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Moving to Hawaii

Hawaii is a bucket-list destination for many. 

The tranquil beaches, stunning mountains, radiant culture, and spirit of this place attracts people from far and wide. 

So, if you’ve decided you want to start teaching in Hawaii, we are thrilled for you! 

Once you’ve landed a teaching job in Hawaii, you’ll need to figure out all of the details required for moving to this tropical paradise. 

But don’t worry, we’re here to help and make your job easier. 

It’s important to know that finding an affordable place to live in Hawaii is one of the biggest challenges for people who live in the Aloha state. 

With 1.42 million people living across this lovely, but small, archipelago, it is not always easy to find space.

If you are super enthusiastic about the hiring opportunities with the Hawaii State Department of Education but are concerned about finding a place to live, keep reading to find out 8 important tips for moving to Hawaii:

  1. Where to live when you first arrive in Hawaii
  2. Working out your accommodations budget
  3. How to find a place to live in Hawaii
  4. What to pack when moving to Hawaii
  5. Can I bring my pet to Hawaii?
  6. Should I ship my furniture to Hawaii?
  7. Should I ship my car to Hawaii?
  8. Connect with Hawaiian residents

1. Where to live when you first arrive in Hawaii

It might be tempting to book a long-term place before you even arrive in Hawaii. 

However, while this is a great idea for building up your general knowledge of the rental market, it might be in your best interest to organize temporary housing for your first few weeks there.

True, temporary housing can be expensive and it means you’ll have to move all your stuff again when you find a more permanent place. 

But spending a few weeks in a temporary home will give you time to get to know the different neighborhoods where you live, visit rental properties in person, and make an informed choice about where you want to settle in the long term.

Check out for properties to rent in Hawaii by the day, week or, month.

A few other popular housing websites that are worth checking out are Craigslist, Zillow, and

2. Working out your accommodations budget

Your accommodations budget

The average price for a one-bed apartment in Hawaii is $2,300 per month, compared to a U.S. national average of $930.

It’s important to be mindful that these prices can also vary from island to island. 

Take a look at the table listed below for an overview of rental prices in the main city or town found in Hawaii’s six main islands. 

You can expect rentals to be slightly cheaper in smaller towns and rural areas.

City, Island

Average rent for 1-bed apartment

Honolulu, Oahu


Kahului, Maui


Hilo, Hawaii


Kapaa, Kauai


Kaunakakai, Molokai


Lanai City, Lanai



Before you sign any rental agreements, make sure you also factor in any extra costs that aren’t included in the rent. 

For example, utility bills are, by no surprise, are higher in Hawaii than the rest of the U.S. 

Costs will vary depending on which island you’re on and what your personal consumption is, but energy and electricity bills could be up to an additional $40 per month in Hawaii.

And don’t forget to factor in phone and internet charges so you can keep in touch with all your loved ones back home!


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3. How to find a place to live in Hawaii

Although you can use Google to search for a place online and you can contact realtors before you arrive in Hawaii, your best chance of finding a place is to wait until you are there and can view places in person. 

Real-life connections are also incredibly important, so make sure you ask around at your school when you arrive in Hawaii to see if your colleagues have any handy local tips about flat hunting, or if they know of any available rooms for rent.

One thing you can do in advance, from the comfort of your sofa no less, is to start thinking about what your priorities are for a living space. 

As you might have already realized, Hawaii can be an expensive place and it is possible that you will have to make some compromises on accommodations to fit your budget. 

Maybe you are willing to give up having a yard if you’re just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. 

Or maybe you’d be open to having a roommate if it means you get to share a larger living space.

Take a look at a variety of properties online to get an idea of what’s out there for your budget. 

You can even get started on your research for long term rentals and to see what type of options are available out there on HawaiiLife or HiCentral

With some good planning and a flexible attitude, you’ll be settled into your new home in Hawaii in no time!

4. What to pack when moving to Hawaii

Moving to Hawaii

Packing for a move from one state to another is no joke. 

On one hand, you don’t need to bring all your belongings with you to Hawaii (winter coats, for example!). 

But at the same time, you don’t want to bring so little that you have to shell out re-buying everything when you arrive.

Prioritize your personal items and climate-appropriate clothes. 

And remember, you can always get anything you leave behind shipped out to you.

5. Can I bring my pet to Hawaii?

Hawaii has strict laws about importing pets, so if you have a furry (or scaly) friend you’d like to move with you to Hawaii, make sure you take some time to read up on the requirements in advance. 

As a general rule, you should contact Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture at least four months before you plan to move.
Remember that in addition to taking a flight, your animal will have to spend up to 30 hours in quarantine when it arrives in Hawaii.

6. Should I ship my furniture to Hawaii?

Most apartments in Hawaii are already furnished so you shouldn’t need to bring your kitchen equipment or furniture with you. 

Of course, you might want to pack or buy your towels and sheets.

7. Should I ship my car to Hawaii?

Before you decide on bringing your car to Hawaii, take a look at where you plan to live and what other transport options are available. 

Biking can be a great way to get around or there might be public transport that serves the main routes you’ll be using on your daily commute to work.

Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai all have public bus services with monthly passes ranging from $40-$70. Molokai and Lanai have no public transport.

The cost of shipping a car to Hawaii from the U.S. west coast is around $1,100 per standard vehicle. 

If you do plan on driving in Hawaii, you’ll also need to factor in the average price of gas in Hawaii at $3.62 per gallon, the second-highest price for gas in the U.S. 

Used cars tend to sell for roughly the same amount as on the mainland.

8. Connect with Hawaiian residents

Another pretty practical way to get some advice on making the move to Hawaii is to join online groups filled with Hawaiian residents who have tips to offer on where to live and how to live in Hawaii. 

Every island in Hawaii has plenty of Facebook groups where residents mingle, and Reddit has a Hawaii subreddit for you to post your questions in.

And if you want to connect to other Teach Away educators who are on their way to teach in Hawaii, then join our Teach Away Community on Facebook.

Enjoy this new adventure 

It always takes a bit of planning and preparation when you decide to make a big move in your life. 

But the very best way to ensure that your move to Hawaii is as seamless as possible is to prepare, prepare, and prepare!

Once you have sorted your living accommodations, have fun and enjoy yourself! The island has so much beauty, culture, and history to offer, life will never be a dull moment. Bon voyage!  

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