Moving from California to Arizona: Cost and Tips

Before you make your move from CA to AZ, know the important factors that may affect the cost of your move.

It’s no secret that a lot of Californians are moving to Arizona, just ask any Arizonian.That’s alright, we get it.

California’s great! But with the high cost of living, taxes, and whatever your personal reason is, Arizona is looking pretty attractive.

That said, if you’re moving to Arizona to save some money, the last thing you want to do is overspend on your move.

So how much will it cost to move from California to Arizona?

Quick Answer: The average cost to move from California to Arizona is $2,300-$3,800 depending on the size, route, and timing of the move. Hiring a professional moving company will be on the more expensive side. Renting a truck or using a moving container will save you money but also require a lot more work.

Get an even better idea of your particular moving cost using them moving cost estimator.

Ready to get a full grasp on the factors that affect the cost of your cross country move?

Let’s dive right in.

How Much Does It Cost to Move from California to Arizona?

Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental*
Studio/1 bedroom $1,650-$2,600 $1,510-$2,039 $1,045-$1,485 $887-$1,197
2-3 bedroom $2,230-$3,800 $2,258-$3,048 $1,188-$1,688 $1,045-$1,411
4+ bedroom $2,990-$5,750 $3,805-$3,787 $1,330-$1,890 $1,235-$1,667

*Rental truck estimates include fuel only. Additional costs such as lodging, food and parking are not included.
These are general estimates.

Calculate your own customized costs by defining your exact cities in California and Arizona using the moving cost calculator.

Why the Wide Variation in Prices?

Prices vary based on how much of the move you want to do yourself and how much you leave up to professional movers.

Pro movers cost more but do all the work. A DIY rental truck move costs less but you have to do everything from loading and unloading the truck to making that drive from California to Arizona.

You can find a halfway point in cost with moving container companies. You load and unload the containers and they transport your goods from point A to point B.

Inbound vs. Outbound Moving Demand Impacts Price

Where you are moving to can actually impact the cost.

Many people are flocking to Arizona from California, which makes it easier to find a mover headed that way for other customers. A shared move with other individuals leaving California for Arizona may help reduce the cost of your move.

The Cost of Moving Season

The timing of your move also matters when it comes to cost. Peak moving season usually means a spike in moving costs. Try to plan your move from California to Arizona during the offseason when prices are lower. The moving season runs from early spring to late summer. A well-planned move during the offseason periods in fall and winter can save you money.

How to Ship Your Car From California to Arizona

Of the hundreds of thousands of Californians who leave the state each year, many make their new homes in the neighboring state of Arizona.

From a convenience standpoint it’s perfect.

Phoenix is just a 6 or 7 hour drive from LA and San Diego.

Even from San Francisco and points north, it’s rarely more than two days depending on which part of the Grand Canyon State they’re moving to.

From a booming economy and abundant sunshine to low taxes and tons of wide open spaces, it’s just what many families are looking for.

That said, driving a car through the desert in summer or the mountains in winter can be dangerous, stressful and expensive.

In addition, finding a reputable auto shipping company on your own isn’t easy.

For these reasons, hiring a vetted, professional car shipper is almost always the safest and most convenient way to have your vehicle moved.

The good news is that we’ve already cross-referenced customer reviews, license, insurance, and federal complaint data from dozens of auto transport companies and compiled a list of the 5 Best Car Shipping Companies 2021. Learn more about them a get a free quote.

Driving Your Car from California to Arizona vs. Shipping It

The lane between California and Arizona is one of the busiest car transportation routes in the country.

That means lots of competition, year-round availability and relatively stable prices.

Having a compact car shipped from Los Angeles to Phoenix in the winter may cost less than $500.

On the other hand, moving a high-dollar import or vintage race car from San Francisco to Tucson during the peak summer months can cost $1,200 or more.

As with household goods moves, it’s wise to book your automobile move weeks or even a month in advance.

This is especially important if you plan on having it shipped between May and September.

Also consider that much of the route between Southern California and Arizona along Interstate 10 is blisteringly hot in the summer, and in some parts of the desert services like food, fuel and lodging are scarce.

Not only that, but Interstate 40 between Barstow and Flagstaff (and beyond) is subject to harsh winter weather and treacherous driving conditions.

In short, they’re horrible places for an accident or break down, especially if you’re traveling with a family.

Again, consider the benefits of hiring a professional auto transport company before setting out on your own.

Things to See and Do

If you’ve decided on driving your car yourself and are interested in seeing a few sights along the way, consider checking out these convenient attractions –

  • Joshua Tree National Park – just a few miles north of I-10 near Chiriaco Summit, CA
  • Grand Canyon National Park – Near Williams, AZ (80 miles from I-40)
  • Swap Meets, Flea Markets and Rock & Gem Shows – between Ehrenberg and Quartzite, AZ (less than a mile from I-10)
  • Montezuma Well Cliff Dwelling Ruins – between Phoenix and Flagstaff (just a few miles east of Interstate 17)

Factors to Consider When Using Car Shipping Services from California to Arizona

  • Time of Year – The pricing of having your car or truck shipped during the fall and winter may be significantly cheaper than during the summer due to the availability and rates of your local auto transport services. If you’re flexible on your timeframe, consider looking into different moving dates to save money on vehicle transport.
  • Open or Enclosed Transport – Unless you’re transporting a classic car or an exotic sports car, shipping via open transport is probably the best bet, but consider possible damage from ice, sandstorms and road debris. You can select different auto transport carriers depending on if you want an open or closed car carrier.
  • Type of Vehicle- When it comes to vehicle shipping, large heavy vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs cost more to transport than small and midsize cars. Auto-shipping rates might also vary depending on the value and age of your car.
  • Delivery Requirements – Some auto shipping service offer discounts to customers who have flexible delivery dates
  • Pick up and Drop-Off Options – Instead of pricey door-to-door service, consider taking your vehicle to one of the company’s terminals at origin and having it delivered to one of their terminals at the destination. This requires more work on your part, but it’s relatively easy if you’re moving between large cities like San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and Flagstaff, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Tucson.

