Oahu?

    Travel and tourism were/have been the employment mainstay for many people in Hawaii, is that still the case?

    It used to be that people would work two to three part time jobs just to be able to live there, is that still quite common?

    How is the job market there in general?

    Thank you

    • Aloha Todd,

      It’s great that you’ve lived all over the world since it gives you a more rounded view of what it really costs to live in some of those areas compared to Hawaii. When you get right down to it, Kona’s still a pretty good deal.

      What do you see from your time on the Big Island as the biggest differences, changes, since all of the time that you’ve been there for the better or not?

      Positives: Divided Highway from the Harbor to town. Anekea Highway from Palani to Hina Lani. New Saddle road. Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Sports Authority, Sears Outlet store. None of these were here when I moved here 17 years ago. Going to Hilo or Oahu for serious shopping used to be the norm, now? No need for the most part. And as you mentioned, Walmart and Costco are here too.

      Negatives: A lot of people still work 2 jobs to pay the bills.

      My wife, children and I are considering a move to either the Big Island or Oahu. For work, Medical profession, Doctor, Exercise Physiologist, Sports physiology business…how do you see the marketplace?

      Hawaii is always short on Medical professionals, so jobs are not a problem. But the liability insurance for doctors is super expensive, a lot of them sign on with Kaiser Permanente since Kaiser can shoulder the burden more easily. The low reimbursement from HMSA has chased many doctors out of Hawaii.

      What type of businesses are generally doing well nowadays?

      Good question. When I figure it out I’m going to start one.

      Travel and tourism were/have been the employment mainstay for many people in Hawaii, is that still the case?

      Yes, tourism is still the main economic generator in Hawaii.

      How is the job market there in general?

      A couple years ago there were few jobs in the local newspaper. Now there seems to be a fair amount of low paying grunt work type jobs advertised. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any high paying jobs out there. They’re just not publicized in the local paper. For example, a mechanic with the right skills and experience can easily find a job here. A computer programmer? Probably not. Both of those jobs could be available on Oahu, but not in Kona or Hilo.

      1.2 will buy my house and business right now. Now that I think about it, I think that’s a good way to move to Kona, buy your own job. Hmmm. I should expand on that by writing a separate article.

      Thank you for your great comment Todd, it was really more like a good post.

  78. Aloha Joe,
    Nice to hear back from you so soon, we greatly appreciate the information…..



  79. My Husband and I are considering moving to Hilo, we have been doing quite a bit of research and my biggest concern is finding jobs! I have read that if you are in the medical field or in the computer industry then there shouldn’t be a problem is this true? I am a web designer for a large hospital system in Michigan and my husband is a transcriptionist. Our other concern is how much money we should have when we make the move in order to get settled?

    • Aloha Megan,

      I really don’t know much about Hilo, other than it rains over 160 inches per year and is about 100 miles from Kona. But I can tell you that computer jobs are few and far between in Hawaii. Oahu would be your best chance for that type of work. Hilo? I doubt it. Sorry to be less than positive, just trying to be honest.

      The common joke here is “How to have 1 million dollars in Hawaii? Bring 2 million with you…

  80. James Bailey says:

    Can a family afford to live on one of the islands with a single income from S.S. Disability?

  81. Aloha James, I'm sorry to say, no. I don't see how that would be possible.

  82. James Bailey says:

    OK than you Joe

  83. Mary Grace Boreen says:

    Oahu, sell antiques or ship, bills

    Been to Oahu 2x. Feel inner peace and joy there. 66 yrs old. VET. Move w/be from KS. Have bills. Sell antiques ? Costs $5-7, 000 to move them. 2006 Hyundai – sell? or ship car for $1, 000? Rent close to Laie. Don’t like bugs. Lots to do before moving. But I am motivated to move. Anyone have comments.

    • Aloha Mary,

      I can’t advise you about the antiques or renting in Laie, but the car and the bugs I’ll take a stab at. Finding a like quality car on Oahu shouldn’t be hard. So I’d probably sell yours on the mainland. If it was something special, of course ship it.

      As far as the bugs go, wait till you see the size of the cockroaches! :-) It just depends on the area you live in. Some have no bugs at all. And others are like a day at Jurassic Park. Hopefully someone who knows more about Oahu will share more info with you.

  84. Greg Moore says:

    Hi Joe,

    My wife and I are thinking of moving from California to Naalehu. We’re currently looking into medical coverage and were wondering if you had any information, experience or recommendations about companies.

    Were both retired and I will be starting on Medicare in 2014. Medicare recommended
    Akamai. We are currently with Kaiser but they do not cover the 96772 zip code.


  85. great blog awesome comments and answers , I was born and raised in oahu, my uber smart 10 year old daughter Maile and my husband and I are moving in 9 mos we live in North florida now , we have everything planned, shipping our furniture 2 cars and dog I know the big island well so Im not worry about housing or location , but schools that seems to be our biggest obstacle either we move and I home school or pray she gets into the charter, private school is way beyond our means I can afford to stay home and home school her as my husband job allows it Im afraid ill get back over there and being the public school system just sucks my daughter will be just not do well any ideas on what to do?

    • Aloha Mailemw,

      I would try for the charter school until she got in. Since she’s smart, even if she go’s to public school she’ll do well no matter what. Food for thought… Ellison Onizuka went to public school here and did well.

      My laundry guy’s son went to public school here and will graduate from MIT soon. Note, he’s the only kid to ever go to MIT from a public school here on the big island.

      Just food for thought…

  86. I appreciate the comment, we are in debate either home school or cross my fingers we get into a charter school I have been in touch with some of the private schools, OUCH the fees are like something from NYC or LA. being a small rural town in the South where we live now , school seems to be our only obstacle and medical but its a hurdle we can get over,

  87. Your site is amazing and very informative!

    My wife, two boys and I have been to Hawaii 4 times and we have the bug. I am trying to do my due diligence about moving to Hawaii but my first of many hurdles is we are Canadian. Is there any possibilities that you know how a Canadian family can move to Hawaii or should I stop here!! I am trying to get further information on the immigration laws but are getting conflicting messages. You mentioned snowbirds but I am tired of spending money on airfare each time times four family members. To be honest I would like to put it towards paying off a mortgage than airplane food. We spend more money paying for gifts for family members and it would be nice if they came to Hawaii themselves to our house!!

    I have seen and heard of Canadians moving to Hawaii but i don’t have the whole story
    Any help would be appreciated!!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Mike,

      There’s only 2 ways that I know of that a Canadian can move to Hawaii. Actually there’s 3, but I don’t think you’re willing to marry an American to move here. :-)

      1. If you’re a millionaire, you can buy U.S. citizenship. 2. Find a job here that the company will do all the paperwork for you to get a work visa… I considered hiring a Canadian once, until I read the requirements on my part to hire him. It’s a mountain of paper work for the employer. If you have some super special skill, that might be the way to get here. But I wouldn’t put too much hope in that. 3. You can legally live here part time, but you have to leave the country like the snow birds do. I don’t know the particulars of that, but it’s probably every 6 months and you have to be out of the U.S. for x amount of days before returning.

      The only means to move permanently to the U.S. is to be sponsored by a relative or an employer. Please review this guide from the State Department for more information on the process of obtaining an immigrant visa. ~ U.S. Embassy.

      • Hey Mr Trent

        Thanks for your advice

        Unfortunately the first option is out for me. There was an error when I clicked on it. It is probably me but I was just checking.

        Also, I own a retail clothing business in Canada and I was wondering if I was able to open one in Hawaii. What are the requirements? Does Hawaii need another T-shirt company?

        Happy New Year!!

        • Joe Trent says:

          I’ve fixed the link and added another one for more information on how a Canadian can move to Hawaii. As far as the t-shirt business goes, getting in business here is easy, staying in business is a whole different animal…

  88. BTW we have 3 feet of snow and it has been an average of -22 degrees fahrenheit

    Not that I am complaining or anything. It’s Canada!!

  89. Hello Joe. My husband and I are starting our plans to move our family of six to Oahu from Michigan. Our son has brain cancer and we want to enjoy everyday we have with our kids in the warm sun! We have heard good things about pediatric cancer research in Honolulu. Do you know anything about that? And I would love thoughts on how to prep for the move or organizations for children with cancer. Thank you!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Andrea,

      I’m sorry to hear about your son. I don’t have any information that could help you in that area. I would recommend posting on the Oahu forum for feedback. Folks that live over there are going to know more about moving to Oahu than me since I live about half a dozen islands south of there. Good luck.

  90. Jessica Estep Tam says:

    I am a nurse and my husband is going to nursing school. Could my husband and I live in Hawaii comfortably on two nursing salaries? If so, where would be the best location for us as far as price and being close to everything?

  91. Aloha Jessica, Yes, you guys would be just fine. I have to long term customers who are both nurses and they make good money here and drive better cars than I do!

    As far as being close to everything goes, it sounds like Oahu might be just right for you. Kona is very rural compared to the big city.

  92. Jessica Estep Tam says:

    Thank you :-)

  93. this si to reply to Jessica , being from oahu we live in North Florida and are moving to the big isalnd later this year , after bills are paid and house is sold, I am a nurse and let me tell you that is the best profession to be no matter what island, you are not going to be a millionaire but you will be able to pay bills buy food and pay for gas with this job, put in for jobs off the hawaii job sites you’ll be amazed what offers you get , the specialty jobs for nurses oncology, ICU , ER and pediatrics with L&D are the best. you just have to get your HI license and take the test again when you transfer.

  94. this is to reply to Jessica , being from oahu we live in North Florida and are moving to the big isalnd later this year , after bills are paid and house is sold, I am a nurse and let me tell you that is the best profession to be no matter what island, you are not going to be a millionaire but you will be able to pay bills buy food and pay for gas with this job, put in for jobs off the hawaii job sites you’ll be amazed what offers you get , the specialty jobs for nurses oncology, ICU , ER and pediatrics with L&D are the best. you just have to get your HI license and take the test again when you transfer.

  95. Great info here Joe. Me and my wife are thinking about a big move to HI from wisconsin, sick of the winters here. She is an RN and I work for a preservation company, [Trashig out foreclosures, cleaning them, and get them in shape for sale] any oppurtunities for me over there?

  96. Aloha Joe. So glad I stumbled upon your site. I have been vacationing in Hawaii for many years now and love Kauai. I will be retiring in a few years and dream of moving there. Is it possible to buy a modest condo and live on approximately $55,000/year? I watch HGTV Hawaii Life and they say “you don’t have to be rich to live in Hawaii…. You just gotta want it”! Well I want it :) . Thank you so much.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Gerrie,

      Was HGTV Hawaii Life on tonight? You’re the 2nd one tonight mentioning the show, earlier I got an email asking for information. I’ve only seen that show once, and I remember when they said, “you don’t have to be rich to live in Hawaii”, thinking to myself it sure helps. :-)

      With an income of 55K per year, I’m sure you’ll be fine. Check out the Hawaii Life MLS for Kauai and when you’re ready to get serious let me know ( and I’ll introduce you to a good real estate agent on Kauai. Sign up for my free Hawaii photo of the day to keep a daily reminder if you like.

      • Thank you so much for the prompt reply! Yes Hawaii Life is my favorite new show and is on with new episodes on Sundays and reruns during the week. I am thrilled to hear that my dream just might come true !

  97. My husband and I are tossing up the idea of moving to Hawaii currently in Houston TX. I am a office manager with Quickbooks i do A/P and A/R. My husband is self employed He is licensed in HVACR he also does a lot of work for property management company’s as a repair tech. He has over 30 years experience doing drywall and construction, minor plumbing and electrical. How difficult do you think it would be find jobs in those fields. And what Island would be the best for that. We have two children in college so they won’t be with us but we have a 6 year old that would.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Gina,

      Since you’re used to city life, Maui or Oahu would be closer to what you’re probably used to. The big island (Hawaii) where I live is more country like. Same goes for Kauai.

      You and your husband could find work here since you’re both skilled. The downside is the pay is probably going to be lower than what you make on the mainland. But, right now it’s January and 80 degrees. :-)

      • lol. I grew up in a small town and my husband grew up on a horse farm. We live in a suburb of Houston in the country. I actually hate the city and the traffic that goes with it..We live on an acre I don’t like neighbors right on top on me. so would Kauai or the big island be best? I saw that for what my husband does he has to be licensed in Hawaii I don’t think you can transfer licence from another state. But you also have to be a resident to apply for a license.

        • Sorry about that! The big island is your best choice now that I know a little more about you and what you like. I would have your husband contact ACS here in Kona to inquire about work. They are the largest AC contractor in West Hawaii and I’ve seen them run ads in paper looking for help. And you’re probably right about not being able to transfer his license. Who knows, they might even have a spot for you too!

          • Thank you so much for your responses..I woke up this morning and it’s 30 degrees.
            I really hate the cold weather.. I will look into ACS thanks for your help.

