Last Updated: September 27, 2022
Relocating to a 210-square-mile island in a relatively remote area of the Pacific is a big decision. Moving to Guam will likely mean a significant change in lifestyle that will ask you to adapt to completely different circumstances.
So how can you really know whether moving to Guam is right for you—and for anyone else you might be bringing with you?
You’ll probably turn to Google to do some research. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have friends or family who have spent time on Guam and can offer you their perspective.
However, in our opinion, one of the best ways to understand what it’s like to live on Guam is to do what’s called a PMV, a pre-move visit. During a PMV, your goal is to live like a resident for a few weeks or maybe even a month. This stay will give you a real sense of what it’s like to actually live on Guam, as opposed to what it’s like to visit as a tourist.
If you’re considering moving with a partner or a family, bring them too! You can all try on Guam together to see if it’s a family fit.
Here’s how it works:
Step #1: Get a Place to Stay for Two Weeks—or More
Since you’re trying to live like a resident as much as possible, look for a condominium rental, as opposed to staying on a resort. A resort stay offers you a number of luxuries you won’t have at home, such as daily housekeeping service, fresh towels and linens at the push of a button, and amenities like a pool and restaurants on property.
For that reason, hotel life won’t give you a real sense of what living on Guam is actually like. You want to get a feel for things like doing your own laundry, buying and cooking food, and navigating the island to run errands.
At the end of the day, you’ll get a much better sense of what Guam is really like if you’re able to find housing that mimics apartment or house living, rather than resort life.
To help you secure the right spot, try the following resources:
- Island Realty offers temporary housing solutions.
- Airbnb offers long-term options on Guam.
- VRBO also has a few properties that fit these requirements.
Step #2: Get Settled In
When you arrive, you might be tempted to grab a snorkel set and start exploring Guam’s vibrant, healthy coral reefs and abundant marine life at Ypao Beach, located in one of Guam’s five marine preserves.
Save the snorkeling for day two and get settled into your new place ASAP so you can cross some of your PMV items off the list:
- Go grocery shopping so you get familiar with the stock at Guam’s grocery stores, as well what things cost.
- Buy the essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, and laundry detergent to get a sense of where you’ll go the most to stock up.
- Check out the laundry facilities to get a taste of what day-to-day chores will be like.
- Pop by the post office to get familiar with all aspects of life on Guam. When the holidays come around, sending and receiving packages will become especially important!
If these things sound like the daily grind, they are! That’s the whole point. Getting things done at home vs. getting things done in Guam can be very different, so you’ll want to get a taste before making the leap.
However, once you’ve made your rounds, we recommend you give yourself a night off for fun, which brings us to the next part of your PMV.
Step #3: Get Social!
A strong social life is critical to settling in happily to a new locale. In fact, science has proven that high-quality social lives can keep us healthier and help us live longer lives.
Additionally, if you’ve never lived on a small island before, we’ll let you in on a little secret: You’ll get by with a little help from your friends.
Looking for an apartment? You may end up renting from a friend of a friend. Or maybe you’ll hear about a great opportunity from someone you meet at a happy hour. Same with selling a car, finding a job, locating a plumber, etc.—most of the best recommendations will come from people you meet on Guam.
So during your pre-move visit to Guam, make sure you get out and see what the social scene is like. We suggest starting by exploring some of the happy hours around the island. You might like:
- The Beach Bar on Gun Beach, where residents and tourists intersect for a killer happy hour with a view.
- Wild Bills 2, which offers pool tables—a great way to strike up a conversation with someone new.
- Or if you want to mingle with some of the military personnel on Guam, try the Horse & Cow. (Civilians welcome!)
Make sure to branch out from bars, too!
- See a movie at one of Guam’s three movie theaters.
- Bowl a few frames at one of its three bowling alleys.
- Check out a shopping mall, including Guam’s Premier Outlets, to see what kind of retail therapy Guam has to offer.
In other words, enjoy a variety of activities on Guam so you can start to see what your down time would really be like once you decide to make it your home.
