Aloha – after years of dreaming and planning, we finally made it happen, we moved to the Big Island of Hawaii!
Moving To Hawaii
Moving to Hawaii, the most remote land mass on the planet, requires some serious thought, research, and planning. But, it is possible and 100% worth it! Living in Hawaii (as you might imagine) is absolutely amazing.
Over the last few years, I’ve read everything I could find about moving to Hawaii and there really isn’t much out there. I know everyone’s experience and circumstances surrounding moving to Hawaii are different. Hopefully, this article will help you if you are looking into making the big move.
Why We Decided To Move To Hawaii
I’m very fortunate that my parents shared their love of Hawaii with me and my siblings. Growing up, I had the opportunity to visit Oahu, Kauai, and Maui many times with my family. We all agreed that the Hawaiian islands were our favorite place on earth and absolutely loved those family trips.
Chad first visited Hawaii on our honeymoon in Maui over 20 years ago and also thought that Hawaii was a special place.
After our honeymoon, we both agreed that we would live in Hawaii one day. But, although we both grew up in Utah, we weren’t done living in the mountains quite yet. So, we moved to the heart of the Rocky Mountains – Summit County Colorado.
We absolutely loved living in Colorado. We moved there to be ski bums and ended up creating a great life there for over 20 years. However, the winters at over 9,000 feet in elevation seemed to get longer and longer over the years.
Every time we visited Hawaii it would be harder and harder to leave and go back to the cold.
Trading winters that lasted 9 months for endless summers was just one of the driving factors behind our move to Hawaii. We were also drawn to other aspects of the island life. We love the Hawaiian culture, the diversity, the feeling of Aloha, and the incredible outdoor activities and natural beauty.
In 2019 we decided it was time to make the move. Our son Eli was in first grade and we wanted him to grow up in Hawaii and not have to move in middle school or high school.
The pandemic threw our plan off for a few years but we didn’t give up. We finally made the move in 2022.
Why We Chose The Big Island of Hawaii
The first challenge when moving to Hawaii is picking which island to move to. Each island is completely different and has its own pros and cons.
Although we had visited Maui, Oahu, and Kauai many times over the years, we only discovered the Big Island of Hawaii in the last 8 years. The Big Island instantly became our favorite island in Hawaii.
Why we chose to move to the island of Hawaii (or the Big Island as it is commonly called)-
- Just like the name states, it is BIG! So big that all of the other islands could fit in the Big Island and there would still be room to spare. We love that there is a lot of open space on the island to explore.
- My parents moved to the Big Island shortly before we did so we have family here!
- There are so many incredible hiking trails on the Big Island.
- While the Big Island has all of the amenities you need, it is still rural and has a small-town feel (only 200,000 people live on this island).
- There are a lot of great places to camp on the Big Island.
- The Big Island has Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!
- While still very expensive, real estate prices are slightly lower on the Island of Hawaii.
After living here for almost a year I can honestly say that we chose the perfect island for our family.
Moving To Hawaii – The Details
After choosing the Big Island, we had to decide where on the island we wanted to live. We researched school districts, weather, neighborhoods, and amenities. After extensive research, we narrowed our search down to two towns on the Kona side of the Big Island.
Finding A Place To Live In Hawaii
The next step was to find a place to live. Ideally, we wanted to rent a house for a year to get settled and find the perfect house to buy. Unfortunately, it was extremely hard to find an affordable place to rent in the area we wanted to live. So, we decided that buying a house would be our only option.
We booked a week-long trip to the Big Island just to look at houses. We found a few and even put in offers on two but neither offer was accepted.
Luckily, my parents were living on the island so after we returned to Colorado they looked at houses for us as they came on the market. After a few months, we found one we liked and put in an offer that was accepted. It was very stressful to put in an offer on a house that we had never actually seen, just trusting my parents’ word that it was a good house.
Deciding What To Keep And What To Sell When Moving To Hawaii
After finding a place to live in Hawaii, the hard work began. We had to get our house in Colorado ready to list, list our house, and pack.
Yes, we would have loved to keep our beloved house in Colorado. But, there was no way we could afford a house in Hawaii without selling it. So, the house was listed.
As we had thought, our house in Colorado went under contract fast.
Packing was not so easy. We had lived in the same house for 15 years so we had accumulated a lot of stuff (and I always thought I was a minimalist).
We moved in the winter so a garage sale was out of the question. I gave a lot of things away to friends and sold and gave a lot away through Facebook groups.
We also needed to sell all of our Colorado toys – a four-wheeler, dirtbike, camper, and pontoon boat. Using word of mouth, Craigslist, and Facebook, we somehow sold all of it rather quickly considering it was the middle of the winter.
Getting Cars and Household Goods To Hawaii
Shipping cars and household goods to Hawaii can be easy or difficult depending on where you live and your budget.
If you are moving from the west coast it is much easier because that is where the cargo ship ports are located. If you are moving from anywhere else, you have to figure out a way to get your cars and household goods to the west coast in order to ship them to Hawaii.
That’s where the budget comes in. If you have the money, you can pay to have your house packed and everything shipped to Hawaii – super easy. If you are like us and have a strict budget, you will have to do a lot of planning and research to find more affordable ways to get your cars and household goods to Hawaii – much harder but doable.
Moving Cars to Hawaii
Let me start by saying that cars are WAY more expensive in Hawaii. It was well worth the $1,500 for each car we paid to ship them both here.
We found that the cheapest way to get a car to Hawaii is to drive it to California and drop it off with a shipping company. My parents did that using Pasha Hawaii and it was a great experience for them. We used Hawaii Car Transport because it was a few hundred dollars cheaper. I’m not sure why it is cheaper because they ship the cars through Pasha. But, it worked out great for us. We were also happy with the service and we saved money.
Chad drove one of our cars all the way to California a few weeks before our move so we wouldn’t be without a car long once we got to Hawaii.
We drove the other car to California and shipped it the day before we flew to Hawaii. It worked out great that Chad’s parents live in Las Vegas so we had a halfway point to stop on our way to California.
You can pay a service to pick your car up at your house and take it to California to ship but it will cost a lot more than driving it yourself.
Moving Household Goods to Hawaii
It is expensive to buy furniture in Hawaii but it is also expensive to ship furniture to Hawaii. If you can find a house that is being sold furnished that would be ideal. The house we bought was completely empty so we had to decide what to buy new and what to ship over.
The woman who bought our house said she would take any furniture we wanted to leave so we didn’t have to worry about getting rid of the furniture we didn’t want to take.
We ended up taking a bedroom set that was only a few years old, our dining table and chairs, and some bar stools. The rest we left in Colorado and bought when we arrived in Hawaii. Costco has some great furniture deals but a very limited selection.
Living in a remote mountain town in Colorado limited our shipping options. None of the companies would drop shipping containers at our house. So, our options were to drive everything to California and pack a container there, or drive everything to Denver and pack a container there. Either option was terrible because we had to load a truck, drive, unload, and then re-pack.
I imagine there were other options but they exceeded our budget.
We finally decided to go with packing cubes from U-Pack in Denver. We fit everything we owned into 3 packing cubes that were 8 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and 6 feet long. The 3 cubes cost just under $11,000. It sounds like a lot of money but I think it would have cost much more to buy all of those items new in Hawaii.
Looking Back On Our Move To Hawaii
Whew! Just writing about all the work we had to do to make the move here makes me tired. It is not easy to move to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But, now that we are settled into our new life here, I can honestly say that the hard work was well worth it. Living in Hawaii is even more incredible than I could have ever imagined.
Pin This Post – Moving To Hawaii To Save For Later
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