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Moving to a tropical paradise with white sandy beaches, palm trees, and crystal clear blue water may sound alluring as a tourist visiting for a few days, but peel back some of the layers and there’s more to living in Hawaii than a permanent vacation. People relocate to new places for many reasons, whether it be for an employment opportunity, decreased cost of living or as simple as a change of scenery. If you are thinking about moving to get away from the chaos of the mainland, you may want to do some research about daily life and what to expect living there before moving over the Pacific. Here are five things to consider before making the decision to relocate to Hawaii.
 

Everything is imported

One might assume that living in a tropical paradise provides the local residents with an abundance of foods to eat and is available everywhere around the islands.  Surprisingly, this is not always the case. Hawaii’s agricultural needs are almost entirely dependent on food imports from the mainland and international sources. Hawaii’s biggest imports are beef, vegetables, fruit, and milk. Currently pending Senate Bill 1313 aims to change this, by introducing legislation that emphasizes food grown locally, rather than relying on imported sources. This will help provide for the local population as well as decrease costs incurred from shipping and transporting food to the islands. Co-ops have been coming together to help small sized local farmers grow their own food for the local population and to decrease the dependency on imports which will reduce the cost of living substantially. 

 

Traffic

If you’ve lived in cities like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco, you might be prepared to deal with traffic in Honolulu, HI.  According to the 2017 TomTom Traffic Index, Honolulu ranks 8th on the list of the country’s most traffic-congested cities. Interestingly, the Hawaiian capital was the only city on the list that didn’t experience an increase from prior year.  There are many ways to navigate around this issue though. If you don’t live too far from your destination, consider public transportation, walking or riding a bike which is a win for the environment and your health!

Tourism

Hawaii thrives off the tourism industry and has an influx of visitors from all over the world throughout the year. Hawaii is a great place to meet other people, but like many of the visitors that come to the islands, they are there only for short duration of time. Getting used to that and overcoming this may be a challenge for some. According to Hawaii.gov, the average stay of the largest market in terms of visitors stayed an average of 9.28 days.  If you like change, then this might not be a bad thing. 
 

Employment

The job market in Hawaii tends to revolve around specific industries. These industries include tourism, healthcare, agricultural and the services industries. For example, if you specialize in accounting, those jobs are limited and competition for them is high.  Making sure that you have employment prior to moving is highly recommended if you’re in a specialty field. Researching the job outlook in your field will also help.  Finding decent employment these days is difficult no matter where you live, don’t let this deter you.

High Cost of Living

There are several factors that contribute to the high cost of living for the residents of the Hawaiian Islands. The combination of fuel prices, transportation, and real estate are the foundation of the higher cost of living in Hawaii.  You can expect to pay as much as 30% more for items you find in Hawaii than you would if you purchased them on the mainland.  According to the website Zillow, the 2017 median price for a single-family home is $595,000 and the median rent price in Hawaii is $2300.  Hawaii also has strict zoning restrictions that do not allow homes to be built in certain parts of the islands, in hopes to limit our footprint on the environment.  Consider living outside of the busiest parts of the island since housing will be cheaper like other metropolitan cities.
 
These are a few areas that should be considered when relocating to Hawaii. Consider factors that are most important to you and researching them will help you decide if a move to Hawaii is actually something you could manage and enjoy doing. For more information on living in Hawaii, contact a local Crown office near you today to learn more. 
 
A boat sails across the quiet ocean with palm trees in the foreground

About the author

Indika "Indy" Wijesekera

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