Get an auto shipping quote from one of our top-rated car transport companies, here.

Why Are People Moving from California to Arizona?

While California offers wonderful weather, it comes at a cost. Housing prices are consistently high, and shortages drive dramatic spikes in rent and home sales. High state taxes eat into every household budget and snarled traffic can make many feel the perfect weather isn’t worth it.

Arizona offers reasonably priced housing and cost of living. While hotter than California most months, there is still plenty of sunshine and a cooler winter season. A small compromise as many seek a more affordable place to live out west.

Best Places to Move in Arizona

We examined the best places to move in Arizona based on a variety of factors including cost of living, jobs, things to do and family-friendly attributes.

Gilbert, Arizona

A good balance of median income and housing costs coupled with a low crime rate and good schools.

Perks in Gilbert

  • Close to Phoenix for an easy commute
  • Close to the Grand Canyon for family getaways
  • Farmland and fresh produce markets in abundance
  • Golf courses, golf courses, golf courses!

Scottsdale, Arizona

A higher cost of living is to be expected in this posh city but still less than practically anywhere in California. A good mix of families and retirees make up the population.

Perks of Scottsdale

  • Milder summers than most areas in AZ
  • Great schools
  • High quality of life
  • Named one of the best cities in the country for startup companies

Chandler, Arizona

Chandler has ranked high on many “best of” city lists. New business is booming, both families and young professionals find this affordable city ideal and the subtle mix of suburbia and urban life are enjoyable in Chandler.

Perks of Chandler

  • Affordable housing with room to grow
  • Some of the best restaurants in the state
  • Award-winning school districts
  • A fit walking city for the wellness minded

Tempe, Arizona

This city is growing due to an influx of tech companies seeking an affordable alternative to Silicon Valley. The economic surge has created a young professional vibe in the city and has attracted many college students. Families are welcome too as new housing projects make room for everyone as part of this city’s success.

Perks of Tempe

  • Short commute for most downtown jobs
  • Active lifestyle options including kayaking, hiking, and biking in the spectacular natural surroundings
  • Very reasonable housing costs
  • Lots of new tech jobs on the rise

Mesa, Arizona

Mesa offers versatile housing from condos to sprawling mansions. Everyone can find a perfect home at the right price. Mesa feels like a second Phoenix in terms of big city vibe, but smaller than Phoenix. The difference gives new residents a choice between two thriving cosmopolitan areas.

Perks of Mesa

  • Affordable cost of living leaves more money for fun and activities-Mesa’s cost of living is 93 on an index of 100. That’s 6 points lower than the national average cost of living for the country
  • More home for your buck. With a median home value of $162,000, the houses in Mesa are 10.6 percent less expensive than the national average
  • Diverse neighborhoods fit every lifestyle
  • Short commutes to the city under 30 minutes

Glendale, Arizona

Glendale is by far one of the most affordable cities in Arizona for those without a professional career who want to raise a family. Forget tech though, think service industry. Your experience in hospitality is highly valued here.

Perks of Glendale

  • One of the biggest water parks in the state
  • For the sports fan, state hockey and football teams call Glendale their home
  • Unbeatable housing costs. The median home value as of 2013 stood at $154,700, with the rent averaging $950
  • Great community vibe for singles and families alike

Paradise Valley, Arizona

For nature lovers, there is no place better than Paradise Valley. The desert may seem dry and bleak to some, but you will think differently viewing these majestic mountain ranges, but the beauty will cost you. If you can afford the higher-priced housing, this is the perfect place to settle down.

Perks of Paradise Valley

  • Professional grade golf courses
  • Piestewa Peak Park and Phoenix Mountains Preserve in the west, to the Echo Canyon Park to the south
  • Modern style homes from condos to single family
  • One of the wealthiest cities in Arizona and all the perks that come with that status

Phoenix, Arizona

For those who love the big city, but still want that Southwest feel, Phoenix delivers both. This diverse urban center has a growing job market, a thriving economy, and a vibrant college scene.

Perks of Phoenix

  • Middle ground housing costs around $215,800
  • Diversity continues to grow as the city prospers
  • Vibrant nightlife for singles
  • On-going revitalized downtown area adds new reasons to take in the city

Peoria, Arizona

Looking for the basics of good life? Peoria has it all. This is not an urban hotspot or the ground zero of the next big economic boom in the state. Peoria is simply nice. For families and retirees, you can’t find a better place to live.

Perks of Peoria

  • An average cost of living makes it affordable to settle in Peoria
  • Highly rated school system
  • An engaging mix of suburban shopping and restaurants
  • Lots of outdoor activities to stay busy on the weekends

Prescott, Arizona

The slightly higher elevation of Prescott impacts the climate. A bit more temperate than the rest of the state, Prescott may be the closest to California in terms of weather.

Perks of Prescott

  • Night sky ordinance dims the city lights so you can see the stars
  • Excellent boutique shopping
  • A small town feel with modern amenities
  • Majestic lakes for water activities keep everyone cool in the summer

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