Top 8 Fears People Have About Moving to the Big Island of Hawaii

Biggest fears of moving

If you are researching a move to Hawaii Island, you are probably seeing a mix of people telling you all about white sand beaches, palm trees blowing in a plumeria scented breeze and the “good life” stretching out in front of you like the rays of the sunset cast upon the Pacific Ocean AND how hard it is to move to and live here. If you have been following my work for the almost ten years I have been writing about West Hawaii and Hawaii Island, you will know that I am not going to feed you a line of bullshit about affordable housing, easy access to jobs and free fruit falling from the trees.

In order to get you to steel yourself for the dream ahead, I offer up what most people are afraid of about moving to the Big Island. The top 8 were taken from a query about what people were afraid of most about a move to Hawaii Island from my “365 Kona’s I’m Moving to the Big Island of Hawaii and Buying a House” group on Facebook. Without further ado:

Top 8 Things to Be Afraid of When Moving to the Big Island of Hawaii

  1. Healthcare— Valid concern. Our island population is too small to support a variety of medical specialists. For many emergency issues, people have to be flown over to Oahu. One of the top reasons people move away is to gain access to better health care options.
  2. Education- There are many reasons why we have problems on this island. Teachers can not afford to live here and there is a lot of turn over, there is a lack of parental help at home as many people are doing what they can to afford to live here, there are a lack of resources due to lack of funding, etc.
  3. Natural disasters – We have volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunami’s, oh my. Welcome to living on an island. We are still here.
  4. Cost of living– I wrote a few chapters on this issue in my “How to Move to Kona” book that holds true for all of Hawaii. Housing, electricity, gas, taxes, food–just about everything costs more here due to where we are located and that we are in a highly desirable location.
  5. Jobs – Many jobs here are tied to tourism. Get ready to make minimum wage and pray for tips if that is your only option. However, many folks BRING THEIR JOBS WITH THEM. Telecommuting, writing, consulting, has opened up avenues for life on an island.
  6. Missing family and friends – Even with Facebook FaceTime, Skype, etc, you may need more. Getting a hug from your family and friends is a commodity on this island that many of us yearn for. That is why we fly home or encourage visitors. If your love for family beats your love of adventure and a new life, you may wish to only visit or buy a condo and rent it out most of the year.
  7. VOG/Volcanic issues – THANK GOODNESS we can put this in the “NOT NOW” category as currently we have no active lava flowing anywhere on the island. Of course, our buddy Kilauea is still an active volcano and Pele is very much still alive and stirring that volcanic vent under the island.
  8. Getting pets safely to the island – Moving pets is one of the top questions asked on all of my blogs. I had the owner of A Kona Pet actually write the chapter on moving pets and quarantine issues and such in my “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii” book. Yes, it IS a deal and there are hoops you have to go through and when you DO get here with pets, housing is an issue if you have to rent. But, MOST people get their pets here safely. The airlines certainly do not want the bad PR for hurting people’s animals and have set up some pretty stringent guidelines to assure the safety of your pets. Do your homework.

Further comments from the question to my readers: 

With 131 comments on this issue in my Facebook group, the above list is pretty comprehensive and there were a few more you may wish to read:

“Financial hardship thousands of miles away from my support network.”

“Leaving my momma on the mainland”


“Social connection. I’m not going to miss much about L.A., but I leave many friends behind.”

“Healthcare as we age, the disconnect from friends and family on the mainland, B52 cockroaches and huge centipedes in my house – especially getting bit while sleeping. Hey, you asked!”

“No same day or next day Amazon”

“I’m viewing this move as a great opportunity to reinvent myself and pursue a career in something meaningful to me, but it’s a bit scary (esp the health insurance aspect) nonetheless.”

“Drinking too much! Too many happy hour opportunities!” 😉
“Decent Mexican food”

WHY I want to help you make the move:

I recently created my mission statement for my “work” on this island.

To help the right people, move here at the right time to do the right thing.

I DO believe that people feel called here and there is a special energy they feel that they want to be part of. I will be hosting some housing workshops to assist people who are serious about making a successful move here and who want to meet with key people to get more information about making a pivotal shift in their lives. We need more health care professionals, teachers, trades people, mentors, and people who can add to the quality of life on this island for everyone. I wrote my books for YOU.

Connect with me directly at [email protected] and I can share upcoming opportunities with you for 2019 and 2020 and I can also put you on a listing alert for homes as they come on the market!

CALL TO ACTION: Moving To Hawaii Resources 

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • Julie Ziemelis says:

    Please leave a comment here so others can learn from people’s experience.