Moving to Hawaii

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Move to Hawaii

Ready to make your dream of moving to Hawaii a reality? If yes, then you’ve stumbled upon the right page. Because we want to help you make your move go as smooth as possible, we developed this handy guide on how to move to Hawaii containing all the little details you’ll need to know before saying ‘Aloha!’ to your new life! 😉

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Moving to Hawaii: How Much Does It Cost?

We can imagine you’re probably ultra-eager to pursue your dream of moving to Hawaii and to just hop on a plane already. And, although we would feel the same, it’s important that we first talk money.

In short, the cost of moving to Hawaii is influenced by a number of factors, but the size of your move carries the most weight.

Sirelo Tip! Want to make sure that your shipment isn’t too bulky? Then make sure that you make downsizing your new bff and hold a yard sale to sell your unwanted items.

Determining how much your move will ultimately cost can be a bit tricky. To illustrate this picture better, we’ve listed the average costs of moving different household sizes to Hawaii via sea-freight.

Household SizeTimeCosts
1-bedroom7-9 weeks$2,900 – $4,000
2-bedrooms4-6 weeks$3,900 – $5,400
3-bedrooms4-6 weeks$6,700 – $9,100
4-bedrooms4-6 weeks$7,200 – $9,700

Please keep in mind that the rates shown above are just estimates and thus will vary depending on your actual point of departure.

Finding Moving Companies from Mainland to Hawaii

You may have noticed that the potential price ranges for moving to Hawaii are quite broad (and sometimes quite large). That’s why it’s extra important to shop around for the best price from the right moving company for your particular move. Otherwise, you may begin your living in Hawaii off on the wrong foot.

Want to make sure you get the most accurate price possible before moving to Hawaii? By filling out the form below, you’ll be able to receive up to five free moving quotes!

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How to Move to Hawaii: Checklist

Wondering exactly how to move to Hawaii? To help you out, we’ve developed a comprehensive (and quite handy!) moving checklist to guide you through your entire move to Hawaii.

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, check out our infographic below outlining the broad strokes of the long-distance moving process:

Checklist with key points to remember when moving to Hawaii

Working in Hawaii

As of February 2022, Hawaii has an unemployment rate of 5.6% –a bit higher than the national average of 3.9%. However, it did not use to be this way! The pandemic has much to do with this (sad days for tourism), as Hawaii had among the lowest unemployment levels in the country (around 2.5%).

If you’re moving to Hawaii for work, let us just say we’re jealous! Working in Hawaii is a highly sought-after luxury, so you must be one of the lucky ones. If moving to Hawaii without a specific job is something you’re pursuing, we recommend the following job search platforms:

Depending on the island you move to, there will be a specific demand for particular jobs. The most popular industries per island include the following:

  • Oahu: tourism, government, military, healthcare, and construction
  • Maui: agriculture and construction
  • Big Island: tourism, agriculture and civil services
  • Kauai: tourism and military

💻 Working Remotely in Hawaii

Lastly, not all of the pandemic effects have been bad for the job market. With the increasing popularity of working from home (WFH ftw!), it’s now possible to still have a job on the mainland after moving to Hawaii.

This is especially attractive to freelancers who do not need to maintain regular hours (that time difference can be killer on morning meetings). For the rest, we hope you don’t need much sleep. 😉

Arranging Healthcare in Hawaii

Like in many other states within the US, after moving to Hawaii you can receive Medicaid coverage. As well, the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act requires all employers to offer medical coverage for employees working at least 20 hours a week.

It’s important to keep in mind that under either scheme there are certain medical expenses that aren’t covered. In order to ensure broader coverage, it’s still recommended that you keep or take out a private health insurance policy.

Moving Your Car to Hawaii

Wondering if you can take your car with you when you’re moving to Hawaii? Short answer is yes, of course! Luckily, moving your car to Hawaii from the mainland won’t take too long.

On average, you’ll probably have your vehicle within 5 to 7 days —but of course this can vary depending on your vehicle’s departure point.

As well, the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii is on average between $1,000 and $1,500. This cost can vary depending on the size of your vehicle, the departure point and how you choose to ship it.

Moving to Hawaii with Pets

You’ll definitely want to bring your furry friend with you for your adventure of moving to Hawaii. Because of this, it’s crucial that you’re aware of the pet requirements.

In general, preparations for moving to Hawaii with pets should begin around 6 months prior to your move. This prep includes:

  • Rabies vaccinations (2 shots – 30 days apart)
  • Microchipping
  • Rabies OIE-FAVN blood test
  • Collection of required documents (vaccine certifications and health certificate)
  • Submission of documents to the Animal Quarantine Station

After obtaining the blood test results, you must wait a minimum of 120 days before moving to Hawaii with pets. If this isn’t the case, you won’t be able to directly release it once you arrive to the state and will be required to keep your pet in quarantine for a fee of approximately $14 per day.

Sirelo Tip! For more information regarding the specific requirements and pet entrance fees, please visit the Animal Quarantine Station’s website.

Golden Retriever sitting on the beach at sunset

Costs of Living in Hawaii

When it comes to the costs of living in Hawaii, we have some unfortunate news. As of 2022, living in Hawaii is the most expensive out of all American states. How can this be? Well, moving to Hawaii means moving to the place the furthest away from everything and where everyone wants to go.

