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Want to Change Your Life? Move to Hawaii

Change your life in Hawaii. One of my favorite Hawaiian beaches - Bellows Beach with the Ko'olau mountain chain the background. Heaven!

A move to Hawaii means you get to enjoy one of my favorite Hawaiian beaches – Bellows Beach with the Ko’olau mountain chain the background. Heaven on earth!

Moving to Hawaii will change you in a deep and meaningful way. It’s the most awesome place there is to live, for me. I’ve been here most of my life, since the mid ’80s. Vern stayed for five years on Oahu and just over a year on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Hawaii is still part of the United States of America, yet you might question it as your plane touches down and you step out into the airport.  This is one of the few places on earth where all races or ethnicities are a minority! The three major groups are Caucasians (aka Haole – “How-lee”), Asians (Japanese, Filipinos, Korean, Chinese, etc), and Polynesians (Native Hawaiians, Micronesians, etc).  There are people from across the globe living here. I’ve met people from the mainland, Sweden, England, Germany, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, native Hawaiians, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Chinese, and Indonesians living in the Hawaiian islands. The islands are truly a melting pot of culture.

Moving Hawaii is Awesome for Many Reasons:

  • Temperatures are ideal. It is never too hot – over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, nor is it ever colder than starting your breath to fog.
  • Almost constant “trade winds” that keep fresh air blowing in across the island to disperse whatever pollution might have come from vehicles or power plants.
  • The Hawaiian Islands are surrounded by deep blue, powerful ocean. The color is unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere. There is a real power to the ocean here – it’s awesome in it’s power, it’s constant movement.
  • Awesome things to do. Shopping, walking, picnics, sightseeing, visiting attractions like the volcanoes and historical sights like Pearl Harbor.
  • Surfing, bodyboarding, bodysurfing, swimming, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, hobiecatting, windsurfing, parasailing, parasurfing, and kiteboarding (on skateboards) are all fun activities available. If you get bored here, you’ve got a problem!
  • Climbing / hiking. There are over twelve mountain ridge hikes on Oahu alone. Peaks over 4,000 feet high are available on Oahu. On Maui you can climb Haleakala volcano up over 10,000 feet if you were really inspired.
  • Hawaii is so diverse. The people, the food, the things to do, the cultures, the way of life, the whole atmosphere is different from anything you’ve ever experienced.

I could keep going of course, but those are a few amazing and awesome things about Hawaii that endear it to me.

Looking from the mountains toward Kaheohe, Oahu, Hawaii.

Looking from the mountains toward Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii. One of the greatest changes you can make in your life is where you move. Move to Hawaii and your world changes dramatically – and quite possibly, for the BETTER!

Moving to Oahu, Hawaii or one of the other islands IS possible. If you have $15,000 and some needed skills – you can move today. Book a ticket and leave. That simple. It will be a struggle, but it can be done and has been done for many people with drive and ambition to make it happen.

If you have less money saved, say $8,000 you can still do it – but it will take more planning and some serious skimping before you’re up and running but I think that’s really risking it.  I moved here with $6,000 saved but that was back in the mid-80s and I still starved and came this close to being out on the street. Hawaii – Honolulu, Hawaii is like any other big city. There are jobs available if you have the skills.

Hawaii business is focused on a couple things and if you work in one of these areas you can likely move there and find a job quickly:


If you want to do sales, answering phones, or working in the hotel industry and have experience you’ll find a job quickly. If you sell condominiums or time-share and want to make your mark in Maui or one of the other islands -there is ample opportunity to do so.


There are lots of aging people on Oahu and the other islands. They need in-home care, but not necessarily nurses. There are many live-in opportunities for those that want to trade some hours of taking care of a person in need in exchange for a room and sometimes food. There are also plenty of counseling jobs and jobs working with veterans or those that need mental health services. Plenty of jobs have openings throughout the year. That doesn’t mean you’ll find one in three days, but in three months, sure, you should be able to find one.


There are many jobs working with construction firms – and home renovation firms. People are putting a lot of money into rehabbing their homes and need help. Tilers and roofers are always in demand. The construction trades have an ebb and flow so you’ll have to check out the situation. If you’re a card-carrying union member this place will probably be good for you. My best friend here is in the electrical trades and he’s never been unemployed in the 30 years he’s lived here.

Those with skills they can use online to make money can move to Hawaii easily. If you can do web development or writing or have some other valuable skills that enable you to cyber-commute you can build up a couple of jobs (gigs) and move. You’ll have money until the projects run out – and by then you’ll have worked hard enough to get more to replenish them and stay in Hawaii. Much will depend on how much you are tied to your geographic location. The Internet service in Honolulu is pretty good – not the best in the nation but pretty good – and we do have electricity :) so you should be able to setup a workplace here.

“The cost of living when you move to Hawaii is what you make it.”

In 2016 you can easily spend $1,500 for a one bedroom or studio apartment in downtown Honolulu if you want to be close enough to walk or bike to anything you need to get to. I mean you can EASILY spend that. For food, you can spend $500 per month for one person – or much more, up to you.

Or, you can learn to live with less and get a room in a house for around $750. You could eat on $350 to $400 per month in Hawaii if you’re smart. The Chinese market in the morning on the weekends has lots of fruits and vegetables for reasonable prices. As reasonable as you’re going to find anyway. I noticed after moving to Hawaii that I seemed to eat less than I normally did on the mainland.

For extras you’ll spend another couple hundred… so, you could live in Hawaii for as little as $1,500 per month without a car. Honolulu is a densely packed area that is great for walking around in. You could have a room in Honolulu and walk to work and everywhere else you needed to get to most of the time – supermarket and beach.

If you drink a lot or have some other addiction – like partaking of the nightlife nightly you’re going to add a lot of costs to your monthly expenses. If you want to move to Hawaii and remain in Hawaii you probably will have to suffer for a little while until you build up your income and make enough connections to help you weather the first few months – or even years.

Vern has a friend that moved to Oahu with virtually nothing. He took a job cold-calling to sell insurance. He did OK, but then he found another friend that appraised property. He trained under him for two years making very little – now he’s an appraiser – certified, and doing fine for himself. He has more work than he can handle.

If you’re willing to sacrifice for a while – you can move to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or Big Island Hawaii. You CAN.

It’s just a matter of how badly do you want to change your life and move to Hawaii??

Here’s the headline for an ad I just found in Craigslist Oahu in 2016 for a place to stay:

$600 mo. New Beautiful Private OceanView Room with Separate entrance and Pool (Kahala Area).

Sounds kinda dreamy, right? And Kahala is a very upscale area close to Waikiki. You will still need to take The Bus or have your own means of travel to get down to town. But still, it makes it seem doable, doesn’t it?

Learn more about Moving to, Living in, and Working in Hawaii:

Here it is, our updated book that describes everything you likely want to know about living in Hawaii.

Moving to Hawaii Book by Vern Lovic

How much? Just $4.99 through Amazon.

Buy button for ebook - Moving to Hawaii

If you need a format other than PDF, buy it on Amazon first and then let us know by sending email at our contact page here. We have EPUB and MOBI formats. EPUB for most ereaders including Apple’s IPad and iPhone, and MOBI for the Amazon Kindle. Just ask!

About the author: Vern Lovic started this website in 2006 and has done an amazing job of content development. Peter Kay has lived in Hawaii since the mid ’80s and so loved Vern’s work he bought the website and is working hard to continue the quality and purpose that Vern started. Aloha!

232 comments… add one
  • Tara Quirion

    Vern, what a great forem for anyone seeking a paradise/work life balance. I’ve been a real estate agent in Tennessee since 1998. I’m very good at it, and make a great income.
    After a trip to Maui two years ago I now find myself daydreaming on a daily basis about beautiful Hawaii. Me, my husband and daughter are taking a trip to a Oahu in July just a month and a half away! (Staying at turtle bay) I have rambled on for hours trying to explain to them the utter beauty I experienced while in Maui. No words can really get them to see what I’m trying to tell them. I pray this trip seals the deal!
    I want to move there…. Like RIGHT MEOW!
    We could sell everything and arrive with approx $150k.
    My question is how hard is it to break into the real estate business? Here, Keller Williams has teams and the high producers are always seeking a buyer agent or listing agent. I could sell ice to eskimos so I know I could/would succeed if given the opportunity.
    I just bought your book so I might be A little bit premature on asking this. Maybe all of the answers to the universe lay within the words and wisdom of your book LOL! But I’d really like to here what you think about the real estate market and job opportunities within.
    Thank you! Aloha!

    • Clearly you have the professional skills needed to succeed, so the quick answer to your question is: It will depend on how well you acclimate to the culture and it’s people here. As you know in your own state, the agents are a tight-knit community and everyone knows everyone. It’s the same here, even more so. If you embrace our local culture and all that means (probably another book unto itself) you’ll do just fine. Stay to your mainland ways, though, and you’ll be outta here before you know it.

  • Matt

    We visited my sister in Honolulu in February 2016 and I am moving my family to Oahu in May. We were planning to move but had not picked a certain location. After our visit we all felt like no place would ever compare to Hawaii! We are leaving Ohio to live the HI life.

    • Peter Kay

      That’s Awesome! It’s an AMAZING place and if you let it, Hawaii will change your life like nothing else.

  • Age 63. About to enter semi retirement. Will buy oceanfront condo in West Maui. Intend to do very little but swim, kayak and volunteer. Appreciate your website. You are honest about sharks.

    • Peter Kay

      Fabulous! Maui seems to get more sharks but exercise thoughtful caution and you’ll be fine. It’s the rough water that will more likely hurt you than sharks. Congratulations on semi-retirement!

  • Mark

    Recently I came across an article regarding teacher shortages in Hawaii. I’m an experienced teacher from Canada, with a wife in the social work field, and 2 young children. Moving an entire family? with a dog? thoughts are very welcomed.

  • Jean Thill

    Hi Vern,
    We are french citizens, actually living in Tahiti, I’m 54 and my wife is 48 (she has american father but unfortunately she don’t know him)
    We would like to move to Hawaii, I’m a consultant working on internet with international companies, and my wife is a profesionnal gastronomic cook, with 20+ years experience
    We would bring around 100k us$, we are also thinking of opening a new or buying a small existing bistro
    Do you think we have a chance or what do you suggest ?
    Kind regards

    Mehiti and Jean

    • Mary Ann

      If u will open a business sick like bistro u can hire me as a cook or all around . I work in dubai for almost 9 years I don’t have much of a saving . I just need a new place and new environwmnt too I have egyptian husband who can also work like all around drivera runners etc . We can start as new we are ready for that send me and email if u are interested ime currently Working in the airport as sales in electronics but I’m graduated as hotel and restant management let be team

    • Mary Ann

      Aloha vern

      Pls advise me
      ‘Im a filipina 40 graduated as hotel ad restaurant management .I’m currently working in dubai in the airport for almost 9 years . Sadly I don’t have any earnings my husband died oct 2015 but we already separated since 2010 not legally . But now his with the Lord . I want to move in hawaii for a better place for my daughter I have one . I can start for a new life to work in a new environment .. I cam work both retail business and hospitality . I was a sales coach I’m electronics and I’m a good cook . Is it realty worth it of moving in I want to find job for me . Pls help badly needed thanks god is good

  • Emma

    Hi there,
    You seem like a very helpful person.
    Do you know anything about teaching opportunities at International Schools in Hawaii? Do they come with housing, visa and travel packages? I have been trying to find information online about this but it is proving quite difficult.
    If you know of anyone who you are able to put me in touch with, who might be involved in International Schools over there, that would be amazing.

  • Tomas

    Hi everybody!

    I am interested in moving from sweden to another place in the world.
    Is there any chance for me to get a work in hawaii you think? I have work with mainfraime programming in varius environments for +20 years and I have skills in electronics and computers, both design, build and repair. I am a “handyman” and have done house building and renovation in almost everything between ground/floor to roof include all kind of electrical work and pipes and water – waste, tiling, masonry/bricklaying, have build greenhouses. I have skills in Cad/Cam (solidworks and solidcam) including manufacturing on 3 and 4 axis cnc mills and mechanical works eg electrical motors / washer mashines, motorcycles/cars and welding. Interested in all things from motorcycles to energy / alternative energy.
    I am 50 years old but still strong and “young” :).

    Best regards / Tomas

    • Wow, those are all things I know nothing about Tomas. I think you would need to start googling extensively to find answers to those questions. Aloha!

  • Lon


    Myself and my girlfriend are moving to Oahu this June 2016. We both have bachelors degrees (her in marketing and myself in professional golf management). We will have around 13k saved for the move. She is from S. Korea but lived in Oahu for the majority of her middle school years. Looking to live near Ewa beach/Honolulu area. I’m working steadfast to obtain a job with on of the resort golf courses or private clubs amongst the island. We will be shipping 1 car ($2,400.) other then that just a plane ticket and what we decide to bring. Can you offer any sound advice please? FYI I am Caucasian from Long Island NY.

    • Hi Lon,

      Not sure what I can say except – keep pounding on doors until you get a job. There aren’t that many golf courses on Oahu or any island, so it might take you a while to find a job. Maybe grab something else to do in the interim as you wait for an opening. Good luck! Aloha!

      • Lon

        Landed a job as a one of the golf professional at Oahu C.C., as of this past Wednesday, any other advice you can offer?

        • That was FAST. I’d advise you to save money, and have the time of your life!

        • Craig

          Hi Lon,
          Congrats on landing the CC job! I am moving to Oahu in June 2016, or sooner too. Many employers won’t consider me as a candidate because I don’t live there now. How did you get past that? I am looking for something in the construction equipment rental industry which I am currently working in.
          Thanks, Craig

  • Stacy

    Hi Vern,
    I have been to Honolulu four times, and it feels like home. I want to move there so badly, but I’m Canadian, and not sure if it’s possible without a visa?

    • Me neither! Go to the US Embassy website and see about visas. I don’t keep up with all the requirements to move to the islands for citizens of every country because they differ. There are plenty of Canadians who move to Hawaii and work though… ;) Aloha!