  98. Aloha Joe,
    I wonder if you wouldn’t mind illuminating on what you’ve heard and/or know about, experiences are, on how the Hawaiians, “locals”, feel about “Haole’s” living and moving to the Big Island? Any aggression, hostilities, animosities towards outsiders?

    Definition of HAOLE – from Websters
    sometimes disparaging
    : one who is not descended from the aboriginal Polynesian inhabitants of Hawaii; especially : white

    Also, have you heard anything regarding the “natives” receiving any sort of preferential treatment over any of us transplants, “Americans”, with respect to becoming gainfully employed on Big Island?

    I had heard about some experiences of people recently in Hawaii, in the past six months, where they’ve stated they had the credentials and background, but that preferences were given to the locals instead of others who were well qualified and experienced…Hawaiians first, was the motto…that the so-called locals don’t like others moving in and taking opportunities away from them…

    In addition, can you please discuss about any Preschool and Daycare options on the Big Island? Have you heard of any bullying taking place?…

    My wife and I have a three year old and would prefer a Montessori approach, if available.

    Mahalo, Joe


    • on how the Hawaiians, “locals”, feel about “Haole’s” living and moving to the Big Island? Any aggression, hostilities, animosities towards outsiders?

      There are some Hawaiians that aren’t too thrilled about haole’s living here. I don’t blame them when I think about how the U.S. government stole their country. I’ve lived here 17 years, there are places on the island that I just don’t go to. Just like on the mainland.

      Also, have you heard anything regarding the “natives” receiving any sort of preferential treatment over any of us transplants, “Americans”, with respect to becoming gainfully employed on Big Island?

      Of course some of the natives give each other preferential treatment. Just like the good old boy’s do in every small town in America. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be discriminated against, you’ll probably get a taste of it here.

      Child care and bullies.

      As far as bullying goes, there are mean girls everywhere. Having said that, I have hundreds of clients here that are born and raised here or moved here from somewhere else and everyone for the most part gets along. It’s what one chooses to focus on that is going to decide their view of life living in Hawaii.

  99. If my girlfriend and I were to move, would it be possible if she was a bartender and I was on disability?

  100. Kaye Mann says:

    My computer “skills ” are remedial at best so finding what I need is frequently fumbled. I first arrived in Hawaii fifty two years ago by boat on vacation with mom from Santa Monica, Ca. At age fifteen. There were only four hotels on Waikiki, I knew then I wanted to live in Hawaii, but it has take no me til now to accomplish it (almost) I should make it by end of February. Wasn’t sure what area, only knew how I wanted to live. The smog here in Ca. really bothers me can you suggest the more sunny areas and which islands to avoid the vog? Weather changes (barometric pressure) adversely affect my arthritis and fibromyalgia so I’m hoping to relocate to to fewer changes if possible. I enjoy gardening and prefer a large lot (1/4 acre+) to have a three bedroom home on, but at 67 don’t think the dream of acre(s) is practical anymore unfortunately by myself. I’d like to be part of a community. I’m young at heart, if not in body. I lived for sixteen months in Jamaica so am not worries about island fever, especially with so many parts of Hawaii to explore. It’s now or never the way I see it.
    I would love some suggestions to get me started.
    I need to get up soon so I’d better get to bed first. Almost seven am already.

  101. If you can come up with 50K annually between the two of you.

    • Hi Joe,
      My husband and I make 65,000 a year would that be enough to live on the big lsland, we would have a house payment of 1200 and no other bills as we own our car. we only have 2 dogs and no kids, so what do you think?

      • Joe Trent says:

        Aloha Heather, Sounds good to me. Start packing.

        • heather says:

          thank you!
          I do have another question for you. why is the electric so high? when we lived in Honolulu our bill was only 40.00 a month we did not use an air conditioner. so why is it so much now? I thought living on the big island would be much cooler than the other islands so why the big electric bill?

          • Joe Trent says:

            The secret to lower electric bills is to live above 500 feet elevation where it’s cooler. Going solar is the other secret. But if you’re renting, that’s obviously not going to be an option. Fuel to power the generators is imported and the high cost is the reason for the high rates according to the power company.

  102. Jim Freeland says:

    I'm a mental health professional looking at either the Big Island or Kauai for relocation.. Definitely willing to scale back as part of the price of living in paradise. Still weighing out if such a move is realistic. My SO does clerical work. We would both plan on working. Ideally the long term plan would be to own a place and grow some of our own food. Debt free, but not rich either… thoughts?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Jim,

      Since Kauai is smaller, you’re going to have a smaller pool of potential cliental, more competition and higher housing costs. I think the big island would be much more doable since land costs are cheaper and potential cliental is abundant here. :-)

  103. Rachel Haneline says:

    I have a potential job offer at a hospital in Honolulu right off the interstate. I would make almost 100k a year before taxes. I searched for homes to buy but couldn't find anything I could afford. Are there homes there that are around 300-350k? And if not then what's a good tool to use to look for a rental?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Rachel,

      I asked a friend of mine who’s more knowledgable about the Oahu housing market about your dilemma. She said the problem over there right now is there isn’t any inventory, so prices are high. I think the average home price over there is about 650K if I remember right. I would post your question about rentals in the Oahu City Data forum.

  104. Christie Williams says:

    Aloha Joe. I would like your feedback on the reality of moving and staying in Hawaii (any of the islands) based on my situation. I forsee myself as being a life long islander but worry about the reality of it. I am 25, single and my family would be able to visit at least once a year. I am a Special Education teacher which Hawaii is in need of. The offered entry salary in the public schools $45,000 with a $6,000 dollar stipend. However at the charter schools and some private, the salary is significantly lower (about $28-40,000). I haven't heard many good things about Hawaii's public schools other than that more money and research is being invested as well as attempts to obtain and retain teachers. Do you know any teachers in Hawaii or could you tell me more about the school systems? I also plan to work in the summer by tutoring which I enjoy which will hopefully add more income. I would not bring a car and would rather use a bike to get around and am willing to live with other females to save money on housing in the beginning. I am not a big city person but don't want to live to remotely either. Is their a particular island or town you recommend based on these preferences? Thank you for your time.

  105. Christie Williams says:

    Aloha Joe. I would like your feedback on the reality of moving and staying in Hawaii (any of the islands) based on my situation. I forsee myself as being a life long islander but worry about the reality of it. I am 25, single and my family would be able to visit at least once a year. I am a Special Education teacher which Hawaii is in need of. The offered entry salary in the public schools $45,000 with a $6,000 dollar stipend. However at the charter schools and some private, the salary is significantly lower (about $28-40,000). I haven't heard many good things about Hawaii's public schools other than that more money and research is being invested as well as attempts to obtain and retain teachers. Do you know any teachers in Hawaii or could you tell me more about the school systems? I also plan to work in the summer by tutoring which I enjoy which will hopefully add more income. I would not bring a car and would rather use a bike to get around and am willing to live with other females to save money on housing in the beginning. Is it feasible based on my financial situation to do this big move? I am not a big city person but don't want to live too remotely either. Is there a particular island or town you recommend based on these preferences? Thank you for your time.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Christie,

      One of my clients is a special ed teacher. I’ll see if I can’t find her email address and ask her what she thinks. This may take me a day or two to answer further. Stay tuned…

    • Sorry for the late reply, but my friend who’s a Special ED teacher wrote a fantastic reply to your post. It would be better for me to just email it to you, but I don’t have your email address. Please email joe at or use the contact form here and I’ll forward her response.

  106. Joe, your awesome for having this site , it really allows the truth of hawaii living, although it is a hard decision to move there, the HGTV shows it as being so easy and yes thier motto is you dont have to be rich to live in hawaii just want it, they show people buying 800k plus homes and they show no income one guy was starting a photography business which I doubt he makes enough a year to pay for that 898k house he buys, life is different , family is a big part in moving if you have family that is going to stay in the mainland and there are any health problems make sure you have enough money to fly back and forth to the mainland, or if you have significant health problems make sure you pick a island that can accomadate you as some of the islands people moving to cant. great site Ill keep following until our move later this year.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Maile,

      Telling the truth of living in Hawaii is the goal of this article. When I wrote it, HGTV’s Hawaii Life show didn’t even exist. “You just have to want it”… I’ve been wanting to win the lottery, so far that hasn’t worked out… Their tag line should be “You just have to plan it”

      “You don’t have to be rich”… They’re right about that. But it helps. I won’t re-iterate everything you said, but everything you said above is totally true. Mahalo’z

  107. so true , we are middle class here in North Florida and with the upcoming move we know what the ups and downs are, I was born and raised there although I have no hawaiian blood in me I know the culture and teach it to my daughter everyday life is different,
    now there is another show in destination america called buying hawaii … what a joke they show wrong islands and call places different names and show people buying 1.2 million homes that are in the military,, uhh I dont think so.
    im still playing the lottery until we move….

    mahalo ,

  108. Aloha Joe,

    What are your thoughts on Holualoa? I’ve heard the public schools are pretty good in that area?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Lillee, Holualoa is nice. Coffee country, cool elevation, coastal views. Yes, lots of people like the elementary school there, but no high school.

  109. steve wiegand says:

    Aloha Joe,
    We’re a retired couple in Northern California, thinking of relocating to the BI, possibly in Waikoloa, or Pahoa, or maybe even up the hill around Captain Cook. I was born on Oahu and we’ve been to the Islands many times over the years. My question concerns the water situation. I know there’s a difference between being on a municipal system (Kona, Hilo, Waikoloa) versus in the country. Do you have any thoughts about how much of a problem/expense it is for folks living those areas that are on catchment systems, and have non-drinkable water coming out of the taps?
    Also, we’re Kaiser members. Do you know how hard it is to find Kaiser docs that are taking on new patients?

    • Aloha Steve,

      My buddy has lived in Ocean View over 30 years and has been on catchment the whole time. He was grumbling about having to buy water a few months ago. But, over all I guess it’s not so bad since he’s put up with it all these years. Me? County water.

      I have Kaiser too. Kaiser is building a new building that’s going to be great, I don’t see a problem for you guys.

      • steve wiegand says:

        Mahalo nui loa for your quick and cogent reply. We will most probably try a month or so a couple of spots to see what fits us best. Your website is po’okela. (Sorry if that’s the wrong word, can’t resist practicing.)
        Malama pono,
        Steve W.

  110. Jen McCarthy says:

    If I was to move to Hawaii as a teacher would I be able to live comfortably..I am interested in The Big Island, but living in a house..

  111. Aloha Jen,
    I doubt it.

  112. Here you are! I lost you! I have the answers to your question from my friend the Special Ed teacher. It's long, instead of posting here, I'll message you with it.

  113. Aloha Joe,
    I am finishing college with a Bachelors in accounting. My wife, me and our two kids are really hoping to make the move to Hawaii from rural New York State. Are the Accounting jobs good enough to support a family of four. This has always been a dream of ours. We have been island hopping for years and love the life.

  114. Aloha Steve, You would be better served checking with the resorts I think. But, people that set up their own bookkeeping businesses here tend to stay busy. Is it enough income for a family of 4? I don't know.

  115. Elayne Gee Worthington says:

    Aloha Joe, My husband and I have been considering the move for a few years. I see that you posted that someone should make 50K to be comfortable. My situation would be my husband and two teenagers. We would buy a house and pay cash so no mortgage payments and no debt. We are looking at the big island.Together we would make 50-60K, with no debt and no mortgage would you say that would be doable for the four of us?

  116. If you can't make it, nobody can! I think you'll be just fine. Shoot, you might even have enough left over to adopt me. LOL.

  117. Elayne Gee Worthington says:

    Thank you Joe! Family here thinks I am nuts! I am going to tell them to talk to you! haha Thanks again!

  118. Hi Joe!
    I am dreaming of moving to Hawaii. Is there room for yet another professional photographer? Weddings… Portraits..

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Heather,


  119. My son and his wife are being transferred with the air force from dc to Hawaii, not by choice but they are looking forward to it. I was looking at different comments and with all the negative and positive things said, the only thing that bothers me is how often i read that native Hawaiians are racist against white people. They can hate all they want its their perrogative but how dangerous does that hate make it for other people there?

    • We’ve lived on Kauai since end of May 2013 and have never run into any problems with racism or even rude / negative behavior from anyone on this island. Our experience has been excellent. Everyone has been kind, welcoming, friendly, warm, etc. Perhaps that has to do with where we do/don’t go, but in our everyday travels and life, it’s only been great!

      I grew up on an indian reservation so I’m used to being the dreaded “white man” – I haven’t seen any of that prejudice that I experienced as a kid here on Kauai. :)

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Lori,

      Yes there is some racist Hawaiians, but they’re fairly harmless. Unlike the KKK in the last century for example. Hawaiian’s that don’t like haoles don’t really drive around looking for white people to beat up. I would walk through a predominantly Hawaiian neighborhood any day of the week before I’d walk through ANY neighborhood in DC.

