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With its picturesque beaches, lush landscapes, and relaxed island lifestyle, moving to Hawaii is an alluring prospect for many. But before you start packing your bags, there’s a lot to consider when relocating to America’s island paradise.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer on how to move to Hawaii: Obtain job leads or transfer within your company, secure housing, file necessary paperwork, arrange moving logistics, familiarize yourself with Hawaii laws and customs, and prepare for island living expenses.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to successfully move to and settle down in Hawaii, from jobs and housing to shipping and required documents.

Finding a Job in Hawaii

Research Hawaiian Job Market

The job market in Hawaii can be quite different from the mainland US. Tourism and hospitality are huge industries, but jobs in healthcare, defense, tech, and sustainability are also popular. Before planning your move, research which industries and companies are hiring for your field.

The University of Hawaii has an informative page on Hawaii’s key industries and economic drivers. And check out job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn to see current openings.

Use Existing Connections and Network

Leveraging your existing professional and personal connections can make finding a job in Hawaii much easier. Reach out to friends, family, colleagues, classmates and acquaintances to let them know you’re looking.

Attend local networking events, join industry associations, and connect with University of Hawaii alumni groups. The Hawaiian “ohana spirit” means community and family are very important, so tapping into networks can yield job opportunities not posted publicly.

Consider Remote Work Options

With more companies offering remote work options, securing mainland-based employment from Hawaii is definitely feasible. Remote job boards like FlexJobs, and We Work Remotely can connect you to fully remote opportunities.

And indeed found in their 2021 survey that 67% of job seekers are now searching for remote work. Just be sure to confirm with any prospective employer that they allow remote work from Hawaii specifically. Time zone differences can occasionally be a factor.

In the end, finding fulfilling work in Hawaii takes effort but delivers an unparalleled lifestyle. The job market has recovered well post-COVID. If you leverage connections, target growing industries like healthcare and sustainability, and stay open to remote work, you’ll be sipping Mai Tais with an ocean view in no time!

Securing Housing in Hawaii

Decide Which Island and Area Is Right for You

When moving to Hawaii, the first big decision is choosing which island you want to live on. The most populous islands are Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Each island has its own unique vibe and landscape to consider.

Oahu tends to be more fast-paced and urban, with Honolulu as the state’s capital and largest city. It offers more job opportunities, amenities, and activities. Maui has world famous beaches and resorts, along with small towns and rural areas. Kauai is lush and laidback, focused on outdoor recreation.

Hawaii Island has volcanoes, waterfalls and is largest in size, but less developed.

You’ll also want to decide which neighborhood or region works for your lifestyle. For example, Honolulu on Oahu has urban centers like Waikiki and downtown, as well as quiet suburban bedroom communities. Do your research to find the right fit.

Research Rental Costs and Availability on the Islands

The housing market in Hawaii is very competitive, especially for rentals. Do thorough research ahead of time on rental costs to set realistic expectations. Prices can vary widely depending on the island and specific location.

As a benchmark, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Hawaii is around $1,600 per month as of late 2022, compared to the national average of $1,100. Studio and single family home rents are comparable inflated.

Rents tend to be highest on Oahu, where Honolulu rents rival those of New York City and San Francisco.

Also research vacancy rates. Oahu and Maui have the tightest rental markets, with vacancies around 5%, half the national benchmark. Kauai and Hawaii Island have slightly better availability. No matter which island you choose, have your housing lined up before finalizing your move.

Be Aware of Additional Fees and Expenses

On top of inflated rents, Hawaii has unusually high fees and service charges that take newcomers by surprise. For example, electricity costs around triple the national average due to island infrastructure.

Most units do not include utilities like electricity, water, trash collection in the rental rate.

Also budget for an extra first month’s rent upfront as a security deposit, along with paying the first and last month’s rent to move in. There could also be non-refundable move-in fees. And purchasing furniture can be pricey with shipping costs. Factor these extras in when budgeting.

It’s wise to line up housing ahead of time for 30-60 days while you search for permanent housing, as an extended hotel stay can get very expensive. Join local Facebook groups, check property management companies, and leverage any local connections to find places before arriving.

Handling Required Paperwork

When relocating to the Aloha State, there are some key administrative tasks you’ll need to take care of. Properly updating important documents, understanding tax implications, and changing your address will ensure a smooth transition to your new island home.

Update Important Documents like Driver’s License

One of the first things on your moving to-do list should be obtaining a Hawaii driver’s license. You have 90 days after establishing residency to apply at your local DMV office. Requirements include providing proof of identity and residency.

Your out-of-state license will be invalidated once issued a Hawaii license.

