Author Topic: Moving to O'ahu...  (Read 9901 times)

Solomon960

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Moving to O'ahu...
« on: January 18, 2016, 11:54:45 AM »
Barring the unforeseen, I will be relocating to O'ahu in the coming months to begin a new civilian technician position in Honolulu. With no "inside help," I will 'touch down' and proceed to inhabit a hotel until I find a stable long-term residence (with roommate?). Being five-years old, I intend to ship my car from San Diego vs. selling it here and buying a used vehicle on the island.

I would appreciate receiving feedback from kama'aina and malihini alike on life as a civil servant in paradise. My most pressing concern is establishing residency as I apparently need two bills with my Honolulu address to register my vehicle within ten days of my arrival (how such is enforced is beyond me). For me to succeed, I must also adapt to a slightly reduced salary (by 1%) with a rise in cost-of-living of 51% (per bestplaces.net). I also suspect that I will need new cellular service as my current provider, Platinum Tel, is spotty even in areas where its map indicates great coverage. (Still can't beat the < $10/mo price tag for emergency phone service.)

If you happen to have relocated to Hawaii in recent years, I encourage you to share your story - the lessons learned, the unusual rules/regulations you encountered, and what made you decide to stay for life (or leave at the earliest opportunity). For me, this is perhaps my only opportunity to remain in a career field I enjoy while benefiting the nation; opportunities to become a contractor abound everywhere, but being a civil servant is far more stable (so long as a budget is passed each October).

Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2016, 08:51:27 AM »
Congrats on the move!  Full disclosure, I don't live in Hawai'i.  But I have in-laws who live on Oahu.

Cell phone: They use T-Mobile.

Cars:  They are very very expensive there, they tell us, so your plan to ship your car should be cheaper than buying there.

If you qualify to shop in the commissary, do it.  Food was crazy expensive in the regular food store when we've visited.  Like nearly $9/gal of milk (not organic milk, btw) in 2006.

FLBiker

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 09:18:30 AM »
I lived on Oahu from 2004-2006.  I absolutely loved it, but (as you've said) it is very expensive.

Personally, I didn't have / need a car.  I rented an apartment about 15 minutes from work, 15 minutes from the beach.  In 2005, this was $850 for a tiny one bedroom (in good shape).  I felt like I was pretty lucky to find it.  And I was at UH, so I wasn't downtown or in Waikiki.  Oahu is very bikable, and the bus works well (though I used it maybe twice).  I biked around the island several times, and over the Pali a time or two.  Some of the roads / mountains are a little hairy, but not too bad.

All that is to say that I don't know how registering a car works. :)

And I don't remember what cellphone provider I had, either.  0/2 so far...

Other tips -- for groceries, I had good luck at Daiei (now known as Don Quixote, I think).  It's a Japanese department store.  I could get non-GMO soymilk there for $1.99, cheaper than the regular grocery stores.  I also did a CSA (this one: http://www.just-add-water.biz/) and it was great.  Finally, I was a member of a food co-op (http://www.kokua.coop/) and I volunteered there, which meant I got to take home some expired / damaged groceries.

I found I spent way more time in the mountains than the beach (though snorkeling is great).  Hiking is amazing there.  I don't remember the name of the trail, but my favorite hike went up Manoa valley then followed the ridge towards Hawaii Kai.  I also did a lot of camping in public places, and was almost never hassled.  Be sure to check out the whale migration from Makapuu (Feb/March, if memory serves).  I also really liked Kaena point (accessible by foot / bike only, the NW corner of the island).  Lots of albatross and some seals.  The beach out by Makua was a favorite camping spot.  It's really dark and the stars can be amazing during a new moon.

One tip for finding an apartment.  It is VERY competitive.  I got both of mine by biking around, looking for For Rent signs.  Stuff in the paper / CL tends to go very quickly.  If you see a place you like, put in an app / make a deposit IMMEDIATELY.  Waiting a day or two will cost you the apartment.  That said, I didn't have much trouble.  I had two different one bedrooms, both for under $900, which was (to me) surprisingly cheap.  Both landlords were fine, too.

As far as I why I left, it was money / employment.  I was there as a grad student, working part time, and it was awesome.  However, the folks I know that do what I do full-time out there all work multiple jobs, many without benefits, to make not very much money.  Owell!

Being five-years old, I intend to ship my car from San Diego vs. selling it here and buying a used vehicle on the island.

And that is way too young to be driving (even in Hawaii). :)
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 09:20:23 AM by FLBiker »

pbkmaine

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 09:31:43 AM »
I have heard there is a Costco with decent prices, and that farmers markets are highly recommended.

justjenn

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 04:23:14 PM »
Iʻve lived in Oahu my whole life so Iʻll try to give you some pointers...

As mentioned, finding an apartment is very competitive. Itʻll be cheaper the further west you are, but thatʻll also mean fighting the insane traffic. Youʻll have to decide how much youʻre willing to pay in order to avoid it.

Try to find a place with a nice breeze so you donʻt have to run AC all the time. I think the largest sticker shock youʻll see is your electric bill. Our electricity is about 300% higher than the rest of the country. Itʻs not uncommon for a familyʻs electric bill to be over $400 a month.

Get a local number ASAP. You can get one with Google phone if you donʻt want to change your real phone number, but it will make your likelihood of getting call backs for apartments higher.

I use T-Mobile for my cell phone, and theyʻre pretty good.

You should definitely get a costco membership.

If you need appliances, furniture, etc. go on Craigslist. Thereʻs a lot of people coming and going so thereʻs always listings from people just trying to unload all their crap before they leave. You can always find a good deal.

Every once in a while the volcano on the Big Island spews out toxic gases called "vog". This affects some people (like me) and gives them allergy/asthma like symptoms. If may affect you, it may not, but just a warning. If the sky looks hazy and you feel like poop in a can, itʻs probably that. Just stay in an AC room and drink lots of water.

Now that the practical stuff is over, Iʻll give you some tips on making friends and settling in. Hawaii is very different from the mainland US. Our culture is heavily influenced by Asian and Pacific Island cultures. Donʻt be surprised if you experience some culture shock. But please, please do not complain to local people about it! I think we still have a bit of a chip on our shoulder from colonization and plantation days. When people from the mainland complain about Hawaii, it enrages us, even if itʻs totally valid. We have to deal a lot with people telling us we do things "wrong" or "stupid". Just donʻt be one of those people. Also, if you like (or just pretend to like) local food, youʻll be well received. Oh, and take your shoes off before you enter someoneʻs house.

Most of all, enjoy your time here. We have some pretty incredible beaches and hikes. Kuliouou ridge is my favorite hike to take people who visit, because you can see the entire east side of the island from the top. Lulumahu falls is also a great waterfall hike with amazing valley views. And if you want to visit a secluded beach, go to Laie on Sunday. Itʻs a majority Mormon town, so practically no one is outside that day. Thereʻs also a great lookout there.

If you have any more questions Iʻd be happy to help you!

Dicey

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 04:45:20 PM »
Wow, justjenn, great post! Start by taking all of her advice, Solomon.

Center your house hunting searches around proximity to Costco and work and you won't regret it. One tip to finding housing it to create a housing resume and keep copies with you at all times. Then keep your search and your ear low to the ground. If you see or hear anything that looks good (moving trucks, for sale signs, etc.) look for someone to talk to and/or leave your info behind. Often times when properties with aloha units sell, the new owners are looking for reliable tenants, so checking in with realtors/checking Zillow or MLS for recent sales in your desired area is another option.

There are active Newcomer's groups on O'ahu. As Jenn said, people are always coming and going. It's an easy way to make new friends and learn of cool, cheap local events and places.

lhamo

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2016, 04:46:39 PM »
For your immediate post-arrival accomodations, you might want to check Air BnB or VRBO.  It has been a few years, but we got a nice beachfront condo rental (in a complex next to the Hilton) on our last trip for a reasonable price -- cheaper than the cheapish hotels we were looking at. 

Costco definitely. 

Our favorite place on the island was the park at the top of the pass as you cross over from Honolulu to the other side of the mountains, on the way to Kailua.  WICKED wind tunnel effect.  My kids still talk about it.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2016, 04:36:52 PM »
I appreciate each of your responses and guidance - thank you!! I should know in three weeks if this move is official (short of attractive competing offers from the mainland).

In looking at a map, the midpoint between my employer and Costco is Fort Shafter and between work and the Hickam Commissary, Ke'ehi Lagoon Beach Park. As mentioned, real estate to the west is cheaper but it appears my regular haunts will be more in the middle to the east on the island. I won't know how much housing will be until I arrive, but $1,000/mo rent represents 25% of my pre-tax income; if electricity/gas/water are included, this could be sustainable. What options exist for internet? I don't watch TV but access to the internet is almost as critical as water (I honestly wish such were not true).

"Just Add Water" and joining a food co-op are great ideas. I will certainly need to procure (and register) a bike upon my arrival; if I can arrive well before my reporting date, biking and familiarizing myself with TheBus will be very helpful. (I wonder if Hickam has its own bus service? I've only observed Lackland AFB operating a bus line so far.) I had never heard of a "Housing Resume" before; are such documents typical in rental tenant applications?

I currently have a Google Voice number; if I can change it, does Oahu have multiple prefixes?

Thank you for the "vog" notice - I was not aware of volcano action being "frequent" (such news only carries to the mainland when lives are lost due to an eruption). I am curious to learn how my body will respond; while in San Antonio for three months, I developed some strange symptoms that took over a year to dissipate when I returned to the midwest.

I looked into Air BnB and VRBO apartment sharing. No options exist near my work, but Air BnB has a lot of offerings just north of the airport (the lowest being $30/night + overall stay misc fees). Very creative idea as I cannot imagine overnight stays at a Hilton, Best Western, or Motel 6 cost < $40/night.

I LOVE all the trail/hiking recommendations. I miss being able to go out in nature and "relax" but adulthood (multiple jobs), below freezing temps, and 1+ hour commutes really take a toll. If the entire island can be biked in a day (with stops for meals and bird-watching (or the like)), this is an activity I really want to pick up after my arrival.

$400 electric bills (on top of $1,000 rental fees) will not permit me to put anything away for retirement (my top priority). Personally, my comfort zone lies in the seventies but could withstand eighties if it means saving $1,200/yr. If lows fall into the fifties, no heating is needed as zero degrees is very common where I am currently.

Finally, I embrace local culture. I was "self-raised"; while I have an opinion on most things, I find no fault if others do or think about things differently than I. If I had the choice, I would jump at the opportunity to relocate to Japan or Taiwan; life seems more meaningful and positive in that world region. (I also dislike wearing dirty shoes inside; walking barefoot (or in socks) is quite soothing and "natural.") Alas, "duty" does not allow me to pursue opportunities outside of U.S. borders.