      • Aloha! Thank you so much. I will pass this along. My husband and I also traveled with the military but for some reason never ended up in Hawaii, our loss. Some people put such a negative spin on everything I just wanted to get the real scoop. Thanks again.

  120. Hi Joe! My husband and I have been considering a move to Kona. I fell in love with Hawaii back in ’89 while there on a school spring break trip, and last year my husband and I went on a cruise to Hawaii and he was sold!!! We’re Canadians and have 4 children…3 would be coming with, possibly the 4th (lol). My husband would like to continue to work in Canada and just fly back and forth. After looking over the US immigration website for 3 hours one night, I finally emailed them asking for info only for them to email me back and tell me to check their website. Do you have any info you could pass along? I would be at home with the kids, while my husband worked. I’m just wondering would we still have to leave the country every 6 months, and if so how long do we have to leave for. I imagine we would have to pay both Canadian and US taxes? Any information you could pass along to me would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Sherry,

      I was asking one of my clients about a week ago about this very subject since she’s Canadian and lives here part time.

      I asked her specifically how long a Canadian had to leave Hawaii before returning, she didn’t know since she only lives here during the winter and returns to Canada before the 6 months is up.

      But one thing she did say, it’s just about impossible for the typical Canadian to move to Hawaii permanently. You won’t be paying taxes here unless you can get a green card.

      • Aloha Joe!!!

        So pretty much we’d have to leave every 6 months or less. It is possible if I plan the trips right. My husband would be ok since he’d be flying back and forth a few times a year. What about having a family member sponsor you? I do have family that lives in California, but I’m not sure how that works.

  121. Just found this website this morning. Great info! My husband and I have vacationed and rented houses in the Hanalei/Princeville area of Kauai for the last 30 years. (26 trips). He retired last year and we have been contemplating moving to the island. My only reservation is being away from our two adult children. We have saved quite a bit for retirement and could sell our house for a substantial amount. I would like to rent for awhile, before buying, to make sure it’s a good decision. I believe you mentioned that it’s difficult to find a rental that allows pets. Is that still true? Additionally, I was looking into the 5 day quarantine rules and it seemed like there were a lot of things that could go wrong. I couldn’t possibly leave my dog quarantined for 120 days. Any suggestions? Many thanks, Theresa

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Theresa,

      I’m not sure about Kauai, but on the big island where I live, renting with a dog is super difficult. I’m on the way to work right now, so I don’t have time to look for the link, but if I recall correctly you don’t have to quarantine your dog if you follow the rules as laid out by the state. I know here in Kona we have direct release at the airport.

  122. Aloha

    Can I get by on $60k a year on Kauai? I understand it is very expensive there.

  123. Kristi Kane says:

    Hi Joe,
    I’m a licensed attorney in Washington, but not in Hawaii. Meanwhile I’ve been working as a contracts/procurement agent here in Seattle. Do you have any colleagues that have comments about the job marketing? I’m not tied to practicing law, actually I’d love to do anything instead.
    Thank you!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Kristi,

      Right now the job market here is heating up again. I base this on the number of ads in the Sunday paper, there’s been a lot of ads in various industries. I have 2 attorney’s I’ve done work for here well over 10 years, one does real estate related law, and the other does criminal defense. They’re not hurting.

      If I had your background and wanted to move here and make real money and not go back to lawyering, I’d go into real estate since the market is heating up and the commissions can be lucrative.

      • Kristi Kane says:

        Thank you for the encouragement Joe!
        Are the attorneys that you know solos or do they work for law firms? I’m trying to get a job before I move. This is pretty difficult, but I’d be willing to take what I could in order to make it work.

        • Joe Trent says:

          One is solo and the other works for large firm based in Honolulu. I just remembered, I know one more lawyer that lives here, but does all his work on the mainland. I don’t know if he works for a firm or not. But he’s been a California lawyer and living here for years.

          Checkout Pacific Business News, they’re always talking about law firms.

  124. Cassandra says:


    I am a young female with a potential job offer in Oahu as a Funeral Director. Iv’e been offered 50k, my question is with that salary where would my best options be when looking for a place to live? Ie. places to avoid, cheap rentals etc…

  125. Hi! Thinking about and researching moving to big island ….we were really excited UNTIL we read about the vog and it’s poor health effects and poor visibility of horizon. As a local, can you share your experiences with the vog? Thanks :)

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Lisa,

      Here’s a typical voggy evening just before sunset. I just took this photo about 10 minutes ago.

      The vog comes and goes. When it’s gone, it’s heaven on earth. When it’s here, I want to move to a different island. People with respiratory problems should not move here. If I had it to do all over again, I’d move to Maui.

  126. Aloha Joe! My wife and I are both retired. Me from state government in Michigan and she is a Filipina RN. Between our social security and pensions we gross about $7000 a month. I understand Hawaii is pretty retiree friendly from a state tax point of view. Do you think we would be ok on that amount of money? Malama pono. Mahalo nui loa, Dave

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Dave R,
      I don’t see a problem with your numbers. I think most folks retire here on a lot less.
      Example: Rent/Mortgage: 1800
      Utilities: 350
      Food 600
      Fun 400
      Car 500
      Total: $3650 per month

  127. Julie Meadows says:

    Hi, Joe. I love your advice. My husband and I are newly retired. We are going to spend a month in Hawaii in January. I have been to Oahu, Maui and Kauai, but hubby hasn’t been to HI at all. I want to get a real feel for what it might be like to live in HI. I think I would really like to live in HI. Hubby, not so sure. Would you recommend one island over the others to get a true flavor of HI or is there no such thing? Thanks, Julie

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Julie,
      Thanks! Glad someone likes my advice…
      As far as which island goes, I’d pick the one most similar to your current comfort level. If you like the city, Oahu and Maui offer similar environments.

      If you like small rural towns, Kauai and the big island are better choices. If you have breathing issues, Kauai is the better choice compared to the big island. That’s how I would try to narrow it down.

      As far as getting the true flavor of living in Hawaii goes, I think it takes a few years before you really get that. Most people are on a pink cloud the first couple of years. You can always move back…

      • Julie Meadows says:

        Thanks, Joe,
        We decided to rent for a month in Kauai as we are looking forward to the rural life. We live in a Chicago suburb so we think it would be great to go somewhere quieter. Again, thanks so much for your opinion. Julie

  128. Is it feasible for a retired couple who only makes about $38,000 a year to live on O’ahu? My husband has medical issues and would need to be close to Dr’s on a monthly basis, the reason why the other islands wouldn’t work for us. We would be renting a 1 bed (rent unknown), no other bills except the usual utilities and some life insurance we pay for. Car is paid for as well and we would take that with us.

  129. Aloha Joe,
    My wife and I were considering moving to the big island (kona) possibly in the next five years. We have a 3 yr old and I have been employed as a supervisor in various shipping and warehouse jobs for the past eight years. My wife recently got a certification in medical coding and is working on getting into that department for experience where she works now ( currently she does insurance billing). What is the job outlook for people with our skills in Kona? Is it a realistic dream in your opinion? Neither of us has completed a college degree but I was considering finishing an associates or bachelors. Thanks for your help!

  130. If it's your dream, do it. If it doesn't work out, check it off your bucket list. And if does? Check it off your bucket list. Life is too short for regrets.

  131. Hi Joe,
    Could a family with grown children, couple grandkids, find a communal house to rent on the Big Island?


    • Joe Trent says:

      Bring enough cash and you can just about find anything you want here. Living on the cheap here is highly unlikely if I interpreted your question correctly.

  132. My husband and I have been thinking about moving to the big island in a year or two. I am a chiropractor and my husband is a corporate pilot. I assume that I would still have to work, be self-employed. I'd love to say that my family could live on 50K but I know differently. We would intend to buy a home outright or rent, live off investment interest and work for expenses. My daughter would be attending either Parker or HPA, again, $$. I'm mostly concerns about employment prospects. I see an awful lot of chiropractors and suspect they have adapted to cash based business earning less. My husband would probably seek employment wherever he could additionally. Any thoughts?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Doreen, I’m sorry for the late reply, somehow I didn’t get notified of your comment until now.

      Your suspicion about cash and Chiropractors is probably right on. You’re also correct that 50K won’t do it for you with a child going to Parker or HPA. As far as competition goes, I’d look for a part of West Hawaii with the least amount of Chiropractors and hang my own shingle. Forget working for someone else here, you’ll starve. Thats my 2 cents worth.

      • Thanks! I’ve been an independent my entire life and well, why start now working for someone else! We are interested in Kohala, Waimea area, again $$. We’ll have to make it work.

  133. Frank Serpico says:

    Hello, just read your blog, love it. I am a transplant, I livied on Oahu from 1970-78 when my dad was stationed on Hickam. Mom was 1st generation Japanese and we fit in very, very well. I went to Kauai in 1991 and fell in love with the island, it reminded me of Oahu in the 70s before the skyscrapers, freeways and congestion. I am planning on moving when I retire at the age of 50, my monthly income will be almost 7K and I am going to buy in the Wailua Homesteads. Everyday, I dream of going home, living in California, it took nearly 30 years just for the food of Hawaii to become popular here. Now, if I can just convince my wife, that she needs to move with me.

  134. Juana Smith says:

    All of you who want to move here, keep in mind that you must be self employed. If you are not, no one will give you a job even if you have a PhdE for the University of Chicago. The Japanase local "cum" Hawaiian, are deeply racist and although the word Aloha goes around like meth at locals party is not genuine. So do come over, but with money.

    • Hi,
      I recently moved to Hawaii from California about 2 months ago with my fiancé who was born and raised on Oahu and is an airline pilot for local airlines. I have been having such a hard time finding a job here, and I find your comment to be so true about the whole racial discrimination thing. I have applied to several jobs that I am qualified and over qualified for and I am still not given an opportunity for employment. Most of the employers are Japanese and although they claim that they were impressed by me, the still do not hire me. The employers claims to be Equal Opportunity Employers, but yet they are racist especially in the non-profit sector. I have a masters in public administration and a bachelors in Sociology and most of my work experience is in the non-profit sector doing community outreach work. What are ways in which I can build a greater network here and be accepted by the local community? My last resort is to join AmeriCorps but I am not sure if the living allowance is enough to live off of in Hawaii.

  135. Brandy Hynes says:

    Hi Joe! My husband has a job offer for $110,000 in Kona. We currently live in Ohio on $85,000. We have 5 young children that we homeschool (so schools are not an issue). We realize that we will be living in a significantly smaller home and are ok with that. Do you think that income is feasible? Also, we would want to rent instead of buy our home. Craigslist seems to have the most rental information. Is there anywhere else to look? And, finally, we would be coming in mid-October, do you think there will be a vast selection of long term rentals at that time?
    Thank you so much for your time. This is a big decision. :)

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Brandy, Renting first is a good idea for sure. Check for rentals and

      The thing about coming in mid-October is Ironman. The town will be packed! But, I think only vacation rentals will be non-existent. The other thing you have to think about is, October is when the snow birds from Alaska, Canada and other winter wonderlands(sarcasm) start arriving.

      Okay, lets get to the $$$. Your money won’t go as far here as it will in Ohio. Electric and food will be a lot more money. But, you don’t have to winterize the house, car, wardrobe etc. So yes, I think 110 will be OK.

      • Brandy Hynes says:

        Aloha Joe,
        My husband accepted the position and we are due to come September 15th. We have found a rental that we are interested in located in the Keohole View subdivision at 1700 ft elevation. I’m wondering if that subdivision is nice and if that is an ideal elevation? We don’t want to use AC, but are concerned about moisture issues. Thank you so much for your time again!

        • Joe Trent says:

          You definitely don’t need AC at 1700 ft. The highest elevation I’ve ever lived here was about 800 feet, so I can’t really say about the moisture, but I doubt it will be an issue in that particular area.

  136. Hi,

    can someone help me, am thinking of moving to maui, with my 13 yrs old son, is just the 2 of us, we are moving from calabasas ca, i need to know what part of maui, is most expensive place to live, and the best high school.

  137. Brandy Hynes says:

    Thanks Joe!
    Is it a nice subdivision?

  138. Hi! I am a licensed mental health therapist with over 15 years of experience. My husband, daughter and I are considering a move in a few yeas. I could get licensed in Hawaii it appears. What is the job market like for therapists and which island would you recommend? We have been looking at Maui but are open. Thank you!

  139. Joe Trent says:

    Aloha Jamie, If I had it to do all over again, Maui would be my choice. Not too big, not too small. And great beaches. I wish I had an answer to job market for you, but just don't know. Sorry.

  140. Hello Joe,
    I am taking a job for about 76000.00 a year. Is this enough to support a family of 4 on? My job Erik be in kaneohe although I am thinking about living in Mililani because of the school system. Have you heard about schools in kaneohe? Where is the cheapest best neighborhood to live in that would be close to kaneohe (30 to 45 mins). Thank you

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Sharon,

      I live in Kona on the big island, so I don’t know the answers to your questions. But I do know Kaneohe is very nice. I’d check the City-Data forum for folks who live in the area and are more qualified to answer.

