Have any Dopers moved to Hawaii?

I’m considering moving to Hawaii - not that I’ve ever been there, mind you, but I’m willing to give it a shot given the little info I know about it. Sea, sex, and sand, right?!! (LOL) Sounds like a brilliant plan already, except for the fact that what I know about it comes only from pictures, guidebooks and relocation websites. And of course lots of trips to other tropical paradises, like Thailand, Cayman Islands, Martinique, Grenadines, etc.

Anyway, I am just curious if any other Dopers have lived there? Did you, or do you like it? What DON’T you like about it? Anything I should think about before considering moving there? I’m leaning towards Honolulu since it is big and there are lots of people, restaurants and bars, etc. I’m 32, single and not exactly retiring so a job would be nice too, but not critical right away! Still, I’m willing to roll the dice but wonder if anyone has any experience living there?


Moved there twice.

What finally drove me away? Two things.

First, the cost. Even though things have improved with the opening of the first K-Mart, stuff was still relatively pricy. Rent isn’t cheap either.

Secondly, when you want to take a trip somewhere… you gotta fly.

Family emergency on the mainland? Pray you can get a ‘sympathy discount’ from an airline.

No road trips, unless you fly first. If you get the urge to hop in the car and drive… er… drive where? No driving from Honolulu to, oh say, Hilo. And with the cost of gas these days? Aieee.

That being said… it is a truely nice place. Weather is usually good, you have all different kinds of Oriental foods to choose from, lots of beaches, pretty places to go hiking, etc. I just got sick and tired of paying through the nose for living there, and of seeing many of my friends slowly lose ground in the race between cash in and cash out, despite their working multiple jobs.

<< The cutest kittens have the sharpest claws. >>

Loved my week in Maui, but decided after 7 days that I wouldn’t want to give up the flexibility of living in the contiguous states. Felt a little claustrophobic knowing that I could drive the entire island in one day. Even in a non-central place like Cincinnati, Ohio in one day I could get to Canada or Minnesota or Florida or New York. Or heck, even Dayton if that was my druther. Hawaii is just too small for me.

Hawaii has great weather and it’s an awesome state, IMO. However, the cost of living is pretty daunting, so I’d definitely rent a house or condo for a month and check things out before I packed up all my shit and paid to ship it halfway across the Pacific.

Best of luck to you.

I left Hawaii after living there for over 25 years. Growing up there, it was heartbreaking to see the negative changes and the Hawaaian culture dissapearing. The land once use for agiculture is being made into luxury homes.
And the cost of living? It’s called the Price of Paradise. Milk is $4.00 a gallon. There is no public transportation on the outer islands. You need to own a vehicle. The roads are crowded.
On the othere hand, you may never meet nicer people. The food is incredlble. You can go to the beach any day. humpback whales visit every winter. There is unique music and entertainment.
The economy is very dependant on the visitor industry, so have a job lined up if you decide to go.

Thanks for the replies! I guess I have a little research to do. Price seems to be a big issue, but I wonder how expensive it is compared to Paris…things ain’t so cheap here either! But saying that, all other kinds of issues need to be looked at like a job and place to live blah blah blah. Great to get feedback from you guys, thanks!

Cheers, Powers

CNN has a link that pops-up for this. Honolulu comes in at 57 in this list of 144 international cities, a little below Miami. The outer islands are even more expensive. While many things are most expensive we get back some of it by not having to deal with stuff like multiple wardrobes for the various seasons and not needing heaters and AC. Our gas prices tend not to drop and I doubt we’ll ever see $2 gas again. Although we might put in plas price caps on gas very soon, who knows what that will do to things. Housing prices here are terrible.

We’ve been getting a lot of articles in the newspaper lately talking about our booming job market. And indeed our unemployment figures have typically been better then the US average. Although I don’t think we have the quality of jobs you’ll get on the mainland.

“Rock Fever” does seem to effect a lot of people. Especially those who aren’t outdoor people. Driving wont even take you out of the county.

What’s one of my favorite things right now? Adult Swim starts at 8pm.

It’s about $3.59 a gallon in NYC, so I wouldn’t complain!

Guess how much it is at the local super market? More then $6. Sometimes $6.99.

Don’t shop in Waikiki!!

I lived on Da Big Island for two years. I didn’t find things too much more expensive than on the mainland.(Gas was the exception) It is a more laid back existance. I only travelled through Honolulu, but found it to be a touristy nothing.
People are very nice, even to the haoles. Weather is very consistant ( rained a bit most days in Hilo :slight_smile: ) 80 degrees daytme, 67 at night. Summer and Winter. If you want to slow down a bit and live life, go for it.

The Doctor is ON, The Doctor is Happy.

I moved to Hawaii over 15 years ago and stuck it out for about 7 years, 6 1/2 of them in Waikiki (the Diamond Head end, Fern Forest). I moved there for a simple reason – I had a degree in Japanese and that was where the jobs were since Japanese tourism was booming. The company which hired me did so over the phone, so they didn’t know I was haole (white) until I got off the plane, and I suspect that was an unpleasant surprise for them. As for me, I still remember walking along Waikiki beach the morning after I arrived telling myself, “This is Hawaii. You live here, now.” It was the first time I’d been to Hawaii.

