I got this email recently from a girl that is looking to move to Waikiki after she graduates. She asks a lot of questions, so there is a good opportunity to help a lot of people in a similar situation so I thought I’d try to knock this post out real quick before I get started with my other work today. I have a large backlog of email from people asking questions about moving to the Hawaiian Islands. I will get to all of them, but it will be months before I can do so. The best advice I have for you if you are considering a move to Hawaii is to read the Hawaii Articles at the link at the top of this (and every) page on this site. There are over 100 articles covering a vast number of topics that can help you decide whether it will work for you or not. There are also 4 videos I’ve done covering the 2011 version of my Moving to Hawaii book that give you a little more information about what it is like to live in Waikiki, Honolulu, on Maui, etc. The videos are free – maybe start with those – Moving to Hawaii videos (click).

Here is the note I received from “Lisa”. Because she asks so many questions I decided to put the answers right under the paragraph – within the body of her email.

Lisa: First, I want to say that I love your book and your website. They are so helpful. I was hoping to get some advice and input.

Vern: Thanks! I will give it my best shot.

Lisa: I am in my last semester of college right now and I am looking to move to Oahu later this year. My degree is in behavioral sciences (psych, soc, social work). I was looking online and found that there are many jobs within my field, a plus. But, I am worried that I will have a hard time lining up a job bc I am currently on the mainland. I have heard that it is preferable to hire locals over mainland applicants. Should I try to visit to line up jobs? Or are phone interviews common?

Vern: I also have a degree (2 of them) in psych. I thought I might work in the field when in Hawaii, but I stuck with computers as the jobs were even more plentiful. It is virtually impossible, let’s just say it IS impossible to get a job commitment from a company in Hawaii while you are living off-island. It just isn’t going to happen for 99%+ people. It really means, you shouldn’t bother trying. However, if you do try you just MIGHT be able to get some employer excited about you enough that they agree to interview you as soon as you arrive on-island. That’s the best you can do. Most companies need people TODAY if they are running ads for employees, so they probably cannot wait for you to arrive. Occasionally (I’ve had this happen), you may time it right and the company can wait a couple weeks for you to arrive for the interview. There is no guarantee that once you interview you’ll get the job, but, it’s about the best you can accomplish while living away from Hawaii. If you have the time and energy to pursue jobs before you arrive, by all means, do so.

Lisa: Also, I visited in May 2012 and loved it there. I have thought about going back since I left. However, I am concerned about what location to live in. I have read that the west coast is not so fond of haoles or mainlanders, lol. I assume this is because it is mostly a locals area. I was originally thinking I would move to the Waikiki/Honolulu area, but I am concerned about the amount of tourists in that area. So I started thinking about Kailua and the areas towards there. Now I just don’t know! I am looking for jobs in the honolulu area so I do not want to commute too far and i want to feel safe. I also want to be walking distance to the beach bc I won’t have a car. I will be renting.

Vern: West side, yeah, is very localized and it isn’t that you can’t live there, but you won’t feel as “at home” as you might somewhere else. Kailua is beautiful, and expensive. Not sure what place you’d find there to live. A room in someone’s house maybe. Or, in Kaneohe there might be something. It is the Marine base area, so lots of military there. Prices are pretty high too. Living in Waikiki or just outside of that area is ideal if you want to work close by. Tourists are maxed out in Waikiki, but the areas around, you may find few. There is nothing to see in the housing areas toward the mountains. You could walk down the hill and be at work. It’s possible anyway. A great building to live is 400 Hobron Lane. Google that. Google Earth and Map it. It’s a great location and the pool on top with barbecue area is perfect.

Lisa: I am currently paying off my bills, credit cards, etc, but I have a car loan. I have two years left on the loan, but I do not want to bring my car. I want to sell it, but I have a loan. I was thinking the only way to sell it would be to a dealer bc I don’t have the title. Any experience?

Vern: Years of it… You can sell the car as long as you can payoff the balance of the loan with the bank that holds the title. Just visit your bank prior, ask them what you need to sell the car, and once sold go in with the buyer and the bank works out the details.

Lisa: Is there a time of year that is better to move to Oahu? More rentals, more jobs, cheaper flights, etc?

Vern: I think Spring is better for jobs. Really nothing else matters if you don’t have a job, so focus on that. During December holidays is probably the worst time.

Lisa: Would you recommend bringing a dog with you? I know about all of the quarantine and vaccines. In your experience is it a good idea?

Vern: I wouldn’t. There are not enough natural places for dogs. There are not enough buildings that allow dogs in the units. There are extravagant pet deposit fees for keeping animals. Cleaning fees after you leave the apartment.

Lisa: Also, my boyfriend wants to bring his car which is modified. I know that the car must pass inspection and be registered upon entering the island. But, I heard that you have to obtain a modification permit and have a certain amount of ground clearance. Do you know anything about that? I haven’t seen this anywhere, but someone he knows in HI told him that.

Vern: Have him check the Hawaii forums at: http://www.city-data.com/forum/hawaii/

Lisa: Everyone says that it is expensive there. I am from the northeast coast, Delaware to be exact, and I didn’t notice a huge difference really, except for gas. I have always thought that was odd. A gallon of milk is almost $4 here, so its not cheap here either. Maybe it’s the area I live in, idk. Food for thought.

Vern: Not sure how it relates to Delaware, but Waikiki is very expensive, on par with large cities in California, and NYC.

Lisa: Sorry for the 50 questions and the mini novel, lol. I look forward to your response.

Thanks so much!


Vern: No problem, nope these responses help you in your decision to move from Delaware to Waikiki. It would be a great change of scenery if you can pull it off!


Peter Kay