Since thousands of people are moving to Hawaii in 2021, here are some things to know before moving to Hawaii:


We measure distance by time, not miles.

20 miles in the mainland could be a 30 minute drive, but on Oahu, expect it to be up to an hour.  We do have freeways, but they don’t connect towns like you might be used to. There are no rest stops or food signage. Your map app is a necessity - even for locals. Social media groups and local news/radio are also important traffic guides. Before you buy, know your commute. 


The tropic sun 


Wear sunscreen.  The sun you might be used to in the mainland may not feel the same.  No matter your skin tone, you will burn easier.  The heat is also different.  Until you have lived here for awhile, you will feel hot and muggy and sweaty.  Air conditioners are common, but energy prices are steep. The 2019 average cost of electricity in Oahu was $0.29 per kWh (it’s higher for other islands).Fans and cooler showers will be your best friends.  Also - always keep sunglasses in your car.  Even if it’s cloudy and rainy, the weather can change with a 10 minute drive. 


Hawaiian culture

There is an entertaining side to Hawaii culture, but it is all steeped in history and tradition.  Be ready to learn.  “Hawaiian” is not the same as “Texan” or “Californian.”  Hawaii is born from a rich and diverse Polynesian heritage. This ancestry and bloodline are the only ones who can be called “Hawaiian.”  Many people groups came here to work on the plantations, creating a special melting pot. This resulted in the Pidgin language, blended cuisine, and community becoming like family.  Local children grow up referring to most adults as “auntie” and “uncle.  They also grow up learning Hawaiian words, music, and dance, often culminating in a school program called “Lei Day.”  


Moving your pets

If you are moving with your pets, you will need to start the process early. Hawaii is a rabies-free state and has strict quarantine laws for any cats or dogs moving here. Some highlights from the Hawaii’s Animal Industry Division are listed below. Following these rules will be the difference from having your your dog or cat being released directly on the day you arrive or having them stay up to 120 days of quarantine.

The good news is that when your pet finally is reunited with you in Hawaii, there are several great dog parks and animal-friendly condos and communities to find a home.

  • 10 days before you arrive, assure your cat or dog has a working electronic microchip.

  • More than 30 days before you arrive, assure your cat or dog has been vaccinated at least twice for rabies in its lifetime. The vaccines must be administered more than 30 days apart. Obtain a rabies vaccination certificate for each of the vaccines from your veterinarian.

  • More than 30 days before you arrive, do a FAVN Rabies Antibody Test at an approved lab. Once you have a successful test, wait at least 30 days before you arrive in Hawaii, or your pet will be subject to quarantine for $14.30 each day along with a $244.00 fee.

  • Complete all the documents and send them in a set, so they arrive 10 days before your arrival.

  • Schedule flights to arrive by 3:30 p.m., so the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility has time to inspect and release your pet before 5 p.m. closing time. Otherwise your pet will have to stay overnight for an additional $59 fee.

  • Be ready to pay the $185 Direct Airport Release fee upon arrival.

  • Owners wishing to fly their pet direct to the island of Hawaii, island of Maui or island of Kauai must send in documents in 30 days or more before arrival and request a Neighbor Island Inspection Permit.

Speaking of animals:

You won’t have squirrels or snakes or gators to deal with, but Hawaii has it’s own variety of wildlife. Geckos, peacocks, whales, turtles, mongoose, wild boars, fish, roosters… you could find them all in one day here.  There is diversity amongst the islands, too. Kauai is known for its chickens and Nene birds. Molokai and Maui are known for their deer. In the mountains of Oahu, wild boar are found, and are often hunted by the locals.


Banking in Hawaii

There are no brick and mortar national banks: no Wells Fargo, Bank of America or Chase. So make sure you can have your ebanking information handy and have enough cash and checks to help you get settled. Alternatively, set up a local account in advance. Some of the more prevalent banks in Hawaii are Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, American Savings Bank, and First Hawaiian Bank.