MsPeacock

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2016, 05:55:34 PM »
If you can, all other location issues being taken into consideration, live up a bit on a ridge. It is cooler and breezier and will do a lot to help w/ not needing A/C. I lived in Aiea way up on the ridge (so, basically, mauka of Pearl Harbor) above Pearl City. We did not have heat or A/C in the townhouse we were renting. I didn't close the windows in 4 years. With a box fan we were able to be quite comfortable at night (which is when I need to cool to sleep). However, electrical costs were insane. This was a house w/ two adults, no children. Limited laundry done at home (due to uniforms that required dry cleaning - stupid old BDUs), tiny water heater (like maybe 10 gallons?), no a/c, no furnace. Just pretty much running a fridge and box fan and computer occasionally - generally $100 per month in 1999-2003.

Oahu has microclimates - so living near Ft. Shafter might put you in a very hot spot, and 3 or 4 miles away and more mauka will put you in a cooler rainier area.

Traffic into Honolulu in the morning and out in the evening is truly nightmarish - and I say this as someone who has lived in Miami and currently in Washington DC. The one thing that Honolulu driving had going for it was that generally people are polite drivers and allow other people to merge. They don't drive like the Indy 500 and Grand Theft Auto.

Gas and groceries are also very high.

Unless you need Costco on a daily basis, try to live close to work, as that will be your main commute.

Kailua beach park was my absolute favorite beach - shade in spots, calm surf due to reef, generally not packed with people, and beautiful.

Dicey

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2016, 08:18:08 AM »
I had never heard of a "Housing Resume" before; are such documents typical in rental tenant applications?
That's kind of the point. Most people don't bother. In a tight housing market, time and timing are everything. A resume shows a landlord that you are serious and prepared, the kind of tenant who's going to pay the rent on time. Having that info at the ready makes you memorable, which is important when people are clamoring for housing.

$400 electric bills (on top of $1,000 rental fees) will not permit me to put anything away for retirement (my top priority).
This is 100% untrue. I live in the Bay Area. At times in my career, my housing costs ate up a whole paycheck, (I got paid twice a month) and I still managed to save a decent amount toward FIRE. If you have mad mustachian skillz, you can economize in other areas so you can still save for retirement, despite high housing costs. Not saying you shouldn't budget, but those guidelines include shit you won't be spending money on, like a fancy leased car or the very latest i-anything.

justjenn

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 06:26:42 PM »
If you need a place to "land" you could try the Pagoda Hotel. Itʻs right by Ala Moana shopping center, so itʻs a little far from Pearl Harbor. But itʻs not a lot less expensive than a hotel in Waikiki. It doesnʻt have any bells and whistles but itʻs good enough. I usually put up visiting family there.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2016, 12:51:05 PM »
Thank you, all, for your continued guidance, personal perspectives/experiences, and humor.

After a month's absence, today begins "the next phase" in my selection for a position in Oahu. I'll learn more this evening after speaking with the hiring official...

My vehicle just passed the 50k threshold; while the milestone doesn't faze me, talk on another forum of not being able to load anything into it when it is transported as well as a "two week" delay in its arrival onsite has me second-guessing simply leaving it here and purchasing a used (and expensive) model soon after arrival (nothing fancy, just something that reliably gets me and some cargo (groceries or vital personal/military possessions) from point A to point B). While I dislike spending money, this option would afford me two weeks to survey the island in search of a semi-permanent residence vs. just one week to set up shop if I would drive it to San Diego. It could be that Honolulu and I won't mesh long-term (or I could become homesick (though the thought of shoveling snow one more time depresses me); if so, if I keep my compact stateside, I will already have a vital tool in place should I return after a couple years. As a permanent federal employee, I will be eligible for many more opportunities on www.USAJOBS.gov in low-cost areas that interest me (like Fort Worth and San Antonio). If I can find a hatchback on the island, it would beat the capabilities of my current mini-sedan.

It now appears that I have no choice but to drive to my site of employment each day as the residences that surround it are upper class houses with no multi-tenant renting options. Rental properties around the main airport offer many options (albeit with the constant noise of jet landings and take-offs). If I go this route, I will be 4 miles (17 minutes) away from work but an equal 4 miles (8 minutes) from the Hickam AFB Commissary. I really prefer quiet, but I probably cannot afford it without residing 20 miles away from work, which may lead to the usual 60 minute one-way commute I experience currently and desperately want to end. If this is my future, does the airport region offer any escape from the heat? Reducing my utility bills is huge given the high COS; if a box fan can suffice at night to allow me to sleep, life will be good.

I learned this afternoon that my cellular service, Ptel, went out of business. T-mobile (post-paid) has been mentioned twice in this thread; for one who doesn't need data, doesn't text (I have Google Voice for this purpose), and may call home once a week with infrequent business calls in-between, would any pre-paid providers (Republic Wireless?) be helpful as I transition to Oahu?

Since I will be moving with little baggage, I won't have an immediate ability to connect online. If I were to procure a laptop and printer, are any wired internet service providers preferred on the island? I have no plans on buying a TV; radio offers better content (and costs so much less).

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2016, 08:50:27 PM »
Thank you, all, for your continued guidance, personal perspectives/experiences, and humor.

After a month's absence, today begins "the next phase" in my selection for a position in Oahu. I'll learn more this evening after speaking with the hiring official...
Sorry, I missed this thread the first time around.  You're getting great advice, especially "Don't complain about the culture and don't tell us how you did things on the Mainland!"  But "How do we..." or "How should I..." questions are always welcomed.

My vehicle just passed the 50k threshold; while the milestone doesn't faze me, talk on another forum of not being able to load anything into it when it is transported as well as a "two week" delay in its arrival onsite has me second-guessing simply leaving it here and purchasing a used (and expensive) model soon after arrival (nothing fancy, just something that reliably gets me and some cargo (groceries or vital personal/military possessions) from point A to point B).
Used vehicles are plentiful and cheap here, especially the Lemon Lots on the military bases and Craigslist.  Leave yours on the Mainland if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Sellers will want cash or a certified check, so you'll want a local bank.

It now appears that I have no choice but to drive to my site of employment each day as the residences that surround it are upper class houses with no multi-tenant renting options. Rental properties around the main airport offer many options (albeit with the constant noise of jet landings and take-offs). If I go this route, I will be 4 miles (17 minutes) away from work but an equal 4 miles (8 minutes) from the Hickam AFB Commissary. I really prefer quiet, but I probably cannot afford it without residing 20 miles away from work, which may lead to the usual 60 minute one-way commute I experience currently and desperately want to end. If this is my future, does the airport region offer any escape from the heat? Reducing my utility bills is huge given the high COS; if a box fan can suffice at night to allow me to sleep, life will be good.
I'm having trouble picturing the geography in my mind, but the Pearl Harbor commissary might work well for you too. 

It's hard to predict your temperature situation because some apartments aren't positioned well for tradewind cooling.  Altitude usually works well for that.  I think you still have a good plan to start searching for housing near work and expanding out from there.  If you have questions about specific neighborhoods or addresses I'll be happy to give an opinion or do a driveby.  We enjoy looking at real estate, and as some of the posters can affirm we get this question every month or two.

Don't give up on the bicycle.  If you're near Nimitz Highway or Pearl Harbor then you'll have a decent bicycle trail.  Most of the area around Hickam is relatively bicycle-friendly, and the biggest issues will be access to locker rooms/showers or dealing with rainy days.

I learned this afternoon that my cellular service, Ptel, went out of business. T-mobile (post-paid) has been mentioned twice in this thread; for one who doesn't need data, doesn't text (I have Google Voice for this purpose), and may call home once a week with infrequent business calls in-between, would any pre-paid providers (Republic Wireless?) be helpful as I transition to Oahu?
Hawaii is full of ridges & ravines, and nobody has enough cell phone towers to cover the geometry.  Every cell phone provider has minor problems here, and we all try to work from WiFi when available.

T-Mobile has a pre-paid option, but switching back & forth between their pre-paid and post-paid options takes an hour and porting over your number.  It's easy to do once but if you're planning to travel the world on T-Mobile then you want a post-paid account.

If you're mostly sticking to the islands then just about any provider should work.  I think Republic has coverage here; hopefully another poster can chime in on its quality.

Since I will be moving with little baggage, I won't have an immediate ability to connect online. If I were to procure a laptop and printer, are any wired internet service providers preferred on the island? I have no plans on buying a TV; radio offers better content (and costs so much less).
If you don't have a laptop right now then consider a used iPad Air 2 (128GB) from Craigslist (with a Bluetooth Logitech keyboard from Amazon).  I've traveled extensively for months with an ancient iPad2 and the Air 2 is even better/faster.

The big ISPs are Hawaiian Telcom and Oceanic Time-Warner Cable.  Both offer plenty of WiFi hotspots around Oahu if you're a customer of their service.  Both will probably offer you a WiFi modem for your wired residential service at the same price as a cabled modem.  Regardless, you'll probably want to buy your own modem, which is easily done through Amazon.

My iPad doesn't have a SIM for cell connectivity, and I rarely have trouble finding a free WiFi network nearby.

Printers are cheap at the military exchange. 

Although you could stay at a hotel like the Plaza until you find a rental, consider AirBnB and VRBO.  Both have deals on local apartments/condos.  Vacancies should be plentiful as the snowbirds head back to the Mainland.  If you already have a DoD ID then you might be able to get space-available lodging on Hickam, but check this with your new employer and have a backup plan if an upcoming Reserve weekend means that you have to move out.

Feel free to PM or e-mail (NordsNords at Gmail) with more questions.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2016, 01:31:01 PM »
It is official: I have accepted the position at Tripler Army Medical Center. I anticipate a June/July reporting date and am excited to partake in this new chapter while believing that my skills have been neglected at my current location for far too long.

While reviewing apartment listings (stigma of using craigslist prevents me from taking that resource seriously), I found the nearby Kam IV (http://www.apartments.com/kam-iv-honolulu-hi/hrvhdh1/) will have an upcoming vacancy that I have inquired on. What is concerning is that most listings on apartments.com feature rents > $1,200+/mo (excluding utilities); adding the utilities, insurance, and vehicle maintenance monthly expenses makes me nervous that I won't be able to afford housing on the island given my GS salary. Are rent prices (or roommate requests ) more favorable on the east side of the island? I like the multi-road and < 30 minute commute times between Honolulu and Windward (Kaneohe).

I recall seeing a lemon lot at Fort Sam Houston. Does anyone have experience purchasing from such an enterprise leading to a vehicle that could consistently go from Pt A to Pt B? If not, can someone please recommend a used car dealer and repair shop? I will need to visit both upon touchdown since TheBus clearly won't operate between where I will reside and my place of employment.

As an Air Guardsman, I will maintain two CACs during my time on Oahu, which will make utilizing the Hickam commissary a huge benefit. If I stay Air Guard, I will need to cross-train (making my CONUS car decision very attractive). If I go Reserve IMA, there is a small chance I can retain my AFSC but won't know for sure until the recruiter does his research. (Of course, I'd love to go active, but current policy prevents a "prior service" member to cross-train into anything other than special forces).

