Maui nō ka ‘oi
You’ll hear this Hawaiian phrase all over the Valley Isle. It means “Maui is the best,” and if you’re considering a move to Maui, you probably already agree. For those who find Oahu too busy, Maui can be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle. Others who crave conveniences and a little more excitement than the Big Island or Kauai will find several hubs of activity on Maui, including Kihei, Wailea, Lahaina, Wailuku, Paia, and Haiku, among others.
You might be noticing a trend here—that Maui sits squarely in the middle of the Hawaiian Islands, both literally and figuratively. It also happens to be the second-largest in terms of area and the third-most populated of the four major Hawaiian islands. For many people, Maui is the Goldilocks island. It’s neither too much of one extreme or another. It’s just right.
If you agree—and you’re looking to make Maui your home—we’d love to help you make a smooth transition to the Valley Isle. We’ve been moving individuals and families to Hawaii since 1982, and we opened our Maui office in 2001. In all that time, we’ve learned a thing or two about moving to Maui, and we’ll share our must-knows with you below. With these seven tips under your belt, you’ll be perfectly positioned to make an easy move to Maui.
#1: The Cost to Move to Maui Is Entirely Up to You
In the course of talking with our customers about their relocations, we answer a lot of questions about transitioning to Maui. One of the big ones we hear over and over again is, “How much does it cost to move to Maui?”
Our answer? It depends on you—and how you want to move. If you’re the kind of person who can pack two suitcases and go, then you can move to Maui for the cost of a plane ticket with baggage fees.
Now, if you have some belongings you want to bring with you, you’ve got a few more options. You could relocate to Maui with:
- A full 20′ or 40′ container packed with your belongings.
- What’s called a “less than container” solution, in which your belongings are packed into sturdy wooden crates called lift vans. These lift vans are then loaded into a container and sent to Maui.
- Your current location and your destination on Maui.
- The weight of your shipment.
- What kind of specialized items you’re shipping.
Want some more details? Check out our article on the three factors that determine the cost of shipping a container to Hawaii. It will walk you through exactly what our experts look at when putting together a quote—and start to give you an idea of how much your move will cost.
Next, in addition to wanting to know how expensive it is to move to Maui, many people we talk to also want to know how expensive it is to live in Maui.
#2: Yes, the Cost of Living in Maui Is High
We won’t sugar coat it. The cost of living in Hawaii is high, the highest in the U.S., according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. If you’re moving from a large city like Los Angeles or New York, you might not see a huge difference. However, if you’re moving from a less expensive area, such Dallas, Texas or Portland, Oregon, you might feel the squeeze.
How does Maui stack up against the rest of the Hawaiian Islands? As you might expect, it falls somewhere in the middle in several categories. For example:
- Costco gas is generally cheaper in Maui than you’ll find on the Big Island or Kauai, but it’s more expensive than on Oahu.
- Data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition reveals Maui’s fair-market rent to be more expensive than on the Big Island. However, Maui is still cheaper than Kauai or Oahu. Finally, once you move here and get settled, you’ll discover your own little tips and tricks for keeping your bills manageable. One simple one: When it comes to buying gas, a Costco membership will quickly pay for itself. Plus, if you’re good at managing bulk purchases from Costco, a membership can really help you stretch your dollar.
And while we’re on the topic of comparing your current home to your new home…
#3: A Lot of People Move from California
If you’re thinking about moving to Maui, you may wonder how you’ll fit in. Will you find a lot in common with other Maui residents? Will you meet other recent transplants? Will their stories be similar to yours? Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. However, one thing we can say is this: If you’re moving from California, you’ll be in good company. In fact, according to IRS data, the largest number of new Hawaii residents move from:
- International locations
So if you’re moving from one of these locations, you’ll find kindred spirits who are also new to the Hawaiian islands.And if it’s companionship you’re after, we’ve got good news for you.
#4: You Can Bring Your Dogs, Cats, and (Most Other) Pets
In recent years, Hawaii has made it a little easier for you to bring pets into the state. Hawaii is a rabies-free destination, and the government plans to keep it that way. As a result, there’s a considerable amount of paperwork and legwork for you to complete if you want to bring your pet to Hawaii. However, if you successfully complete the checklist, you can secure a direct airport release for your pet (translation: no quarantine)! Our Complete Guide to Moving Your Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets to Hawaii will walk you through everything you need to know.
One final note: In order to protect the state’s fragile ecosystem, certain species, including porcupines, snapping turtles, and geckos are a no-go. Make sure you review the full list of conditionally-approved species before you set your heart on Maui.
Now, if you’re the kind of person that wants to take it all with you—your belongings, your pets, and more—we have another piece of good news for you.
#5: You Can Also Move Your Car to Maui
Getting a car to Maui is a pretty simple affair, especially if you happen to live close to a port, such as the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, or Seattle. You can simply drive it to the port and drop it off. Then, your chosen shipping company will simply drive it onto a boat headed for Kahului Harbor in Maui. Pretty simple.
(And, if you’re short on time, you can also arrange for door-to-door service, in which someone will come pick up your car, take care of all the arrangements in between, then drop it off at your residence in Maui. Even simpler!)
Now that you know your car can go to Maui, the other question you should ask yourself is whether it should. If your car is nearing the end of its life—or you’re considering an upgrade soon—you might be better off selling it and buying another car in Maui. To help you decide, check out our guide to shipping your car to Hawaii.
Now that we’ve talked about the how behind your Maui move, let’s talk a little about the where.
#6: You’ve Got Plenty of Options When It Comes to Living in Maui
One of the other questions we hear a lot from customers is, “Where’s the best place to live on Maui?” In our opinion, it all depends on what kind of experience you want to have.
- If you want to be in a central location on Maui with easy access to restaurants, bars, shopping, and nightlife, then Kihei might be the spot for you.
- If you don’t mind being a little off the beaten path, while keeping proximity to amenities, shopping, and entertainment, Lahaina on Maui’s west side could be a good choice.
- A number of families choose to live in Wailuku Heights, a residential neighborhood that offers cooler temperatures due to its slight elevation.
- If the idea of living in a lush, tropical rainforest that’s tucked away from the tourist hot spots appeals to you, check out peaceful Haiku.
- And if you love cool breezes, farms, ranches, open fields, and quiet walks, look at somewhere upcountry like Kula or Makawao.
At the end of the day, where you decide to live in Maui will form a large part of your experience on the island. If possible, make a pre-move visit and spend some time in each of the island’s neighborhoods so you can get a feel for what might fit you best.
#7: You Can Also Bring Your Family—or Not
Finally, we also get a number of questions from folks thinking of moving to Maui around who they’re moving with, such as:
“Can I move to Maui with my family?” “Can I move to Maui alone?”
Our answer? Absolutely! We’ve moved both individuals and families of all sizes to Maui. Once you start meeting your fellow residents, you’ll hear a whole spectrum of moving stories. You’ll encounter people who uprooted their entire family to move to Maui, single people who moved to Maui on their own, retired couples who moved to Maui to enjoy the golden years of their lives—the list goes on. You’ll also meet Maui residents with moving stories that go all the way back to the ancient Polynesians who packed up their belongings in canoes and journeyed to Maui over the water.
The bottom line?
If Maui is calling your name, go ahead and answer. If you haven’t already discovered why Maui is the best, you soon will.
Ready to make the move to Maui? We’d love to help you make a safe, easy, and affordable transition to the island. Just reach out to us, and we’ll connect you with one of our experts to put together a complimentary quote for your move.
Tell us about your move!