Everything you need to know about moving to Hawaii to teach

Moving to Hawaii

Once you've landed a teaching job in Hawaii, you'll need to figure out all of the details of moving to tropical paradise. But don't worry, we're here to help!

First off, 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 our hiring opportunities with the Hawaii State Department of Education but are concerned about finding a place to live, then keep reading...

Where to live when you first arrive in Hawaii

It might be tempting to look ahead and try to find a place online before you even arrive in Hawaii. However, while this is a great idea for building up your general knowledge of the rental market, it could 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 Airbnb.com for properties to rent in Hawaii by the day, week or month.

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, but prices can also vary from island to island. Take a look at the table below for an overview of rental prices in the main city or town on Hawaii’s six main islands. You can expect rents 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 extras that aren’t included in the rent. Utility bills are, no surprise, higher in Hawaii than the rest of the U.S. Costs vary depending on which island you’re on and what your personal consumption is, but energy and electricity bills could be up to $40 more expensive 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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How to find a place to live in Hawaii

While you can search online or contact realtors before you arrive in Hawaii, your best chances of finding a place is to wait until you are there and can view places in person. Real-life connections can also be incredibly importantmake 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 know any rooms going.

One thing you can do in advance, from the comfort of your own sofa no less, is starting to think about what your priorities are for a living space. As you might have picked up, Hawaii can be an expensive place and it’s possible that you’ll 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 couple of 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 properties online to get an idea of what’s out there for your budget. With some good planning and a flexible attitude, you’ll be settled into your new home in Hawaii in no time!

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 really don’t need to bring all your belongings with you to Hawaii (winter coats, for example!) but on the other, you don’t want to bring so little that you have to shell out re-buying everything when you arrive.

Prioritize personal items and climate-appropriate clothes. And remember, you can always get anything you leave behind shipped out to you.

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 as well as taking a flight, your animal will have to spend up to 30 in quarantine when it arrives in Hawaii.

Should I ship my furniture to Hawaii?

Most apartments in Hawaii are already furnished so you shouldn’t need to bring your own kitchen equipment or furniture with you. Of course, you might want to pack or buy your own towels and sheets.

Should I ship my car to Hawaii?

Before you make a decision about bringing your car to Hawaii, take a look at where you plan to live and what the other transport options are. Biking can be a great way to get around or there might be public transport that serves the main routes you’ll be using.

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 to drive in Hawaii you’ll also need to factor in current estimates put 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 as on the mainland.

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 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.

The best way to move to Hawaii is to prepare, prepare, and prepare. Then you will show up to the beautiful state without (too many) surprises to handle.

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