I have limited my cellular choices to Tracfone and RingPlus. I'm leaning towards the former just because of the low cost, but since I use Google Voice for all calls and texts, I am not certain how it interfaces with Tracfone on a LG ULTIMATE 2.

Finally, I would love to hear from someone who uses AirBnB for long-term renting. I found one room for rent on AirBnB just north of the airport that would be great short-term for just under $1k/mo, but unless I can negotiate to nix future intermittent reservations on the space, it won't be a long-term solution. I've found only one other apartment listing for <$1k/mo, and it didn't include appliances or utilities while this room rental would include everything while sharing space/appliances with the owners.

Thank you.

MsPeacock

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2016, 04:00:12 PM »
It has been a few years (12...) since I worked at Tripler. At the time I lived in Aiea and it was a quick easy commute and if you live up the ridge (vs lower down closer to Kam highway) it gets nicely cool at night. We had no heat and no AC for 4 years and never had a problem. Pearl ridge is similar, maybe 10 minutes more drive max. Commuting from Kaneohe isnt bad, but considerably further than Aiea. Wherever you go, know that higher altitude will generally be cooler at night.

We bought from the lemon lot at either Hickam or Pearl Harbor. Because of the heavy military presence and policy of only shipping one car there is a large trade in used cars. Prices were higher than on the mainland. Craigslist will give you a good indication of what is available. Tripler also had an internal electronic bulletin board for selling cars, household items, etc.

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2016, 05:49:24 PM »
While reviewing apartment listings (stigma of using craigslist prevents me from taking that resource seriously), I found the nearby Kam IV (http://www.apartments.com/kam-iv-honolulu-hi/hrvhdh1/) will have an upcoming vacancy that I have inquired on. What is concerning is that most listings on apartments.com feature rents > $1,200+/mo (excluding utilities); adding the utilities, insurance, and vehicle maintenance monthly expenses makes me nervous that I won't be able to afford housing on the island given my GS salary. Are rent prices (or roommate requests ) more favorable on the east side of the island? I like the multi-road and < 30 minute commute times between Honolulu and Windward (Kaneohe).
As an Air Guardsman, I will maintain two CACs during my time on Oahu, which will make utilizing the Hickam commissary a huge benefit. If I stay Air Guard, I will need to cross-train (making my CONUS car decision very attractive). If I go Reserve IMA, there is a small chance I can retain my AFSC but won't know for sure until the recruiter does his research. (Of course, I'd love to go active, but current policy prevents a "prior service" member to cross-train into anything other than special forces).
I learned last month that, as a drilling member of the Air National Guard, you're eligible for some base housing.  You're at a lower priority but you might be able to get into Aliamanu Military Reservation (http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil/MOS/f?p=MI:CONTENT:0::::P4_INST_ID,P4_CONTENT_TITLE,P4_CONTENT_EKMT_ID,P4_CONTENT_DIRECTORY:2125,Government%20Housing,30.90.60.30.90.0.0.0.0,8).  Most of AMR was demolished and rebuilt 5-10 years ago so it's pretty modern.  You might even be within bicycle range of Tripler, although it's quite hilly.  There are several other housing areas (further away from Tripler) so it's worth seeing what the housing office can do for you.

You can also try for reservations at the Navy Lodge or the other base motels.  They'll be filling up by the end of June in anticipation of the biennial RIMPAC exercise, so if you decide on this option then contact them now. 

I recall seeing a lemon lot at Fort Sam Houston. Does anyone have experience purchasing from such an enterprise leading to a vehicle that could consistently go from Pt A to Pt B? If not, can someone please recommend a used car dealer and repair shop? I will need to visit both upon touchdown since TheBus clearly won't operate between where I will reside and my place of employment.
There are Lemon Lots on Hickam, Pearl Harbor, and Schofield.  Maybe even at Fort Schafter and Kaneohe.  If you don't see something you like then Craigslist works great.  I realize Craigslist has its problems with rental properties but it's fine for used vehicles.

You can also use Facebook pages & groups like the Hickam Lemon Lot or Resale Lot:
https://www.facebook.com/Hickam-AFB-Lemon-Lot-332153870167901/?fref=nf
https://www.facebook.com/Hickam-AFB-Resale-Lot-856466094470981/?fref=nf

Gas is really really really cheap (less than $2.25/gallon!!) so many Oahu residents are ditching their fuel-efficient beaters to "upgrade" back up to SUVs. 

As a Guard member you could use your ID to visit the Pearl Harbor Subase Autoport for used-car checkups or other repairs. 
http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil/MOS/f?p=MI:CONTENT:0::::P4_INST_ID,P4_CONTENT_DIRECTORY,P4_TAB:2200,ALL,IC
Hickam's auto repair shop used to have a mediocre reputation but I haven't been there in over 20 years.

If I stay Air Guard, I will need to cross-train (making my CONUS car decision very attractive). If I go Reserve IMA, there is a small chance I can retain my AFSC but won't know for sure until the recruiter does his research. (Of course, I'd love to go active, but current policy prevents a "prior service" member to cross-train into anything other than special forces).
I also learned last month that Oahu has one of the nation's largest Air National Guard units.  I don't know how small your community is but you could give TSGT Todd Shak a call at 808-216-2020.  There's a sizable (but very stealthy) SOCPAC unit at PACOM as well as plenty of other choices around the island.

... which will make utilizing the Hickam commissary a huge benefit.
Don't limit yourself strictly by your service.  You may find that the Pearl Harbor commissary (one of the world's largest) is more convenient.  I haven't been to the Hickam one in nearly two decades and I think it's at least that old. 

Finally, I would love to hear from someone who uses AirBnB for long-term renting. I found one room for rent on AirBnB just north of the airport that would be great short-term for just under $1k/mo, but unless I can negotiate to nix future intermittent reservations on the space, it won't be a long-term solution. I've found only one other apartment listing for <$1k/mo, and it didn't include appliances or utilities while this room rental would include everything while sharing space/appliances with the owners.
That's an issue.  There are a number of "illegal" AirBnB rentals on the island which are supposed to be permitted (and to pay the 11% transient accommodation tax).  The city has hired contractors to browse AirBnB listings and go after the owners.  If you find an AirBnB listing that you really like, the landlord might be willing to convert to a longer-term rental.

If base housing isn't available then you could try searching for short-term listings on VRBO.com.  Since you have a CAC you could also register on AHRN.com or use MilitaryByOwner.com.

The good news is that you're coming in the summer, so military housing will be turning over at a frantic pace.  The not-so-good news is that the visitor industry gets busier during the summer, too, so short-term rentals might be at a premium price and the owners might be reluctant to go long-term.  I can't predict which preference your landlord will go for.

I have limited my cellular choices to Tracfone and RingPlus. I'm leaning towards the former just because of the low cost, but since I use Google Voice for all calls and texts, I am not certain how it interfaces with Tracfone on a LG ULTIMATE 2.
Totally unpredictable.  Oahu has many ridges & valleys, and the urban sections have additional concrete interference with cell phone signals.  You may be happier with WiFi phone service most of the time, but for now you could pick a pay-as-you-go plan that seems like the best deal and then see how you like it at the Oahu places you frequent.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 05:51:04 PM by Nords »

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2016, 06:49:28 PM »
Thanks to some "friends" I have made online, I was cautioned against leasing at the Kam IV Apartments. (Apparently, the area is considered "low income" with a higher risk of crime (a drive-by shooting took place a week ago a block from the structure). Knowing this (combined with the lack of appliances, parking fee, and utilities being extra), I have great incentive to pass on this option.

I do like the locations MsPeacock mentions - both Aiea and Pearl Ridge are nearer to Costco and volunteer opportunities I spotted. The rents for the area on Apartments.com begin at $1,450; with electricity and air extra, I honestly don't think I can make that figure. I really need to find a quality single co-worker to share a property but it's difficult to meet any such available partners from afar.

Nords: Thank you so much for the links in your reply. I called both entities on the military installations page and learned that while no units are available currently (the DoD employee property has a turnover rate of less than 1 unit/year at ~$2400/mo (including utilities and appliances)), I can still put myself on the wait list in case something would come available later this year or next. I would be responsible for the full rent but can bring my own roommate. Given the odds, it won't hurt to pay the application fee and see what happens; in the meantime, I must continue to look outside of base accommodations.

I am curious, is there a "decent" site that advertises airfare/hotel/car rental packages at a value price? Kayak.com offers several week-long options but I won't have time to "relax on the beach." It seems that all that remains in to complete paperwork and a physical and my date will be known. (I'm now expecting 1 June, but since I will be on orders with my current ANG unit, 20 June would be more appropriate.

Is the "Pearl Harbor Subase Autoport" the same as "Navy Exchange Car Center, NEX Autoport"? I've used my dealership exclusively for service since I bought my current vehicle but that was due to my purchasing a discounted service plan that has more than paid for itself with all the free oil changes. Not knowing dealer or base auto service shop reputations on Oahu, like choosing a residence, I pray I can find a shop I can depend on.

I discovered that TheBus Route 31 goes between the airport and Tripler daily. Are any rental complexes located along this stretch worth considering? I haven't priced it out, but potentially busing to-and-from work each day is appealing (though I'd prefer to walk/bike to work).

I left a message with TSgt Shak - thank you, Nords, for his direct line. If we can't get in touch tomorrow, I will follow-up with an email. It will be interesting to learn what "unadvertised" opportunities exist on the island.

My LG Ultimate 2 arrived yesterday and I intend to set it up tomorrow after the battery charges. From commentary on a Tracfone Ultimate 2 thread, apparently airtime balances don't automatically display on phones anymore; instead, I must text a number to retrieve my balance or "use an app." I'm really very ignorant on apps; still, even if I only use this phone until the 1200 minutes are spent, I'm already $10 ahead.

I continue to love the prospect of starting fresh in a location that largely never sees snow and  remain very thankful to everyone who chooses to share his/her insight and observations which I can use to prepare for my transition to the island. To risk-averse me, the biggest hurdle is establishing a residence that doesn't bankrupt me; once I have this question mark resolved, all my attention will turn to making life on Oahu the best experience imaginable.

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2016, 08:51:19 PM »
Nords: Thank you so much for the links in your reply. I called both entities on the military installations page and learned that while no units are available currently (the DoD employee property has a turnover rate of less than 1 unit/year at ~$2400/mo (including utilities and appliances)), I can still put myself on the wait list in case something would come available later this year or next. I would be responsible for the full rent but can bring my own roommate. Given the odds, it won't hurt to pay the application fee and see what happens; in the meantime, I must continue to look outside of base accommodations.
You're welcome!  I can never predict how quickly those places will turn over.

