Top 3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Moving to Hawaii

It could be that people are fed up with being cooped up at home, or perhaps they are tired of all the snow and cold weather, but several people have contacted me on some recent blogs I wrote about living in Hawaii. If you haven’t read them yet, here’s one for you:

3 Things to Consider When Moving to Hawaii

There are a few things that you should consider once you’ve decided to move to Hawaii…


So you want to move to Hawaii…now what?

1. Which island?

That is your biggest decision. Each island is very different from the others. In general, Oahu is the largest in terms of population (1 million), but one of the smallest in terms of area. I lived there for 9 years and liked it. If you totally cannot give up a big city but want to live here, Oahu is your island. Oddly enough, it’s kind of a cross between Los Angeles (in terms of traffic) and New York (in terms of density). Oddly enough, you can drive for 20 minutes and be at a beach with very few other people.

Maui is the second largest in terms of population. I was born here and I currently live here on the south side. Maui has a good combination of small city conveniences, but not too populated (approx 50,000). The beaches here are amazing and there are no freeways on the island. Maui County also includes the islands of Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe. 

Big Island is what it is…the biggest island in terms of area. I don’t know much about it. I was in Hilo once for a day when I was 10 years old for a swimming meet. I have layed over at Kona Airport. That was really cool. The airport is in the middle of a lava field. It felt like I was landing on the moon. The two largest cities are Hilo and Kona and there’s a lot of driving between them. So, if you like to drive, the Big Island is the island for you. Island fever won’t set in too quickly.

Kauai – I gotta be honest and say I’ve never been there. I hear it’s pretty and the lifestyle is very leisurely. When you grow up on a slower island (Maui) and you have the opportunity to go to another one, it was always Oahu where the action was. I’m sure I’ll make it over to Kauai sometime soon.

2. Buy or rent?

This one’s a biggie. I always advise clients that they should consider renting for at least 6 months. The island that you initially choose may not be the one you like. Also, you don’t know what each different area offers until you spend some time in it. Renting allows you the flexibility.

3. Are you a pet owner?

Hawaii has some of the strictest quarantine requirements. If you are not prepared, you may be required to quarantine your pet for 90 days on Oahu or the Big Island. If you plan, you may be able to have a 5 day release or an immediate release. Be sure to read about Hawaii Quarantine Rules.

Living in Hawaii vs. Vacationing in Hawaii

Anyway, you must realize that living here isn’t quite like being here on vacation. If you are moving here to retire or semi-retire, it’ll feel closer like being on vacation, but not really. There are normal, everyday chores that sometimes takes the “ha” out of Aloha. If you are going to work, there is the push/pull of wanting to stay home or go to the beach. That can be really unproductive, especially if you work from home.

When I semi-retired and moved back home from Los Angeles, I thought my days would be spent leisurely sipping Mai Tai’s. Well, I can honestly say that I’m busier here than I was in Los Angeles. I did, however, decide to sell real estate full time, graduate from culinary school, currently studying to become a certified Master Gardener and, yeah, live my life!

I do have to admit that no matter how busy my life gets, it’s so wonderful to see the ocean so close to me, to smell the plumeria flowers in my yard, to suddenly see a rainbow or two, to not have temperatures dip below the low 70’s, to swim my laps in sunshine, and, most of all, to wear shorts, slippers, and sometime no shirt at all!

Sure, things are a little more expensive than the mainland, getting things shipped here can be a challenge, and sometimes I miss going to the Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA. But you know what? It’s all worth getting up and hearing the birds in the morning.

There are many other factors to consider about your move to Hawaii, but this is a good start to educate yourself. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to call or email.

Ken Molina R(S)

Comments (0) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

More Articles from Hawaii Life