Moving to Hawaii at 19 Years Old?

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I received a note from a teenager thinking about moving to Hawaii. I answered him by email but I wanted to post it here for everyone’s benefit…


On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 1:15 PM, <> wrote:

Type: AimforAwesome-ContactformBasic
Name: xxxxxx
email: xxxxxxxx
location: originally SF, now Minneapolis
Comment: First off I want to say that it\’s REALLY cool you are in Thailand right now, sounds like you’re having a blast, I imagine!

I did have a blast here in Thailand for a short while – now it’s just family living, and loving it.  We had a daughter recently and that’s been the coolest experience… Thailand is quite amazing though… after Hawaii come here!

okay then, my scenario/question is this: I’m 19 years old, and have recently expressed a desire to move to Hawaii. everything about it seems up my alley, the diversity, being a minority (I share that trait with you, I suppose :), and the the weather/seclusion.

Yeah, it’s a small shock moving to Hawaii at first. Everyone still speaks English – but if you’re caucasian or afr. american you’ll be in the minority for sure!

my thing is, I am just wanting to ask advice on how to maneuver it in this economy…now I’m not trying to burden you, but everyone else in my life is really unsupported, and I guess I just want to hear one person tell me it can be done, and how.

You can do it – just have the guts to go do it. The how, is, book a flight – have some plan on how you’ll make it for a couple months without income, where you’ll stay in Hawaii – how you’ll get around – mountain bike is great or walking if you’re right downtown Waikiki. Buses work very well in Hawaii…

I’m planning on saving up 6000-6500 for the period to find a job. I have NO problem working in the tourist industry (kind’ve what I want I’d say), although as time goes by, I’ll probably do IT.

6000 – even for a teen is pretty good. If you’re scared you’ll spend all your cash you’ll probably be OK. Try hard not to spend more than 1500 per month. Plan on paying 3x monthly rent to get into a place most charge 1st months rent, 2 month deposit.
Chances are good since you want tourism industry jobs that you’ll have a job within days or at the most weeks. Entry level tourism jobs are what hawaii is all about. The state of Hawaii has an excellent resource for finding jobs on Beretania Street I think it is – I used it and they matched me with a job making 50K in just about a week. Highly recommended. It’s called Workforce Development maybe?

so my question is…can I expect 10/hr working in the hospitality industry as a wage? also…am I being realistic wanting to move to Hawaii? and how long do you think it’d take to find employment in the tourist industry while out there in Oahu (or possibly, the big island)?

>Now – here I have no clue… as I’ve not been in the same position as you. Probably 10/hour is not out of the question… you can always hold out until you find one for 10.Yes, you’re realistic about moving to Hawaii with all you’ve told me here – seems like you have the right attitude. You just need to plan out a few things – like to find a room and maybe mountain bike, other stuff. Use contacts you find on craigs or twitter to give you a lot more information about living there. Check out google maps – see the layout of Waikiki or wherever you want to live.

any answers would be helpful, and I’m grateful for any help I can get. I know food is expensive and so is housing…but then again, I’m from Northern California :)

Yeah, same-same.

thanks for your time,

No problem, hope I helped. Basically you just need to plan and GO. Forget people telling you that you can’t do it. You can. I was there at 19 – in the Air Force and if I was actually free of the air force, my god the time I could have had… lol. Just go – and make it work.
Find some friends or – search twitter for “moving to hawaii” and find people that are going. Chat with them about what all they’re doing. Hopefully you find someone you’re own age going, but you know what? You’re pretty unique for a 19 yr old thinking of doing this! Cheers to you, kudos and all that… Just WANT to make it and you will.
Good luck Stephen… Aloha

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I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. I arrived site-unseen in Honolulu with zero contacts and about $5k in savings. I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. My goal with this site is to share the magic of this Land of Aloha and help others who are on a similar quest.


  1. Kelli 06/25/2013 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    I’ve been saving for a while and I plan on moving in september. The high costs terrify me but this has been my goal since graduating High School but if I’m going to do it 20 is a good age. My family thinks I’m nuts for going alone but this was just the re assurance I needed. So thank you(:

  2. Lina 12/03/2009 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Hi I’m so happy to have come across this.. In the midst of being frustrated with where I’m living, kinda just googled in whatever cause I so badlyy need get away too. I’m originally from Boston & just moved to atlanta ..don’t like it very much, just turned 20 a few days ago & don’t want to go to college in a place I hate ..always was interested in Hawaii. But thanks to both for I guess, asking & answering & good luck to both! Hopefully one day we can meet in Hawaii (=

  3. Stephen D. 11/05/2009 at 11:31 am - Reply

    yes, you motivated me quite a bit, and now my goal is more clear. thank you very much for that :)

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