Life in Hawaii – what its like living on Oahu

Life in Hawaii – what its like living on Oahu

During my time living in Oahu and exploring the Hawaiian Islands, I uncovered a few truths about life in Hawaii. Today I am going to share the reality of living in Hawaii. From the good to the bad to the ugly, I will touch on it all.

The good

There are lots of amazing aspect of living in Hawaii, especially for the outdoor enthusiasts.

The beach is never far away!

Things to do on Maui

No matter where you are living in Oahu, you can be sure that the beach isn’t far. Hawaii has some of the most beautiful beaches and best waves in the world. From the white powdery sand beaches of Lanikai to the surfing beaches of the north shore and everything in between, you are guaranteed to find a beach you love! If you are living in Oahu, pack your swimmers, towel, sunscreen, water and some snacks and head to one of Oahu’s Best Beaches.

There are endless hikes to choose from 

Life in Hawaii – what its like living on Oahu

Every time I talk to someone about hiking I hear of more and more trails. I have been living in Oahu for 4 months, hiking every week and I still have a long (and growing)  list of hikes I am yet to do. There are some great blogs such as Unreal Hawaii,  Best of Oahu and Borders and Bucketlists that provide information on more hikes than you can possibly do. Some of my favourite hikes include Koko Head, Olomana Three Peaks and Lanikai Pillboxes.

Not only are the options endless, the hiking trails in Hawaii offer some of the best views in the world.

If you are living on Oahu, I challenge you to experience a new hiking trail for yourself each week!

Shop my hiking essentials.

Taking a weekend trip to another Island is a reality

Things to do in Maui

Flying to a tropical island for a weekend getaway is a far-fetched dream for most of the world. But if you are living in Hawaii, this is a reality. You can fly to another island in 40 minutes and for less than $100. Flying over on Friday afternoon and back home of Sunday evening is completely doable and affordable. I visited Maui and Kauai during my time living in Hawaii. I booked my inter-island flights with Island Air as they have the cheapest flights.

Laid back Hawaiian Lifestyle

Life in Hawaii, what it's like living on Oahu

Those living in Hawaii embrace a laid-back lifestyle, every day. There is no rush, most people are friendly and everyone loves to enjoy their free time. If you are moving to Oahu, get ready to immerse yourself into the Hawaiian lifestyle. This may involve learning patience as things are slower on the Hawaiian Islands, but who cares, you living on Island time now.

Perfect Hawaiian weather

Life in Hawaii – what its like living on Oahu

Hawaii’s tropical climate means you can expect to be blessed with warm sunny weather, perfect for hiking and enjoying the beaches. Sudden spurts of rainfall aren’t uncommon, but they don’t last long.

There is so much to do on Oahu

Life in Hawaii, what it's like living on Oahu

When people say they have done everything on Oahu, I am certain that they haven’t looked into it hard enough. The number of hikes, beaches, waterfalls and snorkelling spots is endless. The problem for me isn’t finding something to do, it is choosing what to do as there is just so much to choose from. I’m an outdoors enthusiast and if you are too – you’ll probably never ask yourself what there is to do, you’ll just be doing it. And money isn’t an issue because there are so many free things to do on Oahu.

The bad

As you can see, there are some amazing aspect of living in Hawaii, but with the good, there always comes some bad. These are the not so good aspects of living on Oahu.

The weather can change is a second – I have learnt to always carry an umbrella.

Despite saying you will be blessed with tropical sunny weather on Oahu, I must warn you that the weather can change suddenly. It isn’t uncommon to leave the house on a perfect sunny day with not a cloud in the sky,  to be stuck in a thunderstorm 2 hours later. Followed by a sunny afternoon.

The weather is unpredictable in Hawaii so I suggest to always carry an umbrella.

Island Fever in Hawaii

I have never experienced Hawaiian island fever but I have heard people complain about it. Hawaii is literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from any major country. Say goodbye to long road trips, you can circle the island in one day! Flights to the mainland or other countries aren’t cheap, however, you can fly to another Hawaiian island for the weekend so you aren’t totally restricted.

My suggestion for avoiding Island fever in Hawaii is to keep busy by exploring the beautiful beaches and hiking trails, and take a weekend trip to Kauai, Maui or the big island every now and then! If you don’t think about Island Fever, you probably won’t get it!


If you’re working far from where you live on Oahu then traffic is going to be an issue. A 20-minute bus ride can take up to an hour during peak hour traffic, but why stress, you’re living the laid-back island life.

My advice is to avoid commuting during peak hour, take the bus and bring a book. You will be at your stop before you know it.

The crazy people

It is sad to say that Hawaii is home to a large homeless population, many that arguably have mental issues. During my time living in Hawaii, I saw some sights that I could never have imagined. Prepare yourself for the homeless and crazy people on Oahu because you will see them!

The Food

I found the quality of food in Hawaii to be very low. The fresh produce from the supermarkets never seemed fresh and often looked unnatural. Perhaps this is because many food items have to be imported and hence travel so far before hitting the supermarket shelves. To counteract this I shopped at the local markets or whole foods, which was extremely expensive, but much better quality. Living in Hawaii literally turned me into a vegetarian.

The ugly

Hawaii is EXPENSIVE! Rent, groceries and gas cost considerably more than on the mainland and other parts of the world. With these high living costs plus other expenses such as phone bills, internet and electricity, money can be tight. But many people make it work, which means you can too. The high cost of living is justified by the fact that you live in Hawaii. My advice for counteracting the high cost of living on Oahu is to be prepared to cut down on the luxuries and live on the basics.

When it comes down to it,  the good clearly outweighs the bad when you consider living on Oahu.

See more from Maui and Kauai

Backpackers Guide to Maui

Top Stop on the Road to Hana – Maui

Backpackers Guide to Kauai

Top 5 free activities on Kauai

Pin – Life in Hawaii

Life in Hawaii – what its like living on Oahu

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