Things to Know Before Moving to Honolulu, HI

Things to Know Before Moving to Honolulu, Hawaii

If you’re gearing up as movers to this tropical paradise, prepare yourselves for an exhilarating journey marked by novel adventures, deep cultural engagement, and stunning natural vistas. Yet, remember that any relocation requires a clear and informed perspective. Our thorough guide covers all the essentials you need to know before embarking on your move to Honolulu, ensuring you’re fully ready for a vibrant life in Hawaii’s bustling capital.

The Aloha Spirit: Understanding Local Culture

Embracing the ‘Aloha’ Way of Life

The Aloha Spirit is the heartbeat of Hawaii, embodying a culture of love, peace, and compassion. As you prepare to move to Honolulu, it’s crucial to understand this ethos as it’s deeply ingrained in everyday life. The Aloha Spirit is about more than just being friendly; it’s about living with a deep respect for people and the land. Integrating this philosophy into your life will help you connect with the local community and truly embrace the Hawaiian way of living.

Respecting Hawaiian Traditions and Language

Hawaii’s rich history and diverse cultural tapestry are things of pride and significance. As a new resident, taking the time to learn about the islands’ history, cultural nuances, and even basic Hawaiian language phrases will not only show respect to the locals but also enrich your own experience. Participation in cultural festivals, understanding the significance of sacred sites, and respecting the local customs will deepen your appreciation for your new home.

Paradise Living: The Climate and Environment

Year-Round Sunshine with a Tropical Twist

One of Honolulu’s biggest draws is its pleasant, tropical climate. However, the weather can be quite variable, with different parts of the island experiencing distinct microclimates. Be prepared for sunny days interspersed with sudden rain showers, and understand that weather patterns can change rapidly. Embracing this variability is part of the island experience.

Environmental Responsibility

Living in such a pristine environment comes with a responsibility to protect and preserve it. Honolulu residents are deeply committed to environmental stewardship. This means being mindful of water usage, participating in beach cleanups, and respecting wildlife habitats. Your efforts in sustaining the natural beauty of the island will contribute to its preservation for generations to come.

Economic Realities: Cost of Living and Employment

Budgeting for Island Life

Honolulu’s cost of living is one of the highest in the United States, driven by its remote location and reliance on imported goods. The cost of living in Honolulu is high due to the high cost of housing, groceries, and transportation. For example, the average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is $20.00, while the average cost of a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is $82.50. 

The average cost of a gallon of milk is $7.82, and the average cost of a loaf of fresh white bread is $6.12. The average cost of a one-way ticket for local transport is $3.38, and the average cost of a monthly pass is $80.00.

If you’re moving to Honolulu, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of living is high. You may need to adjust your budget accordingly to ensure that you can afford to live comfortably in this beautiful city.

Employment Opportunities

The local economy in Honolulu is primarily centered around tourism, but there are also opportunities in other sectors like healthcare, education, and government. If you’re moving without a job lined up, it’s advisable to start your job search early. Remote work has also become a viable option for many, allowing for greater flexibility and work-life balance in this island setting.

Housing in Honolulu: Finding Your Home

Real Estate Insights

The real estate market in Honolulu can be quite competitive, with high demand and limited supply driving up prices. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, it’s important to start your search well in advance of your move. Consider different neighborhoods based on your lifestyle preferences, commute times, and budget. Be prepared for a fast-paced market, and don’t hesitate to seek help from local real estate professionals who understand the nuances of the Hawaiian market.

Renting vs. Buying

The decision to rent or buy will depend on your long-term plans and financial situation. Renting can offer more flexibility, which can be beneficial when you first move and are still getting to know the area. If you’re considering buying, be aware of Hawaii’s unique land ownership laws and the potential for higher property taxes and maintenance costs due to the tropical climate.

Getting Around: Transportation in Honolulu

The Need for Mobility

While Honolulu has a public transportation system known as TheBus, many residents find having a car essential, especially if living outside the city center or if your job requires commuting. Traffic congestion can be a challenge, particularly during rush hours. Consider the location of your home and workplace in relation to transportation routes to minimize travel time.

Alternative Transportation

For shorter distances, walking or biking can be pleasant, thanks to the city’s beautiful scenery and favorable climate. Additionally, the city is working to improve its infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, making these increasingly viable options for getting around.

Education and Healthcare: Essentials for Families

Schooling in Paradise

For families moving with children, Honolulu offers a range of educational options, including public, private, and charter schools. Each school has its own identity and strengths, so it’s important to research and visit potential schools to find the best fit for your family. Keep in mind that the admission process for some private schools can be competitive, and it’s advisable to begin applications well in advance.

Healthcare Facilities

Access to quality healthcare is an important consideration. Honolulu boasts some of the best medical facilities in the state of Hawaii. However, healthcare costs can be higher than on the mainland, and it’s essential to have adequate health insurance coverage. Familiarize yourself with the healthcare system and find a primary care provider or a healthcare facility that suits your needs soon after your arrival.

Leisure and Entertainment: Making the Most of Island Life

A Rich Tapestry of Activities

Honolulu is not just about relaxing on the beach – though that’s always an option! The city offers a diverse array of activities and experiences. From exploring the rich arts and cultural scene to indulging in the local culinary delights, there’s always something new to discover. Outdoor enthusiasts will find endless opportunities for hiking, surfing, snorkeling, and exploring the island’s natural wonders.

Building Your Community

One of the best ways to settle into your new home is to engage with the community. Honolulu is known for its warm and welcoming residents. Participating in local events, joining clubs or groups that align with your interests, and volunteering are excellent ways to meet new people and build a network. Embracing the community spirit will help you feel at home more quickly.

Practicalities of Island Living

Everyday Logistics

Adjusting to life in Honolulu might include getting used to things like smaller living spaces, dealing with pests common to tropical climates, and understanding local recycling and waste management practices. It’s also wise to be prepared for natural occurrences unique to the island, such as volcanic activity or tropical storms, by familiarizing yourself with local safety guidelines and emergency procedures.

Connectivity and Communication

Staying connected with family and friends back home is important, and Honolulu offers all the modern amenities for this, including high-speed internet and cellular services. However, remember that time zone differences can be a factor when communicating with people on the mainland or in other parts of the world.


Moving to Honolulu, Hawaii is an exciting and life-changing adventure. It offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a relaxed lifestyle, but it also comes with its own set of challenges and adjustments. By going in with a well-informed perspective, you can make the most of your new life in this Hawaiian paradise. Embrace the Aloha Spirit, respect the local culture and environment, and immerse yourself in the vibrant community of Honolulu. Welcome to your new home, where adventures await around every corner!


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