What is an Average Day Like Living in Hawaii?

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This is what an average day for me looked like when I lived on Oahu:

Background – Location, Building, etc.

I had just arrived on Oahu and already had my first IT job. I was making $50K per year, but it felt like nothing. I had some online businesses that were sending money every month – which was essential. I like to eat out a LOT – and $50K wouldn’t have worked for me. Keep that in mind – meals are expensive in the islands.

I lived in a small 1 bedroom condo with a nice lanai that gave partial ocean views. The roof had a stunning Waikiki ocean view, so I spent a lot of time up there washing clothes and working on websites.

I was renting for $850 per month on Kapiolani Blvd in Waikiki on the island of Oahu. I was on the 5th floor, there was an elevator in my building. There were about ten condos per floor and seven floors. We had an outdoor conference area beside the 20′ x 40′ swimming pool, a small library, and a place with computers for anyone to use (residents).

We had a locked gate that opened with a magnetic card. The building was about thirty years old, but not in bad shape. The maintenance fee we learned later was something like $450 per month. That was outrageous because we didn’t even have security in the building! Hawaii maintenance fees on condos are through the roof. Keep this in mind if you’re planning on buying a condo when you move to Hawaii – usually you should rent first and figure out all the little things that will affect your purchase decision.

Getting to Work in Kailua, Hawaii (Oahu)

I worked in Kailua, so I woke up about 5 am., showered and got in my Honda that I drove from Florida to Long Beach, California so I could ship it over on the Maersk container ship to Oahu, which then shipped it to Maui later when I moved.

Traffic sucks getting out of Waikiki and up to the Pali Highway. Once there, it’s all good. Kailua is a very small town on the northeast part of Oahu.

On the way to work I’d stop at one of two places to grab a big breakfast – Starbucks, or McDonalds. If Starbucks – they had these giant dark chocolate muffins with chocolate bites in them. I’d get two of those and a big blueberry muffin, along with a giant quad-shot espresso latte – which was some absurd amount of money that is escaping my mind. I must have repressed it so it doesn’t shock and kill me.

If I hit McDonald’s I’d have the rice, soy sauce, Portuguese sausage type thing, and scrambled egg. I’d get the hash browns and a big coffee. Sure the coffee was nothing like Starbucks – but, sometimes I craved the scrambled eggs.

Hawaiian Workplace

Work started at 6 am. I was never late. The bosses brother in law, a giant Japanese guy, always arrived later – about 8 am., but we figured the boss had cameras installed, or at least saw when we logged in the computers.

I sat in the air-conditioned office in my shorts, bare feet, and t-shirt from 6 am. to noon and then headed out for a sub sandwich, ahi-poke from the grocery across the street, or something else quick – even Taco Bell. It was always amazing to hit the open air and feel the wind. Kailua is exceptionally beautiful and I think the main beach got “best beach in USA” at one time. At least Top Ten – I need to look that up.

Traffic is a bit nuts all over the island at lunch time. Waikiki is insane at this time, along with rush hours.

I usually ate at a park on the beach, or just back at the office. My office mates were cool enough and it was great to eat on the steps leading up to the office, look out over traffic and people walking around looking for something to eat.

There was little stress at the office, the boss was local, office manager – local. Then two of us from the mainland. We worked on the computer and phones all day and got off about 3 pm. – hours before rush hour, which was nice.

After Work Activities

From there I had my surf stuff in the car and would head to the beach. Bellows, Makapu’u, Sandy’s, or even down to Waikiki if I felt like hanging with all the tourists. If waves were good on the south end I’d go to Ala Moana Beach and hit Magic Island break, there were some nice waves there at times.

About 6 pm. I’d get hungry again and go off in search of pizza or other Italian food usually. I ate soup and other things, but usually pizza was my dinner. I ate pizza slices every day for a couple years in New York City while walking around as a paparazzi photographer. I never broke the habit.

I’d eat with a friend I met, or by myself – no matter. The weekdays were basically just for me. I would hit a bar on the beach if I wanted to hear music and watch the waves roll into Waikiki. I lived in Waikiki, so I walked most places after dark. It is entirely safe, and a nice way to get around town.

