9 Things You Should Know When Moving to Kona - I Love Moving

9 Things You Should Know When Moving to Kona

Posted Country Guides / May 9, 2018
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

Relocating to the Paradise of the Pacific is a dream for many, and for most, it will stay that way. However, if you are determined not to give up, there are plenty of reasons why moving to Kona could be the right choice. Read our guide and learn about all the riches this destination has to offer. It is certainly more than just the divine coffee named after it.

#1 Moving to Kona, Hawaii, Will Be a Unique Experience

Even though the Aloha State is a part of the US, relocating to Hawaii will almost feel like moving abroad. The Hawaiian culture is essentially Polynesian, so it would feel like adjusting to a new country no matter where you’re from. In addition to that, English is not the only official language of the state. Breaking the language barrier should also be something to count on. All in all, even as an American, you would experience less culture shock if you were relocating to the UK or even by relocating to Canada. However, expanding your horizons and the personal growth you will gain will be worth the trouble.

The Big Island is reserved for adventurous and outdoorsy people who crave something different and unusual. Let’s face it – almost nobody relocates to the Paradise of the Pacific to boost their career or save money. The one thing most people seek is new experiences, and Kona’s all about that. Whether you’re moving internationally or just between states, there are so many things to enjoy. You’ll adore breathtaking beaches (even the green and black ones!), volcanoes, national parks, and spectacular hiking trails. And when you decide it is time for a change, you can always take a road trip around the isle. It will give you a chance to try out 8 out of 13 climate zones that exist in the world. Yes, the Big Island has almost all of them!

Relocating to Kona, Hawaii, as an Expat

Moving overseas to this part of the Big Island demands extra few steps if you are a foreigner. Aside from all other documents needed to travel abroad, you will need to apply for a visa. The US offers different visa programs. Make sure to visit the local US embassy and check the process itself, as well as your eligibility. Also, remember that you will travel abroad during COVID-19. Keep track of any new US coronavirus-related restrictions before hiring an overseas moving company.

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#2 Not All of Kona’s Towns Are the Same

The Big Island has nine districts, two of which are North and South Kona. These areas have become one of the biggest tourist centers on the isle. That is why you can find plenty of tourism-related amenities and a vivid atmosphere. Still, each of the towns has plenty of unique qualities to offer:

  • Kailua-Kona – people often think of this town when talking about the two previously mentioned districts. It is one of the most dynamic and energetic places of them all, with plenty of restaurants and bars. If you seek a more urban and less secluded lifestyle, this is the city for you.
  • Holualoa – it is more of a village than a town. However, it’s considered an art enclave, with plenty of galleries and a much slower-paced way of living.
  • Captain Cook – this place was named by the first European who traveled to Hawaii. Legend says that native Hawaiians were fascinated by Cook and his crew and even considered them divine creatures. That lasted up until one of Cook’s men’s death revealed their mortality. Now the Captain Cook monument (built in the 19th century) is a well-known landmark on the isle. As for the area itself, it can offer you a quiet life with lower housing costs. It is why it’s one of the first choices for family-oriented people.
  • Kahaluu-Keauhou – is one of the more expensive areas. However, keep in mind that it offers access to some of the most known Hawaiian beaches, such as Makolea Beach.

Is It Safe to Live on the Big Island of Hawaii?

Crime rates on this isle are close to the US national average. However, keep in mind that the west side is considered the safest. The side where Kona’s is located has a small percentage of violent crimes. However, burglaries and auto thefts in certain neighborhoods might be a little more common. Take your time, research areas more closely, and pick the one with a good Neighborhood Watch program.

#3 Penny Pinching Will Be in Order

Let’s keep it real – the cost of living in Hawaii is high. However, you’ll be happy to know that Kona’s one of the cheapest places to live in Hawaii. Still, although more affordable than in some other Hawaiian cities, the living expenses will still be higher than the national average. So how much does it cost to live in Kona, Hawaii? The median home price is around $515,000, while a one-bedroom apartment can be rented for $1200. The price of groceries will also come as surprising, but just remember that you are on an island, which means that a lot of stuff has to be imported. Try not to buy shipped goods – instead, look for local farmers’ markets and avoid astronomical food expenses.

How much money should you save before moving to Hawaii? In ideal circumstances, $10,000 saved for the first period after you get here would be a reasonable sum. However, relocation expenses don’t depend only on the cost of living. They are also connected with relocation-related factors, such as which international moving company you’ve chosen or whether you opt for moving by sea or the costlier moving by air. You should also calculate the weight of the shipment and the time of the year, both of which will affect your expenses.

