Moving to Hawaii

Have you ever dreamed of waking up to the sound of waves crashing and mesmerizing sunsets over a tropical paradise? Well, stop dreaming and start planning your Hawaiian adventure! Moving to Hawaii is a life-changing decision, and this comprehensive Hawaii relocation guide will provide you with all the information and insights you need. From navigating the basics of island living and understanding local culture to finding the perfect home and adjusting to everyday life, our guide will help you turn that dream move into a captivating reality. Start your journey of Aloha with us, right here!

Moving to Hawaii landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Hawaii

1. Embrace the Aloha Spirit

Upon moving to Hawaii, you'll quickly discover the importance of the Aloha Spirit. This philosophy is integral to the local culture and is embedded in the daily lives of Hawaiians. Living by the spirit means exuding warmth, love, and compassion towards all, respecting and understanding each other. When you move to Hawaii, embracement of the Aloha Spirit will help you connect with locals, adapt to your new life, and appreciate the unique beauty of the islands.

2. Slow Down and Enjoy Island Time

Life in Hawaii moves at its own pace, often referred to as "island time." Don't expect the fast-paced lifestyle you may be accustomed to on the mainland. Instead, prepare to embrace a more relaxed, leisurely pace of life that allows you to enjoy the island's natural beauty and warm climate. This slower pace is a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of mainland life. However, adapting to island time will help you appreciate the serenity and stress-free atmosphere that makes Hawaii such an attractive place to live.

3. The Cost of Living is High, But Worth It

It's no secret that Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the United States. This is largely due to its remote location and reliance on imported goods. The price of groceries, housing, and transportation is generally higher than on the mainland. However, many transplants find the natural beauty, pleasant climate, and unique cultural experiences well worth the price. To offset the high costs, consider shopping at local farmers' markets and embracing a minimalist lifestyle.

4. Don't Forget Your Slippahs

In Hawaii, flip-flops are called slippahs and are a staple in most wardrobes. Ditch your shoes and embrace this comfortable footwear as part of your new island attire. Not only are slippahs practical for the warm climate and sandy beaches, but they are also a symbol of the laid-back Hawaiian lifestyle. When visiting someone's home, it's customary to remove your slippahs at the door as a sign of respect, reinforcing the importance of this footwear choice in Hawaiian culture.

5. Get to Know the Local Lingo

When moving to Hawaii, you'll quickly notice that locals have their own unique vocabulary, known as Pidgin. Pidgin is a mix of English, Hawaiian, and other languages spoken by the islands' diverse ethnic groups. Some common Pidgin phrases include "da kine" (used as a placeholder word for something you can't remember the name of), "grinds" (good food), and "ono" (delicious). Taking the time to learn and understand these local expressions will help you better communicate with locals and show your appreciation for their culture.

6. Prepare for Unpredictable Weather

Although Hawaii may be known for its warm climate and sunny beaches, you'll be surprised to discover that the weather can be quite unpredictable. Each island consists of microclimates, resulting in varying weather conditions within short distances. You may experience intense sunlight, heavy rain, and even cool temperatures all in one day. Be prepared for these frequent changes by always carrying sunscreen, a light jacket, and an umbrella. Adapting to the island's unpredictable weather will ensure that your day continues smoothly, regardless of any weather surprises.

In conclusion, moving to Hawaii is a significant life change that requires a shift in mindset and lifestyle. Embracing the Aloha Spirit, adjusting to island time, and becoming familiar with the local lingo are just a few ways to prepare yourself for this transition. Remember that every move comes with challenges, and Hawaii is no exception. But with a little preparation and positivity, you'll soon be enjoying the island life and all the beauty and experiences it has to offer.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Hawaii

Pros of Living in Hawaii

Stunning Natural Beauty

Hawaii is known for its breathtaking landscapes, including pristine beaches, verdant mountains, and lush forests. The diverse natural attractions provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, and snorkeling, making it an ideal place for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

Pleasant Climate

The climate in Hawaii is consistently warm and sunny throughout the year, with relatively low humidity levels. The average temperature ranges between 70-85°F, allowing residents to enjoy outdoor activities, beach outings, and comfortable living conditions year-round.

