Working from home was but a dream to many employees prior to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact prior to 2020, only about 7% of employees in the U.S. regularly worked remotely, according to a Pew Research Center report.
However, as of October 2020, Gallup reported that 33% of the U.S. were working remotely all the time and 25% were working remotely sometimes. Additionally, many large tech companies—Facebook, Twitter, VMWare, Salesforce, and Shopify among them—have announced long-term remote working policies. This has opened the doors for employees to take a hard look at their current lifestyle and wonder whether they might be happy living (and working!) from somewhere else.
Given all of this, our Royal Hawaiian Movers team has a question for you:
Why not Hawaii?
If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of living in the Hawaiian Islands, and you’ve been offered the possibility to work remotely permanently, this might be the right time to pack your bags and make the move.
By the way, if you’ve considered relocating as a result of changes in your work environment, you wouldn’t be alone. Between 14 and 23 million Americans reported that they plan to move to a different area as a result of telework, according to a study from Upwork, a freelancing website.
To take advantage of all these changes in the air, a number of global locations are rolling out programs to attract remote workers (including Hawaii)! We’ll give you some top highlights to kick off your research—and then we’ll give you our (totally biased) reasoning why it might be time for you to head for Hawaii.
Looking for a Change of Scenery? Check Out These Remote Working Programs
There’s never been an easier way to try out life in the Aloha State than Hawaii’s Movers and Shakas program. The state’s initiative was designed to encourage remote workers to temporarily relocate to the island of Oahu with:
- Round-trip tickets to Honolulu.
- Special deals on extended stays at five hotels, right in the heart of Waikiki.
- Discounted rates for three nearby co-working spots.
- Plus, deals at a few local restaurants so you can soak up some local culture.
In exchange, the program asks members to give back to the community by volunteering with a local non-profit and signing the program’s Pledge to Our Keiki.
Although applications are currently closed, the program plans to reopen applications for another cohort of Movers & Shakas in 2021.
(And if you want to do your own DIY move to Hawaii, keep reading! We’ve got some tips for you below.)
Remote workers often live in a gray legal area when it comes to living abroad. Some countries have policies directly relating to remote workers, and some, simply, don’t, leaving it to each individual to navigate employment and length-of-stay regulations that simply haven’t caught up to the digital nomad movement.
However, two Caribbean islands have created some modern programs to entice remote workers to their shores. These programs package the opportunity to enjoy island life and the excitement of living abroad along with a perfectly legal, above-board status on the island.
- Barbados’ 12-Month Welcome Stamp offers you a full-year visa to live and work on the island. Remote workers can reapply after a year for another stamp. That said, the visa does come with a hefty fee of $2,000.
- The Cayman Islands’ Global Citizen Concierge Program offers you a longer, 24-month stay. However, note that it comes with income requirements and a fee of $1,469 per year.
If island life has called to you in the past, these options might sound attractive. (What’s not to like about enjoying that laid-back Caribbean lifestyle, secure in the knowledge that your time on the island is perfectly legal?!) However, if you’re more of a landlubber, we’ve got one other idea for you.
Much like the programs in Barbados and the Caymans, Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa offers remote workers the opportunity to live in the country for a year and work legally. The program does have an income requirement, although it’s much lower than that of the Caymans.
If you’re not familiar with the country of Estonia, it was a former member of the Soviet Union, which gained its independence in 1991. Today, it’s home to two UNESCO heritage sites: 1) the town of Tallinn, which was built in the 13th century, and 2) the Struve Geodetic Arc, structures that were built in a 19th-century survey that helped to determine the exact size and shape of our planet. Today, the country is also about 52% forest, so if you enjoy getting out in nature, you’ll likely enjoy Estonia, which also happens to be one the EU’s least crowded countries.
Now, all that said, if you’re dead-set on living abroad, the programs offered by Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Estonia, and a number of other global destinations will likely hold great appeal.
However, there are a few reasons why we love Hawaii—and why we think you should consider moving here!
Our (Totally Biased) List of Reasons to Choose Hawaii
First and foremost, as a U.S. state, Hawaii makes for easier living for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Just hear us out for a minute:
1. You get to keep your cell phone, which makes it easier to keep in touch with friends, family—and work colleagues.
Yes, if you live abroad, you can get an international plan or a local cell phone in the country you decide to call home. However, you’ll discover quickly that international data plans get expensive fast, and who wants to manage multiple plans and juggle multiple phones? However, if you move to Hawaii, your phone just works the same way it did on the mainland. No muss, no fuss. (With the exceptions of a few cellular dead zones that are pretty widely known!)
2. No need to apply for work visas—or even a new driver’s license.
If you’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you’re basically good to go when it comes to applying for jobs. No visa applications and no extra fees, just the usual paperwork you’ll complete when starting any U.S.-based job.
3. Banking is easy.
Although we do have some banks here that you might not recognize—Bank of Hawaii or the Central Pacific Bank, for example—they all operate on the U.S. dollar, so there’s no need to worry about currency exchanges. If you bank online, you’ll also find ATMs compatible with many of the popular online banks, making it easy to get cash when you need it.
4. Online buying and shipping are easy.
Care packages from home will be easy for your family to ship to Hawaii since it’s just like sending mail to any other U.S. state. If you want to send a little aloha back to the mainland, shipping is easy through the USPS. (Grab those “if it fits, it ships” Priority Mail boxes to make it even simpler!) Additionally ordering online is a snap, although occasionally you’ll find a few extra fees for shipping to Hawaii. You’ll also discover that Amazon Prime Members can still get free shipping to the Aloha State, although usually, the deliveries take between five to seven days, instead of two.
Now, in addition to all those reasons why remaining in the U.S. can reduce your hassle and make for a smoother relocation, there’s one more factor to consider:
5. The time change can make it easy to enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer.
Hawaii doesn’t observe Daylight Savings, so when you move to Aloha State, you’ll be two to three hours behind Pacific Time and five to six hours behind East Coast time. If you need to keep regular business hours, you’ll find yourself up early—but then you’ll finish work early, too. In fact, you’ll likely finish in plenty of time for an afternoon hike, an after-work surf session, or a happy hour cocktail. In other words, the time change here in Hawaii will make it easy for you to use those afternoon daylight hours to enjoy all the island’s activities. Plus, you’ll find a largely get-up-early/go-to-bed-early culture here in Hawaii, so you’ll fit right in.
Have we convinced you yet? If you need a little more motivation to join us out here in the middle of the Pacific, check out our article, “9 Numbers That Will Make You Want to Move to Hawaii.” Or, if you’re already plotting your escape from the mainland, keep reading because we’ve got one more resource for you.
Live Life on Aloha Time
Whether you decide to apply to the next round of the Movers & Shakas program—or you want to handle the move yourself—we’ve got a great resource to kick off your planning process.
Check out our guide, “How to Move to Hawaii.” We’ll take you step-by-step through making the move, including what island to move to, how to plan your transition, and what options you’ll have for moving your personal belongings to the Aloha State.
And when you’ve fallen in love with the Aloha State, and you’re ready to talk about moving all of your belongings to Hawaii, we’ll be here. Keep in mind that we handle moves of all sizes! Whether you want to move an entire 3-bedroom house or a small studio’s worth of belongings, we can help. Just get in touch with us for a free quote to get started.