  • Erica

    My husband and I just moved to Oahu this Oct 21st with only $300. We didnt have a place for 2 days and so we got to see waikiki beach over night if you catch my drift. Some landlords wont give a contract so you need to save in case you get the boot. We are renting a room in Royal Kunia , Waipahu HI for $900. Reason why so expensive is we are daily renters. We are looking for another room for cheap. I bike 3 miles daily to get to work and my husband takes the bus. The universe has an awesome way of catching you in the free fall when it matters. We enjoy the thrill and love the island. I truly believe in the spirit. We hope to rent a house and rent rooms to others just like us. Its possible with any amount of $$. Its your willingness to ask for help and to work. Persistence will get it but consistence will keep it. EVERYONE told us we were crazy for coming and if we had listened we’d be miserable in Bakersfield California. If we were meant to stay in one spot we would grow roots but we don’t! Travel and spread your wings. Questions or want to follow my journey follow me on IG @mrsssssrobinson facebook Erica Carmen (Mrs Robinson) or email me loveadvocare96@gmail.com I may have some advice that will help you. We did technically jump off a cliff and build a plane on the way down.
    Mahalo ✈☀

    • I’m a bit lost on what exactly happened, but apparently you are in Hawaii – on Oahu, you and your husband moved to the island with just $300, and you must be paying $30 per day at the Royal Kunia in Waipahu and you’re looking for another even cheaper room. You both have jobs already? How in the world did you do that? How did you buy a bike?

      Your instagram address listed is wrong – couldn’t find you – can you post the correct one?

      Thanks for your comment, hope to hear more about how you made this happen.


  • Claire

    Hi Vern,

    I am a South African citizen planning to move to Hawaii within the next 3 years. I am currently studying and would have my masters in law majoring in international law. What are the job prospects like with respect to lawyers? Is there a need? Or is the market oversaturated. Moreover, since its an island i assume, offences are minor.
    – please advise

    Furthermore, my fiance is with the south african navy and therefore,it would be ideal for him to join their.
    Please advise if you know anything

    Lastly, is there good schools for children.

    I am aware that we would need to give up citizenship.

    Cant wait to surf thoose waves and enjoy the island living!!

    Please advise as you can
    I look forward to your reply
    Thank you :)

  • Laura

    Aloha !!
    The last year my family and I went to Hawaii and i love it there it was so magic, calm, free, less stress, and my first thought was i really want to live here, now the problem is I’m a Mexican Girl, i’m 28 years old, i’m a
    graduate graphic designer, i love to dance hula, i have 10 years dancing hula and i love the culture, but how can i move to live there with no problems ?? Can You advise me?? anyone ?

    Mahalo nui loa!!

  • Luana

    Hi Vern !
    Finally I found out what I was looking for since I came back from Hawaii after a 3 months study experience there. I want to buy your book but before doing that I would like to know if possible if you have a solution for the main problem in moving there : the visa ! I’m A 27 years old Italian mum (15 months lil girl) and my boyfriend is a Canadian .we are living in Italy at the moment .would that be really possible to move there legally without a green card !??? Thanks !

  • Glynn Smith

    I am retired after 42 ish years of work and school. Being a Georgia country boy, and an electronic repair tech., I can repair almost anything in a house from the water system to the electrical system. I presently live in my own home here in Dawson county Co. Ga., but my ex-wife, daughter and grand daughter (whom I dearly love)…Oh well….I need a change and a chance to relax. I’d like to live with someone – almost anyone who needs me, and I can feel necessary.

  • Ana

    I live in Honolulu and spend $700 on rent (internet, electric, water included), about $400-600 food (cooking at home plus eat outs), $60 cell phone, $60 bus pass (car is a good option if parking is included in your rent or street parking available), so roughly 1500 a month and I work two jobs, have enough free time to enjoy Hawaii. No It is possible to live good here, just depends on your appetite. I live simply and don’t like night life (that’s where it gets very expensive), I enjoy simple free things: ocean, sun, hikes, beautiful nature. I would never trade Hawaii for more affordable life anywhere on the mainland, I prefer to pay extra and enjoy my stress-free life in paradise.

    • Anastasia

      I have wanted to move to Hawaii since I was young I haven’t graduated yet i’m going to college soon and I want to major in something I will both enjoy and make a decent living when I move from Wilmington North Carolina. I just need advice on what jobs are available there (not currently but the near future) and if there are job opportunities I will enjoy.
      I want to get my yoga certification and teach yoga as well as maybe open my own studio, but I don’t want to live in the city I want to live in the smaller communities very close to the beach yet be close to my job
      i’m open to other jobs that are more realistic just need advice.

      • Hi Anastasia,

        While I’d like to be positive as much as possible about this, the idea that you’re going to move to Hawaii and start a little yoga class and studio, living near the beach with few students has become a common pipe-dream that isn’t realized by anyone I know except one woman on Maui – nearly lifelong resident, and I’m sure the majority of her income comes from a pension.

        Going to college for something related to hotel management would be a good start. Learning Japanese would be very helpfulj in getting jobs. Being able to translate between Japanese and English would be awesome.

        Keep in mind all good employment is highly competitive and you’ll have to spend some time on island hitting the bricks to find something.

        Best of luck!

        Aloha, Vern

  • lucero

    Aloha Vern,

    I’ve been thinking about this all my life. I’d be about the surf and spiritual life and I’m pretty eager to live on basics so, I have no studies but got experience in different jobs from cold-calling to barman, factories…spanish translator, whatever…so, how hard would I find it to do it in Hawaii? I’d say that I’d go with about 7,000-8,000 to begin, and little luggage. Thanks in advance!

    • I think if you are willing to work anywhere, do anything, live any way you have to, with 7-8K you can probably make it. Of course there is a chance you won’t. Best of luck! Aloha, Vern

  • Candice Plate

    Hi Vern

    I’m in need of a lifestyle change.
    Would love some guidance/steps on what I’d need to do. Have you got packs or any info that could possibly be of assistance.
    I’d be coming from Australia, with 2 children 7yrs & 2yrs and would love to bring the dog as well if at all possible. We have never been out of Australia nor really done a big move, we currently live in a small country town in Queensland and love the small community feel.
    I’m currently working in real estate & previously worked in a pharmacy and I’d be looking for schooling and daycare facilities for my children, if you could point me in the right direction there?
    Any help would be better than nothing at all. Thank you :-)

    • Hi Candice,

      Hawaii will be a fun change for you, though Australia is also stunningly beautiful. I think you’d be best off to pick up my book – it’s around $5 on Amazon – Search Vern Lovic books and you’ll find the book on moving to Hawaii. Also I have some youtube videos for Moving to Hawaii. Check those out. You can see me wearing a bright yellow shirt in those videos. That’s how you’ll know it’s me.

      Good luck! Aloha!

  • Amy

    I am looking to relocate to Hawaii and very nervous. I have been searching for Jobs and housing. Could you recommend any tips for me?

  • Hello Vern! Love your site. Thanks for creating it! Was just in Maui for four nights in Sept. 2013, then the Big Island for 3 nights after that. My wife and I are considering moving to Maui. We really loved it. I’m 58, she’ 48. We had/have heard alot about how expensive it is to live in Maui. We did Some research while we stayed there. We checked out some rental house prices. We checked a couple prices of homes to purchase. We bought gasoline. We shopped at a supermaket. Honestly, it did not seem much more expensive than where we live now in southern Orange County, Cal. We bought a 2 bdr, 1200 SqFt town home here for $415,000…… Maybe we didn’t look at Maui prices close enough… Also, we have a pretty good job connection there. We could probably have jobs in Hawaii before we landed. My wife works in wine and spirit marketing/distribution and has solid connections in Hawaii. We’ve also heard a lot about “island feaver”. It’s a little expensive to go anywhere, except the other islands. So I guess some people miss some things about the mainland. Any thoughts, suggestions you have/can share are deeply appreciated. Is there anything I’m missing/overlooking? Thanks again

  • Diane Palma

    I’m 62 year widow and have been a widow for better than 25 years I lived in San Diego for first 25 years then moved to Mass. I raised one daughter and then remarried tow have two more girls both are in their twenty’s I have always wanted to live on the islands I work and am willing to keep working I love my family but I really want be on my own. I’m interested in finding out more where is a good place to look I get about 1300 mo. in income without working would appreciate and place that u might recommend.

  • Joe

    Hi Vern,

    I love the site. I have always dreamed of moving to HI as I am an avid waterman and my wife and kids love all things about the ocean/outdoors. We have freinds who are interested in moving and were thinking about living in a multi family house with them. Any tips, advice, suggestions, words of caution on this? Thinking of either Oahu or the Big Island and probably need 5 bedrooms between the two families.


    • Many locals live with multiple families in the same house and they don’t have as many problems as would families moving from the mainland to do the same. I don’t have any suggestions – I’ve never tried that one!

  • Rachel

    I would love to leave where I am at now I have never lived out of my state let alone out of my city. I am a single African American woman with five children ranging from 6-16. I have talked to my children about moving because the job I currently hold in the hospital pays stating at $25.00 an hour in Hawaii? Yes I am running because at 42 I am tired of the same old messs. I would like to leave in the next five years because as a family we want to go together. My three older children will be guards and plan on going to college. My oldest is already a life guard at 16. We want out of “hood” life. What do you think our chances are? If planned real well. Also we are catholic and would like to continue to worship in that way. I think about this often some family do not accept this but I feel so caged in and want better for my family

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for writing. I think the most important thing for you is to get out of the ‘hood’. If I had to pick 5 of the toughest places to live in the USA – to pick up and move to – I’d probably list Hawaii as the most difficult place to go. There are hundreds of reasons for that, and I’ll send you a copy of my latest incarnation of the Moving to Hawaii book just updated. You’ll get a better idea of the good and bad about living in Hawaii. There is plenty of bad. In fact, I never recommend that parents with kids move to Hawaii unless they can afford one of the better private schools. The public school system can be a nightmare for kids moving from the mainland.

      There are many other places you can move. I strongly suggest you choose one of them. Making $50,000 per year with five kids in Hawaii is going to stress you out, maybe more than you are now. Why not move to Clearwater, Florida instead? Or, Seattle? Denver? Moab, Utah? There are a whole lot of places you could go and make it easier on yourself. I think it might be better to make Hawaii a long-term goal, not a short term one. Move somewhere else first to get away from where you are now, and then when you can, if you still want to, move to Hawaii.

      Just my 2 cents. You have time to think about it. Let me know which format of the ebook you would like – PDF, or for Amazon Kindle (can get the kindle software for your iphone or Android phone).



  • Nola

    Aloha Vern,
    Enjoying your posts. We are looking to move from New Orleans to Oahu, probably around either Kaneohe or Waianae. We’d rather near Manoa or Hawaii Kai but can’t afford that. We have three working adults in our family and one school aged child. All four of us are okay with downsizing and cutting back. We have no debt, all good vehicles that are paid for, no health problems, expensive hobbies or addictions. Just being outside makes us happy. We expect to clear enough on our home sale to have about a $200K down payment and enough to move and set up. Does this sound feasible to you? One of us is an electrical engineer returning to HI with specialized military experience/gov contractor, one professional in HR & government contracts and one with all kinds of lower level experience. Any advice for us?

    • Hi Nola,

      Thanks for your note. Sounds like you have enough people making money in the family, and in good areas – so I think you will definitely pull it off. Keep in mind that it’s never easy to move and get jobs, and that you might have some unexpected setbacks. Just keep pushing forward and it sounds like you’ll all do fine. I’ll show my bias and say, unless you have Hawaiian blood you probably don’t want to move to Waianae. Just my 2 cents. lol. But, some people do and they are happy doing so. Others, not so happy. Check out our Hawaii forum at Facebook – Hawaii Forum (http://www.facebook.com/HawaiiForum) and ask over there if anybody would move to that area. Kaneohe is a beautiful place and closer to the city, Waikiki, and other better beaches. Best of luck! Aloha! Vern

  • Seth

    Hey Vern.

    Short and simple question.

    Moving to Maui for a few months. How much would a moped or motor bike cost me that doesn’t require a motorcycle license? Thanks much!

  • Rama

    Hello Vern, I wrote a few months ago and I wanted to let you know since the post I went to Hilo on the big Island for a couple of weeks. I now know that Hawaii is definitely the home I have been searching for.

    I can say that I learned Aloha, I learned Pono, well…it will take a bit to get to get to Pono but I am heading there:) Hilo itself was like going home – the comfort I felt was amazing.

    OK – so affordability – Yes it is great to be prepared but…I think it is also more important to just be happy.

    These days everyplace is expensive to live and that Is just the bottom line. In the last 3 years I have lived in Florida, Idaho and Utah for my job so I can attest to that.

    I found Hawaii to be comparable to Florida, where I currently live. Even North Idaho was more expensive in some ways. When I looked around some things were cheaper, some things were more expensive but it all balanced out. There are some very affordable houses as long as you know where to look as well.

    So my question to myself ended up being, do I want to live somewhere and work hard to just eat, sleep and pay the bills or do I want to live somewhere and work hard and actually live.
    The answer to me is simple. I will take Hawaii and I will live and I will take the good and the bad and everything it has to offer but at least I will be truly happy with where I am.

    I am still glad I went before I just moved and now I am just working harder to get there faster:)

    • Hi Rama,

      Thanks for letting me know how it’s going. So now you know what Hawaii is really like! Expenses is the biggest real problem. I mean, if you weren’t concerned about money, there isn’t a more ideal place in the universe – as far as we know, right? What is the feeling you have inside? I mean, how would you describe Hawaii in one sentence? Is it possible?

  • derrick

    Eh ! Vern love your great topical information on ‘awaii ,ole chap .I will be going out to Oahu in a few weeks –It would be awesome to move out –to ‘awaii ,but must test thine own waters first. If you could retire from ny on 40,000 45,000 per year & asides being a wee bit distant from family,relatives –do you believe this much is feasible to make it over there? I do have a valid class b cdl –so driving not problem.Thank you *mahalo* from the other American island long island. derrick.

    • Hi Derrick,

      You’re talking about just you – yeah, 40-45K a month is OK. Definitely liveable on Oahu. You’ll have to watch your pennies, but I could live on that if I had to. I probably wouldn’t be happy about living on that if there was another person involved, or a child! Good luck, hope to hear from you once you’re over there. Let me know what you think. Aloha, Vern

  • Gary

    Hi Vern,
    Just wanted to say many thanks for creating this page, and taking the time out to reply to everyone! I’ve been to Oahu and Maui a few times on holiday from England and love it. Can’t wait for the next holiday there. One day, perhaps in the next 10 years, I’ll aim to live there, or perhaps I’d need to settle on a long holiday there every couple of years!
    Keep it up,

  • Christa

    I lived on Oahu for 4 years, and being back in Cali is just not the same :o( I miss MANOA so much! But I fear I won’t have it as good the second time around?? Do you find that people who come back a 2nd time can still do well?