Multicultural Environment

Hawaii is culturally diverse, with a unique blend of Polynesian, Asian, and American influences. This rich cultural integration is evident in the language, customs, and unique cuisine that residents enjoy. Living in Hawaii exposes you to fascinating new experiences and helps broaden your understanding of different cultures.

Strong Sense of Community

The Aloha spirit, characterized by love, kindness, and compassion, is a way of life in Hawaii. Residents often form tight-knit communities that support one another and celebrate local traditions together, creating a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere for newcomers.

High Quality-of-Life Index

The natural beauty, climate, and tight-knit communities lend themselves to a high quality of life for residents in Hawaii. A slower, more relaxed pace of life allows you to truly enjoy the outdoors and engage with your neighborhood, while still having access to modern amenities.

Cons of Living in Hawaii

High Cost of Living

Living in Hawaii can be expensive, with high housing prices and costs for everyday necessities like groceries and utilities. The isolation of the islands contributes to increased prices for imported goods, making it challenging for some individuals and families to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

Limited Job Opportunities

While Hawaii has a thriving tourism industry, the job market in other sectors can be limited, especially on the smaller islands. Some residents may struggle to find stable, well-paying jobs outside of the tourism and service industries, which may not align with their career goals or preferred lifestyles.

Island Fever

Living on an isolated island can sometimes lead to the feeling of "island fever" or the feeling of being trapped. While Hawaii offers ample natural beauty and recreational opportunities, the reality of living on an island means limited physical space and travel options, which may be a challenge for some residents.

Distance from Mainland

The distance between Hawaii and the continental US can be both positive and negative. While it creates a unique sense of island culture, it can also make it difficult to visit family and friends on the mainland, potentially causing feelings of isolation or homesickness.

Natural Disasters

Hawaii is prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity. While the risk of experiencing these events may be relatively low, residents should be prepared for the possibility and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety and well-being.

Nighttime picture of Hawaii highlighting pros and cons of living in Hawaii

Is Hawaii a Good State to Live In?

Hawaii is a great place to live because of its beautiful scenery, year-round warm weather, and rich cultural heritage. Outdoor lovers and beach enthusiasts will enjoy the endless recreational opportunities, while the aloha spirit and diverse communities foster a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

What Is Hawaii Famous For?

World-Class Beaches

Hawaii is well-known for its beautiful, pristine beaches. Some of these beaches include Waikiki, on Oahu island, and Poipu, located on Kauai island. Hawaiian beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and snorkeling, all while taking in breath-taking views of azure blue waters, lush greenery, and white sand.

Volcanoes National Park

The state is home to Volcanoes National Park which is located on Hawaii's Big Island. This park offers spectacular views of two of the most active volcanoes in the world - Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Visitors have the unique experience of witnessing volcanic processes in action, and they can learn about the fascinating geological, cultural, and biological history of Hawaiian volcanoes.

Aloha Spirit

Hawaii is famous for its atmosphere of warmth and friendliness, which is often referred to as the "Aloha Spirit." The Aloha Spirit is about treating others with love, kindness, and respect while living in harmony with the world around you. This lovely cultural tradition have made Hawaii a favorite vacation destination for people from around the globe who want to relax and engage with the unique culture of these islands.

Hula and Luau

When you think of Hawaii, chances are that Hula dancing and Luaus come to mind. Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance that tells a captivating story through graceful body movements and intricate hand gestures, often accompanied by traditional Hawaiian music. Luaus are festive Hawaiian celebrations that often involve a feast of traditional Polynesian dishes, Hula performances, and other vibrant forms of Hawaiian entertainment, making for an unforgettable and immersive cultural experience.

Capital building of Hawaii in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Hawaii, property tax rates are relatively low compared to the rest of the United States. As of 2023, the average property tax rate is around 0.26%, which ranks Hawaii as having the 49th lowest property tax rates among the 50 states.

Sales Tax

Though Hawaii doesn't have a traditional sales tax, it does impose a general excise tax (GET) on most business activities at a rate of 4%. When combined with local surcharges, the effective tax rate paid by consumers typically ranges between 4-4.5%, which is still lower than sales tax rates in many other states.

