Hawaii is an amazing place to live if you enjoy experiencing different world cultures, exploring unique ecosystems, enjoying ocean activities, warm weather year round, and being surrounded by beautiful scenery. Although it does cost more than most other places to live in Hawaii, for us the quality of life we are able to enjoy is worth it. There is no other place in the world like the Hawaiian Islands! Below are our personal tips and suggestions based on our move to the Hawaiian Islands from Massachusetts in 1993. We also provide a resource of links to make your move to Hawaii easier that we have compiled. Please note due to our business keeps us very busy we do not personally assist in finding or doing research on moving companies, housing, jobs, or schools. Lots of folks use our web site and it is impossible for us to personally assist everyone so we have tried to put up all of our tips and suggestions on our web site. Whenever we are emailed a new question relating to moving to Hawaii we add it and our answer to this page.

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Lava Tunnel on Maui

Wave Crashing on Lanai

Living in Hawaii can be paradise everyday but there are many things to consider before packing your bags and buying a one way plane ticket. Although it is hard to imagine anyone not wanting to live in Hawaii there are some who move to the islands without visiting first or have no choice in the move (like military) and find that Hawaii is not for them. The hardest part of moving to Hawaii is being so far from friends and family. Homesickness can become unbearable when you are 2,000+ miles from your loved ones! Another major consideration is that the cost of living in Hawaii is very expensive. We have been told it compares with other major cities like San Francisco and New York City. The island of Oahu is the most populated and is more expensive to rent or buy a house/apartment than the other islands. Outer-island housing is less expensive but there are fewer job opportunities. Almost all consumer items are shipped into the islands which adds to the cost because everything is shipped into Honolulu Harbor then on to other islands. Oahu’s grocery stores seem to be less expensive and offer a larger selection of items than the outer island stores we have checked out. There are wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco/Priceclub in the islands which makes food even more affordable if you have the space to store it. It does take a lot of effort to maintain a decent life style in the islands. Tourism is Hawaii’s major industry and a lot of tourism jobs are only part time paying workers minimum wage. Many of these workers rely on tips and work several jobs to make ends meet.

HAWAII PRICE CHECK - price as of March 2017

Go to for more info on what things cost!

Reg. Milk

$7.50 gal

Reg. Gas

$2.79 gal

Honolulu Single Family Home Median Sale Price


Honolulu Condominium Median Sale Price


Small Island off the shore of Maui

Kualoa Mountain Range and Chinaman's Hat

Some of the things we had to adjust to when moving to Hawaii:

*Figuring out how to pronounce Hawaiian street names.

*The cockroaches in our house no matter how clean it is.

*Cockroaches outside that are larger than a half-dollar and fly!

*Grocery stores do not always have the freshest of items and often leave rotting fruits and vegetables in with the fresh items. UPDATE: We do not find this happening anymore in the large supermarkets like Safeway, Star Markets, and Foodland. We have only seen it in recent years in small Mom & Pop stores and at road side farmers markets.

*You can legally drive your car and enter stores/public buildings while barefoot and Men can go shirtless.

*Many locals speak a version of English called Pidgin which is takes a while to get used to and understand.

*National sporting events are usually on in the morning due to the time delay and are then also rebroadcast in the afternoon.

*Being Caucasian and being a minority.

*Learning Hawaiian history to understand what has happened to Hawaiian people and what makes Hawaii so special.

Steam and Lava from Puu Oo Vent on Big Island

Lava Flow at Dusk on Big Island

Some of the things that make Hawaii exceptional to live in:

*The Aloha Spirit expressed by many island residents.

*The exposure to interesting people and cultures from around the world.

*Hawaiian traditions like leis and aloha wear incorporated into everyday life.

*Hearing many languages spoken intertwined with English during everyday conversation.

*Low violent crime.

*Lots of options on how to enjoy "free time".

*Rare plants and animals found only in Hawaii’s unique ecosystems.

*Waterfalls and rainbows.

*Beautiful beaches just a short drive from anywhere on the islands!

*Beautiful scenery just about everywhere you look.

*Each island offers a different experience so you don't have to travel far to go on vacation.

Banana Tree

Breadfruit Tree

Do Locals Hate White People?

