What things should one know before moving to Hawaii?
I assume that you dont have a job or place to stay yet and are from the mainland U.S. You should have a job lined up. Too many people move here hoping to find a job. However, few companies will interview you if you are planning to move, because many people plan to move and then dont. Move here first. Since the two statements above contradict each other, the best way is to have enough money to stay months here, rent a place and a vehicle while looking for a job. Know if your skills qualify you for a job. We dont have factories to speak of, nor do we have lots of I.T. jobs. What we have is a lot of hospitality jobs and support positions for visitors. This includes people who work fishing boats, dive boats, tour guides, drivers, etc. Do you have an island in mind? Each one is different and sometimes dramatically different. Investigate each of them and hopefully visit the ones you are considering. Treat any trip as you would a resident, not as a vacationer staying in a posh hotel. Check out the restaurants, the better places to live, the cost of neighborhoods and crime levels and weather. I visited the islands two weeks a trip, two trips a month for 7 years before moving. I checked utility prices, food costs, construction and toll prices, taxes and fees. I also moved to one of the most affordable places, a rural area on the Big Island. If you are not absolutely sure you will have a job, or be able to love the islands quickly, then put your things in storage on the mainland. Better to pay a few thousand dollars to store things, then to sell things, move here, use up lots of money trying to find a job and then having to move back and buy all sorts of things. Hawaii is an expensive place to live, especially if you require mainland services and treatment. Many houses dont have air conditioning. Most of us rarely if ever wear suits (I have exactly 1 for mainland functions). many of us wear aloha wear and short and slippers (flip flops). Granted on Oahu they dress up more than the other islands. Still, very few uses for real formal wear. When I moved here I left most long pants on the mainland. I have a pair or two of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt for farm work. Food costs more and so does gasoline (except many of us go to Costco for gas). Assuming you HAVE a job lined up, some of the above still pertains. Unless you are military, you still need to determine if this might be a permanent move or a neat idea you have. Living in the middle of the Pacific (a 5 hour flight from the west coast and south equal to Mexico City) you are far from people you know on the U.S. mainland. Although we have some cheap fares like recent Southwest deal, it is still fairly expensive for flights unless you can take advantage of deals. Friends and relatives will want to visit and take a vacation here. That can save you traveling away. However, these visitors will expect you to put them up, feed them and use your vehicle. It does not hurt to set their expectations that YOU are not also on vacation and need to go to work, shop and even go to the dump with trash. Their long luxurious baths and showers can bump your utility costs up. Your cellphone should work fine here as we have the major carriers, just ensure that your carrier has good coverage where you will be living, traveling and working. We have mountains and valleys which can affect coverage. I still have a landline-like service at home, but use Voice Over IP (VOIP) service so my cost is only a couple dollars a month. Local phone and cable phone service can be very expensive. The Big Island has lots of climate zones and micro-climates allowing it to rain next to sunny places. Other islands not quite so much. Still you will be giving up winter and fall and maybe Spring. There is usually SOMETHING blooming all year long. You can get heavy tropical rainstorms and the occasional hurricane. Culture is different here. In fact no ethnicity is in the majority. You may not find many of your favorite stores or restaurants here. That can be a good thing though. You may experience many new tastes, different food combinations and fruit and vegetables. If you have animals, there are specific regulations as what and how animals are brought to the islands. We dont have rabies so especially dogs are treated differently. Do it the wrong way and an animal might have to be guaranteed for months at a cost to you! Get used to accessing your mainland bank via internet as they dont have a branch here. Use e-deposit like photographing a check and uploading it. Alternately use a local bank or better a local Credit Union. I had to speak with a supervisor at the electric company on the mainland because their clerk refused to send my last bill to me in Hawaii. She kept saying they are not allowed to send mail overseas She would not budge even though I told her that as one of the 50 states that same stamp she has in her desk works across town or to Hawaii. Granted packages cost more but not mail. Also, you generally have to be here before you can get a Post Office Box, but check in advance. That may mean that you need to have your current Post Office hold mail until you have a forwarding address. Shipping a vehicle can cost $1,000 or more and that is just from the west coast. I moved buy shipping about 30 boxed of things from the mainland by the Post Office. I worked out in advance with the local PO and a neighbor who could pick up the boxes and take them to a storage location I rented until I could settle on my farm. I shopped items and when they arrived, the neighbor put them in storage. Boxes were not labeled with contents, only a letter A, B, C etc and I had a spreadsheet as to the contents. This allowed me to easily find which boxed needed to be retrieved and taken to the farm first (Kitchen, Bath and Bedroom, etc). Hindsight now tells me that many of the things I paid to ship here needed to be left behind. Do not even think about shipping antiques here. Some places have high humidity which may warp things. Also, we have two types of termites! (Most wood at lumber yards is treated with Borate to help deter termites). Also, that pressed wood desk or cabinet you have now will not last long here. There are so many things to consider when relocating here. I hope these ones I mentioned help a bit.