Income Tax

As of 2023, Hawaii has a progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 1.4% to 11%. The highest income tax rate of 11% is applicable to residents earning over $200,000 (for single filers) or $400,000 (for joint filers). These top income tax rates are among the highest in the United States.

Housing Market

Despite its paradise appeal, Hawaii's housing market is significantly pricier than most US states. For prospective home buyers, the median home value in Hawaii is around $715,000, while the national average sits at just $297,000. Renters face similar costs, with median rent in Hawaii at $2,400 compared to the national average of $1,650. Coupled with strict zoning regulations and limited land, this drives a competitive market, making home ownership and affordable housing a challenge. Considering these factors, those considering Hawaii should be prepared for a higher cost of living and a more aggressive housing search.

Housing market analysis of Hawaii

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Hawaii is significantly higher than most other states due to its remote location, expensive utilities, and housing prices. As an island state, Hawaii relies heavily on imported goods, making overall expenses higher. In fact, it is approximately 97% more expensive to live in Honolulu compared to the national average. Notably, housing in Hawaii can be more than double the national average, and the price of utilities, groceries, and transportation also contribute to its overall high cost of living.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Hawaii's climate is characterized by a tropical environment with abundant sunshine, trade winds, and consistent temperatures. The archipelago experiences only two main seasons: dry (April to October) and wet (November to March). Weather conditions may vary across the islands, with microclimates formed by the interaction of ocean, mountains, and prevailing winds. Coastal regions receive ample rainfall, while the island's leeward sides remain drier. Average temperatures typically range between 68°F and 82°F, with the coastal areas remaining warmer than the higher elevations. While the trade winds provide a refreshing breeze, strong Kona winds, particularly in winter months, can result in stormy conditions. Natural disasters in Hawaii mainly comprise of hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, and volcanic eruptions. Given that the archipelago is situated in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," volcanic activity, particularly on the Big Island, poses a significant threat, along with seismic activity and earthquakes.

Economy & Job Market

Tourism and hospitality

Defense and aerospace


Renewable energy and clean technology

Health and wellness

Hawaii's economy has always been an interesting blend of industries. Historically, the state's economy was primarily based on agriculture, with sugarcane and pineapple plantations requiring a significant workforce. However, as the decades passed, these industries declined, and Hawaii transformed itself into a tourism hotspot. Today, the Aloha State's economy is largely based on tourism, but it also includes defense and aerospace, agriculture, renewable energy, and health and wellness sectors. Additionally, Hawaii is actively diversifying its economy by investing in innovative fields such as clean technology, biotechnology, and creative media.

If you're considering moving to Hawaii and need to find a job, it's important to know that the job market can be competitive due to the state's popularity and remote location. While the unemployment rate in Hawaii is relatively low (around 7.1% as of August 2021), finding a well-paying job may take some time and effort. Job opportunities are abundant in the tourism and hospitality sector, which may be perfect for those with experience in the service industry, event planning, marketing, or other related fields. Working in the defense, aerospace or renewable energy sectors may require specific skills and qualifications; however, these areas also offer promising job opportunities. The best areas to search for jobs in Hawaii are in cities such as Honolulu, which is the state's capital and economic center, and nearby cities like Kailua and Kaneohe.

Traffic and Transportation

Aloha! If you're thinking about island-hopping or getting around some big cities in Hawaii, you're in for a treat! Although being in paradise usually means slowing down a bit, peak hours can still find Hawaii's motorists practicing the art of patience – the average commute time in Honolulu is around 29 minutes. But hey, don't fret! Hawaii has some efficient public transportation options. For instance, Honolulu's Oahu Transit Services' 'TheBus' system covers sizable ground and maintains a punctual schedule, while Kauai offers the Kauai Bus to get you around the island.

When you feel the urge to hop between the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, air travel is the way to go. Frequent inter-island flights connect nearly every corner of this tropical heaven with major airlines, such as Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines, offering short trips that are both enchanting and budget-friendly. So buckle up, grab a mai tai, and enjoy the journey as you explore Hawaii's traffic and transportation scene!

What is the traffic like in Hawaii?