This is a horrible rumor that we get many emails from people who are considering moving to Hawaii. They have heard that the locals hate caucasians. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Since moving to Hawaii in 1993 we have met only two racist locals who had an issue with our being "white" and it wasn't serious, just mouthing off. It seriously is not a problem here. If you are a good person and treat people with respect, locals do the same for you. There are jerks here as well, but you can't avoid ignorant jerks no matter where you want to live. We came from the East Coast originally and encountered racist jerks significantly more often, we have found Hawaii to be much different. The people of Hawaii tend to be kind, caring and accepting of different cultures and beliefs. Many people here are displaced from some place else and people develop hanai ohana, adoptive family, where you enjoy holidays and special celebrations with them. Locals will accept you as one of their own if you accept them as they are. If you try to act "high maka maka" (better than someone else) then you may receive a negative reaction. Something people who live in Hawaii hate hearing is "back on the mainland this costs..." "back on the mainland I can do this..." That is when someone may say, "well if it is so great on the mainland why don't you go back." But you would be asking for that by insulting Hawaii and how it is here. Typically you get what you give.

Blue Ginger

Passion Fruit

You've Decided To Move To Hawaii, Now What?

Once you decide to make the move to Hawaii you then will need to decide what to take with you and what to sell or give away. If you have items of value that you intend to keep for several years like reliable car, entertainment system, computer, furniture, bikes and other recreation equipment it will probably cost less to ship them then replace them and would be worth hiring a moving company to relocate those items. Shipping a car or household items generally takes three to four weeks. Cars are shipped in individual containers, but many shipping services will allow partial containers of household goods. A three-bedroom home will typically fill a 24-foot container. Some shipping services will deliver the container to your house for packing then retrieve it for delivery to the docks while others require you to bring your items to their shipping facility. If you do not plan to move with much we recommend arranging for a mail box service in the area of Hawaii you plan to move to and ship whatever you won’t be taking on the plane with you to the mail box in Hawaii. This will also allow you to establish a forwarding address. The USPS and Mailboxes Etc are just a two of the national mail box services available across Hawaii.

Gold Dust Day Gecko on Oahu

Spider Eating a Bee on Maui

Plan Ahead!

The easiest way to move to Hawaii is to plan the move far in advance. Then prior to moving find a job, find living accommodations , and when you are ready ship your belongings to right to your new island home. The reality is most people are not able to make the move this way. Some people may find a job prior to moving to the islands but it is a little more challenging to find living accommodations remotely. What we did to prepare for our move to Hawaii was save enough money to cover 2 months living expenses including first months and last months rent. Then we purchased an airfare, hotel, and car rental package deal when we made our move. We used the week at the hotel and the rental car to check out the island and find an apartment to move into. You may not find exactly what you are looking for but just get yourself into something clean and affordable with a short lease. Then once you are settled in after a few months you can find something that better meets your needs. This same theory applies to finding a job. You may not be able to find a job prior to arriving or your dream job when you first arrive but there are plenty of jobs available that will help you pay your bills while you continue your search for your ideal job and make contacts. Keep in mind you will be starting a whole new life in Hawaii and your life will not be the same as it was, but if you are willing to do what it takes and have a bit of faith in yourself you can make your dream of moving to Hawaii a reality. We found all the sacrifices we made and the temporary set back in the standard of living we endured was well worth it. We have seen and experience so many amazing life changing things while living in the Hawaiian Islands and do not ever plan on living anywhere else but these beautiful islands.


Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

Suggestions For Becoming Part Of Your New Community In Hawaii

Since Hawaii is very remote the people of Hawaii are considered one big Ohana (family) and it is very community oriented here. Once you arrive in Hawaii if you would like to meet new people we recommend getting involved in some of the following:

* Volunteer at a community program that interests you like hospitals, schools, animal shelters, Zoos, Aquariums, community centers, museums, become a mentor or Big Brother/Big Sister, etc.

* Ethnic community groups are a great way to mingle with folks that share your same ethnic background or an ethnic background that interests you.

* Take dance classes and learn to hula, salsa, swing, or line dance.

* There sports clubs for children and adults like canoe paddling, football, softball, baseball, soccer, roller derby, rugby, running, biking, lightsaber training, etc.

* Take classes to learn more about Hawaiian history, culture, and it’s unique environments or other classes of interest at one of the many community colleges.

* Participate in community clean up and beautification projects.

Mahi Mahi at Waikiki Aquarium

White Spotted Jelly at Waikiki Aquarium

Below are links to more details on other items you may want to consider when moving to Hawaii. They are provided for information purposes only.

We do NOT personally endorse any of these businesses or have additional information regarding them.

Costs to Consider When Moving To Hawaii

Calculate the cost of living difference from where you live now to what you would need to make living in Hawaii to maintain the same lifestyle.
View specific item costs in Hawaii for food, clothing, housing, transportation, personal care, entertainment.