Important also is which island you pick when moving to Hawaii. There are six main islands and the costs of living in Hawaii tend to go up with the size of the island.

An easy way to analyze the costs of living in Hawaii is to break them down into three categories: housing, food and groceries, and transportation.

Housing in Hawaii

To rent or buy? That’s the never-ending question. When it comes to housing, the average rent in Hawaii is around $2,300. Compared to the national average of $1,650, this means that rent in Hawaii is around 40% more expensive than in the mainland.

Of course, your rent will vary depending on which island you choose and the size of your rental property. Below we provide a few rough averages:

Property TypeAverage Monthly Rent
Studio$1,422
1-bedroom$1,650
2-bedroom$2,000
3-bedroom$2,695
4-bedroom$2,997

Please keep in mind that the prices reflected above are just estimates. The rent can vary depending on location and characteristics of the property.

If you’re interested in purchasing rather than renting a property, the average cost of a medium-sized house in Hawaii is well above the $700,000 mark.

Moving to Hawaii: Everything You Need to Move About Your Move to Hawaii

Food and Groceries

Are you a total foodie? Then you’ll love indulging in the rich local cuisine Hawaii has to offer. However, be aware to beware. Because most food-related products in Hawaii are imported from the mainland, grocery prices are a bit steep compared to the rest of the United States.

In general, the price for groceries in Hawaii is 62% higher than national average. You might be wondering what 62% even represents, so below we’ve provided some common grocery costs in Hawaii:

ProductCost
Gallon of milk$3.14
1 lb. of chicken filet$4.93
1 lb. of beef round$7.43
Loaf of bread$5.39
1 lb. of bananas$5.44
Carton of eggs (12)$2.93
1 lb. of potatoes$2.08
1 lb. of local cheese$7.20
Bottle of wine$15

When it comes to eating out, you can expect an average cost of around $7 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and between $12 to $30 for dinner per person.

Sirelo Tip! Want to really experience traditional Hawaiian flavors? Be sure to give poi a try as soon as possible!

Transportation

If you’re not planning on bringing your vehicle when moving to Hawaii (or simply don’t own one), there’s no need to stress. When it comes to public transportation, most islands in Hawaii offer convenient and affordable options for their residents:

  • Bus ticket prices range between $2.50 and $1 depending on the island.
  • Taxi services are available on all islands.

If you plan on doing a bit of driving while living in Hawaii, expect to pay more at the pump than you’re accustomed to. Hawaii has the highest gas prices in the US, second only to California. As of this writing, the going rate at Hawaiian gas pumps is $4.60 per gallon.

What’s It Like Living in Hawaii?

Whatever your reason is for moving to Hawaii, it certainly helps to have an idea of what living in Hawaii is actually like. We’ve all seen the stereotypical surfers and hula girls pulling up to the evening luaus, but is that really living in Hawaii?

Well, sort of. Stereotypes often hold a grain of truth, but actual island life is a bit less spectacular. Instead, life moves at a slower pace and is simplified from many of the mainland’s complexities.

However, the experience of living in Hawaii can be very different depending on your island of choice:

  • Oahu: Populous and metropolitan (which sadly sometimes means traffic and crime)
  • Maui: Another population center known for culture and entertainment
  • The Big Island: Largest with the fewest people (for those really looking to get away)
  • Kauai: Most famous for its combination of beaches, nature, and laid-back culture
  • Lanai & Molokai: Remote living with very few neighbors (if you don’t count palm trees)
  • Niihau: Private reserve for the native Niihauans (FYI, you’re not even allowed to visit…)

Pros and Cons of Living in Hawaii

As much as we’d love to say living in Hawaii is all sunshine and rainbows (though it mostly is), into each life some rain must fall. Hawaii is no different, and living in Hawaii indeed comes with its own unique set of drawbacks. We list the highlight pros and cons of living in Hawaii below to give you a better idea:

Pros:

  • Beautiful landscapes & beaches (great for nature-lovers)
  • Friendly local population
  • Year-round sunny climate
  • Fresh(est) fruit (especially pineapple)

Cons:

  • Distance from mainland (in fact, Hawaii is the most remote island chain on the planet)
  • Limited job opportunities
  • No diversity in seasons or local cuisine (even paradise can become monotonous)
  • Feeling like a ‘local’ amongst native Hawaiians can be challenging

Hawaiian oceanside landscape photographed from the air overlooking a mountaint

Did You Know…?

  • Hawaii is the only state in the United States that actually grows coffee —good news for all of our coffee lovers out there!;
  • The only snakes that you will find in Hawaii are the ones kept at zoos (they’re actually outlawed in the islands!) —nice to know these little reptilians won’t be giving you any surprise visits… phew;
  • The official fish of Hawaii is called Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa — a mouthful? Definitely;
  • Coconuts, yes coconuts, can be mailed for free to any destination —you don’t even have to wrap them up!

Soak Up Some Sunshine For Us!

We hope this article managed to give you a better understanding of everything you need to know regarding how to move to the Aloha State. Need further assistance? We got you! Why don’t you give the pages we’ve linked for you below a look? 😉