The situation is much more convenient if your company is organizing an employee relocation. In that case, one of the most important questions to ask your employer could be about reimbursement packages. Be informed about all that your company can do to help with relocation expenses.

#4 If You Want to Find a Job, Know That It Won’t Be Easy

Employers in the Aloha State don’t like hiring non-Hawaiians, usually for two reasons. Firstly, foreigners and mainlanders often change their plans and opt against relocation at the last minute. Secondly, many of them find that living here doesn’t live up to their expectations and end up returning home. That is why it is hard to get a job before the move.

However, even after the move, the job situation isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. If your profession isn’t in demand, the job hunt could last longer than you would like. It would be smart to relocate to Honolulu or any other highly developed city first. Finding a job in and from more populated areas will be easier. After that, you can make more connections and persuade employers on the Big Island that you are here to stay.

Westside of the Big Island doesn’t have a demand for IT experts, like some other parts of this state. Kona’s job market usually suits those working in tourism, healthcare, and education. Receptionists, waiters, cashiers, and the like are also always in demand. However, their monthly income usually depends on their workplace. Keep that in mind when applying.

#5 The Word Kona Means Leeward, and for a Good Reason

The Hawaiian name completely matches Kona’s geographical characteristics. It is located on the leeward side of the island, which means that it’s very much protected from the winds. This geographical position has made Kona’s weather drier and sunnier than on the other side of the isle. However, there may be one thing that will stand in your way of enjoying a sunny day. Depending on the speed and direction of the wind, a certain amount of volcanic smog could be present in the air. For healthy people, this is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. However, for people who already have respiratory health problems, there are better places to live.
Caption – Sunny weather and beautiful beaches – is there a better combo?
Alt-text – A couple sunbathing after moving internationally

#6 The Roads Are Great, but Traffic – Not So Much

Booking overseas vehicle shipping should be on your moving checklist when relocating here. Transport works great when it comes to the bus line that goes through the whole isle. However, more populated areas, such as Kona and Hilo, have traffic problems. Most traffic delays are connected to construction works. And somehow, they are always happening at the most inconvenient time and place.

The pros of owning a car here beat all the disadvantages, including the high costs of insurance and registration. Not only will you avoid being stuck on public transport, but you will be able to enjoy scenic drives and explore different areas whenever you want. Do you need some guidance regarding hidden gems of the Big Island that are worth exploring? I the answer is yes, make sure to watch the following video:

#7 Less Is More, so Keep Things Simple

This rule could apply to every moment from the one you first decide to relocate. Shipment weight will be one of the crucial things for your overseas shipping company to determine the price. When packing to move, remember that you are relocating to a tropical paradise (emphasis on the tropical). Toss, donate, or sell most warm clothes and move efficiently. Also, remember that rentals can come furnished, so ship to Hawaii only the most essential furniture pieces. Don’t overpack even if you are getting packing services to help you with all of your things. After all, the Aloha culture glorifies the minimalistic way of life.

#8 Relocating With Pets Could Give You a Headache

If you want to relocate with pets to Aloha State, the pet needs to be quarantined. No big deal, right? Except that the quarantine lasts not for a month, but six whole months! Hawaii’s the only rabies-free state in the country, and they want to keep it that way. Another option is applying for Direct Airport Release. However, this process demands a lot of preparations and money spent. Relocating with a dog, as well as relocating with cats, won’t be easy or cheap, but it’s worth all the relocation stress if they are already a part of the family.

#9 Regular Coffee Will Never Be the Same

Kona coffee is something this area is mainly known for. It is considered to be one of the best and most expensive sorts in the world. This is the only place where these coffee beans survive because it provides the necessary conditions. Beans are grown on the volcanic soil and benefit from the afternoon cover from the sun. The further process is an art form itself, from hand-picking to sun drying. Once you try it, no other coffee will ever measure. And the best part – it will be at the tip of your fingerprints.

Is Kona a Good Place to Live?

Life here has its pros and cons, much like every other place in the world. What will determine whether it is a good place to live in or not at the end is only you. Are you an open-minded and free-spirited type of person? Are you ready to give up on materialistic values? Do you like to be active, explore, and learn while living within a different culture? If the answer to the questions above is yes, don’t waste any more time – the decision has been made. Now you only have to find a reliable relocation company and make your move as stress-free as possible. Good luck!

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