I am curious, is there a "decent" site that advertises airfare/hotel/car rental packages at a value price? Kayak.com offers several week-long options but I won't have time to "relax on the beach." It seems that all that remains in to complete paperwork and a physical and my date will be known. (I'm now expecting 1 June, but since I will be on orders with my current ANG unit, 20 June would be more appropriate.
If you're looking for "other than military base lodging" and carrying an ANG ID then you should contact the Hale Koa Hotel right away.  I don't know if they partner with airlines but they'll be the cheapest hotel room in Waikiki.  The "right away" issue is that you're getting here at the end of June when every country in the Pacific Rim (and many U.S. military units) will be gathering for RIMPAC 16.

https://www.halekoa.com/  If they don't have a room available then you can ask to be put on their wait list. 

As far as packages go, I usually end up booking separately because of discounts or frequent-flyer miles.  It's highly dependent on what programs you're in and whether Expedia, Orbitz, or one of the other big groups is running a discount.  During summer when school's out... maybe not so many discounts.

I think Tripler also has an Army version of a lodge up behind the hospital.  But again I don't know how far in advance that books up. 

Is the "Pearl Harbor Subase Autoport" the same as "Navy Exchange Car Center, NEX Autoport"? I've used my dealership exclusively for service since I bought my current vehicle but that was due to my purchasing a discounted service plan that has more than paid for itself with all the free oil changes. Not knowing dealer or base auto service shop reputations on Oahu, like choosing a residence, I pray I can find a shop I can depend on.
Yep.  We use Costco for tires, and the Servco Toyota dealer for advanced Prius repairs, but we use the NEX Autoport for everything else.

It's a little challenging to find, but here's a map:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gilmore+St,+Joint+Base+Pearl+Harbor-Hickam,+HI+96860/@21.360456,-157.9439637,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x7c006f662e77784d:0x670bb292260b1a97
You come in the Main (Nimitz) Gate or the Makalapa Gate, turn right, and go on to Subase until it looks you've almost run out of base.  You'll see the gas pumps Subase NEX Gas Station right around the area where you'll need to turn left, and the repair shop is an impressive 1950s shed.  (You won't even see any submarines.)  The reason we like it is because Dennis Packham, who used to be the service manager, hired good people and treated them well.  His practices seem to have continued over the years.

Once upon a time Hickam AFB, Naval Station Pearl Harbor, and Subase Pearl Harbor were all separate bases.  In 2010 they all became one big happy family called Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.  The Pearl Harbor NEX/Commissary is actually off the base, a block inland from the main gate.
 http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil/MOS/f?p=MI:CONTENT:0::::P4_INST_ID,P4_CONTENT_TITLE,P4_CONTENT_EKMT_ID,P4_CONTENT_DIRECTORY,P4_TAB:2200,Installation%20Overview,30.90.30.30.30.0.0.0.0,1,IO

I discovered that TheBus Route 31 goes between the airport and Tripler daily. Are any rental complexes located along this stretch worth considering? I haven't priced it out, but potentially busing to-and-from work each day is appealing (though I'd prefer to walk/bike to work).
It's tough to make a recommendation-- nothing comes to mind.  They're not bad neighborhoods but some places have better management than others. 

The Salt Lake area has a bunch of high-rise apartments that are professionally managed.  Another advantage is that you'd get some altitude (above street noise) for tradewind cooling.  And walking/cycling to Tripler is definitely an option, although you'll get heartily tired of the steep uphill ride. 

I left a message with TSgt Shak - thank you, Nords, for his direct line. If we can't get in touch tomorrow, I will follow-up with an email. It will be interesting to learn what "unadvertised" opportunities exist on the island.
He's a good guy, no beating around the bush.  He looked up my friend's ANG record online before meeting him (at a local coffee shop, no less) and laid out all the options.

I continue to love the prospect of starting fresh in a location that largely never sees snow and  remain very thankful to everyone who chooses to share his/her insight and observations which I can use to prepare for my transition to the island. To risk-averse me, the biggest hurdle is establishing a residence that doesn't bankrupt me; once I have this question mark resolved, all my attention will turn to making life on Oahu the best experience imaginable.
That's the right attitude!

When you get settled in and you're ready to surf, I'd be happy to give you a free lesson out at White Plains Beach on Kalealoa.  Hickam MWR also does the same on base, but it's mostly stand-up paddleboarding and kayaks.  Their surf break is a 10-minute boat ride out past the outer runway.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2016, 11:50:04 AM »
Nords: Your advice and links are tremendously helpful - thank you! Alas, after a month, little has changed suggesting that my move will be pushed to August as my mandatory physical has yet to be scheduled and I will be TDY for much of the next two months.

I do have two questions, however, that anyone familiar may respond to:

1. How wise/safe is it to use someone else's WiFi? With the Tripler Army Hotel costing $150/night, the cheapest short-term rates are available on airBnB. Whether I ultimately stay at a hotel or take advantage of a short-term room rental, all mention "free WiFi." I have been brought up to view WiFi with great skepticism outside of operating my own home WiFi network. The thought of performing financial transactions on Mr./Ms. Doe's home WiFi just seems eerily unwise. Am I being overly paranoid of others' intent?

2. Does the Navy Exchange shuttle bus offer any routes beyond "from JBPHH to The Mall at Pearl Harbor" (http://www.greatlifehawaii.com/programs/426e5e0a-bb73-45ff-a8d6-a5acc2053a38)? I ask because theBus Route 19 stops at one or two Hickam gates; if I resided along theBus Route 30 as desired and rode Route 19 to Hickam, I could then ride the NEX shuttle to specific base locations. This wouldn't work for visiting a commissary as I have yet to determine if any theBus or NEX routes drop off/pick up at either the Hickam or Pearl Harbor commissaries, but in the event I lack a personal vehicle, I just want to be certain public transportation is available as a back-up. No NEX shuttle route info is available online - likely due to base security concerns; perhaps a route map exists that can be forwarded to my military email if I call?

Nords: Another thank you for your offer. Me + water will be quite a comical sight as my balance/coordination is so limited I have a hard time staying upright on roller skates (don't get me started on my roller blades escapades). If I could stay upright for two minutes on a surfboard, what a postcard greeting that would make!


Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2016, 07:21:50 PM »
Nords: Your advice and links are tremendously helpful - thank you!
You're welcome!

1. How wise/safe is it to use someone else's WiFi? With the Tripler Army Hotel costing $150/night, the cheapest short-term rates are available on airBnB. Whether I ultimately stay at a hotel or take advantage of a short-term room rental, all mention "free WiFi." I have been brought up to view WiFi with great skepticism outside of operating my own home WiFi network. The thought of performing financial transactions on Mr./Ms. Doe's home WiFi just seems eerily unwise. Am I being overly paranoid of others' intent?
It's not totally secure, but it's relatively safe.  The AirBnB owners want to get all your money from rentals, not from ripping you off.  Crime reflects badly on their ratings and discourages repeat business.

Most WiFi router owners use encryption, which is why you need their password to log on.  The encryption might even be pretty good.  It's no more dangerous than using your WiFi router at your residence, and it's probably safer than using the airport's free WiFi.

If Mr./Mrs. Doe are hackers (or if someone's hacked into their WiFi) then your (encrypted) financial data could be at risk.  In that case you'd want to use a library computer, or a hard-wired terminal at an Internet café (if those still even exist), or a smartphone app on a cell network.  Or you could take comfort in knowing that if your financial transactions are hacked on someone else's WiFi that your bank will (eventually) reimburse your losses.

2. Does the Navy Exchange shuttle bus offer any routes beyond "from JBPHH to The Mall at Pearl Harbor" (http://www.greatlifehawaii.com/programs/426e5e0a-bb73-45ff-a8d6-a5acc2053a38)? I ask because theBus Route 19 stops at one or two Hickam gates; if I resided along theBus Route 30 as desired and rode Route 19 to Hickam, I could then ride the NEX shuttle to specific base locations. This wouldn't work for visiting a commissary as I have yet to determine if any theBus or NEX routes drop off/pick up at either the Hickam or Pearl Harbor commissaries, but in the event I lack a personal vehicle, I just want to be certain public transportation is available as a back-up. No NEX shuttle route info is available online - likely due to base security concerns; perhaps a route map exists that can be forwarded to my military email if I call?
I don't think there's any OPSEC from the NEX shuttle, but it's a convenient excuse for them to not spend money on website updates or pamphlets. 

I rode the shuttle last August from the NEX to the Hickam passenger terminal, and it went through part of Hickam base housing first.  It's a 20-30 minute loop.  (Coincidentally the driver was a woman who I know from surfing at White Plains Beach.)  Of course it also stopped at the Hickam gate on the way in for an ID check, so you'd be able to board at a gate or a shuttle stop inside the gate.  I don't know whether it stops at the Hickam AAFES/commissary on the route, but it probably does.  Each shuttle stop has a route map listing the stops & times. 

Just to clear up the geography, "The Mall At Pearl Harbor" is a gigantic combined Navy commissary & exchange building wrapped around a food court with a couple dozen small shops on its periphery.  You can do everything under one roof from groceries to department-store shopping to home furnishings to souvenirs, haircuts, dry cleaning,  and discount travel/entertainment tickets.  The food court and the courtyard are open to the public, and the stores require DoD IDs.  If you hop on a NEX shuttle bus on Hickam, you'll end up at "The Mall".  I don't know the routes for the public bus system very well (also known as The Bus or "Da Bus"), but I bet there are stops either at or pretty close to the NEX.   

The NEX shuttle may also drop by the Hickam AAFES/commissary.  Those stores aren't bad but they're older & smaller than the Pearl Harbor NEX/commissary.  I haven't been there in years. 

I think you'll have plenty of public transportation available.  Hundreds of junior enlisted servicemembers (many of them students) get around via Da Bus, the NEX shuttle, or bicycle. 

The RIMPAC16 exercise goes from late June to late August.  If you arrive here during that time then there'll be plenty of free transportation for the fleets of over two dozen countries. 

Nords: Another thank you for your offer. Me + water will be quite a comical sight as my balance/coordination is so limited I have a hard time staying upright on roller skates (don't get me started on my roller blades escapades). If I could stay upright for two minutes on a surfboard, what a postcard greeting that would make!
No worries; it's an open-ended offer!  I've taught people of all physical condition, ages, sizes, and skill levels.  (I've even taught people who suffered from PTSD and anxiety attacks in the water.)  If you can swim then you can learn to surf.  If you can stay upright while riding a bicycle then it's even easier. 

No pressure.  But if you spend any length of time here and then return to the Mainland, you'll be kicking yourself for not trying it...

bkmnky72

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2016, 09:54:55 PM »
Thanks to some "friends" I have made online, I was cautioned against leasing at the Kam IV Apartments. (Apparently, the area is considered "low income" with a higher risk of crime (a drive-by shooting took place a week ago a block from the structure). Knowing this (combined with the lack of appliances, parking fee, and utilities being extra), I have great incentive to pass on this option.

I do like the locations MsPeacock mentions - both Aiea and Pearl Ridge are nearer to Costco and volunteer opportunities I spotted. The rents for the area on Apartments.com begin at $1,450; with electricity and air extra, I honestly don't think I can make that figure. I really need to find a quality single co-worker to share a property but it's difficult to meet any such available partners from afar.

