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Visiting Hawaii to Plan a Move - Advice?
08-01-2015, 04:21 PM
Post: #1
Visiting Hawaii to Plan a Move - Advice?
Aloha, my name is Garrett. My wife Kaydee and I are planning on moving to Hawaii end of July/beginning of August 2016. We plan to live there for a couple of years. We're going to take a trip there in January primarily to nail down which island we want to live on. We're planning on taking ten days to visit Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island (approximately three days on each). I know that this is a very short amount of time on each island, but this is all we have time for.

We spent a week on Maui last year, so that island we are familiar with. The other two we have not been to. I have done a ton of research online to try to figure out which island would best fit us, but am unable to narrow it down between these three.

I will be working from home as a computer programmer, so I will not need to find a job on the island. My wife is a personal trainer/fitness instructor, so she will be looking for a job in Hawaii. Some of the activities we enjoy include hiking, camping, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding. I also enjoy skiing and snowboarding, which I know only the Big Island offers, but that is not a huge priority.

We would love a small house, but that will most likely be out of our price range. We will probably end up either renting or buying a one- or two-bedroom condo, preferably near the beach. We'd love to purchase a condo we can turn into a vacation rental when we move back in a couple of years so that we can continue to come and stay there for a few weeks every year, but we'll have to see.

The main advice I am looking for is how best to spend our time on each island in January. Which areas on each island should we be looking at properties in? What activities (hiking, specific places to check out, et cetera) should we engage in on each island to help us decide which island is right for us? Since we recently spent a week on Maui, I'm considering reducing our time there to two days (primarily to look at property) and spending four days each on Kauai and the Big Island, but we'll see.

Additionally, if you have any advice for which island we should pick based on what I've shared about our lives, I'd love to hear it.

Mahalo!
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08-01-2015, 06:14 PM
Post: #2
RE: Visiting Hawaii to Plan a Move - Advice?
Aloha Garrett, so from what you said you're not looking at Oahu, right? The Big Island will be challenging to cover in 3-4 days unless you want to focus on a specific area. I would start with Kailua-Kona there. Hilo is more affordable, but has fewer swimmable beaches. On Kauai, I'd look in the Lihue/Kapaa area. Princeville and Poipu are more touristy. In other words, there are more vacation rentals there than longer term rentals. On Maui, you could look either around Kihei or Kahului. But again it's all up to you. This is a very personal choice. Nobody else's advice can really help with this decision. You have to feel the places. Also, you mentioned you're working from home. Not sure if you will have to register a sole proprietorship here. Just keep in mind that there is an extra tax in Hawaii. It's the GE tax and it includes all services. It's on all gross income. 4.5% on Oahu and 4% on the other islands.
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08-01-2015, 06:34 PM
Post: #3
RE: Visiting Hawaii to Plan a Move - Advice?
(08-01-2015 06:14 PM)eleakai Wrote:  Aloha Garrett, so from what you said you're not looking at Oahu, right? The Big Island will be challenging to cover in 3-4 days unless you want to focus on a specific area. I would start with Kailua-Kona there. Hilo is more affordable, but has fewer swimmable beaches. On Kauai, I'd look in the Lihue/Kapaa area. Princeville and Poipu are more touristy. In other words, there are more vacation rentals there than longer term rentals. On Maui, you could look either around Kihei or Kahului. But again it's all up to you. This is a very personal choice. Nobody else's advice can really help with this decision. You have to feel the places. Also, you mentioned you're working from home. Not sure if you will have to register a sole proprietorship here. Just keep in mind that there is an extra tax in Hawaii. It's the GE tax and it includes all services. It's on all gross income. 4.5% on Oahu and 4% on the other islands.

Thanks for the advice! You are correct, we have decided against Oahu. And though I know that this will have to be our decision based on our own experiences on each island, I'd like to go into this with as much information as possible. As for the Big Island, do you think it'd be possible to spend two days in Kailua-Kona and two days in Hilo and still be able to get enough of a feel for each place? And I will most likely be working remotely for the company I work for now on the mainland, so I won't be having to register a sole proprietorship.

