The Ultimate Guide to Moving from East Coast to West Coast

July 5, 2021 / Posted in Moving Basics
Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

Many residents from the eastern part of the US swear that life there is the best, but more and more people consider moving from East Coast to West Coast at least once in their lifetime. If you’re reading this, you’re thinking about it, too. Whatever the reason for relocation, cross-country moving isn’t impossible if you prepare well.

A red car on the road, in front of the Hollywood sign
Going from one side of the US to another is an opportunity to experience a lot

Firstly, Is it Better to Live on the East Coast or West Coast?

The answer to this question is different for New York City and Los Angeles residents, for example. Citizens of these heavily-populated places will talk about the benefits of living there while completely ignoring the potential downsides. So far, many people have ventured into relocating from one side of the US to another, and those who decided on moving to the West Coast from the East Coast were extremely happy with their decision.

One thing to remember is that relocating across the country isn’t a last-minute decisionit should be considered long before starting the relocation process. Getting organized to move and choosing the best time to relocate are the essential starting points of relocation.

The best time to move doesn’t just mean relocating in the summer or winter but also the period of life you’re going through. Consider if a long-distance relocation is a smart move at the moment and if there’s a chance to move out of state on a budget. Since it’s a long-distance trip, your wallet may suffer, which is why you have to be ready every step of the way.

San Francisco's old residential neighborhood
Choosing where to live depends on many factors in your life

Moving from East Coast to West Coast Brings New Experiences

Anyone considering moving from the East Coast to the West Coast mentions the weather as a benefit of living in the sunnier parts of the US the most. However, it isn’t the same in every city. For example, Seattle in the northwest is rainy every season except for summer, while San Diego in the southwest rarely has rain and is famous as a sunny place. It’s said that Los Angeles has ideal temperatures year-round, with warm but not overly hot summers and mild winters.

Where Should I Move to On the West Coast? There’s Something for Every Taste

Apart from fantastic weather, cities in the western US are simply more spacious. Most towns in the eastern part of the country have more tall buildings and skyscrapers, which could cause any place to feel cramped and claustrophobic. Opposing that are western cities that have broader territories. If you’re planning to relocate alone to a new city, it’ll be easier to meet new neighbors and people who don’t feel suffocated and in a rush to get anywhere.

Western cities have more housing opportunities, too. If you intend on living in a city center, finding a place that suits all your needs may be more complicated due to higher rent in those areas. However, renting outside of central parts is considerably cheaper and more convenient, and residents don’t mind commuting without a car as the public transportation is well organized.

Going to more prominent cities like San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Los Angeles, and Seattle can pose challenges for budget management. These cities provide numerous experiences, from job opportunities to cultural exchanges, but those perks come at a higher price than expected. If you already knew all of this and still want to move from a small town to a big city, we think you’d have a blast in any of the places mentioned above.


Be Ready to Experience a Change of Pace In Every Walk of Life

Another big difference between cities in the eastern and western US is job opportunities. Tech jobs are prevalent in California, Oregon, and Washington, with clusters of tech companies in Portland, the Silicon Forest, and San Francisco’s own Silicon Valley, probably the most famous tech center in the world. If you’re planning to get a job before relocating, see if the tech sector has anything to offer.

Many tech jobs popped up in the area during the last ten to fifteen years, and the lifestyle has changed significantly along with that. People are healthier and pay more attention to the environment, so you can see many vegan and vegetarian restaurants, eco-friendly spaces, and transportation alternatives.

a sunny beach landscape near a town
Enjoying the weather year-round is a big perk of the western parts of the US

Preparing for the Period of Relocating to the West Coast

After deciding which city to settle in, the question is where to start with relocation. Before stepping foot into the next residence or saying goodbye to friends and family, make sure to map out the journey at least four months ahead. Start by determining the relocation budget, then see which residential area fits into it the most.

After checking the budget, email real estate agents at the destination and check how far ahead you should buy or rent a home. Once the new place is booked and signed for, it’s time to focus on what needs to be done at your current home. Whether you’re downsizing or going big, our recommendation is not to bring all your stuff (especially furniture) with you.

Start Decluttering Your Home A Few Months Before Moving

Getting rid of extra stuff before packing makes for the easiest way to pack for a relocation because there’s less cargo to bring and more options to use relocation hacks. Whether you hire cross-country movers or relocate alone, having fewer items to bring will cost less and be more efficient. In addition, managing relocation stress starts at this phase of the move.

If you’re relocating for the first time, you might get the urge to bring everything just in case, but less is more. Take a look at the equipment at the new house and estimate if it’s worth shipping your furniture across multiple states. For example, there’s no need to pack up the bed if you’re going to live with your significant other at their place.