Nords: Thank you so much for the links in your reply. I called both entities on the military installations page and learned that while no units are available currently (the DoD employee property has a turnover rate of less than 1 unit/year at ~$2400/mo (including utilities and appliances)), I can still put myself on the wait list in case something would come available later this year or next. I would be responsible for the full rent but can bring my own roommate. Given the odds, it won't hurt to pay the application fee and see what happens; in the meantime, I must continue to look outside of base accommodations.

I am curious, is there a "decent" site that advertises airfare/hotel/car rental packages at a value price? Kayak.com offers several week-long options but I won't have time to "relax on the beach." It seems that all that remains in to complete paperwork and a physical and my date will be known. (I'm now expecting 1 June, but since I will be on orders with my current ANG unit, 20 June would be more appropriate.

Is the "Pearl Harbor Subase Autoport" the same as "Navy Exchange Car Center, NEX Autoport"? I've used my dealership exclusively for service since I bought my current vehicle but that was due to my purchasing a discounted service plan that has more than paid for itself with all the free oil changes. Not knowing dealer or base auto service shop reputations on Oahu, like choosing a residence, I pray I can find a shop I can depend on.

I discovered that TheBus Route 31 goes between the airport and Tripler daily. Are any rental complexes located along this stretch worth considering? I haven't priced it out, but potentially busing to-and-from work each day is appealing (though I'd prefer to walk/bike to work).

I left a message with TSgt Shak - thank you, Nords, for his direct line. If we can't get in touch tomorrow, I will follow-up with an email. It will be interesting to learn what "unadvertised" opportunities exist on the island.

My LG Ultimate 2 arrived yesterday and I intend to set it up tomorrow after the battery charges. From commentary on a Tracfone Ultimate 2 thread, apparently airtime balances don't automatically display on phones anymore; instead, I must text a number to retrieve my balance or "use an app." I'm really very ignorant on apps; still, even if I only use this phone until the 1200 minutes are spent, I'm already $10 ahead.

I continue to love the prospect of starting fresh in a location that largely never sees snow and  remain very thankful to everyone who chooses to share his/her insight and observations which I can use to prepare for my transition to the island. To risk-averse me, the biggest hurdle is establishing a residence that doesn't bankrupt me; once I have this question mark resolved, all my attention will turn to making life on Oahu the best experience imaginable.

I have no other thing to add but I want to just say I'm glad you passed up on Kam IV housing.   

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2016, 10:31:47 AM »
I hope everyone is enjoying a reflective and somber "Memorial Day" with their loved ones. So many have given the ultimate price to defend our freedoms; we cannot thank our veterans (and their dependents) enough for maintaining the sovereignty of this great nation.

As I prepare to go TDY, I want to share that I have completed my physical and am simply waiting on the firm offer with reporting date. As I won't have internet access while I'm away, I anticipate receipt of my offer upon my return with a mid-July reporting date. Understandably, I have been searching AHRN for July housing options and have come across several room-for-rent condos/suites in Pearl City (Kamahao St, Hookanike St, and Kamehameha Hwy), Aiea (Hale Momi Place and Hakina St), and Honolulu (Ala Aoloa Loop) within seven miles of TAMC. Several higher rent options are now also available in Waipahu. While none may remain upon my return, would any of these options offer a cooler climate than others? MsPeacock mentioned Aiea to have ridges which negated the need for A/C, but I am unsure if Hale Momi Place and Hakina St would offer such natural relief.

Since I will be able to transfer a civilian retail job to Oahu, the store I am targeting is near the Pearl Harbor Commissary. I am resigned to not riding a bike to Tripler each day; however, if such would be possible to my weekend employment and grocery trip, that wouldn't be terrible. Without looking at craigslist, I have yet to find such a match.

Not to worry, Nords: I can stay upright on a bicycle. If I don't end up working seven days a week to survive on Oahu, I most certainly need to find an outlet in the water. Bless you for helping those with PTSD find an activity to get their minds away from their trigger - war has many costs...

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2016, 04:45:29 PM »
It all depends on how the buildings (and the windows) are laid out against the tradewinds.

Kamahao & Hookanike might offer some altitude potential.  The nearby intersections, Kaahumanu and Waimano Home Road, are major neighborhood arteries that go straight up the hills off Kam Hwy & Moanalua Fwy.  There'll be a little traffic noise to go with the gradient.  I would not recommend any place along Kamehameha Hwy in Aiea or Pearl City for the next year or two due to light rail construction.  Right now that's a combination of a jackhammer war zone and a demolition derby, but when the rail is actually running then there'll be a huge surge of "transit-oriented development" of apartments & condos along the rail corridor.  No doubt rents will rise rapidly along there once the rail construction is over. 

Hale Momi and Hakina seem to have some altitude, but again it depends on how the buildings and windows are laid out. 

I've never been up Ala Aoloa Loop, but that has a lot of potential.  It's across the ridge from Tripler and perhaps a local would know of a cross-ridge walking path straight between the two ridges, although it'd be a vertical hike in both directions and TAMC probably has a security fence.  You'd also have some hefty hills if you bicycled or walked the roads/sidewalks down one ridge and up the other.  If the buildings and landscaping are laid out correctly then you could have some awesome views to go with the tradewinds.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 04:47:09 PM by Nords »

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2016, 12:04:00 PM »
Update:

Upon returning from my first summer TDY, I found no change had occurred in either of my statuses. For my Air National Guard (ANG) transfer, the process simply takes "a long time"; for my prospective technician position on Oahu, apparently a (fourth) document was not given to me during my physical, preventing a DoD physician from reviewing all my medical history and test results while I was away. It is a bummer - I honestly was prepared to board a plane and begin anew last week if the firm offer had been given - but life goes on.

Given the week at home/work, I learned that (1) my fulltime "permanent temporary technician" position will be terminated in September and (2) a HI ANG unit is interested in accepting me for a cross-training opportunity. The former development is out of the blue - apparently all temporary technician positions within the ANG are to be terminated without the prospect of extensions by the end of FY16 - while the latter had been predicted due to the duties of my current AFSC already being carried out by contractors in the ANG.

Going forward, I can see two possible routes if/when the firm offer is received:

1) I will be given a reporting date for the technician position between today and September 2016, which I will honor by utilizing all the valuable insight and guidance bestowed upon me by my MMM brothers and sisters to best acclimate myself to the island (thank you, Nords, for the O'ahu light rail construction notice - it appears properties in Aiea, along the Ala Aoloa Loop, and traveling to-and-from my civilian retail employer won't be affected (http://www.honolulutransit.org/ride/route-map)). Then, after several months into FY17, I will take (KG) leave so I may learn my new military career at a CONUS installation; returning to Oahu after graduation.  OR

2) I will be accepted by the military unit before the technician final offer is received. Accordingly, I will be enrolled in the first available class date of FY17 (this October?). When coupled with the technician final offer, I will simply submit my military training orders after my acceptance, which effectively places a hold on my move until after I graduate from tech school in early 2017. Once completed, I will then report to both my new DoD technician and ANG military owning entities at the same time in early 2017.

Reality (2) above is the most likely but is certainly not ideal (though it would save taxpayers significant $$ due to my current close proximity to the technical school of my future AFSC). Learning two distinctly different occupations concurrently will be challenging - especially since I will also be establishing a new life routine when not "on the clock" - but I can handle the stress so long as I quickly identify stable residential and transportation options on O'ahu.

Given the above continued uncertainty about when I will physically relocate to O'ahu, I have not pursued any residential leads since my last commentary. However, I did learn that another ANG Airman in a neighboring state is also being heavily recruited to join me on setting up a new life in Honolulu. He is to graduate with his masters in December and would be ready to relocate next January. If reality (2) comes to fruition and his recruitment process is expedited (mine has already lapsed eight months), we could find ourselves moving at the same time next year. I have proposed rooming together to my Wingman shortly before my completed TDY but have not received a response (I don't anticipate receiving a response from him this month, either, as he is TDY and I will be the same in another week).

Thank you to all for your continued interest and consideration of my story and the challenges I am facing. I have no doubt that a firm offer will be presented before the end of FY16 - achieving that outcome simply requires great patience. Over two years had lapsed between when I graduated from tech school in my current AFSC and when an enticing, career-strengthening fulltime position presented itself; as was true then, time remains on my side. Perhaps I'll have significant news to share upon my return from my second TDY at the end of the month...?

Dicey

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2016, 01:59:14 PM »
Hey Nords, can you translate any of this into civilian English without breaching any protocols?

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2016, 03:28:58 PM »
Hey Nords, can you translate any of this into civilian English without breaching any protocols?
Fun parenting story:  My spouse and I are both USNA graduates and we have years of active duty.  When we wanted to have secret discussions in front of our adolescent daughter, we used a combination of midshipman slang and DoD acronyms.  It's surprising how much information you can communicate with phonetically-pronounced code groups.

This "secret language" worked up until our daughter went to college on a Navy ROTC scholarship and started learning the same dialect.  For more than six years now she's been remembering our parental conversations during her childhood years and having monthly blinding epiphanies:  "Oh, that's what they meant!!"  She's also learned an entire new Navy generation of acronyms that we've never heard before, so that leads to even more interesting conversations the next time we're together.

Solomon, I'm going to attempt a translation without putting words in your mouth.  My apologies for any errors, and please correct me!

I'm totally guessing at the big picture here, but Solomon appears to be both a federal civil-service employee (with the Department of Defense) and a military servicemember of the Air National Guard.  They're probably a dual-status technician:  an esoteric classification of DoD employee who is required to maintain the military skills behind the civil-service job that they're doing.  This is usually a highly-trained arcane skill like jet engine electronic troubleshooting & repair or weapons systems electronics & software repairs/upgrades.

They're awaiting an employment offer for a different dual-status tech DoD job on Oahu, which also requires transferring to a different ANG unit. 

Update:

Upon returning from my first summer TDY, I found no change had occurred in either of my statuses. For my Air National Guard (ANG) transfer, the process simply takes "a long time"; for my prospective technician position on Oahu, apparently a (fourth) document was not given to me during my physical, preventing a DoD physician from reviewing all my medical history and test results while I was away. It is a bummer - I honestly was prepared to board a plane and begin anew last week if the firm offer had been given - but life goes on.
TDY = Temporary DutY
(Some of these acronyms were created when FORTRAN and IBM punchcards were the bee's knees, and three letters in a data field were mandatory.)
TDY is a set of military orders usually assigned for short schools or other training.

They're trying to transfer from one state's ANG unit to another, which means that the adjutants of each state (the top military Guard official, who works for the governor) have to review/approve the process.  Part of that includes a medical clearance performed according to the standards of the Department of Defense.  Normally the ANG works for the governor, but for combat missions the state (temporarily)  surrenders authority to the DoD.  The DoD medical standards ensure that the servicemember is ready to deploy for combat whenever necessary.