Don’t forget other important personal documents – update your Social Security record, voter registration, vehicle registration and title, and any state-issued IDs for you and family members moving with you.

Understand Tax Implications of an Out-of-State Move

There are key differences between Hawaii state taxes and taxes in other states. Hawaii has an individual income tax rate ranging between 1.4% to 11%, depending on income level. There is also a general excise tax (GET) levied on business transactions, which often gets passed onto consumers.

So you may notice higher prices on goods and services.

If you plan to work remotely, understand how taxes apply for telecommuters. You may need to file multiple state tax returns. Consulting a tax professional can ensure you stay compliant.

Change Your Address

Make sure to submit USPS change of address forms for your household mail. This includes:

  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards and financial statements
  • Insurance policies – health, home, auto
  • Investment account statements
  • Magazines and subscription services
  • Medical providers and prescriptions
  • Utility bills – cable/internet, electricity, garbage collection
  • Vehicle registration and driver’s license

For easier tracking, maintain a master list of all accounts and contacts notified. This will jog your memory for any stragglers missed post-move.

Following these key administrative steps will help your relocation go smoothly. With paperwork in order, you can focus on enjoying island living in paradise!

Arranging Moving Logistics to Hawaii

Determine Moving Timeline and Book Movers

When moving to Hawaii, it’s crucial to map out a detailed timeline to keep your relocation on track. Experts recommend beginning preparations at least 2-3 months in advance to allow enough time for major tasks like packing, booking movers, and taking care of logistics.

The next key step is to research and vet professional moving companies. Look for movers experienced in Hawaii routes with a strong track record. Be sure to get estimates from 3-4 companies before deciding.

And remember to book your mover as early as possible, as the best companies fill up quickly during peak summer moving season.

Research Shipping Options for Your Belongings

For many items, hiring movers to transport your belongings is the best option. But you’ll also want to explore other shipping methods for certain categories of goods:

  • Mail small, important items like legal documents
  • Use luggage to transport delicate possessions like family heirlooms
  • Ship vehicles separately using enclosed auto transport

Carefully research costs and transit times so you know when to expect delivery of all your possessions. The distance to Hawaii means extra planning is required for shipping logistics.

Consider Selling Unnecessary Items Before the Move

Don’t waste money moving goods you won’t need in Hawaii! In the months leading up to your relocation, evaluate belongings and determine what can be sold. Options include:

  • Holding garage sales
  • Posting listings on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
  • Consigning quality furniture and d├ęcor at secondhand boutiques
  • Donating unwanted household goods to charity

You’ll be amazed how much you can declutter. Most Hawaii-bound movers reduce belongings by 20-30% once they systematically sort through items.

Following these key steps for coordinating moving logistics will help streamline your relocation to paradise! Aloha!

Preparing for Island Living

Familiarize Yourself With Local Customs

When moving to Hawaii, it’s important to learn about local customs out of respect for native Hawaiian culture. Some things to keep in mind are removing shoes before entering a home, not picking flowers or taking lava rocks from the islands, and learning Hawaiian words for greetings like “aloha” and “mahalo.”

You’ll also want to be respectful of cultural events like the Merrie Monarch Festival. And when you’re settling in, introduce yourself to neighbors and community members. Building relationships and being part of the community is an integral part of island living.

Understand Hawaii’s Higher Cost of Living

Hawaii is notorious for having a much higher cost of living compared to most parts of the mainland U.S. Goods and services can be 60% more expensive on average due to added shipping costs and state taxes.

Be prepared for housing, gas, groceries, dining out, and more to take a bigger bite out of your wallet. Make adjustments ahead of time to ensure you can afford island life. Consider getting a roommate, buying used goods, or looking for free activities like public beach days.

Plan for Outdoor Activities to Embrace Island Lifestyle

The ocean, volcanoes, waterfalls, and lush green peaks make Hawaii a tropical paradise. To truly embrace the island lifestyle, fill your routine with outdoor activities.

Try snorkeling, surfing, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, climbing, camping, and more. Attend a luau, volunteer at beach cleanups, go to farmers markets, explore botanical gardens, or learn to cook local dishes.

Island living opens the door for amazing experiences in nature and connecting with the aloha spirit. Prepare for sunny days filled with outdoor fun and new discoveries!


Moving to Hawaii can allow you to trade in mainland living for a more relaxed pace surrounded by natural beauty. With thoughtful planning and preparation, you can make your Hawaii relocation dreams come true.

Define your goals, research job and housing options, get paperwork in order, arrange logistics, and embrace island life customs and costs. Follow this comprehensive guide to ensure your move goes as smoothly as the gentle Hawaiian waves.

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