Tips for Moving to Hawaii

Moving is always a big decision and moving to Hawaii is no exception. You may have lots of questions wandering through your mind, so we’d like to put your mind at ease with some important information and tips for moving to Hawaii.

Finding Your Perfect Island

First of all, if you haven’t decided on which island you’re going to call home, your best bet is try to come for a visit. Each island, although all welcoming and a paradise all on its own, has their own feel and charm. Your lifestyle and what makes you happiest will dictate which island is best suited to your needs and desires. For example, Oahu is an excellent place to live, but it’s also the one bustling with most activity. So, if you’re looking for a more secluded, laid back environment, you may want to consider one of the other islands like Kauai.

If you’re able to come for a visit before moving to Hawaii, try to schedule your visit between September and October or between January and May. These are the slower times of year so you won’t have to fight for transportation and accommodations and can very likely get a better deal.

Moving Your Personal Belongings to Hawaii

When moving to Hawaii you should keep in mind that many places here are fully furnished. By fully furnished we don’t just mean couches and bedroom furniture sets. You can easily find a place to live that will have everything you need including cookware and such. So, pack light and bring only what you truly need and personal keepsakes. If you absolutely need to bring a ton of things, ask family and friends to mail some to you over the near future. Mail from the continental U.S. to Hawaii will normally take about 3-4 weeks. Keep all of your important papers and documents with you at all times by putting them in your carry-on. These include ID’s, prescriptions, etc…

If you’re brining a car when you move to Hawaii, Matson Navigation can provide the shipping. A standard vehicle will normally cost about $1,000 but check with them in advance to verify current costs.

Strict Policies for Pets & Plants

There are pretty strict policies about moving your pets and plants into Hawaii, with more emphasis on pets. If you must bring plants, they’ll have to be inspected before they’re allowed into to pass through. Contact the Animal and Plant Health Insurance Service for more information about your particular plants and what you’ll have to do.

If you’re moving to Hawaii and are bringing pets, you need to be very careful about following the policies in place or you could end up paying a lot of money and waiting months for your pet to be allowed. Hawaii takes rabies and the health & safety of residents very seriously. For a long time, pets entering Hawaii had to undergo four months of quarantine. Now you can shorten that to five days quarantine and possibly be able to have a direct release from the airport (Must arrive between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. – see checklist for the 5-day-program below for complete details).

Also be aware that your pet may not be allowed to enter Hawaii at all because they prohibit many types of pets. For instance, if you have a pet ferret you won’t be able to bring him. Check the Animal Guidelines for Importation to Hawaii to see if you’ll be able to bring your pet.

Once you’ve verified that your pet is allowed to enter Hawaii, then the first thing you want to do is ensure that your pet can meet all of the guidelines for the 5-day-or-less-program. The checklist is found Here. Be aware that if you have a puppy or kitten, they won’t be able to meet the guidelines for the 5-day-or-less-program until they are at least 10 months old.

Living Costs

Moving to Hawaii used to always mean a very big increase in what you pay for housing. You’re likely still going to pay much rent for an apartment, but how much more? If you want an apartment in Oahu you can expect to pay at least $1,000 per month. In Kauai, you can possibly find studio apartments for as little as $500 per month, though. You can expect to pay around $1,200 per month in Maui. The cheapest you’ll probably find is on Hawaii (the Big Island) where average apartments & condos run about $700 per month.

Save money on food by shopping at places like Wal-Mart and buying what’s on sale. Almost all of the food found in Hawaii is imported, so shop wisely and eat out less often. As for transportation, all islands have taxis. However, Oahu is the only island with a public bus system. If you choose to live on Oahu then consider using the bus as often as you can to cut back on your cost of living (and frustration with traffic and parking).

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