  • Pam

    Aloha Vern,

    My husband and I are trying to plan a move to Oahu in January 2014. He will still be telecommuting for his job which he can basically do anywhere with a good internet connection. He makes around $90,000 per year and its just the two of us and our dog..
    We probably will not have alot of savings on arrival after driving from FL to CA to ship the car ($1100 plus gas and incidentals out there) getting the dog ready for import, finding a place and paying a deposit etc etc etc..
    I guess hearing from someone living there that this is doable for two on that salary is what I need to continue driving forward because I keep worrying…


  • Rama

    I have to say this is the best blog I have read to date. I have wanted to move to Hawaii all of my life – I have never been there and have a trip booked in Aug to Hilo. This is ONLY to appease those who think I am completely crazy to move without actually ever going.

    I see affordable homes in the puna district so my running joke is that I am going to live in a shack in Lava Zone 3, but really its not a joke. I am 43, I have what people would say is a good income but I still live month to month and I do not live above my means. and I am unhappy!!! I would rather live month to month and be happy.

    When I talk about moving to Hawaii everyone says how expensive it is to live there and I get that but it is expensive here on the mainland in most places too.

    So bottom I plan on giving it all up and starting over because you only live once and you have made me see a bit of light at the end of this murky tunnel others have built up for me:)

    I just talked to a mortgage lender (who actually did not laugh at me) We will see how it goes – I told him I want a home with a mortgage low enough to enable me to pay the rent even if I have to waitress and my husband is an engineer and construction so that seems to be a plus for us. He said we need to hustle and get me a 2nd home mortgage while I still have my job so we are in process. (yes I know banks wont lend for a shack:))but in the Puna area he did confirm that we could actually get a nice home for 100-120k

    I know this is long winded but…do you have any advice? (by the way I almost cried when I realized I was spending a down payment on a home on a vacation to make my friends and family comfortable with my decision)

    • Well, it would be a bold move to go sight unseen, but some do it. I wouldn’t, but some do. You didn’t say where you live now. Is it expensive? What makes you think you want to live in paradise? Could you really wait tables and be happy?

      • Rama

        Yes I thought it would be to bold as well so I am making a trip rather than a move 1st.

        BTW – I did get your e-book after the post – I did not realize you had one until after. I am in the process of reading it:)

        I live in a vacation town in FL right now and it is spendy, before I lived in Northern Idaho (also a resort town)so I am used to expensive places. Waiting tables is not the ideal job but I don’t hate it. I am starting an online business as well, that will be a time issue but…I am pretty good at the just do it and commitment!!! I built my 1st business when I was 26 that worked pretty well for me for about 9 yrs. (I just could not move it so I sold it.) I am also open to being retrained or reeducated for the industry in HI as well. Whatever I need to make it work.

        • If you’re that entrepreneurial, I don’t know that you must make a trip out there to see it first. You might just save the money. With motivation, anyone can make it a year. If you’re ok with leaving after a year, just go sight unseen. Otherwise, go have a look first, you’ll be glad you did if you’re going to put a lot of effort into going and staying there long-term.

          Best of luck!



        • Rama

          Sorry and I forgot to add that I am part Polynesian as well so I think it is that lost puppy go home type of thing:)

  • Aloha Vern,

    Thank you so much for sharing all these information with us, I really appreciate it! I watched your videos on youtube, bought the book on amazon and now here I am commenting on your website. I’m graduating soon from university of Colorado at Boulder with a masters degree in computer science. Being a 27 year old single guy with a tremendous amount of respect for the oceans, wildlife, local people and their culture, and without any possession that doesn’t fit in a backpack, I think I’ll be alright if I move to Hawaii. Even if things don’t work out very well, I’m sure I’ll leave the islands with tons of both awesome and not so awesome experiences.


    • I think you’re right. Sounds like you have the right attitude about moving to the islands. I hope you let me know how it goes when you make the move!

  • Colin

    I’m a Lpn would I get hired quickly or would it take some time. I’m saving about 30k then moving to Kauai. Idk if that’s my beat choice because Oahu is where the state capital is Honolulu. What would be better for me and my career?

    • I’d advise against trying to make it in Kauai. Start on Oahu and see if you can make it there. Save more money, and take short trips over to Kauai to see if you can find a job easily enough. I think it must be 10 times as hard to find a job as a nurse on Kauai as on Oahu. Probably harder. Good luck! Aloha!

  • LeAnn

    Just a thanks for such a detailed reply. I’d move in a heartbeat, and so would the kids (we are already Americans living abroad in France, so we think culture jumping is quite fun!), but the job situation for my husband is the big problem . . .

    Thanks again.


    • Probably everyone has some problems that they have to get over in order to make the bold move to Hawaii. Keep the move in the back of your mind, and if circumstances permit, or if you see an opening that might allow you to go do it – go for it quick before the possibility passes you by! Aloha!

  • LeAnn

    Hello — in the process of looking for a job, I found one advertised for which I am qualified at the Leeward campus on Oahu with a minimum salary of $4,800/month. However, I have a husband, 2 teens, and a child. My husband wouldn’t necessarily have a job right away. Is that salary reasonable for Oahu for a family of 5? And when/if my husband were to find comparable work, would $10,000/month be an upper middle class lifestyle? Thank you for any information.

    • Hi Leann,

      Thanks for writing. It is always hard for me to guess whether or not people planning on moving to Hawaiian islands are going to be able to make it on a certain amount of salary. I don’t know you or how you live now. In your case, I don’t know how long until your husband finds a job, whether your job will pan out, and how much your husband might earn, or even if he might find a job at all. It is all guesses on my part – please understand that before I go ahead and comment below.

      At $4,800 per month, maybe 25% of that will be taken in taxes with your 5 people in the family. I know it’s likely less than that rate, but I’m not a tax lawyer and I don’t know your full situation. That leaves $3,600. You’ll likely want health insurance for everyone, that will be north of $500 per month if you can get it through your employer. If you can’t, it will be much more. Now there is $3,100. Food for five people, assuming you can eat at home almost every meal, will be minimum $800 per month, I think more like $1,200 – but I eat well, so maybe that is skewed. Let’s say there is $2,300 left. Car? Let’s even say you ship your car over to the islands and don’t have a payment. Gas? $400 per month? That’s $1,900. Rent? $2,500-3,000 for a 4-bedroom in a decent location like maybe Kapolei if you can find a 4-bedroom. Fun? Private school? Travel? Savings?

      I want to caution you, and everyone reading, that jobs are not guaranteed, regardless whether you qualify for something. You might qualify, but so do the twenty other people that are going to interview for the same job. The difference is – they are on-island, and you are not yet. That counts for everything. No employer, least of all – State or other government office, will take a candidate seriously that does not currently live on-island, and who has not been there for a long time and shown some stability.

      At $10,000 per month, and five people in the family, I think you’d have no trouble at all. I’m not sure what is upper middle class lifestyle, but probably I’m guessing you’d be right about there. It’s my own personal belief that if you cannot move to Hawaii and still save $300-500 minimum per month per person in your family, you shouldn’t move. I lean toward stability.

      The expenses mentioned above don’t take many things into account… auto insurance, electricity… could you make it on $4,800 per month? Not for any length of time, no, I doubt it.

      Is it possible for just you to move there first, or for your husband to go first and get a job, and move everyone else over when it seems prudent? How do your kids feel about moving to Hawaii? If they’re going to be in public schools, have you researched that?

      There are so many things to consider, making money is not the only issue. If you want a place to start, here are 160+ articles about Hawaii that I wrote over the years. Hawaii Articles. Here is my Living in Hawaii series at Youtube (4 videos, that link goes to first video.) On the upper right side of this page is the latest copy of my “Moving to Hawaii” book, it’s $5.

      Hope that helps. I know it is a reality check, I do hope you make it work!



  • Tammy

    My husband and I are moving to Oahu this month, as he has a job at Hawaii State Hospital. We are having a hard time finding a place to rent, as we’re still in California. We want to rent something in the Kaneohe area, as that is where the hospital is. How do we find a place to rent without being there?
    Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated!

    • I think it’s very tough to look at classifieds like Craigslist or in the Honolulu online newspapers to get an idea where would be a good place to live. However, if that’s what you’re faced with – you should try to get a rental for as short a term as possible, because you may not like it. I’m picky, so I probably won’t like anything found site-unseen. Good luck! Aloha!

  • Adam

    Which area would be best to raise our daughter also good to find jobs?

  • Adam

    Hi im from Boston Massachusetts and i really just want to leave and begin a new life in Hawaii with my wife and daughter, not looking for anything major just good enough to live, what do you think?

    • Great – what do you want me to comment on? – Aloha, Vern

  • Janine

    Aloha Vern,

    My husband and I are Canadians and want nothing more than to live in Hawaii. The first time we went to Hawaii we camped all over Maui and got engaged. We then went back to Maui to get married the following year, and the year after that went to Kauai and Maui. Every time we’ve been, we’ve gone for a month because we always feel most at home in Hawaii. Our hearts are in Hawaii and want nothing more than to spend our lives there.
    Because we are Canadians, it is extremely difficult to get jobs as we are not legally entitled to work in the US. We would need an employer to sponsor us, which has been extremely challenging. After hundreds of job applications and dismissals, we are getting discouraged.
    This is our dream! Do you have any advice for us??



    • Aloha,

      1. Defect? America is better – you know that. Listen to your gut… ;)
      2. Isn’t there an island off Canada that’s laid back and nice?

      I honestly don’t have the slightest idea how to answer your question. There are many people from across the globe that write me and ask if I have some magical solution to get them in the country and able to work legally. I think most people just go and work illegally in restaurants. I knew a bunch of people doing that. Sure, if you’re caught – it is anything but fun…

      It is nearly impossible to get any sort of job unless you are ‘on-island’. So, you’re likely wasting your time by applying for jobs before then.

      I wish I had the answer for you. I hope someone writes in with the answer!

      On the brighter side… I love Canada. Especially British Columbia, Whistler… Vancouver, the island, Shuswap Lake… wow, God’s country!



  • Bogza

    Hey i am student and i did my 14 years of education in Pakistan. I want to do my higher education in Hawaii University. Is there any chance that i will get part time job for sure?

    • I haven’t the slightest idea…

    • Peter

      I’m not an immigration specialist, but I have a lot of friends who have needed student, and employment visas. I don’t think you would have a problem obtaiing a student visa once you are accepted by a US college/university. I would suggest getting your transcript analyzed by World Education Services to speed up the college acceptance process. Working is an entirely different issue, and you will probably find it difficult to “legally” work in the US on a student visa. But the student visa is your best hope.

  • Shaun

    hello vern, I just got out of the military after 4.5 years now I am well rounded and and skilled in many forms of work from carpet cleaning, to production line work, to roofing and construction now is there a good website to actually use to find work..im just looking for a change of base

  • Jeanne-Marie

    Hi Vern, I’ve had this urge to study in Hawaii, but I’m a South African citizen and still in school, I’m planning on studying in Hawaii from the year 2016, although my mother doesn’t know it yet. I would just like to know if it actually would be possible for a South African citizen to study in Hawaii and which universities would be best suited for someone who would like to go into the direction of Journalism, flight attendant, radiology or even some form of art like graphic design . Pardon the silly question, but is Hawaii like a vegan friendly country/island. Jeanne-Marie

    • Hi Jeanne-Marie,

      Sorry but I don’t have the slightest idea. I get people from many countries asking me the same thing – and I cannot answer, it would just take WAY too much time to look up the process for everyone. You’ll have to get on GOogle and see if you can find anyone from South Africa that is going or has gone to school in Hawaii. You might search google for “resume south africa hawaii” you could also try twitter… and do searches there on terms that might find someone that has already done what you want to do.

      Best of luck, sorry I cannot help.



  • ak47

    Hello Vern! I am noticing that some of the posts you have written were around 2009. Would you say much has changed as far as job opportunities? My boyfriend and I are considering moving and have seen quite a few job opportunities in admin and hospitality. Would you mind elaborating please?



    • I’d say it might be a little better. Just a feeling, no hard data to back that up. :) Aloha, Vern

  • Anonymous

    You obviously have much to learn about Hi and
    The racism that exists on & on…

    • And what, you’re not going to explain it all and school me on it? I’d love to learn more about it – always willing to listen. Write back and explain it if you would… Thanks.

    • No response… as expected.

  • Tayhiti

    Hi Vern! I want to move to Oahu from Australia, but not sure how to go about it? I am 24 have a Bachelors degree in Science with a major in Genetics and am working in Disney World for 5 months on the J1 visa. After this I am going to Hawaii to hopefully find a job. I’m not sure how any of this works and I guess I want to ask what type of jobs are available that would sponsor me to either extend my visa or accept that visa (although I think it expires after I finish the Disney program)…I just want to work and live in Hawaii.

    • Hi ____, I am not familiar with what you’d need to do in order to move over to Oahu from overseas… requirements may change often too, so better that you look it up for your situation. Start with the Australian Embassy in Honolulu. Is there one? If not, the AUS embassy in Washington DC should be able to help or point you in the right direction. Best of luck to you… Aloha…

  • Ashley

    Hey, so I am moving to Hawaii in September…Maui to be a little more precise. I’m moving out there with four other people. We’ve already purchased OUR tickets but we’ve run into some difficulty. Not only is it taxing and costly to get your pet (dog) to Hawaii, on Maui virtually 90% of the housing doesn’t except pets. Any insight? We have three dogs, three large dogs. We’re determined.

    • I don’t know… I love dogs, but you couldn’t pay me enough to rent my house to you with 3 large dogs! Can you find some alternative friends – some with less dogs? Seriously, I don’t have a clue what you would do. Are there dog-friendly condos? I don’t know. You’ll want to have a house, almost definitely, so you are best to start dialing up Realtors on Maui and asking if they know of any dog-friendly owners that are willing to rent their homes to you all.

      Best of luck!

      • Ashley

        Thank you for the fast reply! I’m actually moving with my family and boyfriend and we love our animals. The funny thing is our dogs do absolutely no damage. Small dogs are actually more likely to do damage to a home, they’re harder to potty train, etc. We wanted to live in Kihei but we’re thinking maybe somewhere up higher may be better, people are more lax about animals. And most places will have property. We’ll keep lookin’!

        Thanks again

  • brian

    My girlfriend and I are both teachers in the states. We were thinking about taking jobs in Hawaii and getting a small/cheap place for a year or so, just to do it before we settle down. I know they are always looking for teaching jobs there. What would be the best place to locate too where we can get a smaller place either by the water or elsewhere…any good websites to visit?

