HOW TO MOVE TO HAWAI’I
i get asked questions all the time about moving to hawai’i. how we did it? what we brought? how to find a house? if there’s anything we would/wouldn’t do if we did it again. so i’m going to break it down for you. keep in mind we didn’t have a company we worked for shipping our stuff. every cost was out of pocket. we also live in the north shore so thats all i can speak on. honolulu or “town” as we call it is very different.
we shipped our cars. i don’t know that this matters so much. we like our cars. they both have low miles and are in good shape. it costs a little over $1000 and takes around 10 days. we were already selling everything and didn’t want the hassle of selling cars too. ivan’s is payed off and we don’t owe much on mine so it made sense. cars rust here and unless you’re living in the city NO ONE cares what you drive. i will say if you like your car and its worth a decent amount– ship it. one thing is no matter if you ship or buy here you will get roaches and ants in your car. i don’t think there is any way of getting around it. some people bug bomb their cars. i’ve heard it ruins the interior so i didn’t want to risk it. you can put those roach traps in it. just watch that your little ones aren’t playing with them. it’s gross i know!
packing, oh i remember this like it was yesterday and it is the worst. i didn’t know what to take, sell or leave. you will live in your swimsuit and maybe 3 other outfits. i haven’t worn any shoes but slippahs (flip flops) and my kids rarely wear shoes. our house is very minimally stocked and i notice most people live the same way. its pretty warm year round so you don’t need jackets or pants. you can buy everything you need at costco. the lighter you pack the better. a friend who had recently moved to the u.s. from denmark told me only bring the things that really mean something to you. i think thats a great way to think of it. you’ll want family pictures and your kids art work but don’t really need books you’ve already read. purging is hard but so liberating too. we’ve never had less stuff and it feels so good! i can clean up the house in less than 10 minutes and we are off to the beach.
we did not send a container and i am so glad that we didn’t. it’s expensive and in my opinion not worth it. i have yet to meet a single person that sent a container over and doesn’t regret it. you can buy everything you need here. yes its harder to come by nice thing but the good news is no one cares and several times a year costco has furniture. you can join Facebook groups dedicated to military people moving and selling/giving away their furniture for nothing. there is a furniture store in honolulu called pacific home. super cute and beachy. super expensive. i wouldn’t buy mattresses or couches on craigslist. bedbugs! also tj maxx will become your best friend.
house hunting is very very difficult from the mainland. most landlords will not want to deal with you until you are here. its definitely a slower pace of life so don’t expect to get an email response the same day. people are not in a rush and really don’t care if you are. coming from seattle where i could get amazon to deliver anything i wanted in under two hours was a big adjustment. i have my real estate license in hawaii and our office is right here on the north shore. we direct everyone looking for a rental to look on craigslist and check it constantly. this area is a hot rental market. most listings will be on craigslist and potential gone by the time you call. another piece of advice is lower your standards way lower than you think. you will easily pay $3,500-$4,000 a month for 1,000 sq. ft house not updated. you can’t come here thinking you’re going to get the same 3,000 sq. ft house you have on the mainland for $2,000 a month. i’ve talked to a few people lately who’ve moved here or are in the process and are freaking out that they can’t find a place because its too far out of their budget. its expensive, more expensive than you think. most houses have an ohana house on the property which is basically a small guest house. if you’re lucky its only your family and who ever lives in the ohana house. sometime houses are rented by level. we even looked at one property that had 4 families living on it. this is very normal here and you feel like you hit the jackpot if you get a single family house. make sure to check the listing that it says single family and not duplex or apartment.
be prepared for lots and lots of bugs. flying roaches that are several inches long and little light brown ones. two types of ants, little tiny sugar ants that will flock to any crumb on the floor and giant ants the size of spiders. so many mosquitos, centipedes (we’ve encountered more than i would’ve liked) millipedes, geckos by the hundreds and lizards. the geckos just live with you and you get used to them. like little friends.
hawai’i is an amazing place to live. the people are the sweetest. life is slower and we really enjoy it. you live with less consuming and more happiness. if you have the chance to move here i say do it. it really has been such an amazing experience for our family. getting back to the basics in life is such an amazing feeling!