One thing that I noticed during my research was that Kauai is the only island with navigable rivers, so that would be really cool for kayaking and paddle-boarding. Do you know if there are good opportunities to kayak and paddle-board on Maui and Hawaii?

One advantage of Maui that we saw was the ability to take ferries to Lanai and Molokai. This would be a nice, cheap way to get off of the island if we needed a change of scenery. Do you think that this is worthy of consideration?
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08-02-2015, 09:14 AM
Post: #4
RE: Visiting Hawaii to Plan a Move - Advice?
Yes, Kauai has the only navigable river in Hawaii - Wailua River. Many people go kayaking here. I've also seen people kayak/paddleboard in the Anahola lagoon. But Wailua River is the main destination. Ocean kayaking on Kauai is done along the Na Pali Coast and along the Mahaulepu area on the south shore, but this is for experienced kayakers only. If you're new to this, there are guided tour groups that you could join. It's always best to go with a buddy or group if you're on the ocean.

On Maui, kayaking is best along the south shore. The north shore has high surf (especially in winter) and it's more windy there, so the water is choppy. On the Big Island, the best kayaking is along the Kona and Kohala coasts. It's a start to stay 2 days in Hilo and 2 days in Kona, but it's still short. But better than not visiting at all and having to make a decision.

True, if you're on Maui, you can take the ferry to Lanai and Molokai. The Lanai ferry runs daily. The Molokai ferry used to run daily too, but it was on the news recently that they wanted to cut service and only go on an as-needed basis. I don't know what exactly that means. You could do day trips to Lanai. It's rather expensive to stay there overnight, but you might consider camping. If you get a permit, there is a campground near the harbor, on Hulopoe Bay.
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08-04-2015, 11:25 AM
Post: #5
RE: Visiting Hawaii to Plan a Move - Advice?
(08-02-2015 09:14 AM)eleakai Wrote:  Yes, Kauai has the only navigable river in Hawaii - Wailua River. Many people go kayaking here. I've also seen people kayak/paddleboard in the Anahola lagoon. But Wailua River is the main destination. Ocean kayaking on Kauai is done along the Na Pali Coast and along the Mahaulepu area on the south shore, but this is for experienced kayakers only. If you're new to this, there are guided tour groups that you could join. It's always best to go with a buddy or group if you're on the ocean.

On Maui, kayaking is best along the south shore. The north shore has high surf (especially in winter) and it's more windy there, so the water is choppy. On the Big Island, the best kayaking is along the Kona and Kohala coasts. It's a start to stay 2 days in Hilo and 2 days in Kona, but it's still short. But better than not visiting at all and having to make a decision.

True, if you're on Maui, you can take the ferry to Lanai and Molokai. The Lanai ferry runs daily. The Molokai ferry used to run daily too, but it was on the news recently that they wanted to cut service and only go on an as-needed basis. I don't know what exactly that means. You could do day trips to Lanai. It's rather expensive to stay there overnight, but you might consider camping. If you get a permit, there is a campground near the harbor, on Hulopoe Bay.

Thanks so much for all of the information! We've been spending a lot of time looking at properties the past few days. It looks like the only place we'll be able to afford to buy a house is in Puna. Alternatively, we could buy a condo or rent a house elsewhere.

What are your thoughts on Puna? From the research I've done, it seems that there's a reason that houses are cheap there. If we want to spend a lot of time in the water and surrounded by the "tropical island" feel, would it be better to just look elsewhere and not buy a house? Additionally, if we were to buy a house here, do you think that it would be easy to turn into a vacation rental, or is this not really an area where people want to vacation at?
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08-04-2015, 02:03 PM
Post: #6
RE: Visiting Hawaii to Plan a Move - Advice?
Not Puna, it is know for lots of violence and drugs and anti-white atmosphere. My family of several cops are in that Hilo area. Born and raised in Hilo. Maui is very expensive like Honolulu. I live on Maui. My coworker said they listed their two bedroom condo and there were getting 30 calls a day
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