      • Thank you. My biggest thing is I got a job offer where I am at which due to cost off living is more money. I am not such on money as long as we can make it. My overall concern is what does a family of four need to make to survive in Hawaii overall? Also just in your personal experience is it worth taking the pay cut to live in Hawaii? These are things we are torn about. The unknown. We want to go just give adventure and very scary and exciting at the same time. We have heard that brick Masonry is a good trade there. Do you know if this is true as well?

        • Joe Trent says:

          There is a huge rail project underway on Oahu right now, so I would think Masonry workers would be in demand. Would I take a pay cut to live in Hawaii? Yes, and I have for the last 17 plus years. Was it worth it? Absolutely. With your income, you should be able to make it, I see people make it here on less with kids.

  141. Hey joe my wife and i want to move to hawaii we have a meat wholesale business that deals with mostly asian stores we would like to move there and get something going there is there very many asian stores and which Island would be beset for that

  142. Hello Joe
    I am planning to come to Hawaii and work in the hotel industry. It is my long term goal. I have read your information regarding Hawaii. I know it is a paradise, very popular place for tourists and boom in tourism industry and that is why I want to try it out to come over there. Just need some advise


  143. Hello,
    My husband and I, with our 3 children, are contemplating, making the move to the big Island. We currently both have jobs in which we can telecommute to begin with, and then we were wanting to open a compute repair/ business services/ retail store.

    We are in the process of selling our home, which will give us a cushion to make the move, and give us a down payment for a home. Our plan was to purchase a home upon arrival. We were looking in the surrounding areas close to Hilo: Kurtistown or Pahoa. Our idea is that since the real estate is less expensive in those areas, yet its commutable to the Hilo area to have the store.

    What are your thoughts on this? Are there any areas that you do not recommend a family to buy a home? We are very serious about making the move, and are thinking it will be time to make the transition around nov/dec. So any addition advice you have would be appreciated.

    • You like rain? Lots of it? There’s a reason it’s cheaper. Besides the murder of the month over there. I wouldn’t live on that side if you paid me. And with kids? Oh hell no… Sorry, I’m in a brutally honest mood tonight. I’m obviously not a Realtor.

      • Brutal honest is what we want to hear. 😉 There’s not a whole lot of info online that I have found reliable. What area would you personally recommend?

        • I would think about Ocean View and then commute to south Kona to set up your business. Prices in Ocean View are much less compared to Kona and it’s not near as dangerous as the Puna side. You might even be able to pull off a computer repair business in Ocean View and not have to commute at all.

          The downside to Ocean View is it’s 50 miles from Kona and much more rural with less services available. Some of the land is in lava zones that is uninsurable. Google Robyn Bagalow? She’s been a Realtor in Ocean View for as long as I can remember and see if maybe she has more useful information about the area.

  144. I’ve left comments on this site before and have been noticing some interesting comments and questions and wanted to put my two cents worth to anyone conisdering a move to the Big Island.

    I first went out to the Big Island back in 1983 and lived for a short while, four or so months in 1984 on the Kona side. I’ve also driven around the entire island, was just there in May/June 2014, in Hilo and in Kona.

    We, my wife, children and I were considering moving there, for work, we’re both medical professionals. We were looking all over the Big Island as to locations.

    I strongly encourage, if at all possible, that Anyone considering a relocation move out to the Big Island to please go out and visit, see it, speak with anyone/everyone. Look at the good, the bad, the ugly, there’s plenty of it.

    There are many challenges to living out there including costs of living, housing costs, utilities costs, food costs, even jobs for medical professionals, they’re actually laying off doctors. Jobs are very hard to come by and pay wages are lower than average compared to the mainland, we’re from California. It’s an expensive place to live in general. I’ve lived all over Europe, AsiaPacific, across the USA from NYC to California.

    In general, it’s on a lower economic spectrum. Many people struggle to make ends meet there, most working at least two jobs, sometimes more, just to live there.

    After speaking with many residents throughout the Big Island, from Hilo to Kona, they said to me and my wife, even as a medical professionals, not to move over that they wouldn’t recommend it, emphatically stated. They stated that there are too many issues, too many problems, their words, not mine. I found that there was a lot of apathy out on the Island in Hilo and in Kona in general. Not exactly the tropical paradise one would be expecting. Nice place to visit for a holiday, where you really don’t have to contend with the realities of survival and daily living considerations, but actually living there is another matter for serious consideration, especially for a family. Many people have moved away permanently and continue to do so. It’s very much a transient place.

    After spending two weeks and significant amounts of time doing diligence, we decided Not to make a move over to the Big Island.

    Again, I stongly encourage and urge anyone who is contemplating making a move over to the Big Island, to please check it out beforehand in person, do some investigation in all areas, about all things, subject matters, diligence, go behind the scenes, speak with people, all people and get the real picture of what it’s like, not a fantasy, but a reality check before making a move.

  145. Hello,
    I had no idea that Hawaii was so racist. I am shocked!!
    I just sold my house in FL and was planning on moving to Maui.
    After reading comments, I realize this might be a huge mistake.
    Thank you.

  146. Laura Dudek says:

    Hi we have visted Hawaii now 3 times each time about a month. Saw all 4 major islands. We are Canadians and need to figure out a way to live legally there and raise our 2 young boys. Please help us figure out a way to make our dream come true

  147. There is no way for Canadians to live here legally. Technically there is, but you'd have a better chance at winning the lottery. I've discussed this with links to more info in the above comments. Sorry.

  148. Hawaii has gotten more expensive since 2012 , to rent a studio in Waikiki you’re looking at $1200 to $1400 a month. Some higher end condos are going for $2600 and up a month. This is not a good place to live anymore , prices have gone up a lot and will only keep raising.

  149. Jobs in Hawaii are also hard to find ! We been living in Oahu all our lives , it’s really hard to get ahead. Don’t get me wrong Hawaii is the prefect place to be. But when the cost of living are high how can anyone make ends meet. I’ve got friends working 2-3 jobs , how can someone enjoy paradise working 2-3 Jobs ?
    Now you tell me if it’s still a paradise !

  150. Hi Joe,
    Would you be able to give me the email address to the friend of yours that works as a school teacher in Hawaii. My husband and I are both teachers in CA and would like to try something different….a move to Hawaii. We have three children, a Senior, a Freshman, and a 3rd grader. I would like to get some advice on what’s it’s like to be a teacher in Hawaii and if it’s something that we should or should not do. Thanks! Andrea

  151. Hello! I have visited Hawaii last year about one month and am planning to move there in January. I just graduated college and make a little over 50,000 a year and have a job where I can transfer to the islands. Do I make enough to get a place on my own? I've been looking into rental properties but I feel for the price I am paying to rent somewhere I might as well buy a studio and I would like to move to Oahu. Do you think this is the better decision?

  152. Aloha Wayne, I have no clue about Oahu since I live in Kona on the island of Hawaii.

  153. Joe just found the site and think its great. Working on he move to”paradise” in the future. What would you bring from the mainland that you can’t get locally? Mahalo Glenn

    • Employees. Otherwise, I can get just about anything from Amazon with free shipping being a Prime member.

      • Joe, What type of employees are in demand that you see

        • Joe Trent says:

          The type that can pass a drug test.

          • Employees that can pass a drug test in what line of work? Kona or Hilo side?

          • Joe Trent says:

            Every line of work. Island wide. Yes, that even includes the cops.

          • My wife and I are teachers in Ohio and are in the process of applying for teaching jobs in Hawaii. We are in our mid-20s and were married 2 years ago. After our honeymoon there we fell in love with the islands, and we HATE the winter here. We just had 5 inches of snow in mid-November, as if we needed reassured we are doing the right thing. There are a ton of hoops to jump through when applying (including a face-to-face interview before you can actually apply for a job, which is pricey at $1500 per plane ticket). We are thinking of moving first, then searching for teaching jobs. What could we do as “in the meantime” jobs with education degrees? I have a Masters and she has a Bachelors degree. We want to have some sort of income locked down before making the move so we don’t end up living in a tent on the beach, although that doesn’t sound so bad right now. Thanks

          • What could we do as “in the meantime” jobs with education degrees? The car rental places are always looking for people with degrees. I wish I had a better answer than that, but I don’t. Sorry.

  154. Aloha Joe,
    My family and I love visiting Hawaii, and do so often; sometimes 3+ times per year. We love the climate of course, but we also love the people, the culture, and the lifestyle. I am a Canadian citizen, but my wife and children are dual Canadian/American citizens. My intention is to buy property in Hawaii for retirement (likely Kauai), but not to live there year-round. I was wondering whether you had any insights (or had suggestions for resources to persue for more info) about part-time rental property ownership, management companies, and so forth, since I suspect this might be a reasonable option for us; that is, buying property for our own use part-time, and having it rented out during the busier season (even Kauai is too busy for us during tourist season). 😉

  155. Yusuf Koroma says:

    Aloha! What would you say are the chances of a single guy in his 20s with no children renting a room in Oahu and finding a job in either the restaurant, hospitality, or touring industries? From what i’ve read on this blog, it seems that the warnings of a high cost of living applies to families and couples with high living standards. For a minimalist like myself, however, who has lived in Iceland and the Faroe Islands (notoriously expensive countries with high taxes) shouldn’t the move to Hawaii be a walk in the park?

  156. Sherry Park-Clifford says:

    Hi Laura, we're in the same boat. Basically we need to win then lottery, and THEN move there…LoL. Even then, there would probably still be obstacles in our way.

  157. Denise smith says:

    Aloha Joe, thank you for this great website. I’m hoping to move to Kauai in the next six months. We are looking for a long term rental to start with. An suggestion for real estate agents that can help me find a place? I’ve been browsing Craigslist for a few years and it seems dodgy. I have two cats and most landlordsdon’t want pets. I have started the rabies process.

  158. Saw your comments about needing employees. I’m 57 and would like to retire to the big island, but need to have a job to tide me over until SS kicks in. I’m a technical writer and English teacher by trade employed for the last 31 years in management in a manufacturing environment. I’ve looked at job sites for over there and haven’t seen an exact fit, but what I’m willing to change occupations. Do you have any idea what opportunities might be available for me? I’m in great health and shape.

    • The local newspaper was just running an ad for someone to check grammar. But with your skills, I’d think more about being an online worker. Like Elance for example.

  159. Hi Joe,
    I'm currently a student studying Accounting in New York, pursuing a CPA license. I know how important it is to save your money when you're young. Would it be unwise to move to Hawaii in my mid 20s, and spend an exorbitant amount money on living expenses when I could be investing and saving money for retirement?
    Thank You,

  160. Aloha Andrew, Become a master at what you do working for the best and learning from them where ever you can find them. In your 30's hang your shingle anywhere you want (Hawaii etc.) and build on from there.

  161. Jesse Janzig says:

    Aloha Joe! Thoroughly enjoyed your website. I spent a few months out on the Big Island back in 2012 and after returning home to the mainland I couldn’t help but feel somewhat anxious. There was this empty feeling I had, this urge to go back to Hawaii. As time went on I made the decision to move out to the Big Island. My girlfriend and I will be flying into Kona mid January of 2015. We’ll be looking at buying some land and setting up a self sustained farm with multiple living quarters. I’m an ASE certified automotive technician with 10+ years on the job experience looking for possible work opportunities. After our arrival to the Big Island I’d like to stop by your shop and meet you and your staff. Mahalo!

    • Aloha Jesse,

      I think Ocean View probably could use a good tech pretty soon. Stop by and I’ll fill you in. If I’m still here. Currently my house is for sale.

  162. Charlie Mirenda says:

    Hey Joe,
    Right now my boyfriend and I are interested in moving to kapolei for a year or so depending on how we like it. I will be a recent nursing graduate and he has the chance to relocate his job from PA to kapolei. We would be moving with a dog in about a year, how much time is needed to prepare for a move like this? Is it hard to find work?

  163. Joe Trent says:

    Aloha Charlie, Start planning now. Bringing a dog is going to be a job in its self. Work is always available for those that want to. Always. The dog is going to be such a chore, I'd investigate using a service like.

  164. Hi Joe… Thinking of Hawaii seriously… I am originally from Jamaica and move to US at 13… I am now 32 and have 4kids ages 10mths, 5, ,6 and 7…searching for more quality to life for kids as I was fortunate enough to experience in Jamaica. Our oldest has Down Syndrome so would like to stay in the US for services for her n keep her in the system. Any insight on therapy services there. She is very high functioning with thankfully no real medical concerns just mostly developmental delays. But would need physical, occupational and speeh for her. We are currently in palm beach Florida but still not seeming to do the trick. I read from your post about the school system so just doing research on it now. How crazy are private school prices? I am a nurse… What island would u think offers the most in terms of health services for her and allowing me to work. Thanks so much.

