Are you considering moving to Hawaii? How fortunate you are!
Living in Hawaii is a bucket-list item for a lot of people for a reason, it’s the epitome of living in paradise.
My husband and I moved to Hawaii 10+ years ago and have lived on both Maui and Oahu. We’ve had an opportunity to live our dream and have definitely learned a handful of helpful things about living in Hawaii.
You know what they say, there’s pros and cons to everything. Today, I’d like to share our honest experience living in Hawaii.
Please keep in mind that this is a personal list of the pros and cons of living in Hawaii, not everyone will feel the same way. Regardless, I hope you find it helpful.
Living in Hawaii
First, the pros of living in Hawaii
#1. Hawaii is paradise
You’ve heard it said that being a tourist in Hawaii is nothing like actually living in Hawaii, and it’s true.
When you’re on vacation you’re in a different state of mind. After moving to Hawaii you have to understand that real life is inevitable and will always feel more stressful that vacation.
Life in Hawaii requires good planning and a willingness to hustle, but make no mistake — you’ll be living in paradise all the same.
Between the soft sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and picture-perfect sunsets there’s no denying that living in Hawaii is absolutely heavenly.
My husband and I often find ourselves saying that even is a bad day in Hawaii is better than a good day anywhere else, and I wholeheartedly believe that!
#2. The weather is pure bliss
Hawaii has two seasons: summer (May to October) and winter (November to April). Average summer temperatures hover around 85°F and winter temperatures clock in at 78°F, hardly varying year-round.
You can expect sunshine practically every day of the year and the mild temperatures make it easy to enjoy the great outdoors.
Rain season runs from November to March but the weather is very localized in Hawaii, so it’s not hard to escape a pocket of rain for sunnier patches elsewhere on the island.
Kauai is by far the rainiest island, but even then, the sun still shines throughout the day so it’s not bad at all. It’s impossible to complain about the weather while living in Hawaii!
#3. Access to nature + outdoor recreation
If you’re an avid nature nut then you are going to love living in Hawaii.
There’s a plethora of water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and world-class surfing. Not to mention the breathtaking hiking opportunities people travel from all over the world to see.
You don’t even have to be an avid hiker to appreciate the abounding nature while living in Hawaii. Simply stepping out your front door and lounging at the beach is enough to see what all the fuss is about.
Oh, lest I forget, the birdsong in Hawaii is downright heavenly! Unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
#4. Fresh fruits
The fresh fruit is a huge perk of living in Hawaii, even though it might sound strange to anyone that hasn’t yet visited the islands. Fresh fruit, really? Yes! Fruit actually tastes real in Hawaii!
There is nothing that compares to the feeling of biting into a perfectly ripe mango or juicy pineapple from Hawaii. I don’t quite know the reason, but fruits taste much sweeter in Hawaii than elsewhere I’ve lived.
In fact, when my husband and I discussed moving to Hawaii it was the access to fresh fruit that excited me most, go figure!
#5. You’ll be living in a beautiful place
Hawaii is insanely beautiful, and even that feels like an understatement.
Hawaii is a place you have to see to believe because the breathtaking nature is hard to describe and photos seldom do it justice.
From jagged mountain peaks to towering waterfalls and colorful reefs, the landscape is a sight for sore eyes. Plus, the constant rainbows are a nice touch too.
Regardless of where you live in Hawaii, you’ll be privy to some of the most breathtaking nature anywhere in the world.
If you’re trying to decide where to move in Hawaii, I strongly suggest Oahu’s North Shore, it’s one of my favorite places in the entire world (and I’ve traveled to 30+ countries).
#6. Hawaii is diverse
Hawaii is a true melting pot and it’s actually considered the third most diverse state in the country.
More than 38% of the population identifies as Asian, nearly 25% white and 10% Native Hawaiian, making it the most racially and ethnically diverse state in America.
Also worth mention, Hawaii is the least white state in the country.
I absolutely love the diversity of Hawaii, I’m exposed from cultures all over the world. Between the Native Hawaiians, the large Asian population and the plethora of tourists, I have an opportunity to expand my horizons and learn about a new culture on a daily basis.
#7. Living in Hawaii is safe
One of my favorite things about living in Hawaii is that I never feel unsafe, regardless of the time of day. Like any city in the world, we have our fair share of crime, but overall, the crime levels are low and the crime itself is rather petty (car break-ins, etc.).
I feel comfortable walking alone in the early mornings and late evenings because daily life in Hawaii feels safer than any other city I’ve lived in to date.
