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How to Prepare to Move to Hawaii

Updated July 19, 2017

Moving to Hawaii is a fantasy for many and a reality for some. When planning such a venture, it is important to take a number of factors into consideration. For example, Hawaii has a higher cost of living than the mainland U.S. but lower average wages. If you're moving for professional reasons then this will be covered, but if not, consider what your employment options are before making the decision.

Visit one or more of the islands ahead of time, if possible.

Consider the pros and cons of each island. Oahu is the most populous with the state's largest city, Honolulu, and has more job opportunities than the rest of the islands. Maui, Kauai and the Big Island are all dominated by the tourism industry. Molokai and Lanai feature far fewer employment opportunities but plenty of chances for solitude and quiet.

Consider the average home prices and rents on each island.

Plan for a possible quarantine. In order to protect native species and to prevent the introduction of rabies which is currently non-existent in the islands, the State of Hawaii has put in place strict regulations regarding the quarantining and shipping of plants and animals to its shores.

Prepare for visits to your veterinarian and arrange for your animal to be held for a period of time up to 120 days depending on your situation.

Plan months in advance for animals and be sure to research the regulations for plants weeks before moving day.

Research shipping options.

Consider saving on the cost of bringing many of your belongings with you. Because of the importance of the tourism industry, there are many fully-furnished accommodations in Hawaii so you may not need to bring everything with you.

Sell your furniture and kitchen items on the mainland ahead of time to help defray the costs of moving.

Make arrangements with a shipping company if you're bringing a car, furniture and a large amount of household items.

Remember the details. The most affordable time to plan a move is between January and May or between September and November. Flights, car rentals and accommodations tend to be cheaper during these months as tourism slows.

Work out details regarding transportation and accommodations in your first days as an islander. Depending on your circumstances, you may need a hotel or rental car for a period of time upon arrival.

Purchase necessities such as warm-weather clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a sun hat. These will likely cost more in Hawaii than they will on the mainland.

Pack your suitcase and carry-on wisely. If you're shipping the rest of your belongings, it will likely take longer for them to get to Hawaii than it will for you to get there.

Pack ID, personal documents, medical records, medications and other important items in your carry-on.

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About the Author

Sara Klein writes and edits from her home in the Pacific Northwest. She also teaches psychology, focusing on the intersection between climate change and human behavior. Klein holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in humanities and social sciences and a Master of Science in psychology.