We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Moving to Hilo in August

Which Hilo hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Topic
Moving to Hilo in August

Aloha! My fiance and I are moving to Hilo in August and I just

wanted some honest local advice about what to expect. I've

been looking at apartments and jobs but know that you never

really know what to expect until you are standing right in front of

it. Are there any areas that I should be looking at or avoiding? How is the crime and job situation? My fiance will be attending the University so we would like to find a place near there if possible. It appears that a car is almost required on the island...are they expensive? I look foward to hearing from someone soon!

Mahalo,

Charles

Lexington, South...
Level Contributor
1,141 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Best advice is to start reading. These two books may be of interest:

'So You want to live in Hawaii' by Toni Polancy

'Affordable Paradise: The Secrets of an Affordable Life in Hawaii' by H Skip Thomsen

Combined they provide a pretty decent picture of life in Hawaii. Just expect raw truth in their writing - good and bad.

Good luck.

Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Thank you for the Quick Reply. I'll check them out!

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,781 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Aloha, tribal!

Those two books are the ones I had ... Affordable Hawai'i -- it's just sad to read the earlier edition and hope the revision is more current. Stuff like -- Kapoho Vacationland is a steal price-wise, well now even the fixers are the most expensive in the area. So much has changed that book would have needed a whole rewrite.

There are various nice areas, although Hilo is really a block by block kind of city. The whole flat area between Kilauea and Hwy 11 is not very desirable, mixed with commercial. Take a look at the airport location and don't park youself under the jet take-offs ...

buy an East Hawaii mapbook if you can get one from Amazon.

Make a preliminary trip before you arrive with your stuff. Drive the neighborhoods.

In general, Hilo apartments are bad as in dumps that no one cares for and if you are going to run into crime it is more likely there. If possible, rent a small house in a neighborhood.

A car is necessary if you don't want to be stuck in Hilo and as it rains so much here it's not much fun walking your groceries home. Yes, they are overpriced here and often beaten up and salt-damaged. They're better when they come from Oahu. Although private sellers will be cheaper, as you are new to the area you may want to stick to buying from a dealer so you get some warranty. (One of my sons bought a Honda Accord from a young couple, complete piece of junk, they moved to Colorado the next day, no recourse.)

Start looking at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald / West Hawaii Today class ads for cars, and the Herald for rentals. Also go to www.craigslist.org (select Honolulu, then Big Island) for rental ads.

There is indeed a shortage of rental housing around the university because of people with the same needs and desires as yourself, so do not wait until shortly before beginnning of term ... you will pay more for a rental close to UH compared to the equivalent in another part of town as the landlords are well aware of their rentals' desirability. Many students commute in from Puna where costs are lower. Be aware though that the traffic crunch in and out of Puna is very bad now at commute hours, as so many have gone for the lower prices but still work in Hilo.

Well, this all sounds pretty dire but these are just the potential issues you face. The good parts are many and I don't go into them because I expect you've thought of them already. Hilo is a friendly town. There are lowlife ice addicts all over the island and I do recommend you assess any apartment building carefully, If it's full of UH students, cool, but look before you leap. Whatever you do stay away from Waiakea Villas -- read the reviews here at TA in the hotels/other lodging section (they are mixed rentals and vacation rentals, thus reviewed here).

Welcome to Hawai'i! UH is a nice low key place.

Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Wow! thanks for all the advice! I've been reading so many sites and blogs that its all a bit overwhelming but very educational. I will admit that reading this forum does scare me away a little bit but I appreciate the honesty as we are making the move no matter what.

What is Kurtistown like?

How bad is the traffic? I live outside of DC and it takes me one

hour to make my nine mile commute!

How often are there quakes and really bad storms? Is this a big worry?

How is the Puna district?

Mahalos.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,781 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

You're welcome ... don't be scared but be realistic.

Hawai'i is expensive. We have a serious affordable housing crisis. Anyone who moves here has to face up to that; the rest is pretty good news.

>>What is Kurtistown like?

Rural, not a town. Farmland, cooler, fair amount of rain.

>>How bad is the traffic? I live outside of DC and it takes me one

hour to make my nine mile commute!

