Ever dream of packing your family up and moving to an island? Filling your days with balmy breezes, sugary white sand beaches and turquoise waters as far as the eye can see? If you’re wondering if this dream can be a reality, read these triumphs and hurdles from our family’s personal experience before you buy your one-way ticket.
The Process of Moving to Maui
Moving is awesome, said no one ever. Unwinding the web of stuff that has somehow found its way into your closets, garages and under every bed is exhausting. Once you’ve separated the “must haves” from the “don’t have room for it” items, you now have to categorically box everything up in a way that will be manageable to unpack when you get to your final destination: MAUI!
Moving to an island takes that process to the next level of pain. You have three options for shipping:
- Get rid of everything and move to the island with the shirt on your back and a checked bag. This option is great for those families that are up for the wild goose chase of re-acquiring everything you just got rid of for twice the price.
- Downsize your belongings to a pallet. You will squeeze your life onto a 4’x4’x6′ pallet, and trust that the plastic wrap that they wind around your things will hold. This option will usually run you about $1,000 and the pallet takes about one month to arrive on the island.
- Save up all your pennies and reserve a crate. These bad boys range from 20′ to 40′ and come with the hefty price tag of about $5,000 to start. These crates usually take about 2-3 weeks to arrive on your doorstep.
*Our experience: We have had the honor of using all three methods respectively. The crate (container) allowed us to literally move everything we owned, but left us with quite an excess of unneeded items. After numerous trips to the local Maui thrift store to dump our unwanted items, we realized we only wanted/needed about half of the items we shipped over. For our next move, the pallet made us downsize to the point of near panic and pain, but you better believe anything that made it to the pallet was worth its weight in gold! There were a few items that we wished we would’ve packed, but it was a good lesson in things not having too much value. Lastly, we checked bags. Granted, we ended up carrying on 8 bags (2 per ticket carrying passenger) and checking 8 bags. And since two of the passengers only carried their pillow pets and Frozen backpacks, my husband and I were saddled with an over-burdening amount. We would probably paid extra for a few more checked backs next time.
The Home Renting Process
Most people moving to a new area with a few basics secured, like having a job and a house. If you’re playing the rental game, craigslist is just there just to tease you. Most landlords won’t entertain the idea of renting to you if you’re not living on the island. So, you’ll have to gamble and move your entire life with the prayer that you’ll find something as soon as you land!
*Our experience: My husband and I decided we wanted to live on Maui’s North Shore, in a town called Haiku. After 3 weeks of relentless looking and calling different rentals from the mainland, I started to panic a bit and broadened my search to the entire island. 2 more weeks of “sorry, we can’t hold a rental for someone who hasn’t made the jump across the ocean,” we made the gutsy decision to get a vacation rental for 7 days and hope for the best. Our little family of four hit the island running. Visions of our 2 and 3-year-old daughters living homeless (albeit tan) on the Maui beaches added an extra layer of panic as we scoured the island for our home. The story does have a happy ending, as we did end up finding a rental in Haiku that fit our family’s needs in the nick of time. Not a leisurely way to start our island adventure, but survivable!
The Living Process
It’s no secret that living on Maui can be expensive. Everything is marked up, from the food to the taxes. But many people move here every year, confident that they can make it. After all, the perks of living in paradise is worth it, right? Ehhh, it’s not that simple. Yes, technically you live in paradise. However, to afford bills like your $200 electrical bill (oh yes, it’s that bad), you might have to pick up more than one job. Which means the 4 free hours you have every week will probably be spent doing things like piles of laundry and falling asleep by 7:30 pm. You will be able squeeze in beach days, waterfall hikes and stunning sunsets. Not often, but they will happen. And hopefully its enough to tide you over until the next tropical interlude.
*Our Experience: When we first moved to Maui, I worked at a restaurant and my husband worked as a musician. If we were lucky, we’d get about three full days together a month. Most of the time, we’d only see each other as we passed the kids off. We often felt like single parents, rarely enjoying dinners or outings as a family. After two years, we started to realize that paradise was losing its beauty. I asked other Maui friends with families about their daily grind, and most of them painted the same picture. So, real life, hard times and those pesky bills do tag along, even to a tropical island.
Your Instagram game will be dialed in. Your friends will be living in a pool of envy when you post swimsuit pictures in December. Your summer clothes are your year round wardrobe. And your kids will be living the life you thought you’d live, splashing around in turquoise waters without a care in the world. So, at least someone wins in this game!
We have no regrets about moving to Maui. It has been an adventure, from cane spiders the size of my hand to cutting apple bananas down with a machete in our backyard. However, any illusion us adults had about leisurely living on an island was ripped away with the first shocking grocery bill and money-siphoning electric bill. If you’re thinking of moving your family to Maui, make sure your expectations are realistic. Life on an island can be both beautiful and difficult, but it will be a memory your family won’t regret trying!