    • Aloha Aysha,

      It’s funny you should mention speech therapy, one of my customers was just telling me that a speech therapist could make six figures here because the demand is so high. Services like that here are few. Private schools are 20K per year if I recall correctly. While I love Hawaii, it’s still pretty third world in a lot of respects, especially when it comes to education and social services.

  165. Hi Joe,
    I am thinking about moving to kona June 1st with 4 friends. Two of them are planning on going down may 1st and staying with a friend while looking for a place to live. One of them is guaranteed a job while the 4 of us are not. How easy will it be to find jobs and how much money should we each bring to guarantee a place?

  166. Typically full-time jobs are hard to get if you don't already have an offer in place. You can find plenty part-time jobs though, mostly in retail or general labor. Most people have 2 or 3 part time jobs until they are able to transition to full time. As far as money goes I would say bring enough to cover 3-6 months worth of expenses which shouldn't be too bad if you are splitting them 5 ways. You should always have a plan for worst case scenario since getting a job, especially one that pays your bills, is never a certain thing; Many people come over but can't sustain living here because they didn't have a realistic plan and either have to move back to the mainland or become homeless. Good luck : )

  167. What Kiana said.

  168. Hello Joe, I’m thinking of taking a full time job in Oahu possibly by April of 2015, I will be moving my family of five people. I’m working as a Dental hygienist. Do you think a family of five 3 kids (they do not require day care) and two adults can make it financially off my income about $50k annually. I live within normal means I’m not a big spender, and I save when I can. However I’m not cheap either if something is quality and will last me a long time. What’s your thoughts on moving to Hawaii for my type of situation? Thanks for reading

    • Aloha Devon,
      My new rule of thumb is, if you can afford to live in San Diego, you can afford to live in Hawaii. I say this after visiting my son and daughter that live there. If everyone in your family wants to move to Oahu, why not. But it will be tight on 50K. But others are doing it.

  169. Hi Joe,

    Bit of a loaded question but what would someone on Kona pay in property taxes a year ? Looking to buy a house in the 300-400K range.

  170. Hawaii is a very expensive place to live in. Epically Oahu. For studio in the city you’re looking at $500k and up

    • Thanks Joe and Jon,

      I live in Quebec, Canada. We are taxed the most in North America. 16% sales tax and if 48% income tax if you make over 100K. So I am use to expensive 😉 gas is more expensive here!! We pay about 4.95 a US gallon.

      Joe thanks for starting this website. Great deal of Info and resources



  171. Hey Joe,

    Im looking at buying a business in Kona. Its based on tourism. What would you say the state is of tourism on the big island currently? When there is a slow down in tourism where would you say the BI is on the scale of getting effected? Ive heard its the worst.

    Also, whats your general opinion of the locals there? Is there much crime. Any gangs or troublesome activity to speak of? Is it a generally friendly place to live would you say? If you want to answer me directly on these questions please do so. Thanks!

    • Tourism is doing well. Things are definitely on the up swing compared to a few years ago. I’m not really familiar with the tourist cycle since I own and operate an automotive brake and front-end shop. Cars don’t care what season it is when they break.

      The Kona side is pretty safe I think. But good sense is important. I wouldn’t go walking around town at 2am expecting it to be safe. Because it’s not. The locals are fine. I have more problems with white people here than the locals.

      Update: Having thought more about the tourist cycle,in my business, it’s the winter time that I’m most busy. Now that I think about it, other businesses would be more busy too. That’s just logical because you have snowbirds. I must have been brain dead the other night when I first replied.

  172. Rev. Brian LeBaron, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselolr says:

    Interesting read of the comments and article. I am just coming with my wife and 31 year old daughter Nov 30 -Dec 7, 2014. Wife, Registered Nurse and I were there for week. I see there are some jobs in community mental health on the Island there, we may investigate. Daughter has cancer so its a bucket list trip for her, although we hope it is treatable. Besides the Big Tourism agencies, are there others that would offer daily tour guide services for hire that are reasonable?

  173. Michelle Alpern says:

    I see many people mention wanting to move to Hawaii after a vacation. Do they realize that unless you make millions, that vacation lifestyle won’t exist? Honolulu offers the worst traffic tie ups in United States for starters, milk runs about $10 a gallon and if your Native (So Cal, like myself) a small basket of strawberries are about $9.00. Rent for a small home of 800 sq ft and no backyard will run you around $2400 per month. Parking may be an additional charge if you are lucky enough to get it.

    There are only two main shippers now, Matson and Pasha. Matson forces you to find a 30′ ramp as they do not supply ramps and there cargo containers are 4-5′ off the ground. Guardian and Cardinal are a full service moving company (both owned by same major co) and if you want you stuff damaged, pay more to go with them. Shipping cars is a crap shot but I’d stuck with Matson for $1100 per vehicle.

    That being said, if you can handle modge podge hammy-down furniture and no medium-high end furniture stores, bring your suitcase and tooth brush. However, like me, I am not leaving $20k worth of furniture behind or getting about $300 for it all in a garage sale. For $4200, I have rented a PODS container and will ship my things over. UPACK wanted $8k, Guardian/Cardinal $6k, and Matson $3800.

    Dogs, I show them. Some will be left behind in wonderful homes and I’ll prepare to get two there. Fleas are a big issue and if you don’t heartworm them, you have to. Odd how pet friendly Hawaii is but the majority of rentals I’ve come across, it’s always “No Pets”.

    Schooling – there are a couple of above adequate schools, you just have to look for them and hope you can afford to live in the area. provide stats. There are also “Public Charter” schools that offer free higher education. Most private schools (Elem-Middle will cost you $11k per year) for an education of public standards in California.

    Gas right now is $3.40 per gallon and $3.00 in California. I am travelling back and forth until my son is out of 7th grade in June 2015. All of my references are current and in regards to Honolulu area.

    If you are wanting to live in Paradise, it’s probably a great place to visit on the weekends (Ko Olina, North Shore, Waikiki). However, to live in Oahu, you’ll be working, stuck in an hour of traffic one way, trying to figure out what street is one way one day and two way another, what roads get closed down (always in rush hour). Oh and don’t forget the “Zipper”. Not to mention if you get lost, trying to tell someone the name of the street your on becomes a huge challenge. I spell it out so I am not disrespectful to the land.

  174. Hi Joe. Where are you planning on moving to ?

    • Aloha Juli, In my perfect world, I’ll have a place here in Hawaii and one in Arizona. Maybe Presscott. Maybe San Diego. We’ll see…

  175. Marika Couve says:

    I’m a fiftysome female dreaming of moving to Hawaii for twenty years. I’ve been there four times and love it. I don’t have much savings, still paying for my car and own some belongings I’d like to keep. I worked in various jobs, mostly secretarial or personal assistant. Somehow I was always afraid to make the leap even though here in Los Angeles life didn’t always seem easy. What advice would you have for someone of my caliber? I like all islands and the Big Island would suit me just fine.

    • If there is an easy button for moving here, I don’t know where it is. To move here I had to sell my El Camino in California. I used that money to pay for the container to ship my tools and equipment here and I started my own auto repair shop. I loved my El Camino, but I wanted to live in Hawaii more. How I would do it? I’d sell everything and raise as much cash as possible. I’d subscribe to West Hawaii Today newspaper and get an idea of the local rentals and rooms for rent. I’d buy an old Honda or Toyota if I could find one for $2,000 to $3,000 and I’d knock on doors until someone hired me. If you wind up homeless, at least it’s warm. :-)

  176. Hi Joe,
    Great website. Have some questions.

    How often do you visit the mainland ?
    3 things you dislike about Hawaii ?
    Do you visit other islands often ?
    Do friends from mainland visit you often ?

    Merry Christmas!!

    • Aloha Matt,

      Thanks. I go to the mainland once a year. Sometimes twice. I’ll be doing a lot more trips in the future since my first grandchild will be born soon and I plan on spoiling the child.

      3 things I don’t like about Hawaii? 1.) Cost of living. 2.) Cost to travel to the mainland is higher than the cost to travel to Hawaii. The airline knows they have a captive audience. 3.) And flying sucks bigtime compared to pre 9-11. The planes are ALWAYS full now. It sucks. Did I mention it sucks? My goal is to buy my own jet. I’m not there yet.

      I’m going to Honolulu next week to see a special. Years ago my wife and I went to Kauai and Maui. Maui is like California surrounded by water. But my friend has a place over there upcountry and says it’s fabulou. Honolu/Waikiki is the big city of Hawaii. I’ve been there many many times.

      My only friend that lives on the mainland smokes too much and can’t hang for 5 hours in a non-smoking jet. Loser. My kids come to visit every couple of years. Believe it or not, they like living on the mainland better.

      Melekalikimaka (Merry Christmas) and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)

      • Congrats on the grandchild Joe. My father was a changed man after his.

        How often do planes run so to speak to the other islands ? Is it common for someone to live on one island and have to travel to Honolulu daily for work ? Like a commute.

        I’m in my 30’s and my friends base many decisions on smoking too. Sad..

        • Thanks Matt. Planes run hourly from 6am to 8 or 9 at night. Depending on which island you’re going to. 18 years ago when I moved here you could buy a coupon book and fly interisland daily for work. I knew people who did it. Now, It’s twice as expensive and I don’t know anyone who does it anymore. There’s probably a few, but you would have to making serious money to justify the 2K plus per month that it would cost.

  177. Hi Joe,
    My husband and I want to move to the big island eventually- of course jobs are my biggest concerns. I am currently a public high school teacher in California and we live comfortable. However, reading previous posts this does not seem to be a viable option over there. I am considering looking into grad school options- speech therapy was one of them and I have heard that may be needed over there? My husband is a jack of all trades(currently he does solar panels)but would maybe like to do a food cart or was thinking maybe equipment rental (like skip loaders or other construction rentals)something of the sort. What would you suggest as far as job or business opportunities?

    • Aloha Amanda,
      I forgot who was telling me that speech therapists are in demand here. So you’re probably on the right track there. As far as equipment rentals go, there’s a big place in town that rents all kinds of heavy duty excavators, loaders, etc. They’ve been here forever, so I’d strike that idea. Solar is slowing down here because the utility company has control over allowing new installations, but I would think there would be work available in that field for your husband because of his expertise in solar.

  178. My husband and I have wanted to move to Hawaii for the past 15 years. We are 60 and 63; I am a CA licensed real estate agent and my husband a CA licensed contractor (painter). We like Oahu, however, we’re open. I’m getting my Hawaii real estate license and would like to sell timeshares. What do you think our work prospects are full or part-time to supplement our rental income of $3,900/month.

    • Forget timeshares. Find me a buyer. :-) My Realtor© friend says Oahu has little inventory and sales are brisk. But I’m sure you probably know that already, so, timeshares would be a good way to go. The great selling point about Hawaii timeshares is they can be traded for time anywhere else the owner wants to go because of demand for Hawaii. Or, at least that’s what they told me. :-) I didn’t buy.

  179. Sitting here on a cold night in Kentucky wishing I could move to Hawaii. It was great to find you and your valuable information Joe Trent. We cant afford to move to Hawaii but will be looking into a winter vacation there. God Bless you and your family.

    • Aloha Shelia,
      Thank you for your nice comment. :-) You’ll love Hawaii in the winter. It’s our best time of year.

  180. Jana Harshey says:

    I made the move !!! Alaska to Hawaii…. No sticker shock for me , I was used to high prices…. I'm on the big island … I would bring furniture with me if possible and dressers sold mine and I'm sorry I did really expensive here … Jobs are scarce property inexpensive build a house .. You won't get rich but you can live and it is paradise ….

  181. Hello!
    I am an RN and my husband is a chef. We have 2 children and family on the big island who keep encouraging us to move close to them (my half brother is native Hawaiian on his mom’s side). We live very modestly in the Midwest, but I’m seriously considering the move.
    It seems like getting work would be fairly easy for both of us. But moving with not much money is daunting. Any advice?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Emily,
      Last time I checked, all you nurses made bank. :-) Hmmm, let’s see… Potential costs getting started here:
      Rent house or apt. $3000 with deposit. Monthly rent $2000. Buy a used vehicle: $5000. Ship container with your stuff to Hawaii $6ooo? I’d like to be able to give you a low cost solution. But there’s not one that I can think of when it comes to moving with kids.