Hawaii was beautiful, and I loved it dearly. The people are among the kindest and best-natured in the world and are as precious to me as the scenery, if not more so. The prices, however, are insane. Honolulu does have good, cheap public transportation, but the bottom line is I couldn’t afford to stay and, when my engagement ended, I had no reason to keep trying to. While I’m a long way from the beach where I am now, there are gorgeous mountains an hour away, and I pay less for a spacious 1 bedroom apartment than I did for my “broom closet with aspirations” in Waikiki, or even for one room in a less grand three-bedroom apartment near downtown Honolulu. The other thing is, while the prices were high, the wages weren’t. I miss Hawaii and I’d love to go back, but I’d have to win the lottery first!


Would you really move someplace without even visiting? That’s insane to me, but whatever works for you.

I was raised on the mainland, but my mother’s family has been in Hawai’i since 1873 - when it was still a sovereign royal kingdom. I lived on Kaua’i for a year after college in an effort to learn more about my family’s life in Hawai’i. Perhaps you’d like some input from the other side of the coin.

Local culture is a huge mixture of largely Asian and Indigenous Hawaiian cultures. Local people feel somewhat assaulted by the influx of “Mainland Haole” - that’s white folks from the continental US. Local people are largely relegated to the tourist/service economy and they struggle to survive with such a high cost of living. Almost all of my first cousins have left Hawai’i because even though they are highly educated, the opportunities just aren’t there. The general belief is that if a Local Person and a mainland Haole are equally qualified and up for a job, the company will give it to the Haole because of a bias against “lazy” Locals. Remember, these are perceptions, not facts.

Meanwhile, Haole come and get the nice jobs without a problem, have plenty of money to buy up land and build big homes, and don’t really take the time to learn about or immerse themselves in the Local culture, which is slowly being washed away (more perceptions, with a large grain of truth). There is a strong undercurrent of resentment, which you can ignore at your own risk. I can tell you about big Hawaiian guys who worked at hotels and the fantasies of revenge on tourists they used to share with me, but I don’t want to scare you.

Is it safe to assume that you are white? (With a name like Powers… :)) Are you prepared to be in a place where the folks are roughly 75% Asian/Polynesian? Have you ever been a minority? Are you willing to learn about the local culture, or are you just there to party? These are some things to think about. Just want you to know that there is a long history of “invasion” in Hawai’i and you’ll be participating in that to some degree. You should be aware of these very complicated issues before you even consider a move.

First of all, thanks for all the replies!

Moving without visiting isn’t so strange. I know lots of people who get transferred by their company to a place like Oklahoma City (no offense), visit it once and agree to move. Or even agree before they see it in the name of career advancement. Even so, if it didn’t work out I can always move somewhere else after a year or so.

Still, I’m betting that Hawaii has a little more to offer in terms of quality of life that I’m looking for than a place in the middle of the midwest (again, no offense, i’m from Minnesota after all) even if finding a job might prove difficult and some locals will always look at me as the tourist. And actually, the Asian influence is great, I love Asia and wouldn’t mind living in Bangkok or Hong Kong if I could find a decent job there. I am assuming that Hawaii might have more opportunities considering that as an American I won’t need bother about a work permit. Plus, I’ve lived in France for a while and plotting my escape every winter is getting boring, why not move to the type of weather I’m endlessly running away to?

There was an interesting comment about salaries not matching the cost of living. Is this really true? I have pretty good credentials, MBA, CPA, etc. so there must be something for me to do (fingers crossed). Also, tell me about this big male to female ratio - allegedly the worst in the USA after Alaska, I think. Um, is it really THAT bad? Man, the last place i want to move to is the one where the bars are all filled with 100 sailors and 1 pretty girl. Yikes! (I know i’m exagerating, but i’m a single guy after all and I have spent some time in Anchorage :eek: )


That’s where I live, by Kaiulani. I bet you’ve seen me at least once. You should see what they’re doing, they’ve redone Kalakaua and are spending this entire year redoing Kuhio. Replacing and widening the sidewalks and replacing much of the road. You should see the traffic mess when they close off Kalakaua for a parade or to turn it into a cafe.

Anyway turns out I was wrong on the milk prices. Although I didn’t overestimate, I underestimated. $7.35 is the cheap milk, $7.99 is the middle one and $8.39 is the expensive one. Tourists don’t comparison shop and I doubt any locals by milk from the Food Pantry. Although bread is very cheap there. Go figure.
Powers106, there are a lot of military bases, Kaneohe, Pearl Harbor, Schofields and those bring in lots and lots of young men. But most of them wont be here for too long which seems like it would put a crimp in any of their dating plans. I wouldn’t worry. I hear the Latin dancing groups almost always have too many women and not enough men. Or take a fun class at KCC. And there are tons of single female tourists (SFT) in Waikiki maybe looking for a vacation thing.

As long as you budget for the few things that are more expensive (gas, housing, some foods) things should be fine, I think that most things here are priced in line with any other mainland city. Join Costco and buy in bulk if that helps.

It certainly possible to do this. And if you make friends easily and enjoy outdoor activities, particularly those beach related you’ll probably enjoy it. The rent would be the biggest hurdle. Read up on it at the Honolulu Advertiser. Click on Homes then rentals. You’ll probably want something in areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 or 12. Mililani has a real mainland feel to it. Very pretty but not walkable. I’d advise against Waikiki even though I like it because it is very walkable. But I live with my Grandmother who came here in 71 and has a nice clean apartment building with an awesome view. Actually there a beautiful condominium a few blocks east of me, man I’d kill to live there. If you could find work in Kapolei (11) you’d get to drive in the opposite direction of most rush hour traffic which would be very nice. The Star Bulletin is our other newspaper. Not many US cities have two newspapers anymore.