Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

Moving from the mainland United States to Hawaii can seem like a dream come true for many. With its warm tropical climate, laid-back lifestyle and stunning natural beauty, who wouldn’t want to make these paradise islands their new home? If you’re considering taking the leap and relocating from the mainland to Hawaii, this comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to make your island life a success.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Moving to Hawaii from the mainland takes careful planning and consideration regarding Hawaii’s higher cost of living, different island cultures, job opportunities, housing, shipping your belongings, and adjusting to island life. Doing thorough research beforehand and mentally preparing for an island mentality will lead to a smoother transition.

Comparing the Different Hawaiian Islands

When considering a move to Hawaii, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of each island. Here, we compare the main islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii to help you make an informed decision.


Oahu, often referred to as “The Gathering Place,” is the most populous island in Hawaii. It is home to the state capital of Honolulu and offers a bustling city life combined with stunning natural beauty. The island is known for its world-famous Waikiki Beach, historical landmarks like Pearl Harbor, and vibrant nightlife. Oahu is a great choice for those seeking a mix of urban conveniences and tropical paradise.


Maui, also known as “The Valley Isle,” is famous for its diverse landscapes. From the lush rainforests of Hana to the pristine beaches of Kaanapali, this island offers something for everyone. Maui is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for snorkeling, hiking, and even whale watching. The island’s charming towns, such as Lahaina and Paia, provide a laid-back atmosphere and a taste of local culture.


Kauai, often called “The Garden Isle,” is known for its jaw-dropping natural beauty. With its lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic cliffs, Kauai is a paradise for nature lovers. The island offers a slower pace of life, making it an ideal choice for those seeking relaxation and tranquility. Kauai is also home to the breathtaking Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii, simply known as “The Big Island,” is the largest and youngest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is home to diverse ecosystems, including active volcanoes, black sand beaches, and snow-capped mountains. The island offers a unique blend of adventure and natural wonders. Visitors can explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, stargaze atop Mauna Kea, or relax on the sunny shores of Kona. The Big Island is perfect for those seeking a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Each of these Hawaiian islands has its own distinct personality and attractions. Whether you prefer the vibrant city life of Oahu, the natural beauty of Maui and Kauai, or the adventure offered by the Big Island, Hawaii has something for everyone. Take the time to explore each island and consider what fits your lifestyle and preferences best. Mahalo!

Hawaii’s High Cost of Living

One of the factors that mainlanders moving to Hawaii need to consider is the high cost of living. While Hawaii offers stunning natural beauty and a unique cultural experience, it also comes with a price tag that is higher than the national average. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key aspects contributing to the high cost of living in Hawaii.


Housing is one of the most significant expenses in Hawaii. The demand for housing in the islands far exceeds the supply, which drives up prices. This is especially true in popular tourist destinations like Honolulu and Maui. Renting an apartment or purchasing a home in these areas can be quite expensive. It is important to budget accordingly and explore different housing options to find the most suitable and affordable choice.


The cost of food in Hawaii is higher than in many mainland states due to the state’s remote location and dependence on imported goods. Fresh produce, meat, and seafood can be more expensive, and dining out at restaurants can quickly add up. However, by shopping at local farmers’ markets and cooking meals at home, you can manage your food expenses more effectively and even discover unique local ingredients.


Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet services also contribute to the high cost of living in Hawaii. The state’s reliance on imported energy sources, combined with the island’s isolated position, can result in higher utility bills. It is important to be mindful of your energy consumption and explore ways to conserve energy to help reduce these costs.


The cost of gasoline in Hawaii is consistently higher than the national average. This can be attributed to the transportation costs involved in shipping fuel to the islands. To minimize expenses, consider utilizing public transportation, carpooling, or investing in a fuel-efficient vehicle. Additionally, exploring car-sharing services or biking can be a great way to save on transportation costs while enjoying the beautiful Hawaiian landscapes.


While Hawaii offers a wide range of entertainment options, such as beach activities, hiking trails, and cultural events, it’s important to budget for these experiences. Whether it’s visiting popular tourist attractions or enjoying local festivities, be prepared for the associated costs. However, keep in mind that there are also many free or low-cost activities available, such as exploring public parks and beaches.

Understanding the high cost of living in Hawaii is crucial for mainlanders considering a move to the islands. By carefully planning and budgeting, it is possible to enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer while managing your expenses effectively. Remember to research and explore different options to find the best deals and make the most of your time in paradise!