  182. Hello Joe,
    Are you married or have a significant other? Just wondering :]

  183. Maria Varnai says:

    Congrats for your bravery. I'm thinking of doing the same for the last twenty years… I'm still in L.A., though. I'm somehow waiting for a "surefire" to get me going. Just scared to death with what if something goes wrong…

  184. Alona Robison says:

    Hi! I have a sister and her family that live on Maui so that may be where we would live, not sure. My husband and I are thinking of moving in 2016, we will have a combined income of $1900 from social security and realize that we would have to work as well. We would love the islands and would be able to fit in quite well (my sister says our personalities would be great for the islands) my only concern is seeing kids and grandkids. We have 5 kids, 9 grandchildren and visiting us here would be difficult though not impossible. Any thoughts?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Alona,

      If you can figure out a way to visit the family a few times a year, it might work. But the pull of grandkids is VERY strong. So much so, that I’ve put my house on the market and I’m planning on spending a lot of time on the mainland to be around my first one. Now if yours are a bunch of little heathens that you can’t stand, start packing. :-)

  185. Aloha, Joe. After only 20 years, I’m ready to make my move to Hawaii. I’ve been set on Maui but am in sticker shock. I really need to be right at the ocean, and there is one beachfront property on the entire island under $500K–a total fixer (meaning uninhabitable) for $495K. :) I recently returned from a vaca on the Big Island and am considering it as a possibility. What?! I just read your post above. You’re moving BACK?? Want to trade houses for a while? I live in Portland :) Yvonne

  186. Hi Joe,

    I am really into Oahu after I visited it on January this year, and start looking for an opportunity to own a property in there. Do you know what is the most popular real estate website in Hawaii, especially for Oahu? And any recommendation for getting a mortgage to be approved?



  187. Garret Johnson says:

    We want to move there this year but we are from Canada and my wife is a LPN.
    Is she able to work as a nurse in Hawaii?
    And me well I’m a welder and what do I need to do to be able to work there?

    • Not happening Garret. Sorry. Scan the previous comments about Canadians moving to Hawaii.

    • Hi Garret,

      A company, or close relative(parents, brother. Sister) already a US citizen would have to sponsor you and your wife to be able to work.

  188. Why do a lot of you want to move to Hawaii ? I understand the island life. But everything is so over price here , and there’s no jobs out here too. Minimum wages is $7.75 with a one bedroom rental is about $2000 a month I don’t think its a good place to be. And a regular housing will cost you from $700k to over a million dollars. Why you folks want to move here ?

    • Warm weather. A healthy lifestyle. Less violent crime. Those were the reasons I moved here years ago. You can still rent a one bedroom on the big island where I live for about $1000 a month.

      I think my reasons are similar to why most folks want to move here. They just want a better life. I can’t blame them for that.

  189. Matt Brookman says:

    Personally I plan on spending my winters when I retire in Hawaii…I’m only 36 years old but you can never plan too early. Living there full time for the average person is a pipe dream … As you know. If you live in a major Canadian city a house could cost as much or more than Hawaii.

    Gas right now is over four dollars a gallon. .95 to 1.18 a liter. That’s currently more than Hawaii. And of course the taxes here… All to say it’s not cheap here either.

    The way of living, The people, the weather and the fact it’s part of the US is important to me. You can’t just venture off or fit in on other islands like Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic and of course Mexico.

    Love the website Joe.

    Matt Montreal, Canada.

  190. A $1000 a month on the big island ? True but where’s the location in the boonies , where there’s nothing.
    Don’t get me wrong , I love Hawaii just as much as everyone. But just really over price on so many ways. Also education for public level here aren’t very good. And to go to a privet school you’re looking to pay over 20k. Just insane.
    I understand real easte , location , location , location. But comes down to can a person really can afford it , with out working 2 jobs or more. And no time to spent with family and kids. Of course I love Hawaii , who doesn’t !!! I just think if there’s a way to make the living cost better would be ideal. But we all know that’s impossible !!!

  191. That’s good. Big island is very nice.
    Don’t get me wrong , and I’m NOT trying to be negative here. I’ve been living in Hawaii all my life. I just think there’s way more to see and gain experience out there , others than Hawaii.

  192. This article is not based on good numbers. Houses to rent on Oahu are out of control. I realize that this article is old and it is now 2015 but holy crap, renting a house at a $1000? Where? Maybe on the far west side and that isn't really traveller friendly and I surely would NEVER send my kids to schools in that area. Housing on the windward side is insane. It also doesn't help when you have foreign investors coming in and buying up all the houses with cash….. booms the area and ruins it for those who are just looking to buy a good house to live in without the idea of making gross profits.

  193. I've added to the article recommending people check Craigslist for current housing costs. That way I don't have to edit this article every 5 years. I totally agree about the investors ruining it for folks that live here and just want to buy their own place. Unfortunately it's not just foreigners speculating. I see lots of ads on Facebook from people on the mainland coming here and teaching people how to flip houses. Arrgh.

  194. How is livestock agriculture over on Kona side? Does much of that go on?

    • Dianne, Paniolo country is Waimea, that’s where all the livestock is. Not much livestock in Kona, except for a few chickens in the Costco parking lot.

  195. Ryan Elizabeth says:

    Hey! Just came across your post and absolutely loved it! I’ve been to Hawaii twice and I just can’t kick the feeling of that’s where I need to be. I am so ready for a minimalist lifestyle and know I can make the sacrifices needed. However, I can’t seem to convince my husband otherwise. He does have a pretty good job working for his fathers business. That’s not what he wanted to do with his life, but I can’t convince him to take the plunge. He thinks a move to Hawaii is impractical. I disagree 110%! Any suggestions to help me change his mind? :) Thanks!

    • Okay, I’m going to give to you straight. Hawaii is hard for most folks that WANT to live here. If your husband’s heart ain’t in it, he WILL move back to the mainland. Without… you. I guarantee it.

      A possible compromise? Vacation here as much as possible. Or… act like snow birds and live here part time. I know it’s easier said than done, I’m just trying to offer solutions. Good luck.

  196. Ann Catherine says:

    Hi Joe, My husband I and have been tossing around the idea of moving to Hawaii in the next few years to get out of the cold and live a healthier more outdoor and active lifestyle. we enjoy diving spearfishing, diving and hiking through the woods, and I came across this great post and I just had a few questions? First off, my husband is currently a commercial fisherman, and is any possibilities of him finding work on a local fishing boat either commercial or charter? I would be retiring after 20 yrs on the job and would be looking for some local work as I just cant sit around all day. also we would two young daughters around 9 and 11 how are the schools? we know the cost of living is high but where we are now is just about the same and its cold 6 months a year. thanks again Ann

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Ann,

      There is 50? boats here that fish Marlin year round. Maybe your husband could get a job on one of them. I know a few fisherman here, they’re all broke. So I don’t think I’d plan on making a good living at it here. Unless you had your own boat.

      As far as the public schools go here, some like them and some don’t. *Shrug* As far as you finding something to do for work, that shouldn’t be a problem right now as there seems to be a lot of jobs in the paper.

  197. Ruchelle says:

    Aloha Joe

    I am planning to move to Oahu in 2 years, I want to give myself time to prepare for the big move. I currently work for Time Warner Cable and have plans to transfer to the Time Warner Cable down there. Right now I am trying to gather as much information as possible so I can prepared. I am a single mother with one son and just wanted to see if you knew if Time Warner is considered a good place to work there? Here on the mainland its a great company but it may change when going somewhere else. Also if you know, if it possible to live off of the income just from that job or would I need to get another one as well?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Ruchelle,

      Since I don’t work for the cable company, I have no clue as to what it’s like to work for them. Since you didn’t tell me how much income you would make at Time Warner, I can’t answer the question of whether or not you need 2 jobs. But 50K a year with a child is the minimum I would think.

  198. Aloha Joe! I’m seriously considering a move to Kauai, and found your website very informative, thanks for sharing! I am finishing my social work degree and have perusing jobs there, and it seems there are quite a few for such a small population. I recall reading that social services are somewhat archaic there and was wondering if you could enlighten me on the realistic need, pay, etc? Thanks, Lisa

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Lisa,

      Archaic is probably in the ballpark. :-) I think to work for the state or county, you’ll probably have to take a vow of poverty unfortunately. But, I don’t think anyone moves to Hawaii for the big bucks. I wish I had more info for you, but I run an auto repair shop and don’t really no much about Kauai since it’s at the opposite end of the island chain from where I live on the island of Hawaii.

  199. Aloha Joe, been enjoying your blog here and want to thank you for sharing all your insights. Really enjoy the info & links here 😀 My husband and I are moving to big island, around the first of June. I lived on Oahu for 12 years, consider myself kamaina & been homesick since I left! I would like to ask you about your comment concerning shipping a truck to Hawaii. Are trucks still at a premium? We are tossed between buying one here in (dry) Colorado, or find one there. Used of course.

  200. Vanesa gonzalez says:

    Hello! I apply for a transfer to Hawaii Kona Int Airport, im a TSA officer, and im comparing the prices here in Florida and its not a big difference… Can someone talk me about Kona! Im originally from Puerto Rico so as u can see i loveee tropical islands!

  201. Hello Joe!
    I am looking at my long term goals and I am starting to plan how I can move to Hawaii. Not sure where yet but I hope a visit will be happening soon!! Anyway, what in your perspective would be a “High Need” in terms of careers (doctors of course), companies, products/services etc.? I am a Wellness Counselor and Life Coach and am looking for ways to make my living! I have a diverse background and wouldn’t pass up any legitimate job opportunity, but would like to start my business now to shape it for moving there! Thanks! =)

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Stacy!

      I need an alignment and brake tech. Starts at 50K. But it doesn’t sound like you’re my ideal candidate. I would check with the major resorts, you never know what they might be looking for. I’d like the beach boy job myself, handing out pool towels, if I had to start over. :-)

      Landscaping companies are always coming and going. I know a woman in Waimea that owns one and makes 6 figures. But hiring help here is always a challenge. As an example, I should be sitting at the beach writing this while my employees are running my business. But I’m not, I just came in out of the shop which is hotter than a Mexican jail cell. Can you fix cars? :-)

      • LOL I couldn’t imagine how hot a Mexican Jail is!!! haha

        I’m sorry Joe, but an alignment or brake tech is unfortunately, one of the things I haven’t gone to school for…YET!! ;o) I think I just might have to change professions! lol

        Well, I will definitely keep looking and waiting for the right one to come along, OR continue working on my own business so that I can do it from anywhere I land!

        Thanks for your help and advice! If I ever make it out that way, and you are still working in the shop, I will come by and say hi! Like EVERYONE that you interact with here I’m sure says! =) Till then! Godspeed my friend!

      • Hi Joe,

        Ive got decades of Automotive experience and also a bad case of Rheumodtoid Arthritis. When I visit Maui I instantly feel 20 years younger so am considering a move. Currently I’m working as a Business Consultant in the Automotive world and have been a District Manager for a few Automotive Manufacturers. What are the job prospects for higher end Automotive management?

        • Joe Trent says:

          Aloha Todd,
          I would check for an answer about automotive jobs. They’re may not be any listed, but you may find a list of places you could inquire at anyways. Servco Pacific on Oahu comes to mind. They’re the distributor for Toyota in Hawaii. Good luck.

  202. Brian Dunleavy says:

    Hey bud I have a client for a realtor any suggestions?


  203. I would like to buy a house in Oahu. Is it true that you don’t actually own it but instead leased to you by the government? One has to have Hawaiian blood in order to have a real state property there? How true is that ?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Eva,

      There is a small percentage of land in Hawaii called lease-hold. But most land and homes are fee-simple, which means you own it and the land underneath.

      You do not have to have Hawaiian blood to own property in Hawaii. There is one exception to that, Hawaiian Homelands developments.

  204. Aloha, can’t wait to get moved over there…. thanks for the info. Need a broker who knows Maui. MAHALO. :)

  205. Hi Joe,
    My husband and I are highly considering moving to Hawaii short term. He is looking into a travel job. We visited about a month ago and feel in love with Kauai. With what he does the only two options are Honolulu or Kona. So we have been pushing more towards Kona as it seems closer to the Kauai life. My question is, would it be hard to find some kind of part time work for me? Are restaurants pretty easy to get jobs at?

  206. Hi Lisa ,
    On the big island it’s very hard to find jobs. I would recommend hotel jobs are possible option for you.
    Thank you

  207. Hi Joe,

    I am going to be finishing up nursing school within the next year and my husband and I have been seriously making plans to make the move to Honolulu next year. I have been doing a lot of research and would like to ask your opinion on the availability of healthcare jobs? Is it too hard to get a job before making the move? Is there a better chance after you have moved there?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Sarah,

      Isn’t there a shortage of nurses everywhere? Ask me about auto repair jobs, I can give you an informed opinion. Nursing? I have no clue. Sorry.

  208. Hey Joe, I’m a service and repair plumber in san diego, my wife is a dental assistant , we want to move to hawaii what are the job out look for these type of jobs ? We both have over 10 yrs experience , we want to start over and renew are marriage and we have one son 14 yrs old what do you think ? Thanks Adam

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Adam,
      It sounds like you guys could live here. Arthritis in the fingers tonight, so that’s all I can type.

      • Thank you for the response ! What would a good time to move out there , I think I will stay in SD 3 more months and go down there myself for a few months to establish myself what do you think ?

