Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Moving to Hawaii - Educate Yourself

During the time were were planning our move to Hawaii, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the area to help narrow down our search and to gain as much knowledge as possible to improve the odds of staying in Hawaii for the long term.

Once you've read every tour book (or even one) on the subject of the Big Island, you realize that the day-to-day information you seek is completely missing.

Here is a list of websites, social media, and alerts I subscribe to (and have done so for several years).

  • Subscribe to the local paper.  Many have e-editions which are cheaper than having a paper mailed to you, which I don't actually recommend, due to the high cost.  Now that we live here, we do subscribe to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, which is the easiest way to stay abreast of local news and shopping (sales and coupons).  Much of the information is available elsewhere online for free.  There is a new eNewsletter signup at, which appears to be free.  Additionally, there is usually a recent sample copy of the paper on their site as well.  Check the ads and sales as well as the articles for information about prices and availability of items.

  • Subscribe to  You can choose to receive emails, texts, or both about criminal activity, power outages, and road closures in your area.  This service seems nationwide, and I would recommend it to anyone anywhere.

  • Google news feeds.  I subscribe to all news articles that contain the words "Hilo" or "Hawaii" and get summary emails daily with all articles found with either of those key words.  This has proven to be a fantastic way to find out all sorts of information.  Local news, events, and articles of interest from all sorts of sources without doing any work whatsoever.  You can create a news feed on any key word or combination of words -- a terrific free resource.

  • YouTube.  I subscribe to many local folks but there are also news organizations that post their stories on youtube.  One example of this is Big Island Video News.  Excellent local reporting on a variety of topics, typically about the local government, the local economy, and area events.

  • Social Media.  I have found Instagram to be an excellent tool for finding local events.  I subscribe to local shops, grocery stores, and utility companies who use social media to inform the public about sales and events.  I have found out about daily food specials and unadvertised sales that haven't been announced elsewhere.  Instagram also provides suggestions for others to follow, so it's easy to build up quite a number of people and businesses to follow.  

  • Facebook . Check into this as well.  I'm not a regular user.  When I've looked up local businesses, I have found the they often are not up-to-date and rely on other social media to make quick announcements.  Your mileage may vary.

  •  Subscribe to local industry newsletters (or create a Google news feed) that pertain to your career or job.  I work in a specific industry and my google news feed about Hilo has provided me over the years with many articles about the organization with whom I am now employed.  When I interviewed for local positions, I had much knowledge at hand about the industry locally, specific information about the company, and it's employees.  Being well informed about the local industry  will definitely put you a step up in the eyes of interviewers.

  • Listen to local radio.  Many stations are accessible via the internet.  I listened to KWXX for years at work when I lived on the mainland.  You get local news, public announcements, and any emergency updates.  Additionally, you get the bonus of listening to some really great island music to keep you in a mellow mood while you work the 9 to 5 grind.

Use whatever tools you can to educate yourself about the local government, economy, and culture of the Big Island.  Remember, about 90% of folks move back home in the first two years.  My sense is that many of the reasons (miss family, didn't realize their favorite chain restaurant isn't here, the pay is low, etc.) people leave could have easily been understood up front before the big move.  If you are serious about moving, then you need to learn as much as possible before you move to increase your chance of success.

Now that I live here, I continue to use these tools to stay informed.  In this way, I can easily stay up-to-date on road construction, power outages, local politics, and local sales.

Do you have any other recommendations for staying informed?


No comments:

Post a Comment