Usually the status of a process is updated in a state or federal database for the servicemember's command, but it's not easy for the servicemember to access.  People tend to get the word only when they muster for the monthly drill weekend or when there's a problem (and a letter in the postal mail).

To make this even more complicated, they're applying for a technician's billet that's actually handled by a federal civil-service employee of the Department of Defense.  There might be additional physical or medical qualifications that have to be checked by the DoD medical guidelines as well as the ANG requirements.

Given the week at home/work, I learned that (1) my fulltime "permanent temporary technician" position will be terminated in September and (2) a HI ANG unit is interested in accepting me for a cross-training opportunity. The former development is out of the blue - apparently all temporary technician positions within the ANG are to be terminated without the prospect of extensions by the end of FY16 - while the latter had been predicted due to the duties of my current AFSC already being carried out by contractors in the ANG.
Apparently permanent authority was given to a unit to put a technician temporarily in a billet.  (Even if "temporary" means "365 days per year".)  However the entire U.S. military is still in a drawdown, so DoD went to the trouble to not only kill the funding for the billet but exerted the extra effort to kill the billet as well.  Perhaps the whole system of "permanent temporary" billets has been eliminated.

But DoD and HI ANG still want this servicemember for a different vacant dual-status billet (which may be permanently permanent, at least until the next drawdown), as long as they can be trained to handle the duties of that other billet as well. 

The military fiscal year runs from October through September, so FY16 is October 2015 - September 2016.  I think it's supposed to be tied to the federal government or the Congressional legislative calendar, but it mostly just confuses the heck out of people.

AFSC = Air Force Specialty Code (the Air National Guard uses Air Force designations & terminology).  In this case, all the military billets (which would've been filled by ANG members with this AFSC) have been outsourced to civilian contractors.  (Not to DoD civil service but rather to civilians from a corporation like Grumman.)  Someone must've been happy with the outsourcing, so they went back and killed those billets too.

Going forward, I can see two possible routes if/when the firm offer is received:

1) I will be given a reporting date for the technician position between today and September 2016, which I will honor by utilizing all the valuable insight and guidance bestowed upon me by my MMM brothers and sisters to best acclimate myself to the island (thank you, Nords, for the O'ahu light rail construction notice - it appears properties in Aiea, along the Ala Aoloa Loop, and traveling to-and-from my civilian retail employer won't be affected (http://www.honolulutransit.org/ride/route-map)). Then, after several months into FY17, I will take (KG) leave so I may learn my new military career at a CONUS installation; returning to Oahu after graduation.  OR
The funding for that "permanent temporary" tech is still good through the end of September, so they could still come out to Oahu to start the technician job and also join this ANG unit.  Then starting October 2016 (FY17) they'd have to find a new tech billet. 

"KG" is a payroll code for leave from the job due to military orders.  It's part of the DoD's accounting system for civil-service employees.  It's probably a different (incompatible) FORTRAN/IBM format.

CONUS = CONtinental US, although technically that's just the first 48 states. 

In other words, Solomon would move to Oahu for the last few months of FY16 funding in that DoD tech billet that's being killed.  Solomon would get to know Oahu and get to know their new HI ANG duties while working in a familiar dual-status tech job.  In FY17, when the dual-status billet ends, they'll probably take leave from the DoD dual-technician status job on Oahu and be cross-trained for the HI ANG's new billet's AFSC by going TDY to a CONUS training facility that's not available on Oahu. (See how this new vocabulary sort of takes over the English language?)

2) I will be accepted by the military unit before the technician final offer is received. Accordingly, I will be enrolled in the first available class date of FY17 (this October?). When coupled with the technician final offer, I will simply submit my military training orders after my acceptance, which effectively places a hold on my move until after I graduate from tech school in early 2017. Once completed, I will then report to both my new DoD technician and ANG military owning entities at the same time in early 2017.
With all the bureaucracy to date, it's pretty clear that the HI ANG will complete the transfer to their unit before the DoD "permanent temporary" dual-status technician transfer is approved.  (If it's ever approved at all.)  That clears Solomon to have the ANG unit issue the TDY orders for the next available school for the new AFSC while they're still on the Mainland. 

If Solomon gets the new technician civil-service offer then they'll accept the offer and stay on the Mainland while taking leave from the new tech job to do the military training.  Once they get the new AFSC then they'll be qualified to do a different DoD civil-service dual-status technician job (as well as a different HI ANG military billet). 

Reality (2) above is the most likely but is certainly not ideal (though it would save taxpayers significant $$ due to my current close proximity to the technical school of my future AFSC). Learning two distinctly different occupations concurrently will be challenging - especially since I will also be establishing a new life routine when not "on the clock" - but I can handle the stress so long as I quickly identify stable residential and transportation options on O'ahu.
Although Solomon would be transferred to a HI ANG unit and given a different DoD civil-service technician job, that would all be on paper.  The reality is that they'd stay on the Mainland and do the tech school for the new AFSC, then move to Oahu.  Since the DoD is paying for the move (our tax dollars at work) that's cheaper than moving Solomon to Oahu and then paying for a TDY trip back to the Mainland. 

The "downside" is that after all of this training, Solomon would (1) move to Oahu to (2) join the new HI ANG unit and (3) learn the new civil-service tech job at the same time.  Which is pretty much what the military does with every transfer to a new duty station, but learning two new jobs at the same time would be extra fun.

Given the above continued uncertainty about when I will physically relocate to O'ahu, I have not pursued any residential leads since my last commentary. However, I did learn that another ANG Airman in a neighboring state is also being heavily recruited to join me on setting up a new life in Honolulu. He is to graduate with his masters in December and would be ready to relocate next January. If reality (2) comes to fruition and his recruitment process is expedited (mine has already lapsed eight months), we could find ourselves moving at the same time next year. I have proposed rooming together to my Wingman shortly before my completed TDY but have not received a response (I don't anticipate receiving a response from him this month, either, as he is TDY and I will be the same in another week).
The Air Force and the ANG call their servicemembers "Airmen" instead of "Soldiers", "Sailors", or "Marines". 
"Wingman" is the AF/ANG partner term for "Battle Buddy", "Shipmate", or "Marine".  Of course the civilian definition of "wingman" is a whole different subject.

Having a roommate on Oahu opens a lot of new rental opportunities.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2016, 01:14:52 PM »
Nords: Your account of my overall situation is nearly spot-on - thank you for your very detailed assessment. If Diane C has any further questions, she is free to ask - either openly or in private - as nothing about my circumstance is FOUO or "classified" content. The jargon I use is simply default ramblings of a member of the greatest military in the world - no different than calling others "sir" and "ma'am" despite my personal preference of "miss" for ladies. I apologize for any confusion my entries cause those uninitiated with DoD terminology.

Six different employment statuses exist on a Guard or Reserve base:

1. Active Guard Reserve (AGR): equivalent to an active duty military service-member
2. Federal Civil Servant (Technician): a federal employee (similar to employees of the U.S. Postal Service, FBI, etc). Three sub-categories of federal technicians exist:
    a. Permanent: a fulltime permanent federal position
    b. Indefinite: a fulltime federal position which may be rescinded within 5 years
    c. Temporary: a fulltime federal position authorized for up to 365 days
3. State Civil Servant (Technician): a state employee (similar to employees of a state DMV, state DNR, etc.)
4. Federal Contractor: the federal government awards a contract to a civilian entity (Grumman, CACI, etc.), which in turn pays the salary for a civilian to perform specific tasks on a military installation
5. Drill Status Guardsman (DSG): the classic Guardsman/Reservist - performs part-time military service on an annual "one weekend a month + a possible additional two weeks" schedule
6.  Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) (Reserve Bases Only): Reservists perform the same number of annual military training hours as a DSG but are instead assigned to an active duty base

I currently hold "2c" and "5" statuses at my CONUS ANG base. While my job descriptions vary, I am very much a "dual status" Technician/Guardsman as the scope of my duties don't change whether it is a weekday (where I am a federal civil servant) or a weekend (where I am a military member).

In September 2016, my "2c" status will be rescinded. I could be placed on military orders through to maintain fulltime employment through the end of September, but that decision must wait for my O'ahu ANG transfer and federal technician offer to finalize.

When I land on O'ahu, I will hold "2b" and "5" statuses; albeit through two separate DoD entities. The duties of the prospective federal technician position will mirror those of my current military AFSC, allowing me to specialize in a career I love, enjoy, and can envision growing forever in if let be. My prospective "5" AFSC will be entirely new to me, but is a career I will respect, become competent in, and relish due to my love of public service and because all potential deployments will be in this capacity alone.

My situation is funny in the sense that both my current federal technician and military careers are being formally discontinued; however, through perseverance and luck, both may be replaced by federal technician and military careers that offer more stability. The only question is in what order final decisions may be made.

My proposed federal technician position is deemed "essential," which is the reason for the physical I completed before my June TDY. If my teleconference with the Hawaii ANG goes well next weekend, I only need one signature from my current military group commander to release me from my current unit so I may enlist in the HI ANG. However, my actual move/transfer date remains tied to receipt of the firm offer for the federal technician position. Since the HI ANG would not be entertaining a teleconference with me if it hadn't reviewed the medical documents I submitted prior, it is clear that I will be accepted by the HI ANG before I receive the technician firm offer. That order makes it very economical for taxpayers to send me to technical training prior to my relocating on O'ahu. Of course, if the firm offer never does materialize, then this entire conversation ends and I must quickly look for fulltime employment in other locations...this would be the most frustrating outcome from this endeavor and one I don't want to think about.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2016, 08:16:15 AM »
Before I head off to my last summer TDY, significant developments have occurred this past week:

1. I received the firm offer for the non-military federal technician position. After accepting, I am being asked to report on September 4, 2016. (Note: My relocation is self-funded.)

2. I entertained a phone teleconference with a Hawaii Air National Guard unit. We discussed the reason for my interest to transfer to the HI ANG and my background. At the end, I was promised by he who is my section-to-be's Officer in Charge (OIC) to "review" the section's personnel status and [the unit will] "get back with me."

My current temporary federal technician position will be terminated on September 3, 2016. Not having a residence or vehicle waiting for me in HI, I intend to arrive on the island days before September 4th to get my bearings and identify reasonable accommodations. Such a decision will require that I end my temp tech position early, which I accept. I also must arrange to "drill" with the HI ANG indefinitely until it accepts my formal transfer.

When I return from my TDY at the end of July, my focus will be on airfare, arranging my first week(+?) of housing on Oahu, and finding a reliable vehicle. With luck, I will have a good idea how my life routine will be on the island before I report for my first day in my technician role. I will possess only my military uniforms and toiletries upon arrival; anything else I may need to live successfully on the island will be purchased as I go.

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2016, 09:10:41 AM »
I will possess only my military uniforms and toiletries upon arrival; anything else I may need to live successfully on the island will be purchased as I go.
"E komo mai" from the Mainland!  I'll be back on Oahu in October.