Household Items, Autos, and Pet Moving Services


Cosmopolitan Canine Carriers Inc are Household pet relocation specialists that can provide door to door services from anywhere in the world to Hawaii.

Akona Pets are Household pet relocation specialists that makes travel arrangements and prepares the necessary documents to import your pet to Hawaii.

Ship My Vehicle automobile shipping service offering shipment from anywhere in the USA, Guam, and Saipan to Hawaii.

All America Auto Transport automobile shipping service offering shipment from Anywhere in the USA to Hawaii.

Matson Navigation Company offers vehicle and household items container shipping services to Hawaii.
PODS offers household items container shipping services to Hawaii.


Movers with a bad reputation that should be avoided: Express Movers, Guardian Cargo Logistics, Guardian Moving & Storage, Guardian Shipping & Moving, United Aloha Movers, West Point Relocation, Pacific Island Logistics and Storage.

Mongoose on the Big Island

Wild Goat on Kauai

Find A Job In Hawaii

Hawai Department of Labor And Industrial Relations : Everything you want to know about employment in Hawaii and job opportunities at the DoLIR. (statistics on Hawaii's labor market from the department's Research and Statistics Office)

Craigslist - job ads for all islands

State of Hawaii Job Openings listed with Department of Human Resources Development

Islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai State Employment Opportunities

Island of Hawaii Department of Human Resources

Island of Kauai County Employment Opportunities

City and County of Honolulu Job Openings

State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General Employment Opportunities

Hawaii Jobs on Demand

Technical Jobs

High Tech Job Openings

Openings at Queens Medical Center

Openings at Hawaii Pacific Health Hospitals

Honolulu Police Department Recruitment: Police Officers, Dispatch, Other Careers with HPD

Maui Police Department Recruitment

Brazilian Red Capped Cardinal

Golden Plover

Employment Agencies & Recruiters In Hawaii


AccounTemps- Recruiting in the fields of Accounting, Finance, Bookkeeping, Payroll, Credit & Collections. Call 808 531-8056 for more information.

Aloha Nursing & Rehab Care Center -  Recruiting for RPN & LPN to for long term care facility.  Call 808 247-2220 for more information.

Altres - Recruiting in the fields of IT/Technical, Accounting/Financial, Legal/Admin, General Office Clerk, Warehouse Labor, General Labor, Project Crews, Construction, RN, LPN, CNA, Medial Assistants, Medical Techs, Hospital/Facility Staffing. Call 808 591-3232 for more information.

CareResources Hawaii -  Recruiting for registered nurses to provide in home care services.  Call 808 534-4202 for more information.

Dunhill - Recruiting in the fields of Financial/Accounting, Manufacturing/Engineering, and Sales/Marketing. Call 808 524-2550 for more information.

Kahu Malama Nurses Inc - RN, LPN, Nurses Assistants, Medial Assistants, Medical Techs, Hospital/Facility Staffing.

Labor Ready - Recruiting for Construction, Manufacturing, Landscaping, Janitorial, Hospitality, Merchandising. Call 800 245-2267 for more information.

LAM Associate Physician Search - Recruiting for Physicians. Call 800 258-4526 for more information.

Management Recruiters of Honolulu - Recruiting for Hi-Tech Engineering Management. Call 808 521-7828 for more information.

OfficeTeam- Recruiting for Executive Secretaries, Administrative Assistants, Receptionists, Data Entry, Word Processors, Customer Service. Call 808 531-0800 for more information.

Olsten Staffing Services - Office Services, Financial Staffing Services, Technical Services, IT Specialists,

Staffing Solutions of Hawaii -  Recruiting for General Office Administration, Information Technology. Call 808 949-3669 for more information.



Resources to Find Housing In Hawaii

Buying a home, townhome, condo, or apartment can be an overwhelming process. You may know what you want but may not be sure what area to look in, or if schools are important to you where the best school districts are. We personally recommend Team Lally if you are looking to buy or sell real estate in Hawaii on any island. Team Lally takes excellent care of their clients and puts a high priority on customer service. They take the time to get to know their clients in depth so they can find you homes to consider which meet your needs and you get the most for your money. They go above and beyond expectations for clients which extends far after your home closing. You will want the experts at Team Lally on your side! Listen to their informative radio show each Saturday 11am-12pm on KHVH AM 830 & KIKI AM990. Call Team Lally at 808-212-9181 or visit We do not receive any compensation for posting this, we just experienced and continue to experience exceptional service from Team Lally and believe they are the best in real estate in Hawaii and they are the only company listed we personally recommend! Tell them you heard about them on!