Finding Employment in Hawaii

One of the first considerations when moving to Hawaii is finding employment. With a diverse job market, there are opportunities in various industries. Here are some of the top industries to explore:

Tourism Jobs

Hawaii’s booming tourism industry offers a wide range of employment opportunities. From hotels and resorts to restaurants and tour companies, there are countless positions available. Whether you have experience in hospitality, customer service, or management, there is a chance to find work in this sector. Keep in mind that tourism jobs can be seasonal, so it’s important to plan accordingly.


The healthcare industry in Hawaii is growing rapidly, creating a demand for healthcare professionals. Nurses, doctors, and allied health professionals are in high demand. There are also opportunities in administration, research, and public health. Check out websites like Hawaii Pacific Health and Adventist Health for job listings and more information.


Hawaii’s technology sector is on the rise, with a focus on innovation and sustainability. From software development to cybersecurity and renewable energy, there are opportunities for tech professionals. Companies like TechHui and Hawaii Tech provide resources and job listings for those interested in the tech industry.


If you have a passion for education, consider pursuing teaching opportunities in Hawaii. The Department of Education in Hawaii is always looking for qualified teachers. There are also private schools and international schools that hire teachers from all over the world. Check out websites like Hawaii Public Schools and Private Schools for more information on teaching positions.


The government sector in Hawaii offers a range of job opportunities. From working for the state government to federal agencies like the military and National Park Service, there are various positions to consider. Visit the Hawaii Government Jobs website for a comprehensive list of government job openings.

Remember, finding employment in Hawaii may require persistence and flexibility. Networking, attending job fairs, and connecting with local resources can also increase your chances of finding the right job. Good luck with your job search and enjoy the beautiful island life!

Shipping Your Belongings

When moving to Hawaii from mainland, one of the first things you need to consider is how to ship your belongings. Here are some options to help make the process easier:

Using a Shipping Container

If you have a lot of furniture, appliances, or other large items that you want to bring with you, renting a shipping container might be the best option. Shipping containers are large metal boxes that can be loaded with your belongings and shipped to Hawaii. They come in different sizes, so you can choose one that suits your needs. Make sure to properly pack and secure your items to prevent any damage during transportation.

Mail & Package Services

For smaller items such as clothing, books, or electronics, you can consider using mail and package services to ship them to Hawaii. Popular services like USPS, UPS, and FedEx offer reliable shipping options to the islands. It’s important to check the shipping rates and delivery times for each service to find the best option for your needs. Also, consider purchasing insurance for valuable items to protect them during transit.

Bringing Pets

If you have furry friends that you want to bring with you to Hawaii, there are certain regulations and requirements to follow. Hawaii has strict rules to prevent the introduction of rabies and other animal diseases to the islands. You will need to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations and obtain an import permit. Additionally, pets may need to undergo a quarantine period upon arrival. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for specific guidelines and procedures.

For more detailed information on shipping your belongings, you can visit the website. They provide comprehensive guides and resources to help you navigate the process of moving to Hawaii.

Adjusting to Island Living

Taking Things Slow

One of the first things you’ll notice when moving to Hawaii is the slower pace of life. The laid-back island lifestyle is a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of mainland cities. Embrace this change and take the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Take leisurely walks on the beach, savor a cup of locally grown coffee, or simply sit back and watch the mesmerizing sunset. Remember, in Hawaii, it’s all about enjoying the present moment.

Making Local Connections

Building connections with the local community is essential for a smooth transition to life in Hawaii. Attend community events, join local clubs or organizations, or volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about. Engaging with the local community not only helps you make friends but also provides a deeper understanding of Hawaiian culture and traditions. Additionally, locals can offer valuable insights and recommendations on the best places to eat, explore, and experience the true essence of the islands.

Respecting the Aina (Land)

Hawaii is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, and it’s crucial to respect and protect the land. Take the time to educate yourself about environmental sustainability and conservation efforts in Hawaii. Practice responsible tourism by leaving no trace when visiting natural sites, and support local initiatives that aim to preserve the island’s fragile ecosystems. By respecting the aina, you become a steward of the land and contribute to the long-term well-being of Hawaii.

Learning about Hawaiian Culture

Immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant Hawaiian culture to fully appreciate your new home. Take the time to learn about the history, traditions, and customs of the islands. Visit local museums, attend cultural events, and participate in traditional activities such as hula dancing or lei making. Understanding and respecting Hawaiian culture not only enriches your experience but also fosters a sense of connection and appreciation for the place you now call home.


Moving from the hustle and bustle of mainland life to the remote shores of Hawaii takes some adjustment. But by thoroughly researching islands, job prospects, cost of living and shipping logistics beforehand, you can make the transition smoother. Immerse yourself in the local culture, make connections with neighbors, and adopt an easygoing island mentality. Soon you’ll be embracing island time and Hawaiian values in your new island home.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts