When you’re moving to an island that’s a couple thousand miles from the nearest major landmass, the logistics can get complicated. Add a few more people to that equation, and things get exponentially more interesting!
However, plenty of families before you have made smooth transitions to the Aloha State. After helping thousands upon thousands of families relocate to Hawaii, we’ve noticed a few trends—and a few strategies that set the stage for simpler and easier family moves.
In this article, we’ll share everything we’ve learned about moving families to Hawaii. We’ll start with the areas you need consider before relocating. Then we’ll offer you some tips for the actual move, followed by some post-move suggestions for getting settled in.
Let’s get started!
Before You Move to Hawaii: What You Need to Know
We’ll begin with a question that many a parent has Googled before relocating their kids to Hawaii . . .
Does Hawaii Have Good Public Schools?
According to U.S. News and World Reports, Hawaii ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to their Pre-K through 12th grade education programs. The news outlet rated Hawaii #28 out of 51 in their list of best states for education.
The outlook from WalletHub is a little less optimistic. The website’s rankings, which take into account 30+ metrics across categories like performance, funding, safety, class size, and instructor credentials, puts Hawaii in 40th place.
#28 – U.S. News and World Reports ranking of Hawaii’s public education programs for grades Pre-K–12.
#40 – WalletHub’s ranking of Hawaii’s public school system.
About 15% of students in Hawaii attend private school. That’s about 50% more than the U.S. average, which has hovered around 10% for the last 10 years.
At this point, you may now be wondering . . .
How Much Does Private School in Hawaii Cost?
Data from the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools pegs the average tuition of their members at $12,311.32 per year for the 2021-2022 school year. This number represents the statewide average and excludes Kamehameha Schools.
Curious what the average would be on the island where you’re planning to live? Check out the island-by-island breakdown below:
Average Private School Tuition by Island
Source: Hawaii Association of Independent Schools; includes Kamehameha Schools
In addition to having a significant impact on your Hawaii life, school can also impact your timing when moving to Hawaii.
What’s the Best Time to Move to Hawaii for Families?
A lot of families choose to move to Hawaii in the summer time. That way, their kids can get a fresh start on a new school year in the fall. Additionally, kids will have a little more time to adjust to the transition during the summer, rather than having to immediately jump back into school after a big move to Hawaii.
However, you should know that summer is also the busiest time for Hawaii moves. As a result, you’ll need to schedule your move in advance, and you may need to stay flexible in terms of dates. If there’s any chance your family can move at another time—during an extended winter break, for example—you’ll find a lot more flexibility in terms of availability.
Finally, living in Hawaii can offer a pretty different experience than your family might be used to. Of course, that’s all part of the appeal! However, if you’re still in the decision phase, there are a couple of areas you might want to consider before you commit.
Are You and Your Family Ready for Hawaii Life?
Will you be leaving family (and a support system) behind?
If you’ve currently got family living in your area, they can act as a strong support system for you and your kids. For example, maybe there’s a grandparent picks up your kids from school a couple of days a week, or you have a sister who’s stepped in to help when your regular caregiver doesn’t show up.
If you don’t have family in Hawaii, you might keenly feel that loss of support. Additionally, moving to Hawaii without knowing many people can feel isolating, and it can put more pressure on parents and kids alike. If you’ve leaned significantly on your local support system in the past, it’s something to think through before you make the move to Hawaii.
That said, you will find plenty of fellow parents out here, and you’ll likely make friends before you know it (especially through your kids’ schools)!
Are you prepared for the cost of living in Hawaii?
You may already know that it’s more expensive to live in Hawaii than many other parts of the continental U.S.
However, have you considered things like:
- The price of plane tickets to visit family and friends on the mainland? Those who might have been a drive or a short flight away will now be significantly farther, making for more expensive visits.
- The cost of housing? Rental costs in Hawaii are on the rise, and buying a home can be cost-prohibitive for some families. According to Zillow, the typical value of a home in Hawaii is ~$828,000. Make sure you do your research in this area so you’re prepared.
- Your grocery bill? Since everything has to be shipped in, your total at the supermarket will likely be significantly higher. Multiply that by the number of people in your family, and the costs start to add up.
However, here’s the good news: There’s plenty of free stuff to do in Hawaii, especially if your answer to this next question is “yes.”
Do Your Kids Love the Outdoor Life?
Endless beaches to explore. Warm Pacific water to paddle in. Hiking trails, tide pools, wildlife refuges . . . if your kids love outdoor life, they’ll find plenty to do in Hawaii. (The same is true for you, too!)
