Moving From New York to California: The Complete Guide (2024)

By Amanda Lutz | March 26, 2024

Industrial long hauler classic big rig dark blue semi truck tractor transporting moving boxes to California from New York.

New York and California are large, diverse states, and the distance between them makes a cross-country move a daunting prospect. We’ve compiled some recommendations, tips, and checklists to help New Yorkers who are on their way to becoming Californians. This major interstate move can be less stressful and more exciting as long as you’re prepared.


Why Move From New York to California?

Some people move from New York to California for a job. The San Francisco Bay Area and its tech scene draw a huge crowd of aspiring entrepreneurs, while plenty of entertainers head to Hollywood and Los Angeles to try to hit it big.

The change in scenery is also a huge draw. The East Coast is beautiful in the fall, but it doesn’t have the year-round appeal of much of California, which boasts mild, comfortable weather more consistently.

Cost is another factor: It’s 22% less expensive to live in Los Angeles than it is to live in New York City, according to Salary.com. Housing prices are high in many parts of California, but you’ll still get more bang for your buck. The median home size in California is 1,860 square feet, compared to New York’s median of 1,490 square feet.


Cost to Move From New York to California

Moving costs will likely be substantial because 3,000 miles separate these two states. The price will depend on how many belongings you have, the distance from home to home, the time of year, and the services you need. An average move price is consequently difficult to estimate, but consider these moving quotes we received for a three-bedroom, long-distance move of 2,900 miles originating in Santa Rosa, California. This is the equivalent distance of moving between California and New York. All moving quotes include full packing.

MoverSample Quote

IMRG

$10,800

International Van Lines

$14,500

American Van Lines

$17,000

A self-service move involves hiring a truck, packing your belongings yourself, and unpacking them on your own. Partial service may refer to boxing your own items but having movers load the trucks and pad your furniture and large items. A full-service move includes all packing, loading, unloading, and driving.

Long-Distance Moving Companies

The best long-distance moving companies can handle the hassle of moving for you. Full-service movers are typically the most expensive, but their service provides tremendous peace of mind, particularly when it comes to moving large or delicate items such as antique furniture, pianos, and electronics. Professional movers know how to pad and secure these items so they won’t shift during transport. They’ll also make the most out of the available truck space, so you won’t rent a larger truck than you need.

Here are some of our picks for the best interstate moving companies to get you from the Empire State to the Golden State. 

DIY Tips to Save Money

A cross-country move is expensive, but there are ways to keep moving costs down.


Finding the Best Mover From New York to California

Remember these tips as you compare long-distance moving companies:


Paperwork Needed to Move From New York to California

Prepare the following documentation as you prepare for your move from the East Coast to the West Coast:


Settling Into Life in California From New York

Coping with moving to a new city can be difficult, especially when considering the wildly dissimilar New York and California. Here are some tips to make this process easier:

Most Popular Cities in California for New York Transplants

While California is more than just its major cities, consider these areas if you’re seeking a metropolitan home:


Our Recommendation

Make the process of moving from New York to California easier by hiring an experienced moving company that specializes in coordinating long-distance moves. Get quotes from multiple companies, trust your gut, and enjoy your new home in the Golden State.


Moving from New York to California FAQ

How much does it cost to hire movers from New York to California?

A full-service move from New York to California is likely to cost between $10,400 and $17,000, depending on the size of your household. Partial and self-service moves will cost less.

What size truck do I need to rent for a DIY move from New York to California?

The size truck you need to rent for a DIY move from New York to California depends on the size of your home. According to U-Haul, a cargo truck or small 10-foot box truck will transport the contents of a studio apartment. A 15-foot truck is sufficient for a one- or two-bedroom apartment. A 20-foot truck is appropriate for a home with two or three bedrooms. You’ll need a 26-foot truck or larger if you have four or more bedrooms.

How far in advance should I book a moving company to get from New York to California?

You should try to book movers at least eight weeks out for a cross-country move. Book 12 weeks in advance for a move during the busier summer season.

How long does it take to drive from New York to California?

Driving from New York City to Los Angeles takes about 41 hours without traffic or rest stops.

What steps should I take to prepare for a move from New York to California?

To prepare for a move from New York to California, schedule movers at least eight weeks out, use a moving checklist to keep yourself organized, and expect a substantial difference in weather and culture in your new home.

What should I do first after relocating to California from New York?

When you move to California, you have 10 days to notify the DMV and get your address and vehicle registration changed.