A smiling girl holding a sweater on a hanger
Decluttering and throwing away stuff you don't need is a good starting point

How and Where to Get Packing Supplies and Materials

The essential packing supplies can be easily found right where you live. The list of these supplies goes something like this:

  • Cardboard boxes and containers of any kind, for packing items inside,
  • Packing paper, bubble wrap, or other wrapping materials found at home, like cotton t-shirts,
  • Duct tape and tape dispenser for sealing the containers after packing them, and giving extra support to the bottom layers of cardboard boxes,
  • Scissors or a box cutter for easier manipulation of packing materials and storage,
  • Markers, pens, or label stickers for labeling boxes once you’re done packing.

As mentioned above, most if not all of these materials are already a part of your household inventory. However, if not, there are ways to get them cheap and sometimes even for free. Boxes can be found in supermarkets and restaurants, where they’re no longer used. Ask politely, and they may gift you with all of their cardboard boxes. Suppose you’re willing to hire long-distance moving services. In that case, standard relocation costs entail that professional movers bring all the necessary supplies and provide the ultimate packing services of most household items.

Boxes and duct tape on a tape dispenser
Ensure you have all the necessary packing materials

How to Choose What to Pack and What Not to Pack?

It’s easy to get carried away when deciding what to bring to the next dream destination.

You could list all the stuff you’d want to bring along and then use a piece of paper to write down categories like ‘keep,’ ‘donate,’ ‘recycle,’ and ‘throw away.’ Decide how much you’re attached to every piece, then assess its condition and put it under one of the categories. If you’re still unsure about some, you can always research online what not to pack when relocating.

Donate the Items You Don’t Need Anymore

Any items that fall under the donation category should be in good condition. Why? If you’re donating to a center where other people are currently living, giving them just scraps won’t give you any points, nor will it help them. We take time to donate unwanted items to those in need, and those same items should be usable.

The stuff you never wore or only wore once, the clothes that are too small or too large for you now, and such are all eligible donations. You can check what’s good to donate by sending an email to your nearest donation center and checking what sort of items they require.

Recycle the Stuff That Isn’t Fit for Donation

You should recycle the stuff that isn’t in good condition for donations. However, recycling and throwing items into a bin don’t count as the same actions. Your intentions may be the same, but in case you didn’t know, clothes and other items that we throw in the trash don’t end up in any recycling centers. They end up in landfills. That’s why it’s our responsibility to research how to recycle and rehome the stuff we’re no longer using.

A girl packing donation boxes full of clothes
Donate the stuff you don't need anymore

Things to Know If You’re Relocating with Pets

If you’re relocating with pets, there are a couple of things to consider. While putting your pets on a plane and sending them to another state is the easiest way to get them to the destination, know that it may cause some complications. People have had various experiences flying their pets to another state, from the more positive ones where everything went well to those everyone dreads – losing their furry buddies during transport.

The best option for getting your pets safely to the destination is to just bring them along with you. However, this would mean driving all the way there. While it may seem tedious, it’s the safest way to relocate them, and the pets could enjoy the trip nevertheless. You can watch the video to see how one family relocated their pets across the US by driving.

Relocating With the Help of Long-Distance Movers Can Make Life So Much Easier

While you can opt for relocating all by yourself, we’d recommend doing it with the help of professional movers. Going from one part of the US to another is a massive feat, and taking that challenge without good help could cause unforeseen problems. We know there’s always a risk of getting tricked, but there are ways to figure out relocation scams and differentiate them from the real deal. Any reputable long-distance relocation company offers a free estimate via email so you can check the costs. That’s how you can figure out which company is legit, too.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from East Coast to West Coast?

The cost of moving from East Coast to West coast can depend on many factors. It mostly comes down to the company you hire and the required services. The costs of interstate relocation range from $6,000 to 9,500 and mainly depend on how much cargo you have and if you need more than what the standard services cover.

Every Long-Distance Moving Company Is Also a Car Shipping Company

In addition to packing services, shipping a car across multiple states is possible with any long-distance relocation company since they’re an auto transport company, too. Some specialize in car shipping services more than others, but they’re all equipped with open and enclosed trailers for safe vehicle transportation. Additionally, you can get a free estimate for car shipping prices via email, too.

Storage Services Are a Life-Saver for Moving from East to West Coast

Finally, every company specializing in long-distance relocation offers storage services, and most importantly, they’re free for the first thirty days of safe-keeping. This way, your journey from one side of the US to another doesn’t need to be more strenuous than it already is, and in case you couldn’t get rid of your favorite couch, it’s beneficial to take advantage of the free storage.

Two movers holding boxes
Relocating across the country is difficult, but not impossible with movers

The Last Remaining Question – Is Life Better on the West Coast?

Now that you’ve decided where to go, no need to worry about finding things to do after relocating. Anything that wasn’t possible to do before, like going to the beach, enjoying warm winters, walking everywhere, and many more activities, is now available to you. Make sure to pack a lot of sunscreen, and don’t let any stress get the best of you. We can safely say that living is better on the Western shores.

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