For those seeking a tropical escape while having the technological comforts of home, I couldn’t recommend a better freelancing destination than Oahu, Hawaii. I have the great excuse of being able to visit Oahu frequently to see and stay with family, but a recent trip I did had me looking at my home as a place to potentially freelance from for a long stretch of time. I built my business on the assumption that I could work from anywhere with an Internet connection. Could this be true of Hawaii? Below are my findings of the pros and cons of working as a web-based freelancer from Oahu.
Benefits of Freelancing in Oahu
Hawaii is part of the United States. This brings on a slew of benefits such as everyone speaking English, U.S. dollars being accepted, and (best of all) you get full cell phone reception without international roaming fees. Overall, communication with locals and your clients online is a snap.
The Hawaii time zone is 3 hours behind standard Pacific time, making it feel like daylight savings on steroids! This time zone difference is like adding 3 extra hours to your work day. Coming from west coast of the mainland, it meant that I was naturally waking up at 5am or 6am every day, ready to begin the workday, and leaving more time in the afternoons for play.
Cons of Freelancing in Oahu
Cost of living in Hawaii is notoriously high. Many people often make the reference of milk costing double in Hawaii, and it’s not an exaggeration. Not only do groceries cost more, but gas and rent do as well. Thinking of couchsurfing with friends? Expect tight quarters if you get someone to agree, and perhaps an out-of-town location as most locals don’t live in Waikiki or on the beach. If you’re planning a short-term trip to Oahu, you could get by with freelancing; living for a long period of time in Oahu while freelancing is a much more difficult situation.
Not everyone in Oahu is hip with technology. Coming from Seattle where it’s practically a social faux pas to not have a Facebook and Twitter, Oahu seems very behind the times. Many businesses don’t speak social media or tech, which can be great in the sense that there are lots of business opportunities in Oahu, but not so great in that finding a place to do freelance work out of can be tricky. It’s not like Seattle where every coffee shop has free wi-fi, big tables to spread out on, power strips to plug your laptop into, and the patience to let you sit there working for hours at a time after buying only a single cup of coffee.
Best Places to Freelance in Oahu
If you’re staying in a hotel, chances are you’ll have wireless Internet capability. It may come at a cost though, which is why it’s best to dedicate offline hours to assembling your content and scheduling peak times to do a mass upload or online transmission. As I mentioned earlier, the presence of coffee shops with wireless internet and ample working space is limited. However, Starbucks can almost always be counted on for having free Wi-Fi, as well as any Hawaii State Public Library.
For a handy list of free Wi-Fi spots, check out these online directories:
Outdoor Fun and Best Photo Opportunities
*A personal plug: For photos from my latest trip to Oahu and the Big Island, click here.