Moving To Hawaii In Your 20s (10 Things To Know First)

March 29, 2023

Moving to Hawaii in your 20s can be a thrilling and life-changing experience. With its beautiful beaches, tropical weather, and diverse culture, Hawaii has long been a popular destination for those seeking adventure, new experiences, and a fresh start. However, before you pack your bags and set off for the islands, you should know a few things about what it's like to move and live there.

1) There is a High Cost of Living

One of the biggest challenges of living in Hawaii is the high cost of living. Everything from housing to food to transportation can be significantly more expensive than on the mainland. 

Hawaii also ranks consistently as one of the most expensive states to live in. 

Be prepared to adjust your budget and find ways to save money where you can. This may mean living with roommates or in more affordable areas of the islands. It is also important to note that the state's high tax rate can impact your finances.

2) The Job Market is Competitive

Another challenge of living in Hawaii is the competitive job market. Many people look to Hawaii for its laid-back lifestyle and scenic beauty, so job opportunities can be limited. It's essential to have a solid plan in place for finding employment before you make the move

It's also wise to have several job options in mind and be open to different types of work.

3) Housing Can Be Difficult to Find

Finding affordable housing in Hawaii can be challenging, especially in popular areas like Honolulu or Maui. Many people choose to live with roommates or in shared accommodations to help offset the high cost of rent. 

It's vital to research housing options and make arrangements before you move

Even if you have the means to buy a place, renting can be a safer option first to ensure you like the lifestyle. Take your time finding a suitable housing situation for both your needs and budget.

4) Natural Disasters Can Occur

Living in Hawaii means being aware of the potential for natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. It is crucial to have an emergency plan in place and to stay informed about potential weather or geological events. 

The state has a warning system for tsunamis and hurricanes, but it is still important to be prepared and aware. It also rains a lot, so rust is more likely to occur, and mold is more likely to grow.

5) Transportation Can Be Troubling

Unlike many major cities in the US, Hawaii's transportation system is limited (and the traffic is poor nearly everywhere). While there are public buses and taxis, having your own transportation is important if you plan to explore the islands. 

This means that owning a car may be a necessity

Therefore keep in mind the added expenses due to the high cost of gas along with the regular costs of vehicle maintenance and registration.

6) You Need to Have a Plan Before Moving

It's essential to know precisely what your plan or timeline is. Are you possibly living here long-term, or is this just something fun you can do while you're young to gain some life experience? This may also influence where exactly you choose to live.

Knowing your intentions can help you make quicker and better decisions during this process.

7) Healthcare Needs To Be Figured Out First

Access to healthcare is vital no matter where you live, and Hawaii is no exception. Researching healthcare options and finding a provider that meets your needs and budget is crucial. 

Hawaii does have a state-run healthcare program for low-income residents, but the program has limited availability.

8) You Should Set Aside Some Savings “Just in Case”

Moving to Hawaii is a huge lifestyle change, and often it can be a bit too much (especially for those moving out of their parent's house). You may miss your family, have trouble getting a job/making ends meet, or just don't like the island life.

Before you move, ensure you'll have enough money at any time to afford a ticket back home.

9) Bring as Little as Possible to Save On Shipping

Shipping things to Hawaii is expensive, so you'll want to minimize how much you bring. Bringing your pet(s) isn't ideal, and your car will likely need to sell your vehicle beforehand. 

Check out the Hawaii pet import regulations if you can't live without your furry friend.

10) Choose Where to Live Based On Your Needs

Choosing which island of Hawaii is best to live on depends on personal preferences and priorities. Here is a brief overview of the four most populated islands and their characteristics:


Oahu is the most populated island in Hawaii, home to Honolulu, the state's capital and largest city. Oahu has a diverse range of neighborhoods and offers a variety of urban and outdoor activities, including hiking trails, beaches, and cultural events. It is also home to several universities and colleges, making it a good choice for students.


Maui is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, including world-class beaches and hiking trails. It is a popular destination for tourists and retirees but has a growing job market and several colleges and universities. Maui has a slower pace of life than Oahu and offers a mix of small towns and larger cities.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island): Hawaii Island is the largest island in the state and offers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush rainforests to volcanic lava fields. It has a growing job market focusing on science and technology and is home to several universities and colleges. 

Hawaii Island has a more rural feel than Oahu and Maui and is a good choice for those who enjoy a slower pace of life and outdoor activities.


Kauai is known for its natural beauty, including stunning beaches, hiking trails, and waterfalls. It has a smaller population than Oahu and Maui and offers a quieter, more rural lifestyle. Kauai has a growing job market focusing on agriculture and tourism and is a good choice for those who value a peaceful, outdoor-focused lifestyle.

Get Ready!

Moving to Hawaii in your 20s can be an incredible adventure that offers a unique mix of culture, natural beauty, and a laid-back lifestyle. However, it is important to consider the challenges of living in this paradise, including the high cost of living, limited job market, and competitive housing market. On the opposite end, Seattle offers a lot of opportunities for 20 year olds too.

Despite these challenges, moving to the Sandwich Islands can offer a chance to explore and discover new things. They provide endless opportunities for outdoor activities, including surfing, hiking, and snorkeling. 

In addition, the island's beauty, culture, and community make it a truly unique and rewarding place to call home.

If you're still unsure- just take a trip there if you can afford it. Have fun!

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