Hawaii Real Estate Central is a resource for locating homes, condos, apartments, and lots on ALL ISLANDS for sale or rent. This database lists any property with a MLS # regardless of who it is listed with. It is the largest resource for finding property we have found for the state of Hawaii.

Craigslist has housing for sale, housing for rent, autos for sale, items for free and items for sale for all islands.

Hawaii Tribune Herold has section with Hilo Area Big Island housing for sale, housing for rent, autos for sale, and items for sale

Kauai housing for sale, housing for rent, autos for sale, and items for sale

Pineapples Growing on North Shore of Oahu

Taro Growing on Maui

Resources to Find Cars and Boats In Hawaii



There are many car dealerships available once you arrive in Hawaii, especially on Oahu. We personally had HORRIBLE service with the Cutter dealership and do not recommend buying a car from them. We were lied to by the sales person who sold us a car, treated horribly by the management, and received terrible service from their service department. We will personally never purchase another vehicle from them again. We also had a bad experience at Windward Dodge on Oahu where the salesperson started yelling at us and said that we "wasted his time" when we decided not to buy the car after the "price negotiation" process did not go to the price we were willing to pay.  We have actually had very good luck buying used cars from Craigslist. You tend to get more for your money, just have a mechanic check it out before you buy. On Oahu we recommend Mike the Mobile Mechanic who is ASE Certified Master Tech 808-634-6946 or email


Wailua Falls

Links to Information On Schools In Hawaii

If you are moving to Hawaii with school aged children you will need to do your homework as to what school to send them to. Many public schools have a bad reputation of not providing a top notch education and your children may find the schools here are behind the schools they came from and get bored. If you have special education children that require special attention some schools may not be up to the task while others excel at it. You really need to investigate the schools before enrolling your children or deciding what area to live in. Many parents choose to send their kids to private school or home school to ensure a quality education.

State of Hawaii Public Schools K-12

State of Hawaii's Private Schools

State of Hawaii Charter Schools

Resource on Home Schooling in Hawaii

Hawaii's Colleges and Universities

Beach Toys on Oahu

Horseback Riding at Kualoa Ranch

Organizations on Oahu Who Are Always Seeking Volunteers

The best way to meet people when you move to Hawaii is to be involved in the community. No experience is required to volunteer at any of services below and each offer many different ways to volunteer! We are always looking for additional Hawaii organizations looking for volunteers, let us know if you know of other.


American Cancer Society 808 595-7544

Bishop Museum 808 848-4180

Family Court Advocates for Abused Children 808 529-5930

Family Literacy Program of Hawaii   808 842-0303

Hanauma Bay 808 397-5840

Hawaii Children Cancer Foundation 808 599-4223

Hawaii Clearinghouse on Missing Children 808 586-1449

Hawaii Humane Society 808 946-2187

Hawaii Pre-schools 808 247-7962

Hawaii's Only Non-Kill Animal Shelter 808 696-4357

Honolulu Theatre for Youth 808 839-9885

Honolulu Zoo 808 971-7187

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden 808 233-7323

Institute for Human Services 808 537-2724

Iolani Palace 808 522-0821

Lyon Arboretum 808 988-0469

Meals on Wheels 808 988-6747

Memorial Society of Hawaii 808 589-2884

Mission House Museum 808 531-0481

Shriners Hospital for Children 808 941-4466

Waikiki Aquarium 808 923-9741

Waipahu Cultural Garden Park 808 677-0110

Women's Crisis Center 808 524-8856

Urban Garden Center 808 453-6054

East Hawaii Cultural Council/Center based in Hilo, Hawaii on the Island 808 961-5711

Equine 808 Horse Rescue Located in Kunia on Oahu and cares for injured, abused, neglected & abandoned horses 808 590-1210

Cannon Ball Flower

Pumice from the active Volcano

Hawaii Sports Teams & Clubs You Can Join

Joining a sports team or club is a great way to meet people and keep fit! We are looking to post as many listings for children and adult sports teams, let us know if you know of others.


Hawaii Saber Academy- Combat and choreographed lightsaber training for children and adults.

Precision Parkour- Parkour training for children and adults.

808 Sports League- Co-Ed dodgeball, kickball, flag football, and volleyball leagues for adults. Teams on Oahu.

Hawaii Harlequins Rugby Football Team- Open to adult Men and Women. The team is on Oahu.

Hawaii Youth Soccer Association- Youth soccer teams on Oahu, Maui and Kauai. Adult volunteers are also need.

