Living on an island: all the advantages and disadvantages!

So many people are dreaming about leaving everything and living the “island life”! Amazing weather, beautiful lagoons, boat tours, sunsets by the beach… Of course, there are several amazing advantages to live on an island, but there are also many disadvantages! If you are following my adventures on Instagram you already know that I have been living in New Caledonia for a few months. I decided to go there because I had an amazing work opportunity and I have always dreamed to live on an island in the Pacific (Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia…) I have been living here for 2 months, so I can already tell you all the good and bad parts of this island life! However, every island is different from each other, but there are similarities. Here I will ll talk about my personal experience in New Caledonia. You can also find more details about my experience in New Caledonia on this post. Read on!

The positives sides of living on an island

The landscapes are paradisiac!

The best part of the island life is that the landscapes are gorgeous and various. most of the time, you have beautiful beaches, lagoons, hills, waterfalls, or volcanos to explore, depending on which island you are going to live on. If you like to explore and discover beautiful spots and hidden gems, you will love it! You will have the impression to be always on vacation. After work, you can just go to the beach to watch the sunset and have a cocktail!

You can also visit the other small islands around easily with boat tours or short flights. Here in New Caledonia, you can visit the “Îlots” for 20$ in taxi boat or further islands, the Isle of Pines or the loyalty islands for 120$ by flight.

The weather is amazing!

If you hate winter and you are always trying to escape the cold and seek the sun, the island life is probably made for you! Here the temperature is around 20° all year and even winter is like spring! Even during winter, you can swim, the water is still warm. The sun is here almost all year. So you can forget boots, coats, and scarfs! Youhou!

The activities to do are awesome!

The activities to do on an island are amazing. There are gorgeous spots for snorkeling and diving. If you love the ocean and marine animals, you will love spending your weekend looking for turtles, sharks, and rays! You can also do skydiving above lagoons, ULM, kitesurf, paddle and so on and admiring beautiful beaches. But don’t forget that these activities are really expensive! It’s a real budget.

Live a relaxing and simple life far from the stress of big cities!

Many people who want to move on an island are looking for a “simple life“, far from the stress of big cities. But also be closer to nature. I think here in New Caledonia, people are effectively more relaxed and less stressed. The way of life is slower in islands.

The tax system is really interesting!

If you have your own business or if you are working as a freelance, the tax is low, so it can be really interesting for you. And if you are working with international clients you won’t have tax at all! Which is really interesting!

But there are also several negatives aspects to live on an island!

You will be far from your family & friends

Which is really hard and is I think the worst part about moving to an island. Most of the time, if you decide to move on an island, you will be far from your family and friends. The flight tickets are very expensive, so you can not return often to see them and it is hard for them to come to see you.

Also, there is a time difference between the two countries. In my personal case, New Caledonia is 16 000 km far from France and it is 30 hours of flights from France! Also, there are not less than 9 hours of difference between the two countries so this is hard to call family/friends, you have to find the best hour!

Everything is more expensive

I think it’s depending on which island you are going to live, but for most of the islands, everything is more expensive because everything is imported. In New Caledonia, if you are going to the supermarket or any shop, you will observe that every product is 30% more expensive on average. And if you want to order on the internet, you will have to pay a tax. Also, the rents are really really expensive. In comparison, salaries are not increased by 30%! Unless you have a big income, it is really hard to buy the same things you were buying in your country. This is the case for New Caledonia and Tahiti.

There are cyclonic period and rain seasons

For most of the islands, there are cyclonic periods, and some islands are unfortunately more propitious to natural disasters (tsunami, heartquake…)
Also, there is a rainy season for several months, so be prepared to find interior activities!

The islands are small, you will have quickly visited everything

When you are living on an island, at the beginning you’ll be really excited to visit every spot and after a few months, you will have visited quite everything, north, south, small islands around… Here, the island of New Caledonia is only 7000 sqm. And if you want to visit close islands like Tahiti, Fiji or New Zealand the flight tickets are really expensive.

You will probably miss the entertainment of a big city!

If you have always lived in big cities like me (Paris, Los Angeles, Bordeaux…) you will quickly miss the entertainments! Restaurants, coffees, bars, cinemas, big shops or cultural events…! Of course, it depends on the islands and the cities you will live in, but in most of them, there are only a few restaurants and bars, so you will miss the diversity and often go to the same ones!

It is hard to find a job/ universities

The work market is oversaturated and there are a few places, so the recruiters are more and more exigents. So, it is really hard to find a job on an island. If you are working from home, as a freelance or if you have your own business, of course, this can be a good solution! Also, there is no university for every field, so you will probably have to move to do your studies.

The sun sets early and the days are shifted!

Here the sun sets around 5:30 pm which is really early! Usually, people are waking up at around 6:30 am. The days are totally shifted are the rhythm of life is totally different.

So you want to move on an island?

To conclude this post I’ll say that being on vacation on an island is very very very different from living there. When you are on vacation, you will only see the good sides of living on an island. But obviously, after a few months, you will discover the negatives sides! However, everyone is different and it is depending on what kind of life you are looking for! If you are looking for a simple life and be close to nature, you may totally love the island life! 😉

If you have any questions or experiences to share as an expatriate, I would love to hear in the comments! 😉 Have an amazing day my travel Fam!



  1. Federica
    12 May 2019 / 13 h 28 min

    What you said is valid for every place..going there on holiday is one experience, living another completely different one. I’m from Italy and have been living in Sydney for a few years, so many people here ask me why I moved, say that my country is amazing but they know only the postcard side of it and not the rest…it sounds like u r living an amazing experience anyway, New Caledonia is on my list of places to visit 🙂

    • TripsandHeels
      14 May 2019 / 8 h 46 min

      Hey Federica! Thank you for your feedback 🙂 Yes this is so true! When we are on vacation somewhere we only see the postcard side but living there is totally different! Thanks a lot! I will make a blog post about New Caledonia soon! Have a great day 🙂

  2. Jasur
    22 October 2019 / 12 h 47 min

    Yes of course. It’s a very good idea for all of the people

    • TripsandHeels
      15 November 2019 / 15 h 39 min

      Yes! Where do you live? 🙂

      • Midnighttigger
        29 January 2021 / 12 h 15 min

        Great Britain “exists”
        Honshu “exists”
        (I live on Great Britain)

      • Minh Lee
        22 April 2022 / 14 h 40 min

        are you ever hear about vietnamese people ? lets me know how you feel about vietnamesee people
        im from gia lai province where is one of the provinces in vietnam and if you exciting with my country you can be research

  3. Dave
    12 February 2023 / 14 h 53 min

    I live on the Isle of Man and find it very very restrictive. It’s very claustrophobic and very very annoying not to be able to do what you want to when you want to.

  4. Pradeep
    1 September 2023 / 22 h 54 min

    I would like to stay in an island alone for an year and survive… Can you let me know how to start and what are the initial steps…

  5. loudmi louis
    19 March 2024 / 2 h 41 min

    can you let me know how to start and what are the initial steps

  6. 19 March 2024 / 2 h 42 min

    what is the best part of living on an island 🏝

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *