Moving From California to Washington DC: Movers and Cost

It’s time to uncover the true costs of moving from California to Washington DC and what you should expect when moving to this family-friendly city.One of the biggest decisions you can make is to choose to move to a new city. Yet, moving to a completely new city can be a challenging experience. This doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting or something to look forward to. As long as you have the information you need, your move will be a breeze.

Interestingly, more people are opting to move out of California and into Washington. According to 2018 estimates, approximately 55,467 people moved from California to Washington, with a large majority moving to Washington DC. There are quite a few reasons why Californians are moving to Washington DC in 2021.

Use these helpful pages:

  • Best California to Washington DC movers: The long-distance moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances. These are the top movers for California to Colorado.
  • How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide an immediate calculation of what your move should cost. Just plug in your moving dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from, and let the calculator do the rest.
  • Consider moving containers: Need a more budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.
  • Best car shippers: Moving your car? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle and is experienced.

How Much Does It Cost To Move From California To Washington DC?

On average, moving from California to Washington DC could cost you anywhere between $2,000 and $12,550.

Uncovering how much it costs to move from California to Washington DC can be a daunting task. If you want an accurate estimation, you will need to consider how many rooms you plan to move to and the type of transportation you want to use.

Home Size Professional Movers Container Freight Rental Truck
1 Bedroom $2,000 – $3,980 $2,717 – $3,432 $2,138 – $2,700 $2,099 – $2,651
2 Bedroom $3,500 – $5,454 $3,525 -$4,453 $2,660 – $3,360 $2,182 – $2,756
3 Bedroom $4,320 – $6,895 $4,427 – $5,364 $3,230 – $4,080 $2,498 – $3,155
4 Bedroom $4,900 – $8,323 $4.874 – $6,156 $3,610 – $4,560 $2,784 – $3,516
5 Bedroom $7,290 – $12,550 $5,470 – $6,910 $4,560 – $5,760 $3,069 – $3,876

* The pricing in this table does not take into account the costs associated with lodging, tolls, gas, and other moving expenses.

Some forms of transportation are more expensive, and it always costs more to move to bigger houses. Additionally, whether or not you use professional packers will also affect how much you pay for your move.

When planning an interstate move, it’s crucial to determine exactly how much a move will cost. If you don’t know how much your move will cost, you won’t budget correctly, and you could run into a host of different issues. So, have a look at our moving cost estimate information to ensure you have a pleasant moving experience.

Who are the best California to North Carolina movers?

Company Price Vendor Type Quoting options Storage Minimum Move Size
Proud American Van Lines $$ Broker Phone/virtual estimate Yes, free 30 days 1 bedroom
Safeway Moving $$ Carrier/Broker Phone/virtual estimate Yes, free 30 days 1 bedroom
JK Moving Services $$$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 2 bedroom

Why Do Moving Costs Vary So Much

When planning a move and budgeting how much it will cost you, it might seem like the pricing you receive makes no sense. Often provider’s rates are constantly changing, and a price estimate you receive in August might be drastically different from the estimate you receive in May.

There are several reasons why this is the case. Below are the main reasons why moving costs differ. However, if you wish to have a more individualized moving cost estimate, why not consider utilizing a reputable moving cost calculator.

Inbound Vs. Outbound Demand

In the moving industry, inbound vs. outbound demand is one of the most significant factors that affect how much a move will cost you. Chances are, if you know what supply and demand are, you will understand why inbound vs. outbound demand affects moving prices.

Ultimately, inbound vs. outbound demand refers to the number of people moving out of and into another city. If you are amongst many people moving to a certain place, you will likely pay less, but you will pay more if you are amongst only a few people moving to a specific location.

In California, more people are moving out of the state than into it. This means that there are more moving rental trucks and containers leaving, making pricing less expensive. Surprisingly, in Washington DC, there are also more people leaving the city than moving into it. Therefore if you are moving to Washington DC, you will pay less expensive moving rates.

Off-Peak Vs. Peak Season Moving

When you decide when to move and are acquiring quotes from different moving companies, you will likely notice that the quotes you receive will differ significantly depending on the date. If you choose to move in the peak moving season, you will often pay much more than if you decide to move during the off-peak moving season. Usually, summer is the peak moving season in the US.

Additionally, if you choose to move during school holidays, major sporting and music events, you will also pay more during weekends. Are you wondering why you will pay more during significant events? The answer is simple. There are not as many outbound transportation moving services during major events.

If your moving budget isn’t exhaustive, you will want to avoid moving during major events, weekends, school holidays, and peak season.

Washington DC Major Annual Events

  • DC Fashion Week – September 23rd to September 26th.
  • St. Patrick Day Parade – March 15th.
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival – March 20th to April 11th.
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival – July 4th.

California Major Annual Events

  • Los Angeles Auto Show – November 19th to November 28th.
  • San Diego Comic-Con – July 23rd to July 25th.
  • California Festival of Beers – Memorial Day Weekend

Lodging, Fuel, and Food

There are approximately 2,794 miles between California and Washington DC. As you move far, you will need to pay more due to fuel, lodging, and food costs. This is because with a significant long-distance move, moving companies will charge you for the hotel rooms they need to stay at, the food they will consume, and the fuel they will use.

Each of these costs adds up and will affect your final moving rate estimate. Additionally, you also need to consider that the fuel cost varies in different states, which will reflect on your quotation. Moreover, hotel room shortages during peak seasons could cause your moving company to seek out expensive lodgings, which will also affect how much you pay.

Temporary And Long Term Storage Costs

Moving from California to Washington DC is an incredibly long-distance haul. If you can’t afford to take all your possessions with you, you might need to pay temporary or long-term storage costs. You might even have to put your vehicles, boats, and other large automotive items in storage if you can’t or don’t want to travel within them to Washington DC.