Honolulu Bulls Soccer Club- Boys and Girls soccer on Oahu.

Maui Croquet Club- Open to men and women with their primary play location in Kihei on Maui.

Lanakila Hockey Club - Youth roller hockey team on Oahu.

Oahu Inline Hockey League- Youth roller hockey league on Oahu.

Maui Inline Hockey Association - Mens and youth inline skate hockey teams on Maui. They also offer their rink open to public skate and have inline skate rentals.

Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Clubs- Men and women Hawaiian outrigger canoe teams on Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai.

Yacht Sailing Clubs- Sailing clubs for the island of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii

Hawaii Kai Youth Baseball- This is an all volunteer non-profit group dedicated to the promotion of youth baseball and youth baseball opportunities/activities. In addition to seeing youth players they are always seeking adults to umpire, coach and help organize events.

Hawaii Cycling Club- Based on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii this is  one of Hawaii's premier amateur road, mountain and multisport (duathlon/triathlon) cycling and community sports organizations. They have a riding club, mens racing team and womens racing team.

The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club- An Oahu based hiking club which hikes over 80 different trails around the island as well as voluntarily maintains many of the trails. Hikes are open to members and non members.

Sierra Club Hawaii Chapters- The Sierra club offers organized hikes for members and non members and has chaperters on Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.

Mid Pacific Road Runners Club- Oahu running club with over 20 organized races a year.

Valley Isle Road Runners Club- Maui running club with over 20 organized races a year. They have adult and youth running clubs.

Hawaii Masters Track Club- An Oahu running club open to men and women 30+.

Hawaii Swimming Club- Swimming club with chapters on the islands of Oahu, Maui and Hawaii.

Waikiki Surf Club- Promotes amateur canoe paddling and surfing to men, women, and children.

This sweetie is Rosco and he was available for adoption at the Hawaiian Humane Society. Consider adopting a loving pet from an animal agency once you arrive in Hawaii. When we visited the Hawaiian Humane Society on Oahu there were a great variety of adorable dogs, cute kittens and cats, as well as rabbits, hamsters and birds available to take home that day.

Bringing Pets To Hawaii


If you would like to have a pet when you move to Hawaii please note that there are restrictions on what animals can be brought to Hawaii. Dogs and cats brought into Hawaii will either spend 120 days in confinement in the Hawaii state quarantine or can have a electronic microchip implanted 120 days prior to arrival in Hawaii and spend 5 days or less in quarantine. Regular fees are $1,080 for the standard 120-day quarantine and $224 for pets that qualify for the 5 days or less quarantine. Click here for the answers to FAQ on bringing a cat or dog into the state of Hawaii and quarantine regulations.
Some birds are prohibited from entering Hawaii, some require quarantine, and some can obtain a health certificate and be quarantined in the home. All snakes, some lizards, some frogs and some other exotic animals that are kept as pets are prohibited from entering Hawaii due to the damage they can inflict on the fragile Hawaiian ecosystem if they escape.

Visit the official State of Hawaii web site for the latest updates on bringing animals into Hawaii, a list of prohibited animals, and forms for bringing animals into Hawaii.


Adopting Pets In Hawaii


Consider adopting a loving pet from an animal agency once you arrive in Hawaii.
Hawaiian Humane Society on Oahu is a no kill shelter and offers a variety of adorable dogs, cute kittens and cats, as well as rabbits, hamsters, and birds available to take home that day. Their website has photos of animals available for adoption!

Hawaii Dog Foundation  is a dog rescue and adoption no kill shelter on Oahu.

Hawaii Cat Foundation  is a cat rescue and adoption no kill shelter on Oahu.

Maui Humane Society offers dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, and other animals.

Hugs for Homeless Animals on Oahu takes in injured or neglected dogs, cats, and birds then nurses them back to health and finds them a loving home. They have photos of animals available for adoption on their website!

Rainbow Friends Sanctuary in Hilo takes in injured or neglected animals then nurses them back to health and finds them a loving home.

Thurston Lava Tube on Big Island

Waikiki Sunset

Send us pictures from your Luau or Hawaii Theme Wedding!

If you would like to share photos from your Luau or Hawaii Theme Wedding/Vow Renewal please email them to


Note: all photos submitted become property of A Friend in the Islands and may be used for promotion.

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All content on the website was written by Mike or Kim Crinella. All photographs on the website were taken by Mike or Kim Crinella, were submitted to A Friend in the Islands by a website user, or were Public Domain Fair Use at the time of publication.