Step #4: Put a Few Stakes in the Ground
Finally, during your pre-move visit, you’ll want to do everything you can to try and get your life set up in Guam. For example:
Visit the Bank
Talk to someone about opening an account. Understand the documentation you’ll need and how best to fund the account from your current holdings.
View a Few Places to Live
Take the time to visit properties for sale or rent in person so you can see what your budget will afford you on Guam. If your move date is far out, you may not be able to secure anything during your PMV, but you’ll 1) make some contacts and 2) gather some intel for when the time is right.
Browse for a Car
Even if you’re considering shipping your car to Guam, it’s still a good idea to visit a few dealers and see what’s available on the island—and at what prices. It might impact your decision regarding your car at home.
Look for Jobs
If you don’t have a firm move date, you might not be able to secure employment. However, reaching out to a few potential employers might get you the face time you’ll need to make a solid connection once your move date is in the books. (Of course, if you’re relocating to Guam for work, you can skip this step!)
If you’ll be moving with children, tour the schools they might attend. This way, your whole family can start the process of envisioning your move.
Step #5: Evaluate Everything You’ve Learned and Make a Decision
Finally, once you’ve completed your pre-move visit, it’s time to take everything you discovered and decide on next steps. You might also find yourself asking questions like:
Is Guam Worth Moving To?
In our opinion, yes—especially if you love warm weather, beaches, and outdoor adventures. Of course, once you make your visit, you’ll form an opinion of your own. You’ll understand the upsides and the downsides so you can decide whether it’s worth it to you to relocate to Guam.
And, if you need a little more help deciding, let us run you through everything that’s involved in a move to Guam. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to make a confident choice, either way.
Do I Want to Live on Guam?
It all depends on what you want to get out of your experience on Guam. If you’re on the fence when it comes to this question, check out our Insiders’ Guide to Guam. We’ll give you our perspective on what it’s like to be a resident of Guam, including where to live, how much it costs to live on Guam, and more.
Combine that with everything you learned during your visit, and you’ll find a solid answer to this question.
Is There Anything I Need to Know Before Moving to Guam?
Absolutely! First and foremost, U.S. citizens and permanent residents don’t need any kind of special paperwork or visas to move to Guam. Since it’s a U.S. territory, all the requirements for living on Guam are the same as they are for the continental U.S.
There are also a couple additional things you should be aware of before you take the plunge. Read what our DeWitt Guam team has to say in our article: “Moving to Guam? Here Are 9 Things You Need to Know!”
How Expensive Is It to Live on Guam?
Because everything has to be shipped in, it’s more expensive to live on Guam than many other parts of the continental U.S. Fresh vegetables, gas, and electricity are among some of the pricier items on the island.
For the complete low-down on the cost of living on Guam, check out our step-by-step Guam moving guide.
Is It Worth It to Live on Guam?
From our perspective, absolutely! We love the perks of island life, like enjoying the fantastic beaches you’ll find on Guam—along with a host of other activities and things to do, including sampling Guam’s tastiest traditional foods.
Living on Guam also comes with the opportunity to get to know the island’s fascinating culture, including that of Guam’s original inhabitants, the Chamorro. Additionally, within Guam’s culture, you’ll recognize influences from many other parts of the world, including neighboring Pacific islands, as well as the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Mexico, China, and the continental U.S. Nowhere is this array of influences more apparent than in the diverse languages spoken on Guam.
In short, there’s nowhere else like Guam, and living here offers you an unforgettable experience you can’t get anywhere else.
Getting the On-the-Ground Experience for a Final Decision
Making the move to Guam will mean a big change for you—and possibly for your family. It might be a welcome one that offers you an exciting Pacific island lifestyle under the U.S. flag.
However, a decision this large often comes with some uncertainty. Doing a PMV to Guam will help you do the on-the-ground research you need to feel certain in your final decision. With this visit under your belt, you’ll know with greater clarity what it’s like to live like a long-term Guam resident—and you’ll know whether it’s right for you.
Need some help with the relocation? We’ve helped thousands of people move to Guam, and we’d be thrilled to help you. Reach out to us for a quote. We can put together a complete relocation solution for you that even includes your car.
Final Note: H/T to our friends at the VI Moving Center for introducing us to the concept of the pre-move visit.</em
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