If you’re considering a move to Hawai`i, you may have already heard the slogan “Maui no ka oi,” meaning, Maui is the best.
Of course, all the Hawaiian Islands attract transplants because they have such incredible climates, offer an escape from the “rat race” of the mainland, and provide the possibility of enjoying nature year-round. But many people find the Valley Isle especially appealing because it has more job opportunities, restaurants, arts and culture, and shopping than most of the other islands, without the urban crowding and traffic of Oahu.
Can You Realistically Make the Move?
In the last few years, the increased popularity of remote work has enabled more people to seriously contemplate relocating to Hawai`i. Even if you have this type of flexibility in your job, remember that we’re one of only two states where there are no clock adjustments for daylight savings. That means that for half of the year, we’re two hours behind the West Coast and five hours behind the East Coast – and for the other half, it’s a three-hour and six-hour difference. If that’s not a hindrance to you, or if you already know what kind of work you’ll be able to do locally, read on!
It’s fairly common knowledge that the cost of living can be high here – so it’s wise to compare your current grocery, gas, and utility prices before you get too far in the planning process. It’s worth pointing out that a Costco membership can help you save quite a bit on groceries and gas. And keep in mind that as a Maui resident, you’re not likely to drive nearly as much as you used to, and (depending on the part of the island you make your home), you may have several months each year in which you don’t need utilities like air conditioning.
Speaking of deciding exactly where to live on Maui, give some thought to 1) the lifestyle you want and 2) what part of the island seems to match it. Are you seeking the year-round sunshine and proximity to incredible beaches that comes from living in either the Wailea/Makena area or the Lahaina/Kaanapali region? Or would you prefer the cooler temperatures and sleepier pace of living upcountry? Are you a surfer/windsurfer/kiter who wants easy access to the north shore? Or do you truly want to get away from it all in Hana?
Whatever part of Maui you choose, rest assured that a completely different experience is usually just a short drive, or a quick island-hopping flight, away. If you live in Kihei, for example, a drive to Kapalua can feel like a major change of scenery – or if you’re a Kula resident, a Hawaiian Airlines or Mokulele flight to Oahu can feel like you’ve been transported to another world!
What Should You Bring With You, and How?
The question of whether or not to ship your vehicle is a big one in the moving process. Car brands like Honda, Nissan, and Toyota are popular here, so if you have one of those and want to ship it through a company like Matson or Pasha, you’re likely to find experienced professionals to service it – and the odds are good that you’ll find interested buyers when it’s time for resale. If shipping isn’t cost-effective because of your current location, or if you just don’t want to work out those details along with all the other aspects of your move, we do have plenty of dealerships and other options for buying new and used vehicles on island. As another alternative, some residents choose to buy on Oahu and then ship to Maui, through a company like Young Brothers.
And speaking of shipping versus buying … you’re probably wondering what to do about furnishings and household goods. If you have items you don’t want to leave behind, companies like Matson and U-Pack can get them to you safely. But we also have a variety of furniture stores all over the island (along with Target, T.J. Maxx, and Walmart for home goods) – and companies like Wayfair and Pier 1 do deliver to Maui.
What about relocating your furry family members? Well, since the Hawaiian Islands are rabies-free, the State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division has created a detailed process for ensuring that pets have been vaccinated and screened properly before entering the state. This part of your move can require a few months of careful planning – but resources like these checklists can help.
Once You’re Here
You made it! Give yourself a pat on the back and experience a Maui sunset as soon as possible.
Next, if you haven’t already done so, get yourself an Amazon Prime membership so you can order anything you need that’s not available locally. Get your Hawai`i driver’s license as soon as possible, too, so you can start enjoying kamaaina (resident) discounts at stores and restaurants. And use resources like Maui Times for the lowdown on happy hour food and drink specials near you.
You may find that it’s easy to build a community in your new island home through your existing hobbies and interests. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, get involved a canoe club or a halau hula (hula school) where you can also learn about the culture, language, and traditions that make these islands so unique.
It takes some planning and coordination to make the move, but it’s worth it – if you embrace Maui, it will embrace you. And if you need help with any details along the way, please feel free to contact me!
Leslie MacKenzie Smith, REALTOR(S), RS-42147