#8. Life in Hawaii is simple
Living in Hawaii has given me a new appreciation for a slower way of life. Simply put, life in Hawaii feels simple. All the extraneous stuff is removed so that people can focus on the essential — sunshine, the salty sea, good food, great people and the spirit of Aloha.
By and large, people that live in Hawaii aren’t as materialistic. The focus is on living an easy life more than anything else.
I’ll admit that I’m not up to date on current fashion trends, but you know what? It barely matters because I’m usually only buying swimsuits anyways.
Cons of Moving to Hawaii
#1. The housing market
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Moving to Hawaii is cost prohibitive for most folks because the housing market is insane.
Firstly, the housing prices are shocking. The average price of a home in Hawaii is $765,000 and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is a hefty $2,500.
We currently pay $2,700 for an outdated 1-bedroom apartment a few blocks from downtown Honolulu. The appliances are old and the place is hard to brag about so we remind ourselves often that we are paying for the access to daily life in Hawaii, not the apartment itself.
What’s more, the competition for houses and apartments is incredibly fierce. Expect to tour rentals alongside other renters and be aware that a strong credit score (680+) is vital in securing a place to live in Hawaii.
#2. High cost of living
Hawaii isn’t even in the same zip-code as affordable and hasn’t been for a long time. Whatever you do, don’t move to Hawaii without having a steady income or a great job lined up in advance.
It’s not uncommon for folks to work two jobs to make ends meet while living in Hawaii. The average salary in Hawaii is around $50,000, which is barely enough to scrape by and the reason so many people live with roommates.
A lot of our friends moved to Hawaii after landing high-paying teleworking gigs, which seems like the best way to go about it!
#3. You’ll never feel like a local
As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I moved to Hawaii 10+ years ago and we know that we will never feel like locals here, regardless of how long we choose to live in Hawaii.
Honestly speaking, Native Hawaiians don’t like transplants. Obviously I’m in no position to argue the validity of the resentment and I accept it for what it is. Just know that when you move here, you’ll want to bring your thick skin because the cold shoulder is all but guaranteed.
You’ll quickly learn that you will always be kept at arm’s length, regardless of how hard you try to assimilate. One thing that has helped tremendously is volunteering, it’s how we met most of our friends in Hawaii.
#4. Lack of seasons
Every pro has a con, right? Well the pleasant year-round weather ensures that you won’t experience winters while living in Hawaii.
Personally, I was looking to escape winters altogether, which is why we ultimately decided to move to Hawaii in the first place.
However, I know some folks can’t image wearing t-shirts and shorts in the dead of winter and lack of seasons makes daily life in Hawaii feel more monotonous.
#5. Island fever is real
Living in Hawaii can feel very routine after a time. Things don’t change much on any of the islands, so you’ll pretty much be going to the same restaurants, cafes and stores year after year.
Visiting Hawaii for vacation is one thing, but if you move to Hawaii then you’ll quickly learn just how small the islands really are. Plus, most places close by 10pm, so nightlife is non-existent.
You’ll run into the same people, make the same small talk and find yourself yearning for a change of scenery every once in a while.
#6. Tourist season is a bear
Hawaii gets 10+ million visitors per year, which means the island swells with more people than it can handle during the tourist season (December thru April).
If you’re living in Hawaii during this crazy time you will learn to avoid running errands during certain times of day because the lines are so long and the traffic is a nightmare.
Don’t get me wrong, it warms my heart to see tourists enjoying the place I am fortunate enough to call home, but every once in a while, I just want a coffee and donuts without an hour-long wait.
#7. The job market
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to have a job before moving to Hawaii because jobs (especially good paying jobs) are hard to come by.
Hawaii runs on a tourist economy, so most of the jobs are in the tourism/service industry. Think restaurants, hotels, stores, etc. If you are coming with a college degree, you will find it hard to secure a gig.
In fact, Hawaii is one of the hardest states to find a job in.
Like most cities, your chance of getting hired improve if your address is from the city, but trust me on this — unless you have a good-paying job lined up, life in Hawaii will be hard for you.
Pros & cons of moving to Hawaii (Post Summary)
If you’re planning on moving to Hawaii, here’s a quick recap of the pros and cons of living in Hawaii based on firsthand experience from someone that has lived here 10+ years. I hope you found this post helpful.
- Life in Hawaii is paradise
- The weather is pure bliss
- Access to nature and outdoor recreation
- Fresh fruits
- Hawaii is beautiful
- It’s a safe place to live
- Hawaii is diverse
- Life in Hawaii is simple
- The housing market
- High cost of living
- You won’t feel like a local
- Lack of seasons
- Island fever is real
- Tourist season
- The job market
Let me know if you have any questions or comments about living in Hawaii, it’s always a pleasure to hear from you!