Moving from Washington to California: Cost and Tips

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

Getting a good idea of what it should cost for your West Coast move is extremely valuable.

Here’s why: Some companies will overcharge you and others will undercharge. Those that are undercharging are almost always trying to reel you in only to surprise you with a huge price increase on moving day.

A great moving company will charge you a reasonable amount with no intent on scamming you later.

So, how much should it cost to move from Washington to California?

Quick Answer: The average cost to move from Washington to California is $2,800-$4,500 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 Washington to California?

Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental*
Studio/1 bedroom $1,630-$2,100 $1,726-$2,330 $1,330-$1,890 $898-$1,212
2-3 bedroom $2,650-$4,100 $2,588-$3,494 $1,853-$2,633 $1,055-$1,424
4+ bedroom $3,100-$7,150 $3,236-$4,369 $1,995-$2,835 $1,263-$1,705

*truck rental estimates include fuel cost. They do not include lodging, tolls, or parking.

Need more specific information for your move? Use the moving cost calculator to get a more accurate estimate customized to your own moving needs.

Why the Wide Range in Prices?

Moving from Washington to California offers you a lot of moving options, which means a wide range in prices.

Moving companies take care of all the work for you but this option cost more.

Moving container companies do all the driving and leave the loading and unloading to you. They cost less than pro movers, but more than truck rentals.

Truck rentals offer the lowest cost for any move, but a lot more work is involved. Loading and unloading the truck as well as driving from Washington to California all have to considered before you choose this option.

If you choose to go with professional movers, get at least three estimates. Even among professional moving companies, costs can vary.

How Your Moving Destination Impacts Your Moving Cost

The popularity of California may help defer some of your moving costs if you are choosing professional movers or a freight or container company. As more people move to a state, it allows moving companies to bundle transit.

Essentially you share the ride with others going in the same direction.

This sharing option may help you get a better quote on your move.

The Census Bureau estimates that 55,467 people moved from Washington to California in 2018. Those numbers continue to grow as California jobs and weather make the state an ideal destination for their Washington state neighbors.

When to Move: Offseason vs Peak Moving Season

The timing of your move is one of the most important costs you can control. Moving season (spring and summer) sees a spike across all types of moves. If you can, plan your move during the offseason. That’s fall or winter.

Why Are People Moving from Washington to California?

While both Washington state and California have high costs of living, many are choosing California simply for the weather or for specific types of job opportunities not found in Washington.

Silicon Valley recruits the best and the brightest from around the country to satisfy an unending global high-tech demand. It has become the destination for young professionals who started in Washington and want higher pay and greater career opportunities.

As the hub of the entertainment industry, Hollywood continues to be an attraction for writers, actors and others looking to make it big in TV and film. You can only get so far in Seattle with these careers.

Best Places to Move in California

Fresno, California Top Perks

  • Big city feel with small-town qualities –Lots of shopping, a sophisticated upscale dining scene
  • More affordable than most California cities-.Currently, the average price to buy a home in Fresno is $248,000 and the average rate for a one-bedroom apartment in Fresno is $856.
  • A farming community that delivers fresh produce all year round-Farm to fork cuisine has been going on in Fresno before it was a thing.
  • A family-friendly city-award winning schools, zoos, and lots of family fun activities are a big attraction.

Los Angeles Top Perks

  • Cultural diversity-Cross-culture world-class city diversity gives you the opportunity to work, play, and engage with a variety of cultural influences from around the world.
  • A foodie hub-with that diversity comes a variety of food. Restaurants, food stands, and food trucks exhibit and celebrate every culture from falafel to biryani.
  • A center for art and culture-from artistic murals to world-class art museums, LA has become a center for the arts beyond TV and movies.
  • Show business-the biggest attraction for many is a chance to break into show biz. Nearby Hollywood employs thousands of actors, writers, and film production personnel. For many, the dream opportunity is worth the high cost of living.

  • Sacramento, California Top Perks

    • A wide range of neighborhoods that fit your lifestyle- Find a mix of communities from youthful midtown to family-friendly South Land Park. There is a neighborhood for everyone in Sacramento.
    • Another lower-cost location for high-priced California. A basic entry-level single-family home starts around $300,000.
    • Growing job market- Sacramento is leaping out of a recession with phenomenal job growth with major employers like Sutter Health, Blue Diamond, and the United Service Automobile Association in the area.
    • Perfect location for weekend getaways. Sacramento’s location makes it easy for quick trips to nearby vacation hotspots like Lake Tahoe, Monterey, and Napa Valley.

    San Diego, California Top Perks

    • The most perfect weather in all of California-While the whole state shines when it comes to weather, San Diego’s distinct geography gives you a consistently temperate and comfortable climate.
    • Some of the best beaches in the state-If you love the beach, San Diego has some of the best. There are several around the city and each has its own distinct personality.
    • Close to nature-There is much to do here if you love the outdoors. Forest preserves, mountains and of course the ocean are all within 15 minutes.
    • Unique Southern California cuisine-Classic Southern California cuisine started here. You will never find better fish tacos or carne asada fries. The proximity of the ocean makes for great seafood.

    San Jose, California Top Perks

    • On the doorstep of Silicon Valley-. San Jose is the place to be if you are starting your tech career or your own tech company. The home of Google, Facebook, and eBay, San Jose puts you close to the epicenter of the digital world.
    • Great college town-College towns make for great communities. You will find bright minds from students to professors and the San Jose University also gives a boost to the local economy.
    • A mix of diverse neighborhoods-more diversity means more to learn and discover. San Jose offers culturally diverse neighborhoods with a range of housing prices.
    • Outdoor fun-like many locales in California there is a lot to do outdoors. In San Jose you will find a 750-acre park known for its wildlife.

    Santa Barbara, California Top Perks

    • Wining and dining-As a wealthier community, Santa Barbara boasts numerous fine restaurants and wineries. Definitely a foodie’s paradise.
    • Local festivals-local festivals are part of the Santa Barbara’s social fabric. There is always something going on for all ages.
    • Diverse geography- Santa Barbara features a wide range of landscapes from oceanfront to mountain peaks. A great place to live if you love the outdoors.
    • Unique neighborhoods-every community within Santa Barbara offers something different. Some have small beach town feels while others make you feel like you’re visiting a Mediterranean coastal town.

    Eureka, California Top Perks

    • One of the most affordable places to live in the state- Though remote from the bustle of LA, this quiet town offers a lower cost of living with many of the perks of California.
    • Great college town-The college town vibe keeps Eureka vibrant. The local community college and university adds energy to the local economy and an endless supply of fresh faces to the community.
    • Beautiful scenery- As a border town to Oregon, every resident has a vista of forest and mountains unsurpassed anywhere else in the state.
    • Small town feel-Eureka doesn’t have the big city hustle, for some that is a drawback. But if you love the laid-back life in beautiful weather surrounded by nature, then Eureka is your destination.

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