    • Do you know which island you want to be on? That’d be a good start, then figure out where your jobs are because -especially on Oahu – you’ve gotta try to get a place close to your job or you’ll be fighting that highway traffic – and it’s no fun at all.

  • Ken May

    Thanks ! I will be looking at ithe book ! As to changing my life …. I am a contented person . Happiness is found within oneself , and I have been for the most part happy wherever I have ended up .That stated , I have never spent time in prison or strung out on drugs Etc. One thing that I know is that GROWTH is reliant on change as much as it is on cause and effect . We can and do manifest our reality. I hope you all find what you seek ! Happy Day !!! Blessings to all . MAHALO !

    • Aloha Ken,

      Sounds like you have a great attitude and would love life in Hawaii. Did you make it there yet?

  • Chris

    Hello to everyone!My name is chris!I am from Greece and i am 23 years old!I attended in University of Mityline in the field of Oceanology, in two years i left the University and i was introduced in a college of state in the field of microbiology laboratory assistant!I succesfuly graduated!I also have proficiency degree in english language of Michigan University and computer degree named ECDL core!Have i any possibility to work at any work in Hawaii????I actually want to come and live there us much us i can by working?Is that feasible???

  • Ken May

    Aloha !This thread has been a wealth of information for our upcoming move to the islands from Texas . Texas is a nightmare on many levels, and we are looking forward to our move to Pahoa . My Ipo has made the wait list for D.O.E. recruitment ( she has a ed Masters and is a reading specialist with a strong interest in E.S.L. and emergent reading ) and we are studying and preparing for the Interview by learning all we can that pertains to Hawaiian history , language , and culture . She is also only a few days and a couple hundred bones away from getting her Hawaiian teaching licence . If the D.O.E. can’t find her a position she will still be certified to teach at a private school . ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER ? MAHALO !

    • Hi Ken,

      Thanks for writing – sounds like you’re excited! Did you read the Moving to Hawaii – Is Living in Paradise for You? ebook at Amazon yet?

  • Travis

    I am currently at the University of South Carolina studying for a degree. However, life here on the “mainland” is serving to be too hectic and I have always dreamed of moving to Hawaii. I am not looking to enter the city life, I just simply want to bring my dog and start a new life that is laidback and worry free. I am mainly looking for advice on how much I truly need to move over and how to get a job that will simply get me by. I am looking to relax, not over work myself because I am highly interested in working for a while but hopefully making it in music somehow just for fun. Any advice will help!

    • Everyone has their own idea about how much they’d need to make to live in Hawaii. Maybe as little as $25K per year? Maybe $40K? Me, I’m closer to $60K at the moment. Still, I’d like to have much more than that!

  • Awesome posts. I’ve taught in Las Vegas for 15 years. I’m interviewing for a teaching position in Hawaii, Big Island. If I get it, I’m moving my family–I’ve a wife and five young children. I’m also a freelance writer and make income doing that.

    Am I freaking crazy?

    • You’re a bit of a loon – yes. lol. Let me know how it goes!

  • Steff

    Hi Vern,

    I am a 21year old Geology student. I am studying in Ireland and would really love to move to Hawaii for a year(or longer depending on what kind of jobs are available to me) when I finish my degree. I visited the big island and Oahu a few years ago and fell in love with the place! I’m looking for a sociable job in a bar or in a retail store in the Ala Moana Centre for example. Then, Ideally I would like to ultimately end up working in the Volcano National park&spending the rest of my life there! But I’m finding it very difficult to find job openings online and I was wondering if it is possible to pre-organise work before arriving on the Islands or is it something I would have to organise when I got over there?
    Thank you.

  • Senel

    Hiya, me and my friend are currently studying to be Adult nurses and hope to move to Hawaii once we have got a years experince.At the moment we are completly stuck on how to go about this and whether it is even possible with such little savings. We are both British citizens and need some advice on how we would go about getting the correct visa’s to work and live in hawaii, where would be the best place in hawaii to go in reference to the most hospitals,whether it will be easy to rent cheaply, etc.

  • jerry myers

    married 35 year old with 3 kids i work for a 24 hr spill resopnse company i have plenty of training in confined space and waters blasting with heave eqp and a class b with tanker we want to move to oahu asap do you think i have a good chance in findind a job on the island and i have machanic exp on semi trucks i am a supervisor at my job now looking for work on oahu please help me

  • I’m a 30 y/o male with no dependents and an MBA but not real income to move to Hawaii. I have a history or working across the globe but not sure how viable moving to Hawaii will be without having the finances. I a looking for jobs that would provide relocation assistance but coming up short. Any recommendation or ideas out side of the standard “Monster / Craigslist” approach?

    • Hi Brock, I don’t know if you’ll ever find a job that provides relocation assistance – you mean extra cash to move TO Hawaii – yes? Really, you’ll need to arrive, and go put your name in at the State job office. You’ll have to have savings before you go – and be ready to spend it until you get a job. Several thousand dollars – $5 or $10K – depending what the probability is of you getting a job very quickly is… Best of luck! Aloha, Vern

  • Eric

    Hey Vern,

    Would 25000 be enough to move my family of 4 to Hawaii? I just want us to have some form of a cushion till I can land a job. I am experienced in construction and I am thinking about getting a degree as an occupational therapist assistant. Which of these jobs would be more abundant in your opinion? I just don’t want my family to struggle to much. We don’t mind working hard for what we want and we want this badly. Do you think I stand a chance on the great island of Hawaii?

    • It could be… thing is – if they have a job for you, or don’t. I know little about Big Island. If you’re going to wait 5 years to move there you definitely should take a trip out there for a week and see what is in store for you when you arrive. Jobs can be easy to come by, or very difficult. 25,000 might not be enough if you can’t find something. Should be though!

  • Eric

    Hello Everyone,

    I am 31 years old and have a wife and two children. I am wanting to move to Kailua Kona, HI. I have no college education. I was wondering if 25000 saved would be a good amount to take to move to Hawaii? I am really set on the idea of moving and am hoping to be able to save said amount in 5 years. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    • What are your skills? If you have a lot of varied work-skills and can do almost anything, then you’ll probably find a job. If not, please don’t move, your wife and kids won’t have a great time when everyone is stressed about money. Trying to be realistic. With a family of four, shoot for 25,000 saved and the ability to get a job making $60,000+ per year. Aloha!

  • Asante

    Hey Vern, I’m a 33 y/o male from the DC area. Ive been to Oahu 4 times since 2004, my latest was just a few months ago in Sept. I have the bug bad. I think by thr end of 2012 I can save up 10k. My concern is ooI never finished college. I spent time in the Army and right now Im working as a correctional officer. How is thr job market these daysk?

    • Good question… I’m not there, so I don’t have any inside scoop. I would guess that if the mainland USA is having problems, in Hawaii it’s worse. It really all depends whether you’re in a field that needs people badly – or, willing to work at a job that isn’t an exact fit – just to be able to stay in paradise.

  • sara

    Hi Vern, I am Sara and im 19 . I come from Italy and i like travel , live new adventures and i want to move to Hawaii.
    I will finish the school this year,in june and than in September i want to move to Hawaii…I study languages and in a touristic place as Hawaii is important…do you think that could be possible to find a job on line or to send my curriculum to request a job before that i’ll there or it’s not a good idea ?! thanks:)

    • It would be nearly impossible to do that Sara. Nobody hires people who are not living on-island. It’s a very rare happening. Best of Luck! Aloha!

  • mk

    I am moving to Hawaii. I need a job and place to stay. Help.

  • I’m moving back to Hawaii after living on Oahu for a year, found a nice job, relocated back to Washington state for my son, and now relocating back to Maui permanently with 450.00 to my name. Sending out resumes ahead of time and making connections for temporary housing.

    • If you pull that off – don’t waste any time writing a book – “I moved to Maui with $450 in My Pocket – and SURVIVED!” You will sell a LOT of books (ebooks) that way my friend. Hell, write the book now and start selling it before you go!

  • Olivia

    Hey, i would LOVE to live in Hawaii in the next couple of years… its always been a dream of myn. im 17 but I was wondering whats the best place to live with the best beaches in Hawaii if you know. and are Australians aloud to live/work there permaatly with any kind of visa? (:

    • A lot of people ask me this – can they move from Australia, UK, Canada, Italy, Singapore… and work in Hawaii. I really have no idea. Anybody that can enlighten us?

      I got a reply from a friend that is a little bit familiar with the issue. He said that the best way to go from most countries to the USA is to already have a job lined up. The company hiring you can help facilitate your visa. Must be very hard to line up a job from overseas to Hawaii, so, you’d need to have an extended Hawaii vacation – find a job – get the promise, and tell them you need help on the visa. I don’t think happens all that much in Hawaii – but, worth a try maybe.

  • Agatha

    I am a first level nurse/midwife from Nigeria interested to move to hawaii and work as a nurse.
    Can anyone one help me with this?

  • Marisa

    Hi Vern-

    I’m young (23) and looking to move to Hawaii. I dont have a clue about Hawaii (other than its diverse culture and beauty), but have found that going to college is cheaper than where I’m from. My main concern is finding a good job (I work in the insurance industry, but have other skills), and the job front isn’t great for many people. Is the job climate still alright in Hawaii, especially for those of us with lots of customer service experience?

    • Hi Marisa,

      Usually there are a lot of customer svc jobs in Hawaii – just look at Craigslist or the other job boards. Query “hawaii jobs” in Google.

      Good luck!


  • Cory and Emilie

    Hey very nice info, My wife and I just moved to Kauai and we can definitely relate.. This is the nicest place! I am 24, and Emilie is 23. We have been here a little over a week and been having a blast. A great recommendation to anyone thinking about moving is to write a blog about your experience. Not only is it interesting, it will help you keep in touch with your friends and family. If your interested check out our blog! http://www.coryandemiliemovetohawaii.blogspot.com

    No matter what you do, make your dreams a reality. If it doesn’t work out… move home, but if it DOES which it probably will, you will be living the life everyone wants… but few go after it.

    Best of luck to you all,

    Cory and Emilie

    • Karen D

      Thanks for the positive vibes about making the dream a reality, Cory an Emilie! Good luck to you and hopefully in 5 years my husband and I will be there too! I will look forward to reading your blogs for insight and story. Mahalo and Aloha

  • Nicole

    I am a 31 yr old female who is currently teaching in New York state. I recently applied to a Hawaii recruitment fair through Hawaii DOE. They are selective in who they hire and I have already passed the first stage. I just need to take the Praxis to be certified through Hawaii. I am very interested in teaching for the 2001-12 school year. Any suggestions or advice? I want to learn as much as I can about living there!! Anyone who teaches there…or knows a teacher who I can talk to?


    • fiona

      Just wondering how it went in applying for a teaching job. My husband and I have been teaching in Florida for the past 6 years but would love to move to Hawai’i. Already have Praxis scores but haven’t submitted an application.

  • Kate

    Hi, I’m a 21 year old student in England and will be training to be a teacher in a couple of years. I visited Kauai on holiday last year. I can’t get it out of my head – or the dream of one day living there. The sheer beauty, the people and the lifestyle seem amazing.

    Is it actually possible and feasible to move to Hawaii?! If so, how would I go about it? Any realistic advice please. If it’s really not going to be all that feasible, I can forget it and move on from the dream. Thank you!

  • Hi. I am a single, professionally employed 46 year old female who is a Canadian Citizen who wants to move and live and work in Hawaii. How can i do this?Thanks for any information.

    • Cat

      Do it! I am 51 and definitely thinking it’s the way to go and even looking at homes now – make life an adventure and what better place to do it! Do your research and make sure you are ready for island life. Look at Big Island or Kauai.

  • renzkii

    I am a filipina, and i want to know how can i have a working visa there in hawaii,, pls help me.. thank u :)

  • Kress

    I’m lucky, I’ve run a business in california now for ten years that I can run on phone and internet only, so wanting to move to Hawaii again – lived there before really young.
    I just wonder if I can bring my pet rabbit who I’m very close to and any input on good places to live. I’ve always liked Kauai, any ideas for me?

  • Megan

    Hi, My husband and I have a 10 month old daughter and are looking in to moving to Hawaii. My husband has been laid off for a long time, so I am going to trade in being a stay at home mom. I am a registered nurse, is there an agency that you would recommend to contract with? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Megan,

      I don’t know of any agencies – not my area of expertise. Maybe someone will suggest one? Good luck to you and your family!

  • Kim

    I’m a construction engineer working in a chemical plant. I want out of the chemical plant SO bad. I don’t even care if I get a job in engineering, I will waitress if i have to. I’ve visited Oahu twice, and I want Honolulu to be my “city on the beach” for good. Are things getting any better there job-wise? I’m 48 and no kids, got about 10,000 saved for my first six months…. hoping I can find something, anything, even if it is just a couple of part-time jobs in retail… material possessions mean nothing to me. I dream of the day of living somewhere that has bus service, and nice weather. Kim in HOT Texas.

    • I wish you luck Kim – sounds like you have the right mindset to make this Hawaii dream work.

  • Christine

    I am a single mother (34 years) and two kids, 9 and 6. I have been wanting the beach life since I was 18. Almost moved to Cali. on several occassions. First thought I need to get an education before I thought I could really enjoy it. Tried that, have about 60 college credit hours. Then baby1 came. Before I knew it baby2 came. Tried to go bk to school but got real ill. Eveything is great now. And have been dreaming of Hawaii for a few years, though, never been. But I crave the weather I’ve always known of HA and CA. I’m in Oklahoma, and like I said, been dying to get out since 18. And even though I have kids, I still yearn to make the most of my dream to come true. If I’m happy they wi be also! I’ve never married and am in need to put myself first on something! Plus where I’ll be happy, so will they!
    However, I have read your entire page. To find out may Thailand would be best! Could you tell me more? There is surf? And good daycare? You said the climate is a lot like HI? Is single mothers shunned upon there? What does it take to teach English? I am caucasion, is Thailand well diverse? How’s the crime? If you could just tell me more about what you know, that would greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!

    Ps. and what religions are heavenly blessed there?

  • Bart

    I just graduated college in New Hampshire with a degree in sustainable design. I have my ticket and will be moving to Maui at the end of August. I will be staying with a friend for a while until I figure things out. I will be going out with about 7,000$. My friend says that I will be fine getting settled here and if I show good work ethic I will get a job. While I have a variety of skills I am so nervous about not finding a job and I feel like he may be making it sound easier and better than it actually is. I keep reading different things about the the difficulty of getting a job.
    Will 7,000$ be enough to get things figured out?
    Also, is it difficult to find a job outside tourism?