My entire surfer-style wardrobe comes from the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (Wednesday, Saturday, & Sunday mornings) or the Pearl City Goodwill (intersection of Kam Hwy and Hekaha Street).  Avoid the light rail construction on Kam Hwy by using Moanaloa Freeway to get to Hekaha and shoot straight across Kam Hwy to the Goodwill strip mall parking lot.

There's a bike shop next to the Goodwill (cleverly named "The Bike Shop") with a wide selection of bikes at retail prices.  I shop them for repair parts, accessories, and tuneup help.  They might also have the inside info on clearances &used bicycles.  Or you could work with Craigslist. 

There's a good selection at the military exchanges, too, but at prices approaching retail.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2016, 01:37:39 PM »
Having my TDY orders unexpectedly "split," I find myself at home this weekend before heading back out on Monday. While away, it came to mind that I should be conscious of the lesser administrative/financial consequences of this move. Be that, I am referring to taxes, rental insurance, vehicle registrations, etc:

This move will require income tax payments in two states for 2016; because it may take several months for my military transfer to go through, I must remember that August will be my final month's earnings for my current state with the rest attributable to Hawaii. Same will be required for a commercial civilian job I am also transferring to Oahu, which surprisingly has three locations.

I have resided in the same residence my entire life. I pay "rent" which is not outlined in a contract. I don't have experience with renter's insurance or security deposits. Does an "industry standard" exist on these subjects? My uniforms are my life; if damaged or stolen I am in ruin. Besides my uniforms, my other "valuables" on the island will be a used car, cellphone, tablet/laptop, and printer. (I'll use a sleeping bag at night to keep my footprint light.) To ensure my economic viability, I may end up moving every couple months; moving bulky furniture each time would just be painful (both physically and financially).

I have a vehicle license from my current state of residence; when I purchase a used vehicle on O'ahu, I assume the lot administrative staff will quickly register the vehicle for plates but when do I need to obtain a Hawaii Driver's License - when my non--HI license expires next year? Does any test apply to transplants from the mainland or does registration simply involve filling out a form, taking a photo, and paying a fee?

Speaking of vehicles, does Hawaii have minimum car insurance coverage levels?

In my current state, we have routine living fees for garbage pickup and annual vehicle registration in addition to income taxes, property taxes (combined with local (school) taxes), and utility fees. What "special" living fees/taxes exist on O'ahu which a newcomer may not anticipate?

Having never moved before, I am quite naive. I am fortunate that a trusted family member will be able to join me during my first few days on the island; we will split up to look into more leads to ensure we've considered all options before settling onto a preferred residential choice.

Also while away, my social network revealed two intriguing employment opportunities - one in Denver (a fulltime ANG position) and the other in Houston (a 2-year internship with the VA). Having desired a career with the VA since graduating from technician training, I am hopeful to be selected by the VA as my cost-of-living would be dramatically reduced while living in Texas; however, I would not need to cross-train if selected by the CO ANG unit as its mission necessitates the retention of one with my Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC). As simple as a transition to CO would be, its winter season and state income taxes are significant negatives, thus, unless I am selected by the VA, I remain fully committed to relocation to O'ahu in four weeks.

Nords: What brings you CONUS? A long visit with family or "business"? I have purchased so little clothing since reaching adulthood, I am very appreciative to receive your directions to Goodwill. My mother keeps advocating that I adopt a "Hawaiian shirt" style when I move; I've always been a bit preppy or an outdoor enthusiast (I love REI but not its prices). My technician job requires durable tradesman attire. Maybe my wardrobe will evolve to include all four. Time will tell. If I can substitute daily travel by bike vs. vehicle, The Bike Shop is a place I will visit shortly after my arrival; Craigslist makes me nervous (thank goodness for some community police stations to allow transactions to be conducted in their parking lots - that's a win-win-win for resale activities and public safety).

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2016, 04:09:24 AM »

Personal property insurance rates are good at USAA and Armed Forces Insurance (AFI).  You could buy replacement-cost insurance for 2-3 sets of working uniforms and one or two dress uniforms.  The rest of your stuff... it might be cheaper (in the long run) to build an emergency fund and self-insure.

I'm not an expert on residency.  However unless you're full-time active duty (mobilized) then you'll eventually need to become a Hawaii resident.  (14 years ago when I retired from active duty, my spouse and I had 30 days.)  Many Hawaii visitors attempt to get a state ID for kama'aina discounts, so the DMV has zero sense of humor about the license requirements.  You'll have to show proof of address (lease, utility bills) and several other forms of photo ID (military, passport, current driver's license) to obtain a Hawaii license.  (Go online to the DMV/City & County websites to search for the state residency documentation requirements.)  When we retired, we just had to fill out the forms and do photos.  If your existing license expires then you have to take a written exam and a road test.

You could buy a used vehicle from a dealer but good used cars are plentiful on Craigslist, USAA's Auto Circle, and the military base lemon lots.  You can easily register (and get plates) at the DMV.  (You could also ask the seller to agree to transfer the used car's existing plates.  Some sellers don't care, others might.)  I like the Wahiawa DMV because it's comparatively uncrowded but there's also a satellite City Hall/DMV in Pearlridge Mall.  I'm not sure about fees but you'll pay 4.5% Oahu excise tax on the purchase, and our 10-year-old Prius costs $277 for annual registration.

Your insurance company (USAA?) will take care of the minimum insurance coverage.  You'll probably choose to decline the state's driver medical coverage if you have some sort of Tricare or FEHB.  You can decline collision/comprehensive (especially if you buy a used island beater) but you'll want liability  insurance to cover your gross (not net) worth.

Your "special Oahu living fees/taxes" are utilities (electric, possibly natural gas, water/sewer, landline phone, TV/Internet) and property taxes (if you own instead of renting).  Trash services are free.  Otherwise people would throw even more trash on the roads & parks.)  Schools are covered by state taxes (all Hawaii public schools are administered by the state).  Electricity is about 30 cents/KWhr, sewer is a minimum $70/month.  Some of your utilities may be covered as part of your rent.  Your Internet provider will probably be Oceanic Cable Time Warner.

We're on three months of slow travel to visit family (our daughter's stationed in Charleston, SC), to spend six weeks in Europe, and to attend FinCon16 in San Diego (21-24 Sep).  We're filling in some of that time with surfing (San Diego) and side trips (possibly Monterey CA).  We expect to be back on Oahu in October.

Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2016, 07:00:37 PM »
Thank you, Nords, for your continued advice and correspondence.

I was fearing being broadsided by fees and taxes I've never heard of simply because it's a new state far removed from what is familiar to me. Alas, it sounds like O'ahu/Honolulu is just a "normal" area (albeit the sixth most expensive in the nation) to live in.  I do have one thing to look forward to: no refuse fee. Including it in local taxes would never 'catch on' on the mainland.

So far, I have secured accommodations (hotel and rental car) for my first week. I have reached out to the Airman and Family Readiness Center at my gaining HI base and may be in touch with a young Airman who has a room to rent temporarily. More long-term options have been way out of my salary range. $2,300 (not including utilities, parking, or appliances) is unaffordable for a non-supervising government official. The Hawaii COLA really needs to be re-evaluated; $5,000/yr won't cover more than two months if I cannot find a compatible room mate.

I have one "free" work-day morning remaining until I board the first of three planes that will take me to O'ahu. I intend to contact my (AMICA) home and car insurance agent to learn about pricing personal property and HI minimum levels for auto. I'll continue FEHB so long as I remain a federal technician; talk of gross worth liability coverage has me wondering what level I currently have (thank you for making me review my policy).

I remain hopeful of finding a rooming option within Honolulu to avoid the long commute times. On Google Maps, a 15-mile commute takes 30 minutes - and it doesn't matter which of three routes one takes. I drive 1+ hours each way now; it's so exhausting that the thought of repeating it on O'ahu makes me want to slash my eyes.

The residency question continues to fascinate me. Since I will maintain a vehicle, bank account, driver's license, and, ultimately, a mailing address on the mainland, I will owe income taxes in two states for 2016, but should have no taxable income on the mainland in 2017 (assuming I remain on O'ahu for all of next year). Why would Hawaii "force" one to formally become a HI resident - I just don't see a new gain from the measure (per HI tax law, I owe taxes in HI due to the accrual of my income originating in HI vs. elsewhere). From my uneducated perspective, it seems like my residency is dependent on which state I vote in. As a military member, I've voted by absentee for over a year - having all my future ballots mailed to O'ahu doesn't seem difficult. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable on tax issues will weigh in on what financial consequences may unfold if I stick to a dual state plan?

My mainland driver's license expires next year. Assuming not claiming HI as my domicile, I also intend to renew my mainland license on Monday to ensure it remains valid through the first two years of my stay on the island. I visited the Hawaii motor vehicle page and couldn't find any requirement that I need to get a HI license so long as my current license remains valid. However, if I am forced to become a HI resident, then this becomes a $35 (two-hour?) sunk cost.

Finally, I would like to share that after further contemplation, I declined the Colorado ANG opportunity and was not a high enough candidate to be considered for the Houston VA internship (despite having three years of real-world experience in a government facility). Perhaps if I cannot make ends meet in Honolulu, Texas will welcome me in two years - it would certainly solve my income tax headache. As it stands, I am looking forward to my landing on O'ahu later this month. Everything is always fresh and exciting in new beginnings...

Please enjoy your "slow travel" across the globe, Nords. Temperatures and the humidity have risen considerably in my area (the buildup began during my first of three summer TDYs in June). I haven't been outside the U.S., but if the same holds true in SC and CA I hope you find relief from the sun and heat while in Europe. If you are a regular visitor to the region, politics aside, I would be interested in learning the tangible impacts you observe by the mass immigration during your stay.

SwordGuy

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2016, 08:01:21 PM »
Skipped to the end of the thread after I saw you were considering driving your car across country to San Diego.

It's also possible to hire people to drive a car for you, or you might ship it by train.   You could arrange to have it shipped "hands off" and just pick it up at the docks.

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2016, 02:02:02 AM »

I have one "free" work-day morning remaining until I board the first of three planes that will take me to O'ahu. I intend to contact my (AMICA) home and car insurance agent to learn about pricing personal property and HI minimum levels for auto. I'll continue FEHB so long as I remain a federal technician; talk of gross worth liability coverage has me wondering what level I currently have (thank you for making me review my policy).
I don't know who has the lowest prices, but you could also get quotes from USAA and Armed Forces Insurance.  USAA will be happy to cover personal property, liability, and auto.  Armed Forces is usually cheaper for personal property and liability but they typically outsource their auto insurance to a partner like Progressive.  I've been generally happy with both AFI and USAA for over 30 years-- good customer service.

Why would Hawaii "force" one to formally become a HI resident - I just don't see a new gain from the measure (per HI tax law, I owe taxes in HI due to the accrual of my income originating in HI vs. elsewhere). From my uneducated perspective, it seems like my residency is dependent on which state I vote in. As a military member, I've voted by absentee for over a year - having all my future ballots mailed to O'ahu doesn't seem difficult. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable on tax issues will weigh in on what financial consequences may unfold if I stick to a dual state plan?