Things to Do


Aloha and welcome to your new island home in Hawaii! Hawaii is a breathtaking paradise of beautiful beaches, stunning mountain ranges, and incredibly rich culture. From exploring its natural wonders to diving into its history, there are endless things to do in the Aloha State. Whether you're a long-time resident or a recent island transplant, this listicle-style guide includes seven must-try experiences for anyone living in Hawaii. Read on to discover the best activities that you simply cannot miss out on:

1. Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

No trip to Hawaii is complete without visiting one of its most famous attractions: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This incredible park covers over 320,000 hectares and is home to two of the world's most active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Here, you can experience a range of beautiful landscapes, including lush rainforests, volcanic craters, and barren deserts. Take a scenic drive along the famous Crater Rim Drive, hike through the Thurston Lava Tube, or see rare and endangered species up close.

2. Surf the Legendary North Shore of Oahu

Hawaii is synonymous with surfing, and there's no better place to try your hand at catching a wave than Oahu's legendary North Shore. In the winter months, huge swells offer experienced surfers some of the best waves on the planet. If you're new to surfing, summer is the ideal time to learn, with smaller waves and a plethora of surf schools available. Let the iconic ocean and island scenery inspire you as you glide across the water.

3. Attend a Traditional Hawaiian Luau

If you want to dive into the rich Hawaiian culture, attending a traditional luau is a must. These festive celebrations combine music, dance, and mouth-watering food to create an unforgettable experience. Featuring traditional hula dancing, live music, and delicious Hawaiian dishes like kalua pork and lomi lomi salmon, a is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in a centuries-old island tradition.

4. Swim with Manta Rays on the Big Island

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, consider joining a nighttime snorkeling tour off the coast of the Big Island to swim with majestic manta rays. These graceful creatures are attracted to the bright lights on the snorkeling boats, which draw in plankton (their primary food source), allowing you to get an up-close encounter with these gentle giants. Floating on the surface, you'll watch in awe as these mesmerizing creatures glide effortlessly below you.

5. Hike the World-Famous Kalalau Trail

The 11-mile-long Kalalau Trail on Kauai is considered one of the most stunning hiking trails in the world. Traversing lush valleys, towering cliffs, and secluded beaches, this breathtaking trek is both challenging and rewarding. Due to the trail's difficulty, visitors must obtain a permit to hike the full length and spend the night at the Kalalau Beach campground. For a less strenuous, permit-free experience, you can opt to hike the first two miles of the trail to Hanakapi’ai Beach.

6. Visit the Remote Kalaupapa Peninsula

Looking for something truly unique? Venture to the remote Kalaupapa Peninsula on Moloka'i. Accessible only by mule, helicopter, or a strenuous hike, Kalaupapa was once a isolated colony for those with Hansen's Disease (also known as leprosy). Today, it's a U.S. National Historical Park where visitors can learn about the area's history through guided tours. While this destination might not be on every tourist's radar, it's an enlightening and humbling experience for those who make the journey.

7. Dive into Maui's Molokini Crater

An underwater volcanic crater just off the coast of Maui, Molokini provides one of the best marine life-spotting opportunities in the Aloha State. The crystal-clear waters and rich sea life make it a snorkeling and scuba diving paradise. Amongst the colorful coral, you'll spot a variety of tropical fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional reef shark or manta ray.

If you're moving to or living in Hawaii, there's no shortage of thrilling adventures and cultural experiences to enjoy. With its unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and heartwarming aloha spirit, it's no wonder people from all over the world fall in love with this enchanting island paradise. Make the most of your time in this tropical oasis by ticking off the activities on this list and creating lasting memories. Mahalo!

' Things to do in Hawaii?

Find Movers for Your Hawaii Relocation

Now that you're equipped with the essential knowledge to make your Hawaii relocation a success, it's time to take the first step towards your new island life. To ensure a smooth transition, let Great Guys Moving connect you with the most reputable, affordable, licensed, and insured movers in the industry. Simply provide the basics about your move and get access to quick, reliable quotes from top movers tailored to your requirements. Don't wait any longer – request a free moving quote today and get ready to embrace the Aloha spirit in your new Hawaii home!

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