    • Hi Bart,

      I don’t know what sustainable design is but, I’m going to make a rough guess that you’re going to have a very difficult time to find a job on Maui. Maui is one of those places that is JUST agriculture, and tourism. That’s about it. Retail… you could work in a clothing store or food place. Seriously – there is LITTLE available. Good luck – I do hope you make it! But, don’t go if you can’t just throw away the $7K on the experience. It could be the best experience of your life… but, are you going to find a job there? Me thinks very tough. Cheers man.

  • Shick Bledslow

    I like to party and make my own hooch.

    can I be left alone for 3,000 a month ?

  • scgali

    Oh yeah, I know Kauai can be considered very slow and have been there a few times so I have seen how everything closes down early. Pretty much up with the sun, down with the sun and that is totally fine since I don’t really go out at night anyway, aside from dinner and movies. One more question though: Are there really tons of meth-heads there? Cause that would be kinda scary. Thanks!

    • Ha! I’m not sure how many meth addicted people you’ll find – but I can’t imagine that Kauai holds too many jobs for those that graduate high school – except cleaning hotels, maintaining pools, uhm, working at the airport? Kauai is a microcosm that I couldn’t live in. Few can. Very few. Good luck!

  • scgali

    Hi Vern,
    Love the site! I have been somewhat obsessed with living the island life since I was 13, after seeing the Blue Lagoon :) But after college and researching it more, I realized it takes a lot of $ to live comfortably and especially with a family (on Kauai private schools seem better due to localization and general education issues). So, I gave myself until 30 yrs. old to come up with a plan to move to Kauai. Please let me know what you think: I am 25 and going back to college for a master’s in nursing while working full-time in a fairly lucrative job (seems there are some nursing jobs available in this area). I have saved enough so far to buy a house/condo there outright and should have more than enough by that time (so no rent issue). I don’t date since I am afraid to fall for someone who’s job cannot relocate there – thus giving up my life dream of island living. But I still keep hearing of people moving there and having to move back after using all their savings. Is there property tax in Hawaii – or Kauai (I read there is not but want to make sure)? Is energy really that expensive there? I understand the natives not loving mainlanders for bringing property values up so much, etc… so am prepared to not be accepted by them. But there are many mainlanders there too who are nice and accepting, right? Or is it predominately natives? Do most people get island fever or can they simply not afford a nice lifestyle? Can you save much from growing your own food or fishing for it? What about dating? Are there any singles on Kauai? Thanks!!

    • Hi Robyn,

      Thanks for the compliment! Your career plan seems right on for living in Hawaii. Not sure whether having a masters in nursing is better than not for finding jobs – you should get on Twitter and do a search – hawaii nursing masters and see if any conversations pop up. Change ‘hawaii’ and use honolulu, oahu, kaneohe, and other cities – see if anybody is talking about that specific issue.

      I love it that you’re only 25 and saved enough to buy a condo already! Amazing. You don’t date because you don’t want to find someone that can’t relocate to Hawaii and screw up your dream! Perfect!

      As a nurse I highly doubt you’ll be out of work for any length of time. There is a large elderly population on Oahu and no shortage of people getting hurt, getting cancer, etc. Like the rest of the world. Property tax? I never owned there. I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be. Electric is expensive – but not THAT much.

      The local vs. mainlander issues are largely never spoken about on the islands, largely never a real issue. I’ve never had conversations with locals about anything like that… Most of the people you meet will be transplants. Whether it was 5 years ago or 50. Hawaiians are the true locals – everyone else came later.

      And yes, island fever is tied to not being able to travel whenever you want, wherever you want. There are other islands you can visit if you have the cash and they are every bit as beautiful as the one you’re on. Usually people are working so hard to pay expenses that it feels like they are trapped on whatever island they’re on.

      Many people grow some of their own food – and yeah, every bit helps. Fishing for it? No. There are bait fish you’ll catch, and Ulua – neither of which are great eating, though some locals insist Ulua is great eating. I wouldn’t.

      Singles on Kauai? Yeah, they are under 18. Very few – actually, probably less singles on Kauai than any other island except Kahoolawe, Molokai, and Lanai.

      Let me know how it goes Robyn, seems like you’ll be fine.


  • Ben

    I am a 21 year old male currently living in washington. I was wondering which island you would recommend. I like to hang out with friends and of course party. I am a CNA so im not too worried about jobs as there is a decent demand for it. I would like to go to school out there also but i dont know if i actually will. i want to be pretty close to the beach. Basically im wondering where college age people go to??
    Any insight is will help. hope to be on one of the islands this soon!

  • Keary


    I have been thinking of moving to hawaii in the future. I live in Ohio and the winters are long and harsh summers are very short and since we are close to the great lakes we get that dreadful “lake effect” where it is almost always overcast, cloudy skies. I am 25, live with my husband and 2 kids ages 2 and 4. My husband and I both have the same career in medical transcription making 25 and hour working from home. The careers are great because we can make our own hours and work as many hours as we want and get employed by anywhere in the nation so finding a job wouldn’t be a concern. I am wondering which of the islands is the most kid friendly and how are the schools. Do we have to be rich to live in a decent area? We are a white family so would my kids be tormented by racism in school? Are school teachings the same, similar or totally different from the schools on the mainland? What is the main language? Right now we live in Ohio in a 3 br house on 2 acres of land for 75,000. Would we be able to get a house for 100,000 or less in Hawaii in a nice, safe location and still have enough for other expenses ie groceries, activities etc.? What about insurance for a house in Hawaii? How much and what companies? Also, what about bad weather? Are there a lot of hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes or is that something that is rare? I know there was that really bad earthquake in Chile. Would there be any insurance that would cover disasters like that? I know I have a lot of questions, but from reading a lot of the other posts you seem to know a lot about hawaii. I reeeeaallly really want to move there someday in the near future. I just haven’t found a place in the world where I feel I belong. Here in Ohio people are NOT friendly. People do not say hi as you walk in a store or greet you with a smile. It’s been a really tough time making any type of friend in this state! Its all hustle and bustle and nobody ever slows down. I am a positive happy patient person and I just have this feeling Hawaii would be the place for me and my family. And I need SUNLIGHT!!! Thank you and looking forward to hearing from u!

    • Hi Keary,

      Thanks for writing. I don’t have time to answer what all you’ve written here and comment too – so sorry! However, there is a wealth of information in the comments on this post and I’d encourage you to read them all. In addition there are a number of articles I wrote about living in Hawaii that you should read here.

      Here are some quick answers:

      Which island is most kid friendly? No idea. Sorry. I don’t know how to answer that one.
      Do you have to be rich to live in a decent area? – pretty much, yes.
      School teachings are basically same I’d guess – with extra culture type classes about hawaii.
      A house for 100K or less in Hawaii? On Big Island. Not a nice house, no.
      Groceries are VERY expensive – all islands.
      Insurance – no idea.
      Bad weather? No hurricanes, there was a tsunami once – years ago – 1934? Guessing. Earthquakes? small – yes.

      I would suggest you keep your Ohio house, close it up for 6 months and go live on Oahu, Maui, or Big Island and see what you think. It’s the only way you’re going to have a good idea whether you can make it there or not. If you’re both making $25 per hour telecommuting – I think you’ll be fine – assuming full-time or good part-time hours.

      Check Craigslist.org Hawaii for a lot of information about pricing of houses, cars, furniture and other things.

      :) Good luck Keary!

  • Ellen

    Hi Vern, I’ve read with inerest your website and just want you to know that you’ve done a complete and successful job in your website development.

    I do not know the first thing about that, what I want is a change in my life. I am 53 years old, single, and really tired of the corporate world. Just can’t handle it ANYMORE! My son is now grown and I do not know what to do with myself. I hate living in the states, I do know that. I was even seeking housekeeping employment in Honolulu just to leave Houston where I live now. I lost my job almost a year ago and cannot locate anything (I really do not know what I want to do!) So, I feel like selling everything and moving to Hawaii. I spent time there as a child while my Father was in the Navy & stationed there, of course he is now gone, so its just me.

    My son is moving to S. Korea where he met his fiance while stationed there in the military. So where do I start? I find myself pacing the floors of my apartment, depressed, and wishing I had a career, not a job. I would do most anything at this point just to work and live in Kauai (I spent 2 weeks in Poi Pu Beach area by myself and had a GREAT time) or Oahu. I don’t want another corporate job, I’m not good at being motivated enough to do what you are doing, so that does not leave much. I have 20 years of energy experience negotiating compliance issues in contracting/agreements, (living in Houston, that’s pretty much all there is) and do not wish to return to that! Corporate is too much for me, however, I wish to learn a new trade, maybe cut hair or make beds or house sit, or ?????

    Do you have any advice for me. I am ready to sell everything and move, with a one way ticket and just try to survive. I loved Kauai and would enjoy spending the rest of my life there, if I could only figure out how to do it.

    Would you help me?

    • Hi Ellen!

      Thanks for writing… I’ll try to help, but I don’t know how much help I can be.

      Kauai seems to be the island of choice for a lot of people. However, unless you have enough money to retire and move there without any job – I wouldn’t move there.

      The reason – Kauai has fewer jobs available than any of the other populated islands. You might be feeling optimistic at this point and you’ll take anything you can get… problem is – there might not be anything you can get. Seriously. I don’t want to play up Kauai because it’s expensive and there are very few jobs.

      I’m not so sure Hawaii is a good place for someone that wants to change careers and find something new. Entry level jobs in Hawaii pay LITTLE because, well, because employers can pay little and people will accept it for the chance to live in paradise.

      You might look at civilian jobs working for the military. Sounds like you have good corporate experience, and, working in the military as a civilian isn’t very difficult in my opinion – from my experience seeing others as I was active duty Air Force.

      If you’re really ready for a major change why don’t you sell everything and move to Oahu for a few months – live off savings and see what kinds of jobs you might find there that interest you? Is that a possibility? You’d need a “plan b” of course because it’s possible you blow $5,000 in 2 months and have to retreat and regroup.

      If you have enough to move to Hawaii and stay for a year – without losing most of your cash – I’d say do it. If you only have $5,000 or so extra and don’t know what you’d do for work – I’d say don’t. That’s me though, not very daring as I climb in age.

      Look at Craigslist.org for Hawaii jobs – and see what’s available. See how few jobs are listed for Kauai.

      As an alternative you could move to Thailand and teach English… make $1,000 per month and enjoy a climate and geography that is very much like Hawaii.

      My final bit of advice… get clear on what you want to do for money in Hawaii. It’s hard enough when you are clear what you want to do – to get a job doing it there. If you aren’t set on something – you’ll be less likely to be successful nailing something down that you enjoy.

      Take a week and look at what exactly you want to do there on Oahu.

      From Oahu make the jump to Kauai if it makes sense.

      Good luck Ellen!

  • Cheri

    My husband and I are thinking of travel nursing to Hawaii and I have been reading alot about racial issues. I am white and he is Latino. Do you feel there are areas with more racism then others. I would not handle dealing with racial discrimination much as that is totally against my beliefs. Our dream has always been to go to Hawaii. We are so disappointed to hear about this issue. It is 2010. The riches lady in America is black and we now have a black president. “from Hawaii” Are there alot of racism against whites?

    • Hi Cherie, thanks for writing…

      I’m getting more of these types of letters re: racism all the time… I’ll tell you what I think and others that live in Hawaii are free to chime in.

      I never experienced any racism that I’m aware of. Once in 1986 as I drove my car (and girlfriend) into Wianiae on Oahu some guys in other cars gave us ‘the look of death’… but that was a very Hawaiian centric place. Then while riding my motorcycle up around the Pali lookout I had a car full of Hawaiians hold up knives to the window and give me the look.

      Other than that – I can’t say I remember anything at all. These two incidents were nothing to get excited about – as it’s just kids or adults with the mentality of kids blowing off steam. I was never in any real harm. This happened all back in 1984-1988, so, times have certainly changed – for the better I hope!

      Last couple years in Hawaii I didn’t notice anything that made me think racism was happening around me at all.

      I think where people see racism is in the bars, in the locals areas, kids at school (white or black kids would be in a minority to asians from all over the pacific and southeast asia). I’m not a bar person. I’m not confrontational or step on many people’s toes in person.

      I don’t know what else to say about the topic but, sure there are areas that are just local Hawaiians and they probably feel like – you have the whole frickin’ island – leave our spots alone. So, just find out those spots to avoid and live with it.

      Anyone else?

  • Joe

    Hi Vern,

    I like the bohemian move to Hawaii flavor of your article. As in “on the cheap.”

    I agree you can pull that off moving to Honolulu. But the big island is much harder to move to on the cheap. I’m not saying you can’t do it, I’m just saying it would be a lot more difficult because there just aren’t any jobs over here right now.

    I’ve recently written my own moving to Hawaii article which talks about the average cost of a 2 bedroom apartment, food, jobs, etc. My numbers don’t talk about the cost of the actual move but focus on the annual average cost to live here which on the big island is 50K minimum.

    • Hi Joe – great, I’ll go read your article in a few minutes. Really, 50K – and that’s as a single person then, yes? In Honolulu I couldn’t imagine living there on less than $50K. In Maui, more is necessary. $70K and more is decent enough I think. I have this idea that big island would be less expensive… is it food that really gets ya? or, what all? Ok Thanks for writing and if you respond again – great… if not – no worries…

      • Joe

        My water bill is over $100 per month, electric, $300 minium and $100 to $150 more when I run the A/C. Grapes, Bananas and a couple of Nectarines will set you back close to $20…

        The easiest way to have a million dollars in Hawaii… bring 2 million with you… :-) I still love it though. Keeps me motivated.

        • Yeah, I’ll say – you need to motivate or die… lol. You have any idea what your food bill comes to? For now I’ll stay in Thailand – our water bill? Free – paid by government because the country is in a downturn economically. Electric? Paid for too – but, even when it wasn’t… we topped out at $16 per month with fridge, 2 fans, 3 computers, and lights on 24 hours per day every day. Water? It’s never been more than $9 that I can remember.

          Food? Wife, me, and baby eat for about $400 per month – but we eat out a LOT or my wife makes these awesome Thai dinners with great ingredients…

          Rent? $300 for a $160,000 house with 3 bedrooms – 1bath, big garage. Oh – marble floors. Furnished with latest stuff.

          Internet – about $21 for 4MB down and 512KB up. Hmm… that’s about it. Move to Hawaii if you can afford it. Move to Thailand because you CAN afford it. lol.