Fortunately, some moving companies will have storage solutions services available, which will help streamline your moving experience. Depending on the company, you can get a deal if you plan to keep your items in storage for an extended period. If you need to find a different storage company, you will likely have to budget more money.

Moving Insurance

Most states require out-of-state moving companies to have basic moving insurance coverage. Although this is the case, you need to know that the insurance coverage the moving company possesses often won’t cover the full cost of your items if they are damaged, lost, or stolen. If you have sentimental or priceless items to move when moving to Washington DC, it would be best to consider obtaining additional insurance coverage.

Yet, you should be on the lookout as some moving companies have comprehensive insurance policies. If they have full value protection coverage, they can usually cover the cost of repairing or wholly replacing any damaged, lost, or stolen items during transit to Washington DC. However, choosing a moving company with this type of coverage will cost you more money.

Various Moving Supplies

Moving from one destination to another doesn’t only involve the cost of a moving truck. You also need to keep in mind that you will have to also buy moving supplies. However, if you utilize a moving company for your entire moving process, you can get all your moving supplies from them.

There is usually an additional supply cost for this service, and sometimes it can be more expensive than sourcing the moving supplies yourself. Below are a few of the moving supplies you could find yourself needing.

  • Box cutters and scissors.
  • Boxes and crates.
  • Different types of tape.
  • Labels and markers.
  • Moving furniture covers and blankets.

Professional Packing Assistants

Are you undecided about if you want to pack your belongings yourself? If you do want to utilize professional packers, you will have to budget additional costs. Usually, hiring a professional packer can cost between $25 to $40 in California, but you will also need to factor in labor costs.

If you are moving to a one to a two-bedroom house, you should expect labor costs between $100 and $400. In contrast, if you move more than three bedrooms of belongings, you need to budget between $480 and $1200.

Why Are People Moving From California To Washington DC

In recent years California has seen an uptick in the number of people leaving the state. According to a 2020 census, California is experiencing its slowest growth since the beginning of the 2010s.

One of the most notable reasons people are leaving this state is because of the incredibly high cost of living. Many are also leaving California because of high-income taxes, job opportunities, and high rental costs. On the other hand, Washington DC does not have a personal or corporate income tax.

Washington DC is an attractive moving destination. This state has much to offer residents, which is why it is a popular moving destination for Californians.

Cost Of Living

Although Washington DC isn’t the cheapest place to live, it is more affordable than California. According to statistics, it is, on average, approximately 13.1% cheaper to live in Washington than it is to live in California.

For example, the cost of groceries in Washington DC is 8.8% cheaper, the housing price is 23.8% more affordable, and the cost of transportation is 22.42% cheaper. Additionally, the cost of healthcare is 0.9% cheaper, and restaurant dining is 14.63% more affordable.

Moreover, if you’re looking to purchase a home, you will pay less in Washington DC for a three-bedroom house than you would in California. On average, three-bedroom home in California costs $689,500, while in Washington DC, it costs $556,700. That’s a difference of $132,800.


Many people choose to move to Washington DC because free entertainment options are abundant. For example, residents can visit the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and National Zoo for free. Washington DC’s other popular entertainment options include the Lincoln Memorial, the National Air, and Space Museum, and the White House.

An Abundance Of Green Areas

Not everyone likes to live in a concrete jungle without nature. That’s why Washington DC is a popular moving destination. There is an abundance of green areas like parks in Washington DC. Interestingly, approximately 98% of city residents live within a short 10-minute walk from a park in Washington DC.

About a fifth of the entire district’s area is dedicated to park space. Some of the best gardens and parks to visit in Washington DC include Ross Creek Park and the US Botanic Garden.

College And Professional Sports

For those interested in college or professional sports, Washington DC is one of the best places to live. Many sporting enthusiasts choose to move to Washington DC because the state has teams in six major professional sports and one college football program. Some sports teams representing this state include the Washington Wizards, the Washington Nationals, the Washington Capitals, and D.C. United.


Those who are foodies tend to gravitate to Washington DC. This is because Washinton DC has one of the most culturally diverse restaurant scenes. There is are plenty of popular restaurants that cater to a variety of tastes. For example, the city has Ethiopian, Italian, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and Chinese eateries.


Those with families are more likely to move to Washington DC because of the phenomenal educational opportunities. Some of the best colleges in Washington DC include George University, Georgetown University, and Howard University. Additionally, some of the best school districts in Washington DC include the Falls Church City Public Schools district, the Arlington Public Schools district, and the Loudoun County Public Schools District.

Where Are Some Of The Very Best Places To Move To In Washington DC

Usually, the most important decision you will make when moving to Washington DC is deciding where to live. Often it can be somewhat difficult to determine the best suburb to live in with the vast array of options. Additionally, when you have chosen to move to Washington DC, it’s crucial to keep in mind crime rates as some suburbs in Washington DC have significantly higher crime rates than others.

To aid you in making an advantageous decision and not regret where you choose to live, we have found a few of the best places you can live in Washington DC and the suburbs you should avoid.

The Most Popular Suburbs To Buy a House in Washington DC

  • Capitol Hill.
  • Columbia Heights.
  • Logan Circle.
  • Brightwood.
  • Cleveland Park.

Where To Avoid Living In Washington DC

  • Deanwood.
  • Anacostia.
  • South West.
  • Brentwood.
  • Stadium-Armory.

With a long-distance move like California to Washington DC, we always recommend you utilize a reputable professional moving company. Yet, be sure also to find out if they have completed long-distance moves successfully. You don’t want to use a moving company that doesn’t have much experience with long-distance hauls.

Choosing the right moving company will ensure you have a stress-free moving experience. Once you are ready to plan your move from California to Washington DC, you can use our free moving cost calculator to obtain moving cost estimates.