Sometimes I ran at the Ala Wai canal – to Diamond Head volcano. It’s a nice run along the sidewalk with Plumeria (frangipani) blooming on the many trees there.

I’d be home around 10 pm. most nights and working online to see what I could do with my online businesses… answering email and things like that.

I worked five days per week and had weekends free.

Life in Hawaii is Low Stress!

That’s basically live on a daily basis in Hawaii for a working guy with a job in IT. There was enough money to go do some things… no need to work a second or third job. It was a very stress free way of living, and you would probably enjoy it, like I do.

Many people fill their time living in Hawaii with television and drinking at the bars. I filled mine with eating great food, exercise, and working on my websites to see them do better. There are all sorts of people in Hawaii, living all sorts of ways. There are many distractions available – drugs being the primary one, but you need not partake if it’s not your style. You’ll be offered pot and other things often, on the street and maybe socially, but there’s no real problem about it if you choose not to. To each his own in Hawaii… to each, her own…

Any questions about life in Hawaii? Ask in comments, I respond to all…

Video of Kailua Beach Park – One of the best beaches in Hawaii – Try it!

Map of Kailua, Oahu

View Larger Map

[Photo credit – flickr.com member, legge e mare]

About the Author:

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. Teya 05/05/2018 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    I’m looking to move to Kahuku, Oahu. What are the medical expenses like there?

    • Peter Kay 05/05/2018 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      What have you researched so far and what have you discovered?

  2. bill kubinski 04/05/2016 at 7:00 am - Reply

    I’m going to travel there in may and I like to help people. And I’m a auto technician I have some questions about how car parts are to get and cost ect. We will be in moui Lahaina. Any places that you recommend ?

  3. Bobby 09/18/2012 at 11:21 am - Reply

    In reading your blog and others I am learning that having a knack for sales and tourism is good when it comes to find a job in Hawaii. When I search some job search sites I find a few IT (help desk and pc support) job listings and I read that you worked in IT. Is it safe to assume that having IT work experience gives someone a bit of an edge when job seeking in Hawaii?

  4. Sheryl 08/22/2012 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Hi LisaMarie,

    I am in your same position. I live in Texas too (Austin). Been away from my partner for 3 years (military) and we now want to try to make the move to Hawaii and restore our marriage and our lives there. Very concerned about getting good work and really didn’t want to have to live in Honolulu, but that may be the easiest place to find decent work.

    Best of luck to you and your family! (Trash the xbox – I’m totally with you!!!)

  5. Dana 08/21/2012 at 4:04 am - Reply

    Is it true that the locals are rude to people who move there from the mainland? I have a 10 year plan to get to Hawaii and I am trying to learn as much as I can about the islands to make relocating there as easy as possible.

    • Vern 08/21/2012 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Dana,

      Yeah, it can be true. Just like if you moved to somewhere else – the locals could be a bit hostile. I think it happens more to people that are rude to begin with – but, there are definitely people in Hawaii that don’t want to see new outsiders moving in – and will make it known. It’s something to live with… but I’ve not experienced anything major over it. I think most people haven’t. Best of luck to you on your move!



  6. LisaMarie 08/16/2012 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Hi I was wondering if you could possibly reccomend a site or names of local classifieds to find apartments. I am planning to move from Texas in mid September. I want to rent a studio so that when I arrive I have a paid place to live and can then set up some interviews for employment. the plan is after I am somewhat established my husband would follow with my 9 yr son and 14 yr old daugther.

    People here are nuts and everyone is in some competition. I am so tired of all the mean evil people here. I am looking forward to learning new ways and taking a lot of stress of our plates. I think Hawaii would be a great place for us to become closer and do many outdoor actitivties together, I want to get rid of the xBox PS3 etc. In texas at 105 plus per day you A shop or B eat. Both suck.

    Thank you with any adviced offered. I know I’ll need a lot but I’m always willing to learn.

    God bless

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