  • HS

    (this came by email – reposting here so maybe someone else can fill in blanks – correct me – add to the discussion)

    Hi Vern,

    I just found your article above – thanks for writing it….
    I am planning to move to the islands by next month – but am still having a hard time deciding between Maui or the Big Island…

    I have not been to either – I have spent time on Oahu and Kauai. Oahu is a bit too expensive for us, and cannot find anything decent for our price range.

    Kauai is WAY expensive (although I LOVE Kauai more than anything, and wish I could live there). I also read (not sure if its true) that Kauai has more crime due to a huge drug problem there ? And I also read that on Kauai it will be harder to be accepted by the locals (moving there and vacationing are two different things for sure !)

    So that leaves me with Maui or Big Island. I am a single mom with 3 kids – want to pick a place we can afford (cheap) yet safe and fun. I wonder if you have spent any time on the Big Island and your thoughts on it (Hilo vs. Kona ? South coast ?) vs. Maui (Kihei ? Paia ? ) Not sure what would be best.

    They both look great – just would like some feedback from someone living there who might be able to shed light on the pros/cons of either.

    Do you think there really is a huge price difference between the two?

    Is food (groceries to restaurants) going to cost much more on Maui? We are going to rent, looking for something close to $1000.00 a month (I have seen some on craigslist) but they are small 2 bedroom places. If we could get a home to rent think it would be preferable to a condo or apartment.

    Well Vern, I hope you can maybe help me with this decision – we need to make a choice and go for it !!!

    Mahalo !

    • Hi and thanks for writing – not sure if you want your name here so I didn’t put it. Just tell me to add it and your email if you want people to be able to contact you directly to help.

      Living on Kauai I wouldn’t recommend for too many people. A single mom with 3 kids – probably not. Maui or Big Island… hmmm. No, I’ve not been to Big Isle – so take my comments about that island for what they’re worth – just 2nd hand knowledge. My friend just bought a bed/breakfast there – if your kids are old enough- maybe you’d like to run it for him? Not sure what his plans are – he won’t be on-island much – so maybe he needs someone to watch it?

      Big island is remote. It’s hot and dry. About 120,000 residents. SUPER beautiful. I would strongly suggest you join Twitter.com – install tweetdeck.com and learn how to use it to do searches… search for “big island hawaii” and find people (residents) talking about what it’s like to live there.

      You mentioned nothing about finances so I’ll assume jobs don’t matter. Maui has many more available I’d think.

      I lived on Maui and enjoyed it immensely. I don’t need nightlife… much shopping. I just love the outdoors.

      It’s a smaller island, people are friendly… but I hear people are VERY friendly on Big Isle.

      For your kids – I wouldn’t have a clue which is better. You make no mention of ages… Kihei seems like a great kids spot – the beaches are Amazing, the water – calm mostly, there are parks – and a large population of foreign kids (from mainland) I don’t know why I say foreign – living in Thailand too long will do that to a person – I consider all americans, foreigners…It would be great if someone living on Big Island or Maui might comment on moving to Hawaii with children and what the challenges were, what the revelations they came to were…

      Paia is not really what I’d consider a kid place… rich yuppies, hippies, and rich retired people mostly. I worked in Paia for a while with a dotcommer – great place to work in shorts everyday and go eat at the natural health food store. They made a wicked artichoke covered pizza and tabouleh.

      $1,000 per month rent for a 2 bedroom – might only be in south maui – kihei – some parts. I stayed west side and 1100 got us an ohana (mother in law suite) about 400sq feet total. Prices on Big island are CHEEEEP. My friend bought his new place for $140,000 and it has 2 houses on it. Yes, it needs fixing – but, prices are much much less than Maui.

      Kauai prices – I’m not sure. I’ve vacationed there plenty – but never lived there. Never lived like a local there. I think there must be some intense localization there and maybe not great for your kids – but, maybe someone can write in about that… I’m really not sure. Yes, Kauai is SO beautiful!

      Ok – hope some of this helped. Those living there now can help better – maybe someone will comment… :) Vern

  • Ingrid

    My husband and I really want to move to Hawaii with our dog. I’ve already researched the quarantine requirements so that should be fine. My main concern is opportunity for jobs as we would like to move to Kauai. I know being 32 I should want to move to a ‘younger’ island, but we are sick of the city life and love the laid back environment of surf, beach and small town feeling of Kauai. My husband is an IT manager who currently makes over $100K per year, so moving to Kauai would be a sacrifice. I’m wondering if the IT industry in Hawaii is enough to keep him busy working, from the island of Kauai?

    For me, I have been working in office management for some time now, but I’m not particularly fussy about where I work. We are coming over with some savings and plan to try it out for at least a year, but I would not want to see us blow our savings in that year because we have not found work.

    Thank you – any honest feedback would be appreciated!!

    • Hi Ingrid,

      Thanks for writing! I wish I could be more optimistic for you but work on Kauai is going to be very hard to find and I think you’re going to blow your savings for the year… That’s my honest feedback. There might, might, MIGHT be an IT opportunity for your husband if he knows how to manage a network – server and workstations at a hotel. That’s about it. There might be a military installation on Kauai he could find work at – but, they’ll probably require at least secret clearance and they’re very slow to hire.

      I’d guess there are no IT departments bigger than 2-3 people on Kauai, and none that would really require a manager. The sales director or marketing director would probably handle them.

      Office management? If you have experience in the tourism industry – yes. If not, it will be tough. I’m guessing you’ve been to Kauai already and know what it’s like. If not you should really go have a look because it’s a VERY small community that doesn’t have many jobs open ever… people with the jobs want to keep them and the companies love to keep them because it’s stable. It’s hard for companies to find workers too. A nice symbiotic relationship…

      I hope you reconsider which Island to move to… or, bring more savings, or think of a plan where you can both make money there on your own. I build online businesses – hit me up! (www.incanswers.com).

  • Lynn

    Living in Northern Illinois has become unpleasant. My Husband is retired and I am not. We were married in Hawaii and want to live there. Can we make it on his pension of 2200.00 per month?

    Aloha! :)

    • Aloha Lynn,

      That’s a rather tough call because I know nothing of what you spend per month living where you are. Will you work then? Is it 2200 clear after taxes? A 1 bedroom apt. might be 1100 in town, or 800-1000 outside of town. Will you bring your vehicle? Furniture? It’s a tight job market in Hawaii and taxes are high… please check everything out really well. Craigslist.org is a good barometer of prices, costs, and job availability. Good luck to you both Lynn!

  • Brit

    Hi Vern,
    I’m curious about a couple of things. You said you lived on Maui for 1 year…why only 1 year? More opportunity for you on Oahu? Or just a needed change? I’m about to become an RN, and one of my friends and I are seriously considering getting nursing jobs and moving to Hawaii. We have been researching all of the islands and what each has to offer very thoroughly (average rainfall, terrain, nightlife, price, etc). I’ve been to Waikiki vacationing once just last summer, and my parents spent some time in Kona years back, but I’m just having a hard time knowing which island is best? I definitely want things to do, but not necessarily a big city such as Honolulu. Also, we’re not so keen of loads of rainfall. Some is great, but we want lots of sun. Any tips? Which areas are best and would also be a close commute to a hospital? Any help would be great!

    • Hi Brit,

      Thanks for writing! Maui is very cool – the best island in my opinion – for living. I’ve not seen big isle yet though. I think maui will probably still be favored. I moved to be closer to my son again in FL. after his mom left. That didn’t work out well… anyway… If you’re an RN – you might find work on Maui for both of you. Probably can. Or caretaker jobs. You’d have enough $ to fly back to Oahu often for weekends or offdays. If you can live on Maui – try it! There are mild things to do… nothing crazy.

      Oahu and Maui get similar rainfall, though I’d guess Maui gets more in the central and Kahului areas than anywhere on Oahu. That’s really a guess – just from experience.

      I think you’ll be fine – you have good jobs and young and ready to take control of your lives…. GO HAVE FUN!

  • Jana

    I used to live in Hawaii 22 years ago. I really want to move back there, it felt like where I belonged. I need to find a job so I can support myself and start a new life. If anyone can help me make this dream come true, I would appreciate it so very much.

    God Bless, Jana

  • Shaun

    VERN great advice to all!! Ive been to the Hawaiian islands probably 25 times and I love it!! Planning on moving there in 3 months!! 10 grand should be enough to start dont you think? Ill be there first to line up a job and a place. God I cant wait!!! Chicago area here

    • Hi Shaun,

      I’m going to guess you’re a bit revved up about your move… lol. You should be. 10 grand WILL be enough if it’s just you and you have some skills that will transfer to the island. Oahu? Have a great time – yes, in 3 Months that will be a GREAT time to move away from Chicago. Best of luck!

      • Shaun

        Im way revved up!!!! Im coming with my gf and shell have about 5 grand. Figured we should be good!! Were going to Maui!!

  • Will

    Just one more thing Vern. I have some experience in Revit and AutoCad. Don’t know how useful those will be. I like the idea of working from a computer. Any thoughts on that matter would be greatly appreciated.

  • Will

    Vern! Hi. I’m moving to Hawaii. I have a friend on the Big Island, but I”m not sure if Oahu might be better as far as getting a job goes. I’ve been to Oahu 4 times in the past. Some of the best times of my life. So now . . . it is time to go. I’ll let you know how it goes. Maholo

  • Myles

    Hello, i am considering moving in a month with 3 friends to Oahu, I am 21 and willing to take a chance, i will have 5,000 dollars. what should I expect ? I have never really been out if the US besides Canada because i am from Michigan

    • Something doesn’t sound right… you’re considering leaving in a month? At this point I think you’re either going or not going. Doesn’t it take you more than a month to know? Buying your plane ticket and planning it out? What do I think you can expect? Fun of course… some sun. Waves. To be immersed in a culture completely different from anything you’ve ever experienced… let me know how it goes. Good luck!

  • Mike

    I am a high school counselor and on the verge of “retirement.” I figure that I will have about $3000 a month, initially, before social security. I would also be willing to do some work part-time after retirement in something related to working with people. My fiance would probably have about $1000 from her state pension, before social security. Do you think that both of us could live OK in Kauai (where we love) on $4000 plus some part-time work wages per month?

    • Hi Mike,

      I think you can, yes. I know little about Kauai. I’ve been there and, I agree… the place is paradise… It’s much more rural, laid back, and less populous than big isle, oahu, or maui… but not as barren as molokai or lanai! Are you sure you could LIVE on Kauai? Even though I love the island – I love it as a visitor because there is just so little there in the way of infrastructure. Maybe that’s changed a little since I was last there in 2005, but probably not much. And, that’s a good thing – I love Kauai for what it is… the garden isle… or, the jungle isle seems more appropriate. The people are great… the jobs are non-existent. I know nobody that ‘works’ there and only one guy that has an internet project that keeps him in the cash enough that he can stay.

      I recommend joining Twitter.com. Getting Tweetdeck.com to make Twitter more usable, and then finding people through twitter search (search.twitter.com) that live on kauai… if there are any on twitter!

      Don’t forget Hawaii taxes… food prices, and travel to Oahu and Maui and Big Isle – which you’ll probably want to be doing a lot of as you realize just how quiet Kauai is!

      Good luck to you both Mike…

      • Mike

        I think it’s changed a bit since 2005. It’s quiet, but there are some things to do besides play in the ocean. I think I would just like to get some type of part-time job at a resort or related to real estate or golf and make some extra income besides my retirement income, or possibly work part-time at a community college advising or teaching or counseling at a private school of some sort part-time. I think we would be OK if we could go to the mainland to live for a few months each year, maybe in Portland or Bend, Oregon, which is in Central, Oregon and a little bit of a “high desert” region with golf, fly-fishing, etc. That’s the plan, anyway. Anyway, thanks again. Maybe (likely), we’ll talk some more soon.

  • Maria

    We are planning to move to Hawaii in the next 2 years. We would like to rent a house in Maui – preferably South Maui, but it depends on where we get jobs. I have looked a lot on craigslist for listings, but there doesn’t seem to be that many. Where do you recommend we look for rental housing? I have been thinking about just doing a yellow page search and calling the local realty offices.

  • alicia

    Hi Vern,
    I’m so happy I found this website. My best friend and I(both wf24) are thinking about moving to Hawaii. We figure there is nothing holding us back,so why not. We thought about renting a 2bedroom or even a one bedroom and using a living room as a bedroom as well. We wouldn’t mind working two jobs each but how feasible is it to find two jobs? Also neither of us would bring our cars (we are moving from the o so charming new england area). We are thinking about Oahu, are there many people our age in this area? Would we do okay without a car? And as silly as it sounds wed like to be as close to the beach and city life as possible! We would each move with about $3000. We have already emailed some real estate agents in helping us find an apartment, preferably we would like to find it prior to moving. Obviously job security would be nice but that’s hard, do u think finding a job within 2 weeks is feasible? Neither of us have even been to Hawaii but we need a change and figure why not go big? If it doesn’t work out I’m sure it will still be one hell of a story. Though I am scared if I move there, I may never want to leave!!!

    My best,

    • HA! That’s the spirit! I wish you both the best…

      To answer some questions and give some tips. You don’t need a real estate agent to find a place to rent. There are plenty of ads in Craigslist.org and the local newspapers. Stay in a hotel for 3-4 days for $100 a day – in Waikiki and walk around to apartment buildings you see and ask how much. They often have rooms for rent posted at boards in the lobby for condos. An agent will probably charge you a month’s rent. Is it worth that? Heck no. Do the footwork yourself.

      You’ll pay 1st months rent, last month’s rent, and 1 month deposit in most cases. Due tot he downturn in the economy – you might be able to arrange a better deal. There are condos RIGHT IN Waikiki that are cheap enough for a 1 bdrm or studio. $3000 each – after your plane tickets should be enough to get going if you’re serious about it. If not – have a fall back plan!

      Is it feasible you’ll find a job within 2 weeks? If you wait tables maybe in a couple days you could find one. Maybe not. If you have $3000 each you’ll be ok for a month minimum, should be ok for 2 or 3, but I don’t know what you’ll be “up to”. Lol.

      Forget about cars if you’ll live in Waikiki – you can walk or The Bus runs often during daylight hours.

      Anyway – it will be an adventure – good luck Alicia!

  • Joshua Geissler

    Hey Vern,
    I really enjoyed your site. I have 3 boys 8,6, and 2……my wife is going to graduate her masters in education and we are heading to Hawaii in june 2010……What is the best way to move our house once we find a place to live……..Pods or ???

  • amanda

    Great post! I’m totally sold. Hawaii here I come!

