If you are a nature-lover, you will feel right at home in Hawaii. Birds, whales, turtles and tropical fish are all present in the Aloha State and you can get out on the water or into the mountains to look for wildlife. But you might not need to go out of your way to see Hawaii wildlife. You might see birds you’ve never seen before on the trees in your backyard, or drive past turtles on your way to work.
Moving to Hawaii is a daunting task at any time of the year since you can’t exactly pack up a moving truck and drive across the border. There are many things that must be done and thought out before you make your big move to the islands.
Here are a few tips to help you find the paradise you have always dreamed about.
Choose an Island: Hawaii is comprised of 19 distinct islands, but only 6 are open to inhabitants. Hawaii is the largest island and is frequently called “the Big Island”; Oahu is “The Gathering Place” and is the most densely populated island; Maui is “The Valley Isle”; Kauai is know as “The Garden Isle”; Lanai is “The Pineapple Isle” and Molokai is “The Friendly Isle”.
Car Shipping: If you are shipping your car to Hawaii along with your household items, you will want to ensure that your chosen company protects your car from the elements for the three to four weeks it is in transit. The cost will generally run around $1,000, but may run higher depending on the size of the car. If your car is worth less than $1,000, it might be more cost efficient to just sell it and replace it when you get to your new home.
Pets: The islands are rabies-free and your pet will be required to complete a 120-day quarantine. That is four months in pet jail. If your pet meets the pre- and post-arrival requirements, they may only be subject to a 30-day quarantine. There are fees that go along with moving your pet and they can be anywhere from $175-$1,100. The only quarantine station in Hawaii is on the Island of Oahu, so if you are planning to move to Maui, for example, you must leave your pet in Oahu to meet the quarantine requirements. More information is available on the Animal Industry Division website.
Moving Truck Parking: Make sure your new neighborhood will allow you to have a storage unit or moving truck parked on the street in front of your new home or apartment. Check the street cleaning schedule day and time so it does not interfere with moving day. Most streets in Hawaii have specific street-cleaning days and timeframes, and some even require paid parking.
Familiarize Yourself with Parking: Always read the parking signs and make note of one-way streets. Many streets in Hawaii have multiple parking signs that indicate restrictions on specific days and times. One-way streets can be very confusing while driving a moving truck or for someone not familiar with the area.
Change your address online. To make your move from California to Hawaii easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.
Cities and Metro Areas
Hawaii is broken into six inhabited islands. When researching a neighborhood to move to be sure to check the island that the town is located on to ensure you will be able to get to your new job easily. There are residents that commute to another island for work, and that is something you will need to think about as well. If your dream neighborhood is on the island of Kauai, and your new job on the island of Oahu, is it worth commuting? Keep in mind, commuting from island to island isn’t easy or cheap.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Hawaii is HIGH. That goes for housing costs, but it also applies to the food on grocery store shelves. Everything that has to be shipped or flown to the islands will cost more. And Hawaii is a high-tax state, too. Hawaii income tax rates are among the highest in the country.
Highways and Public Transport
Getting around Hawaii as a tourist can be charming and fun, but when you need to get to and from work while driving an hour each way, it can be daunting. The traffic going in and out of Honolulu is quite similar to traffic in Los Angeles during rush hour. Although there may not be as many cars on the road, the fact that there are only two lanes in each direction makes it seem very busy. When you are looking for a new home, living close to work should be a major consideration.
Getting to Hawaii is easy considering the state has six airports to choose from, one on each Island.
- Hilo International Airport (ITO) located on Hawaii
- Honolulu International Airport (HNL) located on Oahu
- Kahului Airport (OGG) located on Maui
- Kona International Airport (KOA) located on Hawaii
- Lanai Airport (LNY) located on Lanai
- Lihue Airport (LIH) located on Kauai
When moving to Hawaii, you will enjoy a tropical climate. One distinctive feature of Hawaii’s climate is the small annual variation in temperature range. Because of Hawaii’s close proximity to the Equator, there is only a slight variation in length of night and day from one part of Hawai’i to another and because all its islands lie within a narrow latitude band. The small variations in the length of the daylight period, together with the smaller annual variations in the altitude of the sun above the horizon, result in relatively small variations in the amount of incoming solar energy from one time of the year to another.
Finding the right school for you and your family in Hawaii is important. The Hawaii Public School district is very helpful in making it easier for families to find the school that is right for them.
Along with public schools, there are plenty of charter schools to choose from, and due to the testing practices of the public schools, the charters are very popular. That said, the average student to teacher ratio in Hawaiian classrooms is 16:1, which is much better than the ratio found in most other areas.
Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Hawaii.
The top five elementary schools in Hawaii:
- Haleiwa Elementary School
- Koko Head Elementary School
- Lanikai Elementary School
- Momilani Elementary School
- Waikiki Elementary School
The top five middle schools in Hawaii:
- Innovations PCS
- Myron B. Thompson Academy (a New Century)
- Volcano School of Arts and Sciences
- Voyager (a Public Charter School)
- West Hawaii Explorations Academy
The top ten high schools in Hawaii:
- Education Laboratory (a Hawaii New Century PCS)
- Henry J. Kaiser High School
- Kalaheo High School
- Myron B. Thompson Academy (a Hawaii New Century PCS)
- Waialua High & Intermediate School
The Official Website of the Aloha State maintains a comprehensive website with information for visitors, residents and businesses. You can take care of important tasks such as voter registration, tax information and city permits needed for tree trimming and construction.