A lot of people who move to Hawaii worry about island fever. It’s a real phenomenon. (Trust us on this one!) However, island fever doesn’t seem to have as strong an effect on people who love exploring Hawaii’s outdoor landscapes. So if being out and about in nature sounds like your family’s bliss, you’ll probably love living in Hawaii.
Now that you’ve got your preliminaries out of the way, let’s take a look at the actual moving process.
Planning for Your Family’s Hawaii Move
First and foremost, check out our Insider’s Guide to Moving to Paradise. In this handy how-to, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about relocating to Hawaii.
Below, we’ve picked out a couple of areas of special interest to families.
Decide on the “How”
Unless you’ve got a family of minimalists, you might be looking around your house and wondering, “How am I going to get all this stuff out to Hawaii?”
We’ve got you covered. Check out this article on and pros and cons of using a container to move to Hawaii. We’ll show you all of your options. By the end of the article, you’ll have a good sense of whether a container solution—or something different—is right for you.
Tip: If you’re short on time—or you’ve got your hands full with your kids—consider a full-service move. Your moving company will arrive with everything they need to pack your whole house—and get everything loaded up for the long journey. They’ll even unpack it all on the other end!
Help Your Kids Through the Transition
Moving can be tough on kids, even when it comes to local relocations. Moving to Hawaii means a bigger, longer move that will leave them without many of their most comforting possessions for a few weeks.
To help you with this transition, check out our tips for moving with children. These eight ideas will help your children process their move emotionally and psychologically, reducing their stress—and, hopefully, reducing the strain on you, too.
Set Expectations for Hawaii Life
Some families have the luxury of coming out to visit before they make the move to Hawaii. If your family can swing this, great. Actually seeing the neighborhood where they’ll live and even learning their new address can give your child a few concrete details to grasp onto and reduce uncertainty.
If you can’t come out to visit, it’s still a good idea to talk about the move regularly. Discuss with your children how their lives might be different in Hawaii. Look at pictures of your new home on the Internet, and share some ideas for how they’ll have fun. That way, they can start to get an idea of what their new life will be like.
All of these strategies can calm a significant number of fears and/or anxieties children may develop around a long-distance move.
Don’t Forget About Pets!
If your family unit includes a dog or a cat, there are some very specific procedures you’ll need to follow to avoid a lengthy quarantine for your pet on arrival.
Check out our Complete Guide to Moving Your Dogs, Cats and Other Pets to Hawaii. We’ll take you through the process, step-by-step, so you have one less item to stress about.
8 Tips to Make Moving with Children Simpler & Easier
Help your child make an easy transition before, during, and after a big move.
Finally, let’s talk about what happens once you’re all moved in—and how to get used to island life.
Getting Settled After Your Family’s Hawaii Move
Establish New Routines
Many children thrive on routine. It can be comforting to them to know what’s on tap for the day.
When you move to a new place, establish a few new routines your kids can count on to ease them into their new life. For example, find a playground nearby and visit on a regular basis. Declare Sunday Family Beach Day. Make pizza together every Friday. Even finding a good route to walk the family dog every day can offer some much-needed stability in a child’s life—a little familiarity they can lean on.
Plan a Mainland Visit
If your kids are particularly missing friends or family back home, plan a visit—even if it’s months away. Just by planting the flag and telling your kids when they’ll get to see some of their favorite people again, you can create a positive touchstone. Whenever they talk about missing their old home—or a friend—remind them of the upcoming visit. (And plan plenty of FaceTimes, Skypes or Zoom sessions in between!)
Give Them Time to Adjust
Finally, don’t be surprised if your kids get emotional about your move. Some may simply
take the move in stride, but others may struggle in their new location.
Make room for your kids’ emotions. Tell them it’s okay to be scared, mad, frustrated, lonely, etc., and give them a safe place to express their feelings. This will ensure your kids feel heard. It will also keep them from bottling things up, which can lead to emotional explosions down the road. If you can follow up this kind of discussion with a fun activity that reminds your kids why your new home is so great, all the better.
Finding Your Family’s Paradise in Hawaii
If you’ve ever dreamed of raising your kids in paradise, Hawaii can be a friendly, safe, and beautiful place to nurture a family. It can also mean a big transition for your children. However, now that you’ve got a sense of what to expect, you’ll be prepared to help your entire family make the transition as simply and as smoothly as possible.
Need some help moving your family to Hawaii? We’d love to assist! We’ve got teams and warehouses on all four major islands—and we’ve got full-service options available if you want us to handle all the packing and unpacking. Just reach out to us for a free quote to get started.
Tell us about your move!