  • Kara Jaeger

    I just recently thought about moving to Hawaii to go to school. I’m about half way through college and just about finished my general education. I’ve been trying to do some research about colleges in Hawaii and how I could make this work. I’m a open water scuba instructor and I would think that I could get work.
    What do you think? Is there any advise you can give me about learning how to go to school there and get up and running?

    • Hi Kara –

      I think – GO FOR IT. I can’t really help you on how to go about it as I’ve not gone to school in Hawaii since 1987. Apply as fast you can. Start trying to find ‘friends’ or contacts on some of the social media tools – Twitter is excellent for this. Use Twitter search to find people talking about UH or whatever school. Chat with them about it. Ask LOTS of questions when you find someone that knows what you need to know. Wish I could help more. Oh – and Craigslist.org – I recommend heavy use of Craig’s list. Good luck Kara!

  • Albrecht

    Dear Vern,

    i just found your website today, and i am quite impressed. So far, i read what you say about Positive Thinking, and about Moving to Hawaii. I was never there yet, but i am sure its wonderful!

    Though you are becoming an expatriate lately, arent you? That is wonderful in your career, that you can work in any place, right?

    Best wishes from Munich, Germany!


  • Tripp

    I see all these posts, though I know all are unique deep within, they seem the same in terms of “I have been dreaming of Hawaii forever”. I do not wish to sound redundant but I suppose I too have a similar mindset. I am 23 year old female, a musician and a writer and though I haven’t really dreamed of Hawaii, I have dreamed of “home”. I have dreamed of happiness and a life that I can love. The current economy and employment situation here has me jobless in Arlington Texas. I have nothing to lose if I make the move to the Islands. I am sick of the same people and the equally same and dull places. Everyday it is the same trivial routine. People often tell me “it will be the same there too!” I disagree. The culture is infinite, the activities are limitless, the knowledge to be gained…I just can not see it being the same as it is here. I do not want to use this overused line but I NEED a change. Something different. Something better. I want to succeed at things I never thought I could. I want to learn new things from such a place that has everything to offer. I am aware Hawaii is not job rich. I read however, that it is possible to obtain a job there training marine mammels like dolphins and such. I have no experience in doing any such thing but I also read that it is possible to get a job in such a field starting out at the bottom. For instance, cleaning up poop and feeding the animals and possibly working your way up to learning their behavoirs and then training animals. Is this info accurate? I am more than happy to start at the bottom if it means I can finally embrace happiness and the plethora of culture surrounding your every waking moment. Such a job will satisfy me in so many ways. Is it really attainable? I don’t know why I am asking as I am so very determined to make it happen. I know another very important element to ponder is housing. I am currently researching available apartments and rooms on various islands. I want to keep the search as broad as possible as to not limit myself. I think everyone who has posted here is great and I hope it works out for you all. Any input, thoughts, facts and opinions alike are welcome. Rather….encouraged

    • Wow.

      I’ve chased a lot of dreams too – and some worked out. The ones that didn’t seem to work out are those dream jobs I had in mind. Not saying you couldn’t do it – please, go for it and find out – if you have a backup plan. Without a backup plan though I think it’s too risky. It sure sounds like an awesome idea to go start at the bottom and learn how to train dolphins – but, they poop in the water and I’m not sure there’s a job for cleaning that up. There’s filters for that! lol… just joking, I know what you’re saying.

      In order to go to Hawaii you must be realistic above all else or your dream may be crushed. Ensure you have the best possible chance to make it doing what you want before you go. Contact all the aquariums from Texas first. Tell them it’s your dream. Tell them you’re coming. Tell them you’ll meet with them, etc. Remember – have a backup plan because it’s not like jobs in that area are open all the time. It’s not like they’d pay enough for you to live in Hawaii either – you’d need another job too. Tourism is WAY down in Hawaii and so there are fewer jobs.

      If you need a place to stay I have a friend that sometimes takes boarders – his name is Christian, he’s from Sweden, he’s a real estate appraiser and stays on Oahu. Just let me know.

      Good luck!

  • Josh

    Vern, That’s $2043 tax free, not counting about another 25k (per year) in student aid, plus working part time jobs. My kids are ages 6 and 3.

    • Josh – I think that’s enough with another job. Good luck!

  • Josh

    Wow Vern, you’re in Thailand thinking of Hawaii? I am planning to move to Hawaii just to get a job in Thailand. I too have have had long stays in Thailand. Anyway, I got set up with this new post 9/11 GI bill which will pay my full tuition at UH Manoa. I have never been to Hawaii.
    I will be taking Business Marketing at Shidler College of Business and double majoring also in Thai language. BTW the GI bill will pay me a $2,043. per month cost of living stipend. Would you think it’s reasonable to live there modestly if I and my wife work part time? We have 2 little kids to support also.
    I am just hoping to live in a decent place and enjoy the island while going to school. The crime you mentioned does concern me. Here in El Paso, TX. The violent crime is super low. That is my most concern as I am good about securing personal property. My kids are mixed white and mexican, I would hope to school them near a military base to ensure they fit in socially. This is a great web page. Thanks Vern.

    • Hi Josh,

      Thanks for writing. I went to UH Manoa for some classes – great fun. It’s how every college should be! I was in the Air Force on Oahu – at Hickam. Anyway – are you going to get $2,043 per month after taxes or before? For 2 people I’d guess you’d need $2500 per month clear to be OK. More to be living at a higher standard. Oh, you have 2 kids too… hmm. $2800/mth??? These are guesses as I don’t know what lifestyle you want, whether you’ll have a car – etc.

      Violent crime in Hawaii against strangers is almost non-existent. That kind of stuff would happen in bars and bad areas. Most consider Honolulu very safe. Theft is rampant… How old are your kids? That might be harsh for them to join a school in Hawaii… might not be. I’d recommend really finding out more…

      Good luck Josh…

  • AJ

    Aloha Vern,
    Type “move to Hawaii” and it’s all there, optimism, pessimism, cynicism, and now awesism! I too have the bug, Hawaiinism. After a trip in 2002, it changed my life forever. Several years & research trips later, I am closer. In 2002, the unemployment in Hawaii was 2%, the lowest in the US. This was a reflection of the national & world economy as Hawaii is a tourist economy. In 2005 I started to feel a vibe and read about crime and drunk driving fatalities increasing on all the islands. When Maui and Hawaii tourism were bragging about revenue, I just knew it was a peak and wouldn’t last. Still, I said, not me and moved in 2007; OK, found a room but still had home in Cali. I was able to job interview and live like a local. So I moved back to sell my junk and move for good. Then, 2008 came and the economy started declining. Aloha Airlines goes out of business, Hawaii Superferry closes, tourism is the lowest ever, and that 2% unemployment; forgettaboutit. I know Aloha Airlines failed because of those bastards go! (Mesa Airlines) and fuel cost. Also, the locals resisted Hawaii Superferry but the economy didn’t help. Still, I say I would rather work at McDonalds on Maui than live on the mainland. So, I plan, I pine, and I cross my fingers as I watch Hawaii ticker-tape and get ready to move. I appreciate you being honest when you include crime and beauty describing Hawaii. People have to understand that Hawaii is our last frontier and the natives are restless. It appears Vern, that you and I can survive in many places as we respect locals and stay low profile. Are you in Thailand now? Still in service? In closing, Hawaii is not for everybody and that’s what makes it special. Otherwise, you know Americans; everybody would live there.

    • Thanks for writing John – good comment. So, you’re there soon I guess? I’m still in Thailand – not moving in foreseeable future. Baby on the way here! Probably stay here a bit longer… forever? Always a possibility. Thailand is a nice place – similar to Hawaii in many ways. Better in many ways. Worse in some ways too. All in all I’ll take either place to spend the rest of my life and be happy. Good luck with your move and let me know how things are going John…

  • lisa

    hey, great article very helpful. my girlfriend and i are leaving Canada in a couple months to come to Honolulu. we have been researching our buts off and think we got what it takes. i have been anticipating this move for a while now i know my girlfriend definitely has too. thanks again for the inspiration. lisa

    • You are? Wow, that’s great! I knew some Canadians in Hawaii while I was there… you’ll meet some too eventually I’m sure. What are you thinking for employment? Do you have enough saved to go? Where will you start out – Honolulu? Thanks for commenting…

  • zarah

    hey vern,

    I have been wanting to move to hawaii for a few months now. I am a 21 yr old female student and broke ! I have lived in los angeles, ca my whole life and i have been wanting to get out of this lifestyle for a while now. I love the beach, surfing, outdoors and small town culture… all these things turned me to hawaii ! its so beautiful and seems to be the lifestyle i’m looking for. Small fresh fruit markets, beautiful beaches etc… the only problem is i have never been there!!! i don’t know where to begin…I need to go to school, i have a small budget and i dont know the first thing about what area to live in. Do you have any suggestions?

    I had one more question, I have heard a-lot about the natives there and their strong dislike towards outsiders, what is your opinion ?

    thanks for your time !


    • Hi Zara,

      Wow – yes, it’s quite a move. If you want small town atmosphere – Maui would be a great place for that – but, of course you’d need to make some cash there.

      Oahu is easier to start out – see if you like hawaii and then move to Maui if you want the smaller town atmosphere. Kauai would be even better, but even worse to find jobs to support you.

      What skills do you have?

      What school would you attend? Univ. Hawaii?

  • Christine

    Finding this article is like finding gold for me. I visited Hawaii last month for the first time and I fell in love, leaving was like breaking up with the man of my dreams… heartbreaking. And I was only there for a week.

    I am 22 and I live in Illinois. I have never felt like it was my home, but never really understood why, until I went to Oahu and felt alive. The feeling, the experience was indescribable.

    I want to move there so badly I think about it constantly, but I have concerns. Other than the obvious of jobs and where to live, I wonder how I will fit in. I am white(very pale), blue eyes, blonde hair… I don’t care that I don’t look local, it doesn’t bother me that I would be a minority, but would it be a problem for me?

    I see it as I have two options, I am not done with my education so I could move there and go to school which I think would be a very reasonable way to live on the island. Or I could finish school here, going for something that will translate well into the Hawaiian lifestyle and economy. I’m worried if I don’t get out there now, I never will.

    I’m glad I stumbled across this article.

    • Hi Christine – I’m glad you found the article too. My feeling as I stepped off the plane and into the 85 degree weather about 24 years ago was that – I was home also. Just something about it felt so familiar and yet that was strange because I’d never even dreamed about going to Hawaii before. Never thought about it before I got my Air Force orders to go there.

      You’re young, but seems like maybe you have the right idea. You could go there for school. University of Hawaii, Chaminade, Hawaii Pacific I think is another. UH is a good school. You’ll be paying out of state tuition for a bit, but maybe worth it anyway. I attended UH for a couple terms.

      Don’t give ANY thought as to how you look. There are PLENTY of blonde girls with fair skin there. You won’t feel like the only one – trust me on that. There are Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Laotians, Indonesians, Japanese, Hawaiian, mainland usa folk, Canadians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, UK’ers, French, Germans, etc. You’re not going to feel out of place much. You will be in the minority but that’s a good thing. I always saw it that way anyway. Look at me now – there’s 65 million Thais here and maybe 50,000 foreigners left (the rest bailed). I love being a minority…

      Let me know what you decide to do – interesting how much you feel at home in Hawaii already.

      Aloha! Vern

  • joe

    i read your artical while browsing me and the wife have been talking lately about moving we live in newhampshire we have 5 children all girls 3 have move out we now only have 2 a 13 and a 8 year old i work as a truck driver and my wife works at the plant for a window and door company my question is do they have trucking jobs there wy wife is thinking about becoming a nurses aid we had it ruff time of it as of late and thinking of statrting over somewhere else and thought about hawaii but everything we here is negative most about it being expensive but every state has its ups and downs i was looking on gregs list for rentals and i was seeing 3bdrooms for 950 to 1200 a month just want to know are these places real or does itcost a lot more for 3bd rooms any info wouLD BE GREAT THANK YOU

    • Hi Joe, thanks for writing. Does Hawaii need truckers? No. That’s just my guess. Why? The island of Oahu is something like 40×60 miles. There are 1 million + people there and there are a LOT of college uneducated people there – the locals mostly, that can drive trucks. I’m guessing they don’t need truck drivers but, do a lot of job research – I could be wrong.

      If your wife is working in a windows/door company I’m not sure that would translate well into a job in Hawaii either. There are Home Depots there (last time I was there anyway). The jobless rate is high with this poor economy too. As I’ve said before, Hawaii needs people interested in the tourist industry. Japanese-English speakers do WELL in Hawaii. Sales people for condos, time shares, etc – do very well.

      I think if it’s something you really want to do and you’re not afraid of 1,200 per month rents (check out where those rents are), and the high price of everything… and you have enough saved – go for it. I think you should find some people that live there and ask their opinions. Use Twitter search to look for “hawaii” and you’ll find some people that live there. Message them and ask them a lot of questions…

      Good luck Joe!

  • charlie

    hello vern , really good article found the whole insite fasinating. i would like your help, i am a student in the uk with one year left of college. i want to move away after completion. is it hard to get visa and what reasonable amount should i raise to supprot myself and possible job oppurtunities, i am very versitile and would rent one room and work in a club, bar, hotel preferably somthing with people.

    sorry for the essay. thanks alot


    • Hi Charlie,

      Well, you’re coming from a whole different set of circumstances that I’m not familiar with at all. I’m American and moving to Hawaii was like moving from Florida to Texas… there are no issues with immigration, work permit and all that. You’ll have to research those on your own. I can say I’ve only met a couple people from England in Hawaii. Restaurant jobs are available but, tend to go to the locals who the restaurant owners favor. Hawaii tends to support the locals there over visitors to the islands that might not stay long. There’s a localism in Hawaii that’s strong – and for good reason – it’s hella expensive and if someone can’t even get a job in the place they were born and raised because tourism has cranked up the cost of everything – that’s a pretty sad state of things for the locals.

      Anyway – research and see what you need to do!

      Good luck!

  • Dee

    Hi, I will be moving to Schofield Barracks next month by way of the military, I have a couple of concerns- I hear alot of people taking about being a minority once you get off the plane. I guess I will be three times over. And I have kids that would be faced with that also….I don’t know if you would understand, but any suggestion or am I being a lil to concerned.


    • Hi Dee,

      I understand a little bit. I moved to Oahu with the Air Force in 1985 and stayed at Hickam. Of course primarily you’re surrounded by others like you on the bases. Also there are many locals that work on the military bases and that are just like you…

      When you go into Honolulu – it’s a mix – and there are few locals relative to all the tourists. No worries there.

