Moving to Hawaii – The 9 Most Important Things to Know

What could be better than island life? You have finally decided that it is time to move anyway from the mainland and enjoy sun touched beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. This all sounds great and attainable, but there are few things you should know before you commit to making the move.

You will want to consider the following when planning to trade in your jeans and sweatshirts for bathing suits and flip flops as your main outerwear:

  • Choosing an Island
  • What to Bring vs. What to Buy
  • Having Your Own Car
  • Everything is Slower in Hawaii
  • Cost of Living
  • No Daylight Savings Time
  • May Day (Lei Day)
  • Hawaiian is Not Necessarily English
  • Learn to Embrace Hawaiian Life

Choosing an Island

Now that you have decided to move to Hawaii, you need to decide on which island to put down roots. Selecting which of the islands to move to might be the most crucial choice for your decision. Each island has its own unique lifestyle and experiences. Be sure to do your research on each island. A good source you can use is the Go Hawaii site.

Hawaii has several islands to call home.

What to Bring vs. What to Buy

What you bring will be dependent on what you expect to have when you arrive. Most places for rent come fully furnished on the bigger islands. This allows you to bring much less. You might even profit from the sale of stuff that you are leaving behind. In contrast, if you are purchasing a place and no furnishing are included, you need to decide if the cost of shipping these bulky items is worth it. You may want to take a good look at how you might live differently on the island, using a minimalistic approach.

Having Your Own Car

The one exception to the rule above regards your car. If you have a car, you will want to ship it to the island, if possible. For the most part, public transportation is limited, and getting around will be much easier if you have a car. Great tips for shipping your vehicle to Hawaii can be found here.

Everything is Slower in Hawaii

Patience is one of the keys to successfully transitioning to life in Hawaii. If you are moving from a major city, be prepared to slow down. This includes EVERY aspect of life. People talk slower, move slower, and, most importantly, drive slower. Nobody is in a rush in Hawaii, and to live a relaxed lifestyle, you too will need to take it easy.

Hawaiians like to take it easy.

Cost of Living

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of moving to Hawaii, the expense of island life will most certainly make your con list. It seems like everything costs more on the islands! You can throw everything you know about pricing out the window. On the islands, almost every commodity is an import, which can more than double the costs of items you are used to purchasing from retail stores on the mainland. Additionally, the size of products can be reduced, making the unit cost even higher than you think.

No Daylight Savings Time

Island time is the same all the time. Hawaii is one of two states that do not observe daylight savings time. No need to worry twice a month about changing the clocks or worrying about being late (or early) due to the time change. Also – Hawaii has its own time zone. Good to know when planning a call to family on the mainland.

May Day (Lei Day)

One of the more important holidays on the islands of Hawaii is May Day or Lei Day. Celebrated the first day of May, this holiday honors the significance of leis to Hawaii’s culture. Each island celebrates differently, so if you want, you can travel the islands each year and enjoy the different variations each island offers. Click here for a brief history of Lei Day.

King Kamehameha Day Lei Draping Ceremony Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Hawaiian is Not Necessarily English

It will take you some time to get used to the mix of English, Hawaiian, and Pidgin/Creole is used in everyday conversation. That, combined with the slang used by surfers (and almost everyone is a surfer), may make understanding people difficult at first. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification, but at the same time, do not try to force yourself to speak the dialect. Over time you will be accustom to it and pick up what you need.

Learn to Embrace Hawaiian Life

As you can see, life on the islands can differ from what you are used to. Embrace the differences, and in no time at all, you will be living a slower, more relaxed life. This is precisely the reason you decided the first place to move. Aloha!


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