When we moved to Hawaii, we were faced with a lot of big decisions like what to bring, whether to ship our cars or buy new ones on the island, and how to transport everything over 2,000 miles across an ocean. We have come to realize how important the moving choices we made five years ago have been to our cost of living and quality of life in Hawaii.
We love getting emails with questions and moving stories from people drawn to the island. We are surprised that the frustrations people have about their move to Hawaii are so similar. Unlike moves to other states in the US, most newcomers are rarely able to find ways to change their circumstances once they have settled on the island.
We wrote a new book: Your Ideal Hawaii Move: A Guide for Moving to Hawaii Island, to consolidate everything we learned about moving to Hawaii in one place. The book describes how the decisions you will make during your move later affect your living expenses and lifestyle in Hawaii. Some seemingly minor choices can cost a lot in Hawaii.
For example, can you imagine having to ship your car to the mainland for warranty service or repairs? Some brands of cars have no dealers in the state of Hawaii. We know people who routinely transport their vehicle to California, fly there, and stay in a hotel to get warranty service on their car. Bringing the wrong make and model of car can be a major hardship and cost in Hawaii.
Another choice a lot of newcomers to Hawaii make is to retain their driver’s license from another state on the mainland. Many people living on Hawaii Island have never become legal residents of the state. Their choice prohibits them from participating fully in state and county activities, voting, and potential financial benefits of residency.
Living a few extra miles out of town is no big deal on the mainland, however in Hawaii where gas is $4 a gallon or more, every mile costs a lot more. Utilities and services that are taken for granted on the mainland may not be available in some neighborhoods. Choices made about where to live make a big difference in the cost and quality of life on the island.
The book is organized into sections addressing the differences in location on the island; advanced planning for the move; setting up after the move; ideas for managing the cost of living; getting a job; and the many fun activities there are on the island. Though the book is focused on moving to Hawaii Island, most of the content is applicable to moving to other islands in Hawaii.
The book is available in Kindle ($4.99) and paperback ($9.99) versions. You can view the table of contents and read the first chapter about our move from Northern California to Hilo by selecting “Look Inside” on Amazon.