      When you go to Wianae or somewhere that is predominantly local you will only have a hard time if you have a bad attitude toward them first… I went to many locals only beaches and bodyboarded without problems (most times).

      Everyone I think feels like an outsider in Hawaii – none of us feel like we belong there… it takes a long time before you think that others are ok with you being there – but, most of it is in your head!

      Have fun on Oahu!

  • Keyes

    Hi, I stumbled upon this website and I’m glad I did. It’s great to see I’m not alone in having these similar thoughts. I’ve been thinking about moving to Hawaii for quite some time. I visited Oahu last year and returned for a month this pass February. I can’t tell you enough how much I wanted to leave Canada (which is where I’m from). I have looked into visa’s and the best way to go if your not a US citizen is to apply for a TN Visa. I’ve applied for a position in Hawaii *fingers crossed* but I am a little hesitate because my families here and friends… yet I feel that Canada is not home for me.

    I guess in time I’ll see. aloha!

    • Hi Keyes, Canada eh? Yep, you’re due for a move to Hawaii. I don’t know how you’d actually secure a job in Hawaii until you arrive since companies insist you’re actually there before they hire you. Of course if you’re one of those few they can’t deal without or find already in Hawaii then you might just be able to snag it. I almost landed a couple jobs during phone interviews from Florida while I was trying to get a job before I arrived. Companies always leery though. Good luck! Apply for lots of jobs – not just one…

  • Em


    I was just wondering what kind of documents you need to move to Hawaii if not a US citizen.. in the line of Visa’s etc.. is it the same as the rest of the US?Impossible!:(


    • I think exactly the same requirements – Hawaii is a state, not a territory. Should be no difference at all.

  • Aloha,
    I am from the Big Island of Hawaii. Have lived there all of my life & did alot of island hopping over the years. My husband & I both moved to Texas almost 2 years ago to try & experience the mainland. You never know what you got till it’s gone. We are moving back to the islands in September. THANK GOD! I really don’t know how people live this fast paced it’s way too much. we also have been traveling around to different states to see if we might like those better. NO! burrr! it’s either way to cold or way too hot. it has been such a culture shock for me & I am grateful to have experienced the mainland but I WILL never again take the islands for granted. If you love to be around mix culture beautiful places & love the ocean than Hawaii is definently for you. :) YOU only have ONE life so MAKE it count. There are NO re-do’s!

    • Hi Brianna, wow – thanks for writing about your experience leaving the islands for the mainland. I knew some people that left… joined the Air Force and got stationed in North Dakota, Cali, Florida and other places. Their experience was one of severe homesickness.

      I can appreciate what you said about never again taking the islands for granted. I did too. I did when I left them for NYC in 1988. I did again when I left them for Florida in 2004. Never again… all we can do is look at hindsight right? There is something magical about Hawaii – and when it hits you -there’s no sense leaving… No sense thinking that you’ll get along somewhere else… you won’t. Hawaii is it. Hawaii no ka oi –

  • Dean

    Hi I just read this article and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. I am from England and I am 16 and about to go into my final phase of education. My family have always taught me to see the world and I cannot think of any better place to start than Hawaii. I intend to go into a career that is history related, and for the past two years I have been studying Hawaii and its past. I would love nothing more than to get involved in Hawaii’s history community. I was also wondering how expensive would it be to move all the way from the UK. Thank you for an incredible article – Dean

    • Hi Dean – that’s an ambitious move for a teen! I’m sure there aren’t many history-related jobs in Hawaii unless you mean something like working at the Pearl Harbor Memorial…. or something along those lines. There are few jobs in Hawaii outside of what I mentioned in the article. Please do your best to be in contact with as many people about jobs there before you arrive as possible. It’s likely nobody will hire you while you’re in the UK – but, you can contant many people and tell them you’re coming… Craigslist.org would be handy. Good luck Dean!

  • Kelli

    Hi! I am from the midwest, Michigan to be exact, and lately have been dreaming of moving somewhere warm & sunny. When I went to the Hawaii tourist website, I fell in love. It would be a HUGE move since I have never lived more than 30 miles from where I was born, but I want to try something new. I have my own business, and the prospect of not having that anymore is scary. I had a physical store, and recently had to close it due to the economy. Now I work online from home, and I like it, but want more. I am in my 30’s with 2 kids, 17 and 11. They really want to move as well…I just need some insight. We are a fun family and we love diversity…I would need a house, not a room, since I have kids, so I am not quite sure how to go about that either. And how do you decide which island to move to?? I already know I want to avoid the rainy side of the islands!! Are the bugs really that bad?? Any info is appreciated!!

  • Liz

    Hi Vern,
    I just visited Maui in March – I def. want to move there! I have a 3-4 year plan in place to sell my stuff and work my tail off to have some $ in my pocket before I go – just wanted to thank you for an incredible article. Warm regards (and ofcourse Aloha) – Liz

    • Great Liz – sounds like a plan! Save a lot of cash – everything you can. The food is very expensive. Gallon of milk was over $5 when I was there in 2002-2004. Everything was over $5 it seems. Good luck! Alooooooooha!

  • Rob

    I’ve been looking all over the internet for jobs working in a hotel and i can’t find much. any suggestions on where to look or how to go about landing a job at a hotel once i make the move? Are there any other places besides honolulu and waikiki which offer a good amount of jobs (preferably in the hotel industry) and would be a little more quiet and affordable?

    • Honolulu covers the whole island of Oahu. It’s a county as well as a city. Waikiki is where most of the tourist places are – the hotels and everything else. There are other resorts around Oahu – on the north shore like Turtle Bay Hilton and others that you can work – but, they’re away from where you would likely live. There are places to live that are cheaper (Aiea, Kapolei, Ewa Beach, etc.) – yes, but they aren’t near where you would work if you’re working in the tourist industry.

      What you should do immediately upon arriving is change to a local Hawaii drivers license. Register at the State of Hawaii on Beretania for their State job help service – sorry, can’t remember what it’s called exactly. They found me a web dev/SEO job within 2 weeks of arriving on Oahu.

      Write a lot of people about rooms, jobs, etc… and ask them questions – all sorts of questions about living there – see what they have to say.

      Maybe someone else can help more…?

  • Rob

    Thanks for the advice. Getting a bike won’t be a problem. i ride my bike around here all summer anyway. I’ve been looking online for room shares and they don’t seem TOO unreasonable. definitely not as bad as a lot of people tell me when i mention i’d like to make the move. It’s just really hard because i have very little support from everyone i know. they don’t understand why i’d want to go somewhere that’s expensive and so far away from everyone and everything, especially with no job lined up. I’m really starting to take photography a lot more seriously now than i ever did and i was just wondering what that field of work looks like as far as job opportunities go? it seems like there would be a lot of chances for work being in a hot tourist location. everyone wants pictures. Right now i actually work as a lab technician is a photo lab. It’s also good to know that people there need help with apple computers because i’m trying to get my apple help desk certification right now and possibly trying to work at the apple store. If i can land a job there then it’s always a possibility to transfer to one of the 3 locations on Oahu. All 3 locations on Oahu are hiring right now as a matter of face but i don’t know how i’d get there for an interview on such short notice if i did apply…..I definitely want to come visit before i make the move but if i do that it’s just going to set me back awhile. I don’t know if i can wait tha much longer because i want to get out of my parents house as soon as i can and just start fresh. I can tell just from hearing from other people and looking at the scenery out there that it’s a place for me and i’d learn to adapt to the lifestyle.

    • Hi Rob,

      Photography is fun. Photography is easy. Photography is not going to support you in any way in Hawaii. Seriously – that’s my experience anyway as a photographer and having friends who were very competent photographers as well. Don’t go to Hawaii with this dream of photography supporting you – it won’t at least not for years. Many people move to Hawaii thinking how easy it must be to make it as a photographer there. That’s never been less true. Everyone is a photographer now.

      In the short term go for something that you can do immediately. Hotel, food industry is great. Hawaii needs food service professionals without attitudes and with humility and that can take their jobs lightly.

      I’d guess that Apple is going to hire people that are already good employees elsewhere in the USA at other Apple stores first before hiring someone with no experience in their org currently. That’s just a guess. I was thinking more on a freelance level – I knew people that had broken macs and didn’t know what to do. Now that there are 3 locations – (seriously??) for Apple stores on Oahu I don’t know what that freelance market would be like anymore. I left Maui in 2004.

      If you visit before you go back – yes, you’ll blow a LOT of money and for what reason?

      I say – just go. Save up as much money as possible and scout out as many jobs, rooms, and people to hang out with as possible before you get there – and just go.

      Not sure how you are with money – but, for me I could do it on 3,000 saved pretty easily – going 2-3 months without work. You may want more. I think you’ll want to have more.

      Forget about people that tell you to stay at home and stop dreaming. They need to START dreaming because it’s likely they are jealous and can’t imagine that you can do it and have such a cool experience. I say go for it once you have the cash saved – and work on photography, but it may support you in Hawaii in 5 years… probably never.

      Good luck!

  • Rob

    Hey everyone. For the past few months i realized that i need a serious change in my life. Right now i live in Chicago Illinois and I am getting really sick of the midwest. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago is a great city but i just need something new. I’ve been looking at all sorts of different places from Colorado, Northern California, and Austin Texas. At first i never really even thought at looking into Hawaii but ever since i did, I have my mind set on going now. I figure now is the right time for me to have a change like this because I am 22 and i have no obligations what so ever. I’m not in school and I’m not in a relationship. I’ve been working full time since i graduated high school and realize that if i make the move I’m going to need to work two jobs most likely. In all honesty, do you guys think i could survive just getting up and going like that without having a college education? I’m more than willing to bust my butt working two jobs and i have plenty of experience in customer service, food service, and the field of photography and apple computers. Before I move I would definitely sell my car because i hear the bus system on Oahu is fantastic which would save me a ton per month. I just don’t want to move so far away and be in way over my head and stuck with nowhere to go. I plan on saving up about 3,000-4,000 dollars before i come as well. Any other advice?

    • Hi Rob,

      Sounds to me like you have what it takes for attitude. You might have to work 2 jobs – but your free time can be spent on one of the most beautiful islands on the face of the earth. For a long term strategy I’d suggest getting into the hotel industry as fast as possible – lots of places to move up. When I was there I noticed a need for people that could troubleshoot apple computers – there weren’t many people there that could do that. Right – you don’t need a car. A bike would be nice though. Look into room sharing. Most people I knew making under 25K per year were sharing a room in downtown Waikiki so they could just walk to work and the beach.

      Good luck! Tell us what happens!

  • john

    hello! i hav always wanted to move to Hawaii and have been thinking alot about my life and feel maybe its time to change it! only problem is that im from ireland. i dont have a clue how i would even start to get a visa? would there even be a chance of getting a job? i would be happy jus working in a hotel! i have heard that renting is very expensive, even for a tiny apartment? also do you think that locals may treat me somewhat different because im a typical pale white, irish boy? lol wud be great if u could write back to me! thanks :)

    • Hi John – that would be QUITE a move. I haven’t the slightest idea what immigration and visa issues you’ll run into but check it all out! Jobs are always tight there – and unless you have specific skills in hotel work I think it’s not that likely you’ll find a job easily there. Not sure what unemployment looks like there now either – better check into all that. If you do end up in Hawaii let me know here through comments or email. Good luck!

  • Esther

    The good thing is I look like a local until I open my mouth and speak LOL. I am giving this a chance for whatever reason I was brought to this experience. I have not been here long, but I continue to learn a lot about the many cultures on the island.

    Thanks I will keep you updated.

  • Esther

    Well, I came in November to visit and before I left I sent out some resumes I guess mostly for shi*s and giggles. I really did not plan on relocating to Hawaii. So the day before I left, an organization contacted me. Long story short, things were going on in my life good and bad and I thought maybe it’s time for a change. I was offered the position. I came back to Jersey and I thought about it and decided to give it a shot. Here I am.

    • Hawaii is a really beautiful, but some say intimidating place. It’s literally unlike anything you’ve seen in any other state in America. You’re a minority for one. You have a lot of international food and all kinds of cultural events that are great to learn about and partake in. There is beauty beyond your wildest imagination. There’s a lot of crime. Burglary is rampant and you can’t turn your back on your car, bike, or baby stroller. I think the positives far outweigh the negatives though. Have fun there Esther – keep us updated how it’s going!

  • Esther

    Yeah I miss the hustle and bustle. I lived 15 minutes from NYC so it was easy for me to get in at anytime. Thank you for replying. I am about an hour or so on the bus from Honolulu. I’m on a budget and feeling things out for now. Thanks!

  • Esther

    Hey I’m from Jersey and I just moved to Hawaii. So far it has been a more spiritual experience than anyting else. I have my lonely moments, but I’m making the best of it. I do miss the city life so I’m just taking it a day at a time.

    • Hi Esther – You miss the city life? You must not be in Honolulu then – yes? Honolulu is a big city, but different than most cities. It’s more like a collection of hotels and State offices. Most everything you had in your big city in Jersey can probably be found in Honolulu – but, spread out a bit. There are some excellent malls and parks! Good luck there!

    • Hi Esther, So – did you just pick up and leave the northeast and move to Hawaii on a whim? What made you do it?

  • christina

    hey andy, moving to hawaii has always been one of my dreams. I hail from New Jersey, so trust me I’m ready for the overpriced and I havent had a car in a few years so these legs are built for walking. I am also half chinese and first generation in this country. my mom mixed with a carribean man so i have the sea in my blood already and have the perfect brownish skin to blend with locals. people ask me all the time if im hawaiian already! thanks for the helpful column. Id like to exchange emails if you would be ok with that as i have a whole LOT of questions!


    • Hi Christina –

      I think – if you can move to Hawaii for any length of time – you MUST! It’s the most amazing place. If you want to email me, feel free. :) Vern

  • Thanks for posting this.

    I’ve thought about moving to Hawaii for a long time, but it’s always been a “maybe someday” kind of thing. I like the idea of living someplace with beautiful weather and scenery and taking it easy.

    My girlfriend is Japanese and really interested in the tourism and travel industry. I’ve joked before that Hawaii or Australia’s Gold Coast would be the best places for her to follow up with that. After reading this, I’m adding it to the list of things to look into more seriously over the course of the next year or so.

    • Andy – someone that speaks Japanese and English – is very marketable in Hawaii – extremely. Would be a simple move for you I think! What do you do? You can write me back on email if you feel like it.

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