  209. My fiance and I spent 5 years visiting a different island each year. We chose to move to kona and on our trip in march I setup a job interview and was offered a full time position with a dive shop. We saw many entry level jobs being offered and many jobs with salary on job listing sites. We found a 1bd for $850 a month with a yard for our dog. Not so bad just keep at it for a few months and get things setup before you buy your 1 way ticket.

  210. Hello Joe,

    I’ve been reading up on moving to Hawaii for a bit now, but haven’t found anything about living in a motorhome (RV). Do you know something about that subject or can you give me some leads? I’m mainly interested in how many year round park locations there are, how affordable they are, and if the rust eats right through the coaches.

    Any pointers are very much appreciated,

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Marion,

      I don’t have any firm information about RV’s. I do know one thing, there are no RV parks in Hawaii. Most of the roads on the outer islands are barely two lane pig trails, anything more than a pup tent trailer would be impossible to get around the island in.

      Having said that, there is a guy that rents RV’s here in Kona, he has maybe 5 or 6 and gives you a map of places you can stay at around the island. Here’s his website.

  211. Hey there,
    My husband and I are looking to move to Oahu in September. I’m a massage therapist and I need to take the exam to get my Hawaii licence and my husband is in telecommunications. Do you think we can make a decent enough living to be comfortable on Oahu?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Nina,

      50K minimum combined and you probably will be ok. 70K and you’re having fun. 100K and life is good. You know more about what your fields pay than I do. Goodluck.

  212. LaTaisha McNeil says:

    Hi Joe,

    I’ve recently received a job offer as a 911 emergency dispatcher there in Kona, HI. I was wondering if you can point me in the right direction of the lower costing apartments and used car dealerships in the area. I’m only 26 with no husband or children and a little frightened but willing to take my leap of faith with this opportunity. I would also love to meet new people so I wont be too lonely. Please let me know as soon as you can as I’m due in Kona by 6-30-2015 to take my civil service test.

    Thank you,
    LaTaisha McNeil

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha LaTaisha,

      Pre-Owned is on Kuakini Highway in town, they have some nice looking used cars. I have no clue about apartments. Check Craigslist is the best I can suggest. North and south Kona is the area close and almost close to where you’ll work. That’s the downside to Craigslist, there is stuff listed there that’s way far away and if you don’t know the island it just makes it that much harder.

  213. Meghan Zirzow says:

    Hi Joe,

    My husband and I are thinking about moving to Hawaii. No experience in Auto repair, unfortunately. Looking for areas in Honolulu to rent, studios even. I work as a Kitchen Designer at Home Depot and my husband searching for job in history/museum field. Buy a used car or new car if we move to island? Suggestions in general about moving to Hawaii from Midwest mainland. No kids, mid 30’s-late 30’s.

    Thanks and Mahalo,

  214. John Shirbini says:

    Hi Joe
    I am Canadian and I am currently living in Alberta Canada , I am working in IT , currently I am operation manager with hands on technical experience ,and my wife is a fashion retail manager , we are thinking to move to Hawaii , what do you advice us about what island will be good for us regarding the job market and life style.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha John,
      Oahu is probably going to be your best choice as far as jobs that available in your field.

  215. Hey Joe,
    You seem to be a sort of expert with the auto industry over there.. I’m moving to Kona in a few months. Hopefully. I’m a diesel mechanic, but I can turn a wrench on whatever comes in the shop. Are mechanic jobs hard to come by? Thanks in advance.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Hey Dakota,
      In August, I’ll have 36 years as a working mechanic. So yeah, I’m kinda of an expert. 😉 If you have ASE’s and experience, jobs wrenching here are available. But if diesel is your thing, drop off resumes with any of the big bus tour companies and you should be working pretty quick.

  216. Hi Joe,
    I’ve been considering moving to hawaii. I’m 25 with an associates in electronics and worked as a mechanic and electrician (mostly on machinery) for about 5 years now. Never really worked on cars, but I would greatly appreciate being considered for a position! I am great at fixing any piece of complex machinery put in front of me with a little guidance. My biggest question is should I try to land a job from the mainland, or make the move then try to find a job? I figure it would be very difficult to get considered for a position while living on the mainland, and a huge risk if I move there without a job lined up.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Wade,
      Currently, my business and property are for sale, so I’m not hiring anymore. But you sound like a good guy to hire for the right company. I would have enough money saved up to live here 90 days and then look for a job.

  217. Nia Richard says:

    Good morning Joe,

    Would like to know how is the IT field and the Project management field coming along in Hawaii. I am soon retiring from the military, but looking into places to go. I was thinking about Hawaii, but with all the discussion about cost of living, school rating, real estate and job opprotunities, thinking it may be difficult. I am married with one boy who would be 8 when I am finished.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Nia,

      If you can get Edward Snowden’s old job, great. If not, I’d stay on the mainland. IT here is a field you start your own firm or forget it. Check the job board listed in the article above to see if there are any jobs. Goodluck.

  218. Jess McNeil says:

    Hi Joe,

    What a great site you have! Thanks for all of the information! My husband and I live in Ontario but are moving back to the states (CT). It takes him 5 months to get a green card so he can’t work until then. Rather than sitting around and me finding some restaurant job “wherever”, we thought we would travel a bit. We’ve always talked about Hawaii for a temporary “move”.

    We have two daughters, 4 and 2 years old. Thinking the Big Island might be our best choice. I will likely look for a waitressing job and we would live off of some of our savings (although we don’t have a huge budget). So we are looking for reasonably priced accommodations. We are considering camping for a week or two (or renting an RV) while we get situated at first.

    Just looking for some adventure while we can. Once we settle back in New England who knows when we will get this chance again! Any insight would be so very much appreciated! Thanks in advance!


    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Jess,

      Glad you like the site. Mahalo.
      A short term adventure in Hawaii sounds like a fabulous idea. Google Kona RV rental. There’s a place here in town that rents them to visitors. I have no idea of the cost, but it’s probably pretty spendy. But for a week or two until you found more permanent accommodations it might be doable.

      • Jess McNeil says:

        Thanks Joe! I will check that out! It might be worth paying a bit more to have a vehicle and a place to sleep all in one while we are getting settled!

  219. Joe,

    Moving to Oahu end of July, would you recommend shipping a car there or buying/Leasing one when we arrive? Military will only pay for one car so debating on 2nd one, paid off, lowest quote was 2100 to ship from east coast. Also, do you know of any good local rental car companies?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Jeff,

      I’ve used Enterprise for a long term rental before. The price was reasonable at the time. As far as paying $2100 to ship a car goes, it would have to be something I’m totally in love with and hard to get. Otherwise, I’d sell that vehicle and buy something when I got to Hawaii.

  220. Hey Joe , well I contacted you about a month ago maybe longer but anyways , I asked you if I could make it out there in hawaii with me benig a seasoned plumber and wife dental assistant , well I took the leap of faith and sent out resumes and landed a great job opportunity, with a place to live for 30 days to settle in part of a re location package, and full benefits and over 75,000 to start , just wanted to thank you for the advise on if I could make it there ! Thanks again August 24th Due Date , Maui Here I come! If you ever are in maui me treat to a round of beers lol , Adam .

  221. Hey joe, I talked to you about a month ago, about moving to hawaii to start a new life and that I am a plumber and my wife is a dental assistant , if we could make it out there ? Well you told me yes , so I took the leap of faith and sent out resumes , well I landed a great job with a great package including re location assistance wow along with great pay over 75 K to start yes over ! anyways wanted to thank you for your feedback on this idea topic , I leave from San Diego to maui august 24th can’t wait thank you again , if your ever in maui after I get settled in I would like to buy you a round of beers lol or what ever , a thanks again Adam .

  222. samantha says:

    First Thank you for this informing and well researched web page.
    I am planning a move to Hawaii with my sister (a social worker) my 6 year old nephew and myself (a child rights advocate, Life Consultant and artist) with a service dog in about a year. What would you advise to two single women and a child, if they were to move to Hawaii?

  223. William says:

    Aloha Joe,
    I am being offered an opportunity to move to Hawaii (KBay) and fill a position in January. It is very short notice (7 months) and it is undecided yet whether they will relocate me or not, since this Job has people lining up around the block for the position, and the job has not been made available yet. We are a family of 4 with 2 dogs and own a house in Temecula Ca. Do you think we should sell or rent out our house? and do you know if the “rent with option to buy” exists in Oahu? and how do you think we will do? (I should be in the 65K-75K range) I will actually take a pay cut for the first year.


    P.S wife is a local and eager to get back.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha William,
      Kbay is beautiful. All I know about the Oahu real estate market is what one of my friends in real estate tells me, houses are in short supply over there and prices are high. Rent to own is probably not an option.

      Almost everyone that moves to Hawaii takes a pay when working for someone else. But, if you love the lifestyle it’s a pretty good trade.

      Renting out your house in Temecula for another 4 or 5 years might be a good idea if you decide to move back you’re all set. And if after say 5 years you’ve decided you’re never going back, you can sell and make even more money. Good luck.

      • William says:

        Great advice Joe,
        I was thinking one year but 4-5 as you suggest is more logical.

        Thanks again,

  224. Garrett says:

    Aloha Joe

    I’ve been saving and thinking about moving to Maui, I have about 4 years oilfield experience and a year as a supervisor. What kind of manual labor is there available?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Garrett,

      I live on the big island and don’t know anything about the Maui job market. Sorry.

  225. I’m relocating to Ouahu in August 2015… excited but scared about the cost of living… also buying a condo unseen in … trying to get to settlement before I move… future coworkers have been too kind to attend the home inspection….
    are there coop farm areas where you can grow your own produce? Are fruits and veggies expensive? I don’t drink milk but need veggies, eggs and fish…. hope to do some fishing since I hear it’s free. I am a Costco member :-)

    • btw my 3BR/3BA condo is little over 1k sq ft….. seems like I am not going to have much space and I have never lived in a highrise before :-/

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Robin, I’m not aware of any co-op farm areas in Hawaii. The food here is expensive, but Costco is your friend. :-)

  226. Aloha Joe,

    I’m about to move to Hawaii for a year.(or so) Luckily I have an aunt who lives in Honolulu and is giving me a place to stay. My question is, around much should I save to go out, eat, explore, etc…? I will be helping my aunt with her ice cream business for extra money. I’m 21 and I have a lot that I NEED to see and do before coming back to the mainland.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Damara,

      Google all the commercial activities on Oahu you want to do. Then add up the cost. You can thank my wife for that great answer. 😉

  227. Stephanie says:

    I was so excited to find your site today! So much great info! Thanks for creating it!

    I was wondering what your thoughts were on finding employment before moving vs. finding a job after getting there? My fiance and I are wanting to make the move, but I’m having trouble finding anyone willing to interview someone who currently lives roughly 3,000 miles away. That’s with five years experience managing a small business.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Stephanie,

      The way I see it, if you have some particular skill that is in short supply here, you can interview from Mars and get the job. But there is already a ton of people here that have serious business skills. I suspect that’s why you keep running into that problem.

      Maybe think about how you can turn your skill set into starting your own business here is my best advice.

  228. Niggling correction…

    “Each has it’s own flavor so to speak. ”

    The word “it’s” – with an apostrophe – always means IT IS or IT HAS. The word “its” – no apostrophe – is possessive, as would be correct in your sentence above.

    Mahalo and Aloha

    • Joe Trent says:

      You’re absolutely correct. Thanks for catching that.
      4 years ago when I wrote this article I didn’t know the difference. Probably time to proof a lot of my posts. :-) Mahalo.

  229. Ken shiles says:

    Hey joe,
    Me my wife and our 2 year old daughter are thinking about moving to the big island. I’m a union carpenter and she has hotel experience. How is the construction industry over there?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Ken,

      My friend is an architect and says he’s going to be busy for the next couple of years. So I imagine carpenters will be in demand for a while. Your wife shouldn’t have a problem finding work in one of the resorts since she’s experienced. They’re always looking for good people with experience.

  230. Hi Joe – I was just wondering how your book is coming along? I can’t find any recent posts about it. Thanks!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Debbie,

      The Sam & Jessica book is taking longer than I anticipated. Way longer. But that’s to be expected with the first one I guess. The more I work on it, the better I want to make it, and I’ve had to study writing craft a lot more than I anticipated to get the story to the professional level.

      I don’t know if you’re on my mailing list for a free copy of Sam & Jessica when it comes available online. You can join my list here and I’ll send you a free e-book version of it.
      I did set up a Facebook Author page where I’ve posted some photos related to the book. I think I’m going to start writing a monthly newsletter about the book and how it’s going. I was just reading about another author who does it and people really like it. Your message reminds me I better remind others who are interested that I’m still working on it. :-)

  231. Thanks Joe! I signed up using my gmail account. Good luck with the book. I love to read. Maybe I’ll try my hand at writing once I retire in the not too distant future. Hawaii is a bit too rich for our blood. We have bought some land above Lake Chelan in central Washington. Best regards,

    • Joe Trent says:

      A view of the lake would be awesome. Thanks for joining my list, Debbie, I better get back to work on the book. I’ll be sending out a little news about the progress and such this weekend.

  232. kristin mitchell says:

    Hi Joe! My husband and I, as well as our two young boys would love to move to HI. I am a registered nurse and am currently applying for jobs in HI. My husband and I both work here in WV and we have a combined income of 110k a year (roughly). If we were to move to HI I would be the only one working because I make more money than him. While he would stay home with our children. ( I know bad role reversal, but it will work for us lol). I have researched RN pay, and it seems I would make around 75k a year. Could a family of four make it with that little of income? Thanks so much!

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Kristin,
      My daughter-in-law makes it on a whole lot less. She has 2 kids and a husband that works intermittently. Most of us who live here take a vow of poverty. :-)

  233. Hi Joe,
    I’ve read up on everything you have posted. What I haven’t seen or heard much of its the transportation division. I am a truck driver by trade. Is there much of that kind of work on any of the islands? If so which ones and would that be sufficient enough to live off of?

    Thank you,

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Brandy, There’s been an ad in the local paper recently looking for a cement mixer driver. It started at $25 per hour if I recall correctly. Truck driver jobs here are few and far between I think because I don’t ever remember seeing ads for drivers other than the one I mentioned above. The freight companies are all locally owned and most likely draw from family and friends before advertising is my guess.

  234. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for putting this site together to help us out. As an Albertan I am planning on packing up and getting away from these extreme winters in the next month or two. Not knowing much about the area except from what I have learned by watching Hawaii Life every chance I get and reading your posts. Where is the best and safest place for a single female to move? I’ve worked in the sales/marketing field for numerous years and would like to find a job after establishing myself in your amazing country. As a Canadian can one work in Hawaii? Would you happen to know about healthcare or where one should look to purchase the best possible insurance? In alberta the one positive is that we do not have to pay for health care. I would also like to purchase a vehicle or rent one short term. Any other information that you think would be beneficial would be welcome.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Kelly, Sorry for the late response, I’ve been off the island for the last week. To answer your questions; Your biggest problem is going to be getting a green card to work here. Start reading here:

      Being a part time resident for you is not a problem visa wise. I know of lots of Canadian snowbirds that live here during the winter. That’s going to be the easiest route for you if you can figure out a way to telecommute to work. Getting a job here without a work visa is going to be impossible.

      The west side of the big island is the safe side. Kaiser is hands down the best medical insurance in Hawaii.

  235. My husband was just offered a position with a company based out of Honolulu. We would need to live in that area. Questions:
    1. Does Honolulu have any towns/areas outside of the city that you would recommend looking for affordable housing, good schools, etc?
    2. Any idea about the job market for educators? (I am currently an elementary school principal.)

  236. I lived in Hawaii for about 4 years, but I was living on an Army base. Now I’m no longer married to a soldier but I graduate with my BSN in nursing in 9 months and I miss the island of Oahu so much I have dreamed of moving back. I absolutely loved it there and my youngest so was born there. I’m aware of the high cost of living, but I didn’t get a full taste of it because I was sort of sheltered with military benefits. I’m wondering if moving to the island with two kids is smart and do-able? This place feels like home to me but I don’t want to get over there and struggle. Even as a nurse, I know it can be difficult. What’s your opinion on this?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Life is short. Eat your cake first. If it turns out it’s too hard, you can check it off your bucket list and move back to the mainland. Having said that, you’ll probably make it here since you’re a nurse with a BSN. Last time I checked you guys make bank. :-)

  237. Hi Joe-
    My husband is an experienced (18 years) import mechanic. Currently works on Audi, many years with VW prior. Would his skills be in particular demand? We are early on considering a move from the Midwest. I have a law degree and am flexible as to how I use it, so we’ll follow his best option.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Kris,

      Your husband’s skills will be in demand here on the big island. Probably the other islands too. Definitely Oahu.

  238. Aloha Joe! Ive been to the main island many times. I love it all, you have it all there. Mountains,forest,beach,open road,back roads,snow,great people,feelin chill all the time. I have always wanted to move there. My family and i have been thinking about do so asap. My husband does construction/auto mac./auto body painter. I am a cook/hotel/laborer. How easy do you think it would be for us to find a job? Also we would need a house that would fit 2 adults & 3 kids & a dog without goin broke just on rent lol. We are very outdoors people. Ive been doing my homework so we can kind of know what what it would take to move there permanently. Anything you could tell me that would help?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Faustina,
      First, I’m sorry for taking so long to reply, I didn’t get notification of your comment and just seen it by accident.

      I don’t know anything I can say that I haven’t said already in the article and the previous comments. Other than making a plan to live here and follow it. Good luck.

  239. Heya Joe! Happy to read all the good stuff. My partner, my 4 year old and myself are planning da big move in early 2016. Also expecting another little one in April. Wondering if you know much about the craft beer scene out there? My partner manages a liquor store and is a home brewer and I’m a massage therapist and both have plenty of restaurant experience. Won’t be able to afford private schooling but have heard good things about Kona Pacific. Maybe we see you out there soon. Aloha holly

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Holly,

      First, I’m sorry for taking so long to reply, I didn’t get notification of your comment and just seen it by accident.

      As far as the craft brewery scene goes, ever heard of Kona brew fest? Kona Brewing company is probably the place you should visit for all the info.

  240. Hi Joe, I’m wanting to buy property in Hawaii, just don’t know where. Never been there but what my wife and I have heard from everyone else that’s been there is that it’s mesmerizing!!! In 3 years we would like to visit, but our plan is to sell our home here in Texas and retire in Hawaii. How much would a home for 2 and some space for family visiting would cost us, just an estimate. We just want to enjoy ourselves, have fun, do things together for the rest of our life there.

    • Joe Trent says:

      First, I’m sorry for taking so long to reply, I didn’t get notification of your comment and just found it by accident.

      On this island, you’re probably talking about 500k and up as a ballpark. Maui and Oahu would be more. Kauai I’m not sure about.

  241. Hi Joe,
    Sold my california home and contemplating next move. My son and I are really considering moving to Oahu. I’ve worked in the mfg. industry for nearly 20+ years and my 20yr old son is currently a prep cook. At 50+yrs old, I feel a change and my son, a new start. I realize the challenges my son and I will face with the high cost of living there and also my income will dramatically be reduced. With a combine income, I think we can make a go if it(simple life). What’s your opinion of this?

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Perry,

      It’s pretty cool you and your son can team up and make a go at it. Yeah, nobody moves to Hawaii for the money. But the quality of life is worth the sacrifice for those who are into healthy outdoor lifestyles. There’s over a million people living on Oahu, why not you? Good luck.

  242. dewayna darrett says:

    hello hope all is well!
    i am single, 48 with one sone whobis about to leave the nest next year. after he graduates in June 2016. i plan to give myself 12 months to get rid of all of my furniture and not bring much and 12 months to look for a job. i have been working for 14 years in law enforcement and public safety. can you tell me what the job market to work at police department or DOC on Oahu.
    thank you

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Dewayna,
      I’m envious of your ability to take 12 months to look for a job. :-) And selling your stuff is a good idea too. My sources at Five O are all off unavailable right now. But they’d probably say there’s a spot for you somewhere over there on the Gathering island. Good luck.

  243. Stephen Schroeder says:

    Hey Joe, I’m 19 years old and want to move to Hawaii but I’m not sure which island would be best for me. I’ve lived in florida and the southern US for most of my life. I know it sounds crazy wanting to make my first move out all the way out there but I can’t see myself living anywhere else. Im a photographer/videographer and have just started print modeling as well. Do you think that its possible for me to find enough footage and modeling work in the islands as opposed to mainland? Even if I needed to put aside my photography and videos and pick up a full time job what would be some options?

    Thank you,

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Stephen,
      Oahu or Maui would probably have more opportunities for you since they have much larger populations than the other islands. If I was 19 again and moving to Hawaii, I’d get a job on a dive boat or something else fun.

  244. Hey Joe, I wanted to thank you for the info you’ve shared. I’m 18 and planning on moving to Kauai to live there long term. I’ve spent my entire life in southern Michigan, and have only traveled as far as Ohio once, so I’m a little antsy about the idea of moving there, but I suppose I’ll get used to it if I don’t want to make it a wasted trip. I also love anything about water such as swimming, boating, kayaking, and things like that, so I feel like there are a lot of recreational activities for when I’m not working. Are the locals as friendly as I’ve been hearing all over the internet? Will me being white as paper put up boundaries? Also, are there a lot of opportunities for someone young like me to thrive on? It probably sounds crazy, but my mind is set on moving away to the islands by myself.

    Thank you.

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Liam,
      You sound like a very brave soul! :-) I’d be antsy too if I were you. The opportunities on Kauai will be limited because it’s such a small island. Oahu would offer you more opportunity for work and schooling if you decide you want to go to college later on.

      As far as being white goes, overall the locals are accepting of the other races that live here. There will be a few Hawaiians that are not so happy about you living here. But that’s their problem. Not yours. If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve been called a f#$%Kn haole, I’d have enough for dinner. But, I bring out the worst in people sometimes. Others live here for years and get along just fine. Good luck.

  245. Hey Joe,

    I come from a military back ground. Was an army recruiter and was a fire fighter in the civilian world. For the past year I’ve been the director of operations of a commercial cleaning company. I do inspections and represent the ops department in the directors meeting, handle inventory, and funds for our franchise owners. I’m 26, have a personal training business on the side and am still in the army reserves. I’m seriously considering moving to Hawaii. Any suggestions on a good job market for my background?

    Any information would help! Thanks for your time!



    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Matt,
      With your background I’d be looking for some kind of government job on Oahu. I don’t have a source to refer you to, but Google is your friend. :-)

  246. Chad Smith says:

    Hi Joe,

    I’ve been reading the above posts and you sure seem like an expert with invaluable knowledge!

    My wife and I are looking to move to the big island from Orange County in the summer of 2016. I am a CPA and my wife is a preschool teacher. We are undecided about which part of the island would be best to move to. Our biggest concern is finding jobs. Although we aren’t ruling out purchasing a coffee farm! Can you offer any insight into what our prospects might be in those fields (accounting/childcare)?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Joe Trent says:

      Aloha Chad,
      Since you mentioned a coffee farm, I’ll assume you’re partial to the Kona side of the island. It’s about as close to Orange County weather as you can get. I lived in Orange County from 73 to 96 before moving to Kona.

      I can’t think of any large accounting firms on this island. All the CPA’s I know work for themselves. I would check for a temp job that might be good for networking yourself into the right job eventually. Same goes for your wife.

  247. Aloha Joe, Your article was both informative and insightful. Ready or not here I come!

  248. Mahalo Joe –
    Thank you for the informative article. I am considering putting and offer on some real estate in HPP. I am a 53 year old female and ready to leave the Midwest in 3 to 6 months. I have heard mixed opinions about HPP. In your opinion, is this an area you would or would not recommend and why or why not. Thanks for your input. Mahalo.

    • Aloha Traci, will email you about crimes committed on the island. I’ve been getting emailed from Nixle the last couple of years and have now decided that side of the island is like the Chicago of the Pacific. Everything negative you’ve read about that side is probably true. If you move over there, get a dog. My friend Julie is a Realtor© and knows that side of the island and can help you if you decide to move forward with buying property over there.

  249. Hey Joe, me and my girlfriend just visited Maui and fell in love, it has been her dream to live there, and ever since I returned we now share the same dream. She is a licensed Massage Therapist and I have 3 years in Electrical Engineering and Automation. I also served 4 years in the Marine Corps so I have the work ethic to learn just about anything. Do you think it would be hard finding a job in any of those areas, specifically Maui? Also, I wold not mind working at a hotel if there was room to climb. Are hotel jobs meant for short-term improvement or can you move up in time?

    • Aloha Rob,
      Both of you should be able to find work at the resorts on Maui I would think. I would check all the resort websites for hiring info and start the search. Good luck.

  250. Bruce A Baldwin Jr says:

    Thanks for the informative reading ☺
    I have an 18-24 month plan to relocate to the islands, i have 17 years in hvac and refrigeration and for the most part i see technicians are in demand through out. Aside from the Hilo area this should put me close to 52-55k starting out. Any insight to what island is in higher demand?
    I appreciate it!

    • Aloha Bruce,
      I don’t know about the other side, but here in Kona, ACS is looking for techs frequently. I say that based on the ads I see in the local paper. You’re in the perfect business for Hawaii. :-) We run the A/C almost year round where I live close to the beach.

  251. Hey Joe, great read, I was stationed on Oahu from 90 to 97, was the best duty station ever had. We plan on retiring in Hawaii, not sure were. I still have roughly 10-15 years before retirement, any long term recommendations? Thanks!

    • Aloha Ricky,

      Subscribe to the Sunday edition of the local paper for the area you want to move to is one thing you could do to get the feel for what is going on in the area. Buying a place now and renting it out until you’re ready to retire is probably something to think about.

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