Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to Hawaii

The warm and tropical weather is what attracts most people to Hawaii. From hidden waterfalls to volcanic landscapes, Hawaii can be a great adventure for many. It is the only island state located outside North America, and the only state in the tropics. Tourism is the biggest industry in this area, not only that, but its unique location also makes it a hub for sustainable living entrepreneurship, marine research, and environmental technology.

Hawaii’s adventurous lifestyle is one of the main reasons why it is known as the happiest state in the country. Before moving and experiencing island life, there are several things that you need to consider and prepare for. Here are 7 things you need to know and do before moving to Hawaii.

What to Know Before you Move to Hawaii

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1. First steps before moving to Hawaii

Finding a job 

Hawaii, traditionally seen as a vacation destination, has experienced a shift in recent years as an increasing number of people opt to settle there and work remotely. Moreover, island fever is a real thing and the tourism industry plays a vital role in providing job opportunities for Hawaiians.

In the tourism and related sectors in Hawaii, there is a demand for various jobs. These high-demand jobs include positions such as dishwashers, veterinary technicians, baristas, servers, loan specialists, pharmacists, retail sales associates, and agriculture technicians.

Getting there 

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to Hawaii, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Hawaii, look for good reviews, a professional-looking website and years of experience.

Must dos before your arrival

  • Update Your Address: Changing your address is a crucial step when relocating. You can easily set up mail forwarding either online or in person before your move. Remember to update your address with various organizations, including the SSA, DMV, and home services. Also remember to update your voter registration

To ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, refer to our comprehensive change of address checklist, which covers all the places you need to update when moving.

  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for Hawaii’s diverse weather. Check local forecasts and pack accordingly, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region’s climate variations.
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.

2. Upon your arrival in Hawaii

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • Consider saving money with a daily transit pass for convenient travel. In Honolulu, TheBUS offers a monthly bus pass for $80.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Hawaii DMV Change of Address

It’s important to notify the DMV of your change of address so that you can legally drive a vehicle in Hawaii. When moving to Hawaii, you have to notify the DMV within 30 days of your move.

  • You can only apply for a driver’s license and register your vehicle in-person at a Hawaii DMV office.
  • Bring your Social Security Number and 2 proofs of residency.
  • A vision test may be required.
  • Bring your out-of-state license with you. A written and road test will be required if you don’t have your out-of-state license or if it is expired.

For more information check out our article on how to notify the Hawaii DMV of an address change.

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to Hawaii, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. This state follows the same procedures and regulations as in other states. First Hawaiian Bank has more than 50 branch locations in this area and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. Healthcare is regulated by the state in the US and so the state of Hawaii proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Hawaii as your state and create an account.

3. Best places to live in Hawaii


Oahu, Maunawili

Oahu offers a fantastic suburban lifestyle along its picturesque coastline, making it a versatile choice for anyone.


With a lower cost of living compared to Maunawili, Honolulu offers the vibrancy of an urban city with numerous entertainment options and top-notch amenities.


This is the second-best suburb, featuring above-average schools, excellent dining options, and beautiful parks, making it especially attractive to professionals.


Hilo boasts a diverse population and a range of residential options, appealing to both professionals and retirees.


Recognized as the third-best suburb in Hawaii, Mililani is a practical choice, especially suitable for families.

Setting up home services 

Hawaii has various electricity providers such as:

Electricity bills in Hawaii are the highest in the US. To set up electricity, you can visit the websites of the electricity suppliers listed above, fill out the required information or you can contact them by calling the numbers on their contact page. For water supply, you can reach out to the Board of Water Supply. For gas set up, see set up instructions on the Hawaii Gas Company’s website.

The best internet providers in Hawaii will have bundling options, various speeds, and multiple package options at reasonable prices. 

Should you rent or buy?

Hawaii, an absolutely breathtaking destination within the United States, is highly coveted by those wishing to visit or reside there. However, the cost of real estate in Hawaii is notably high. For individuals planning an extended stay in this paradise, investing in property might be a viable option.

According to local advice, the prevailing mortgage rates and interest costs could potentially make buying a vacation home in Hawaii less financially appealing, unless you plan to rent it out for the majority of the year. Although renting in this location can also be costly, it may ultimately prove to be a more economical choice.

Cost of rent in Honolulu, Hawaii


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Hawaii (Outside of Center)



Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Hawaii


Average home price 



Zillow (Oct 2023)

4. Cost of living in Hawaii

Cost of living in Honolulu


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($95.35 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Hawaii

The weather in Hawaii is quite consistent with only little changes in temperature throughout the year. There are only two seasons in this area, winter (from November to April) and Summer (from May to October). 

The average winter temperature is 78° and the average summer temperature is 85°. Rainfalls are expected from November to March.

6. What to do as a local in Hawaii

If you are looking for an adventure, Diamond Head park is famous for its fun hiking trails with amazing views. The view at the top is worth the hike. The Pearl Harbor tour is an experience that one should not miss when in this paradise. It is the area’s #1 attraction. 

Life in Hawaii means spending your weekends sightseeing, playing golf, swimming, and surfing.

7. Fun facts about Hawaii

Fun Fact #1

It is the most isolated population center on Earth having its own separate time zone, the Hawaii Standard Time.

Fun Fact #2

Hawaii consists of 137 islands rather than being one single island, it is more like a chain of islands making it the widest state. 

Fun Fact #3

It is the only state with two official languages, English and Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian).


Before moving to Hawaii, there are seven important things to keep in mind. First, consider job opportunities, as the tourism industry and remote work are prominent. Second, plan your move logistics and update your address. 

Third, familiarize yourself with the diverse weather conditions. Fourth, research and schedule your apartment hunt. Fifth, make arrangements for your driver’s license and establish a local bank account. Sixth, ensure you have health insurance in place. 

Seventh, weigh the decision of renting versus buying property. Hawaii’s unique characteristics and lifestyle await, making it a unique and captivating destination. Remember that Hawaii has a high cost of living and it’s important to budget accordingly.

Are you moving soon? Discover the best movers for your move to Hawaii


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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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