My mainland driver's license expires next year. Assuming not claiming HI as my domicile, I also intend to renew my mainland license on Monday to ensure it remains valid through the first two years of my stay on the island. I visited the Hawaii motor vehicle page and couldn't find any requirement that I need to get a HI license so long as my current license remains valid. However, if I am forced to become a HI resident, then this becomes a $35 (two-hour?) sunk cost.
34 years ago I was a Maryland resident living in Virginia for six months and on active duty in Washington DC.  After a couple of months, the VA state police tagged my car (parked at a VA apartment complex) because they wanted me to register it in VA. I never understood the logic back then and I still don't understand it now.

One factor (besides taxes) is representation in Congress.  The number of members of the House of Representatives is based on residency, so Hawaii wants you to bulk up their numbers.  We're probably really close to getting a third Representative any census now.

Usually the issue isn't the state you're in-- it's the state you've left.  For example, Florida is happy to allow active-duty military servicemembers who are stationed elsewhere to be absentee residents.  Florida doesn't have a state income tax (or at least they didn't during my residency of  1983-2002) so they're not losing any revenue.  The servicemember isn't consuming any Florida resources like roads, public parks, or unemployment compensation, so absentee military residency actually saves Florida some expenses while maintaining their Congressional representation.

When you leave your current state, you'd expect the same arrangement.  But if your current driver's license expires when you're out of state then you may not have any provision to renew it unless you return to that state in person.

Meanwhile Hawaii will tax your pay and investment income, and they also want your residency to bulk up their population numbers for Congressional representation.  They've agreed to let active-duty military servicemembers live here while still maintaining residency elsewhere.  The military is one of the state's top three employers (along with state govt and the visitor industry) so they cater to the military.  However if you're not on active duty (mobilization) orders then you might not have any exemptions or exceptions on residency.  You could try to stay a resident of your current state as long as you can, but you should also compare the expenses of license renewal, vehicle registration, and any other financial aspects.

Finally, there's a persistent urban legend that the Mainland states give their unemployed/welfare residents a plane ticket to Hawaii... or that unemployed people move here for the warm weather and social support. That may be another reason why Hawaii wants long-term tax-paying workers to become residents.

Please enjoy your "slow travel" across the globe, Nords. Temperatures and the humidity have risen considerably in my area (the buildup began during my first of three summer TDYs in June). I haven't been outside the U.S., but if the same holds true in SC and CA I hope you find relief from the sun and heat while in Europe. If you are a regular visitor to the region, politics aside, I would be interested in learning the tangible impacts you observe by the mass immigration during your stay.
Thanks!  We're having a great time. I've seen a lot of Roman ruins, many palaces & museums, and way too many cathedrals, but we're learning a lot of history.  Sometimes I wonder where the heck I was during my high school "Western Civilization" history classes.

I can't see any tangible impacts of mass immigration.  Oahu is a huge melting pot of cultures, and most of the other cities we've visited have been the same rainbow of races & skin colors.  Lots of people are hustling for tourist money, of course, but I can't tell who's lived here for 30 years and who just immigrated last week.  I guess I'd have to stay in one place for a month or two and read the local media (or talk with local residents) to really understand the impacts.

Interesting example:  our tour guide in Dubrovnik has Slovenian ancestry.  His great-grandfather grew up there, saved up all of his money to emigrate, and got the heck outta Slovenia for Pittsburgh PA.  (Where I was born & raised.)  His grandfather grew up there, saved up all of his money, and got the heck outta Pittsburgh to return to Slovenia.  Now that the Cold War is over, our tour guide thinks his grandfather made the right choice.  (I joined the Navy to get the heck outta Pittsburgh, so I can understand the logic.)  But when our tour guide visited Pittsburgh he felt right at home because of all the residents (and cuisine) of Eastern European ancestry.

Charleston was pretty much a series of dashes from one air-conditioned space to the next, but Europe has been a little better.  Barcelona had great weather in mid-July and the cruise ship's ports were pretty good.  (Walking on the stone walls of any southern Europe city on a July afternoon is always hot & sweaty.)  Venice, Verona, and Padua have been hot & humid, although one day was rainy & humid. 

For the next week we're learning about Cortona weather, followed by a few days around Rome, then a few more days around Florence.  On 23 August we're heading back to Charleston (on commercial flights) for a couple more weeks with our daughter.  After Labor Day we'll start showing up for military Space A roll calls to NAS North Island or Travis AFB, and I'm really looking forward to cooler/dryer San Diego weather.  Because Mediterranean surfing sucks.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2016, 03:50:05 PM »
I recently moved from Fort Myers, FL to Kauai in August 2015. I wouldn't put a lot of faith in the cost of living calculators.

Housing is listed at 175% more expensive. However, that is probably based on sq. ft. Many of the places on Kauai are smaller. Our mortgage on our Fort Myers, FL house is $650. If you add utilities, we were paying about $125/month in utilities. We now rent it out for $1700/month.

We have a small one bedroom apartment .9 miles from the beach for $1100/month with utilities included. Housing is not more expensive for us because of the extra rent we now get from our rental in Florida.

Utilities are more expensive on Kauai, but we don't have AC, so our bills are actually lower than Florida. Our landlord pays our utilities, but his bill is lower than our bill in Florida.

Medical is listed as more expensive on Kauai. However, it's actually cheaper for us. My new monthly insurance is $150/month through work. My old plan in Florida was $180/month.

Costco membership and farmers markets for food. Many people give us free fruit when it is in season. Something is always in season.

I have been to Oahu twice. Vog is real.




Axecleaver

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2016, 02:24:26 PM »
Quote
Since I will maintain a vehicle, bank account, driver's license, and, ultimately, a mailing address on the mainland, I will owe income taxes in two states for 2016
Depends on the state, but usually the standard used for determining residency is where your "permanent residence" is. If you are maintaining a home you lived in, back in your old state, they're going to want their share of the tax dollars. A vehicle, bank account, and driver's license have nothing to do with it. States collect income taxes based on where you performed the work - so you'd owe 7 months in Old State, and 5 months in Hawaii.

I lived in Hawaii for a year, and paid tax to Hawaii and New York. The taxes I paid to HI got deducted from what I owed NY, but ultimately I didn't save anything for working in a lower-tax state part of the year. This was a temporary assignment for me and completely appropriate for them to tax me that way.

For you it might be different - if you keep a PO box in your old state, but no actual living space, you can't be determined a resident there.


Solomon960

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2016, 07:20:43 PM »
It's now crunch time for me as I will be on a plane (actually, three) in less than a week. My civilian retail position has been transferred and I anticipate performing my first shift in Honolulu during Labor Day weekend. My ANG unit said goodbye during the monthly regularly scheduled drill (RSD) and my final day in my base fulltime temp tech position will be this Friday. I wish I could say that I am excited, but the uncertainty of how I will establish myself on O'ahu gives me pause (understandably so). A lot of work lies before me.

Last week, the HI ANG withdrew the idea of permitting me to transfer into a position at the Honolulu Wing. Accordingly, I am now waiting on the HI ANG TAG to approve my request to perform the remaining calendar year RSDs with a Honolulu unit - hoping that a suitable vacancy presents itself so I may be gained by the HI ANG within the next four months. I intend to give the HI ANG two months to make a decision before I pursue publicly advertised vacancies within the Honolulu AF Reserve. It is unfortunate that this issue will remain unresolved upon my arrival, but all things considered, I will still land with fulltime and part-time employment waiting for me...and that is a big positive.

I corresponded with both state tax departments; each eventually admitted that my residence is irrelevant; I will pay the portion of tax which I earned in each state (having the taxes paid in the other state deducted). Therefore, unless a really good incentive exists, I will retain my non-HI driver's license indefinitely after having it renewed last week. When tax season does arrive, would using my routine provider (TurboTax Deluxe) still be recommended?

So far, only a "rebuilt" Scion xD with low miles listed on craigslist interests me, but I would only consider purchasing it if I could take it to a trusted mechanic....but I don't know of one in Honolulu. I still intend to visit the JBPHH lemon lot next week to see if a similar low mile, reliable, expansive cargo compartment, and good gas mileage vehicle is available at a "fair price." Also, I found two apartment share opportunities situated between H201 and H1 that I like; with parking and utilities, this semi-fixed living expense will come in at $1,200/mo. My Tripler supervisor recommends renting a room near the University of Hawaii, whose rent totals are below $600/mo including utilities. My main concern is the daily commute. Google Maps states that an 8.5-mile commute takes 29 minutes. Instead, if I can find an opportunity within the 96818 or 96859 zip codes, I could theoretically ride a bike to work in a similar time while also getting a workout.

I did run an insurance quote for my current vehicle in Honolulu using USAA. While on the mainland I pay $500/yr, on O'ahu my cost swells to $925/yr. I wish I could understand why the locality pay for O'ahu is 5% less than what I currently receive.

Thank you, everyone, for your continued correspondence and suggestions. I hope vog doesn't hamper my ability to perform as some unknown dust particles did during my recent TDYs northward. If not, will traditional allergy medications restore some function or must I just "tough it out"?

Nords

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Re: Moving to O'ahu...
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2016, 09:57:37 PM »
When tax season does arrive, would using my routine provider (TurboTax Deluxe) still be recommended?
Yep, I've used it for Hawaii for years with no problems.

So far, only a "rebuilt" Scion xD with low miles listed on craigslist interests me, but I would only consider purchasing it if I could take it to a trusted mechanic....but I don't know of one in Honolulu. I still intend to visit the JBPHH lemon lot next week to see if a similar low mile, reliable, expansive cargo compartment, and good gas mileage vehicle is available at a "fair price."
You could use the NEX Autoport (on the Subase portion of JBPHH), although they're first-come first-serve.

YouTube has a number of videos on how to inspect a used car, so that you at least know whether you're wasting your time taking it to a mechanic.

My Tripler supervisor recommends renting a room near the University of Hawaii, whose rent totals are below $600/mo including utilities. My main concern is the daily commute. Google Maps states that an 8.5-mile commute takes 29 minutes. Instead, if I can find an opportunity within the 96818 or 96859 zip codes, I could theoretically ride a bike to work in a similar time while also getting a workout.
Yep, that's a tradeoff of cheaper lodging for a longer commute.  The good news is that you'll be going the opposite of most of the morning/afternoon traffic.

Thank you, everyone, for your continued correspondence and suggestions. I hope vog doesn't hamper my ability to perform as some unknown dust particles did during my recent TDYs northward. If not, will traditional allergy medications restore some function or must I just "tough it out"?
Some people are never bothered by vog, others react poorly.  I take a daily antihistamine (Allerest) and my spouse takes Claritin.  Generic equivalents of both are available at stores like Costco and perhaps drugstores like Longs.  And, of course, if you have access to Tripler's pharmacy then you might be able to get a free prescription.