Not that bad, but people on the island aren't used to stop and go and they get impatient with it. There aren't any route alternatives if you have to come out of lower Puna, 130 is it. Kurtistown you don't deal with 130, so only the crunch between Kea'au and Hilo, which is four lanes.

How often are there quakes and really bad storms? Is this a big worry?

No one can predict the occurrence or non-occurence of quakes, so there is no point in worrying about it. I've yet to see a storm here that scared me. However, hurricanes are a remote possibility even though almost always they fall apart when they hit our cooler waters (cooler than the equator). Again, not something I fret about.

>>How is the Puna district?

Huge and varied! You must explore it before committing to a spot.

Avoid Ainaloa and Nanawele due to crime. Many people in Puna have dogs to guard their property. Theft is an issue there; you aren't going to get mugged on the street, but someone may "visit" your house while you're out if you don't situate yourself in a secure place.

I recommend you talk to a professional property manager or two. Even if you don't rent from them, they can advise you specifically about neighborhoods and complexes.

Palm Springs...
Level Contributor
11,440 posts
103 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Money wise your going to have to make about 35K a year to break even. The job market has lots of low-paying $8 to $14 per hour.

The good jobs all really go to friends of friends and Hawaiians.

It is a very very old-boy system.... I consider 60K to be the average needed to enjoy the basiscs... you presently enjoy in VA/DC.

The County has a web site for jobs like police officer that are constantly open. Most couples work 2 jobs to make ends meet

unless they are professionals with deep pockets to begin with.

The " move to Hawaii" books are still showing figures of around 24,000....... as a minimum income... that was when the book was published years ago The Federal Govt gives its GS workers a 16% COLA over mainland rates..

Go to Yahoo real estate, and click on area profiles to get an up dated facts according to zip code....

It will normaly take about 3 years to get offered a good job here, because so many move here and after 18mos to 24 mos the majority move back. to the mainland...So not many employers want to give you a good job till they know you are going to stay around

One issue that you need to address is that of electricity... we have the highest rates in the nation..... AND... there is no gas. Rentals here do not include utilities. How much can you expect.... well I had a 1 bed condo, and ran the hot water heater only 2 hours a day, cold water wash, ac set at 82. and conserved by cooking micro-wave..... For 2 persons... it ran from a low of $350 to $525 a month

Also sales tax is charged on everything here from labor to Dr Bills.

I would ship my car form the mainland.... drive to LA ant it takes 7 to 14 days to get it in Hilo figure about $950 to get a reliable car rather thAN a used rust bucket.... since Hlo area gets 150" plus, Jurtis town is in the 200" a year range..... while cooler it has very high humidity and mildew and mold are a consideration.

You need to look long and hard ... it may very well put a strain on your relation...unless you sook at the hard facts.

I hope it works for you.

Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Very good info! I'm not expecting it to be easy...luckily I'm surviving now in a place that is very expensive as well and I've learned to live a simple life. We're actually striving for a much simpler life and to get away from the hustle and bustle of this area. My finace does have family from the islands so we plan to contact them as well for resources. Many thanks

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,781 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

HDan

Interesting what you said about Kurtistown mold and humidity, because I went to Kurtistown this afternoon and the house I was visiting had noticeable mold and mildew issues, in what should have been a well ventilated house ... but the people weren't letting the air flow through so I thought maybe it was the way they handled it. So it's a heightened problem there even more than Hilo? Thanks, that's useful to me!

I would second what Dan said if you have a car worth keeping, with working A/C, you might want to ship it. The cars here wear out more quickly than their mileage would indicate ... rust, salt, lava, acid rain.

Dan is right too that the books are behind the times. Check the online ads, there is your real time information on what things cost which will help you make a budget.

Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Excellent info again. I've been researching for a couple months now and I have actually picked up more useful information reading through all these topics than on most sites. It seems that most of them are just trying to sell something in the long run.

Good tip on the car. I'm looking into that now and my fiance thinks its a great idea as well, being that we wanted to drive crosscountry anyways! It will also keep us from being limited in our housing and job hunts as well. Thanks!

Virginia
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Moving to Hilo in August

Ok! I found that I can travel cross country and ship my car to Hilo for roughly $600 more than I would have spent on all the airfare for two. This is including a gas and food budget. Sounds good to me!

Mahalos