California is one of the most populous states in the nation and is home to some of the country’s most famous landmarks, such as San Francisco, Hollywood, and Disneyland.

California is a beautiful state, with some of the best weather in the country. But moving to California can be intimidating! Some tips and tricks will help you make your transition as smooth as possible.

Top 12 Tips for Moving to California

So, here are the top tips for moving to California.

Tips for Moving to California
Tips for Moving to California

1. What to pack?

Start by packing all of the items in your bedroom before moving on to other rooms. It is recommended that you start with clothes because these are typically lightweight and easy to pack.

If you have many heavy items, pack them on the bottom in boxes with packing tape, and don’t forget to label them! You may also want to keep all your breakables packed away until the end, so they are easier to access.

You can use large trash bags for clothing and small ones for other items like books or kitchenware. Label each bag accordingly, so it is easy to find what you need when you arrive at your new home.

Wrap any furniture pieces that cannot break down into smaller parts (such as chairs) in moving pads of thick plastic wrap before taping shut again – this will protect these surfaces from scratches during transit while still allowing for movement to get through doorways.

The last thing you’ll want to do is prepare a list of the items that you don’t think will get unpacked in your first few days or weeks, and then stash them someplace safe where they won’t be in the way when moving day comes. Remember: this includes things like paper products, cleaning supplies, or food!

2. Know your destination

Make sure you know your destination before booking a flight or hotel room. It can be challenging to find housing in popular destinations during peak times such as summer and winter break, so plan!

The most popular areas for newcomers are in the southern part of California. There is a variety of climates – from beachside to desert, and if you want warm weather year-round, there are always places like Palm Springs!

3. The cost of living in California

California is home to some of the nation’s most expensive cities. When moving there, be prepared for a higher cost of living and an increased concentration of homeless people in major urban centers like Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco.

It can take six months to a year after first arriving in California before you start earning what someone who grew up here would make on their paycheck – this is because it takes time to work your way through the system, build connections with employers, get rental history and establish credit!

Prepare for much higher prices when renting if you plan to move from out-of-state into California during peak times (such as summer break). It will also be more difficult to find housing at all if you wait until the last minute.

4. Renting vs. buying a home

Renting is typically cheaper than buying a home in California, but your monthly costs are often lower when you purchase property because mortgages can be costly.

To qualify for most loans, individuals will need an income of at least $40k and a credit score over 700 and have enough money saved up for the down payment on the house or condo they want to purchase. It’s also essential to include any debt (like student loan payments) that needs servicing into these calculations before applying!

When renting, it’s best if you don’t plan on staying there more than three years – otherwise, landlords might try raising prices once their lease contract expires. You may also be able to get waived fees by asking about them upfront with the landlord or asking for an extension on your rental agreement.

5. Taxes and fees

California has one of the highest state tax rates in the nation, with a 12.35% sales and use tax rate!

When you purchase an item from a store, it is taxed as soon as that transaction takes place – all vendors must have a seller’s permit to do so. When shopping online, there will be additional costs for shipping (either from getting items delivered or through paying taxes on what was shipped) which can add up quickly when buying multiple items at once.

In California, we pay property taxes based on how much our home is worth each year. This amount varies significantly between areas across the region, but generally speaking, more expensive homes are worth more money and therefore produce higher annual property taxes.

Landlords typically collect income tax from renters each month, and it’s essential to keep track of this because the state will charge a penalty if they think you haven’t paid enough over a given time period.

California is one of two states in which income tax rates are higher for those who make more than $400k per year – this means that as soon as your salary exceeds these thresholds by even $100, then you’ll be charged at a 13% rate.

In addition to paying taxes on earned money and property value, there are also sales taxes (at the 12.35% as mentioned above) for most goods or services purchased in California. It includes things like cars, clothes, food items & alcohol! Additionally, car tires must have an additional fee added when purchasing them new.

6. Moving to California with an existing car

If you’re moving to California with an existing car and license plates from your previous state, then they must be registered here within 12 months of arriving. If not, the DMV will automatically suspend your registration until proof is provided!

The laws in CA about driving under the influence (DUI) or Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs (DUID) are very specific and can lead to a range of consequences if broken.

Anyone convicted for either charge will face a minimum suspension on their driver’s license as well as increased auto insurance rates because most providers require them upon sentencing. In addition, there may also be fines, fees & jail time attached depending on where you live – so make sure this information is considered before drinking any alcohol behind the wheel!

7. Required documents for immigration

To immigrate to California, you’ll need proof of residency somewhere else, as well as proof of where you are currently residing in California.

If you have a driver’s license from your previous state, then make sure that it is registered here within 12 months of arriving, and you will not incur a penalty!

8. Finding your way around the city

If you’re moving to California, you must research the area where you’ll be living. Maps are a valuable tool to help familiarize yourself with the area and traffic regulations and tips for which public transport is most appropriate in your community. One way to find your way around is by using an app like Waze, which provides up-to-date tips on traffic and suggests alternative routes for getting from point A to point B. It can make exploring your new home much easier!

9. What to do with pets during the move?

If you’re moving to California with pets in tow, they must be microchipped and have up-to-date vaccinations. It will also be necessary for them to wear a collar or harness at all times – this is not only safer, but it can help the animal escape if caught on something while exploring!

10. Universities and colleges

One of the best tips for moving to California is that it’s home to some of the most prestigious universities in the US, including Stanford, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. These are just a few amongst many – which one would be right for you?

11. Get your car registered

You will need to get your car registered once you’ve settled in.

Once you’ve moved to California, make sure to register your car (or RV) with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

California’s DMV offers online services and kiosks at many locations around the state for registering a vehicle and obtaining or renewing driver licenses.

The process is pretty easy! You can even get an appointment ahead of time to have your car inspected.

After you’ve registered, make sure to purchase a California Vehicle Inspection Sticker at one of the DMV’s many locations or online. The sticker will be valid for four years and should always be placed on the inside left windshield when driving in California.

12. Find Restaurants

Find out your favorite restaurants and stores from back home, because you’ll miss them!

California has a diverse selection of cuisine, and there are usually places nearby for your favorite food.

Start exploring early so you can find the restaurants that fit best with what you like to eat! If there aren’t any close by or they don’t have your preferred dish, try looking online to see if it’s available from one of the famous restaurants in your city.

California also has a variety of stores that are unique to the area! There’s always something new popping up, and you might even find an old favorite with new locations here too!


In conclusion, the tips that I have provided in this article are helpful for anyone who is moving to California. These tips can help you adjust to your new environment much quicker and become well-adjusted with the lifestyle changes that are bound to take place.

If you have any tips for moving to California, please share them with us below!

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