After years of battling the cold weather and city traffic, you’re finally ready to move to a sunnier, calmer location. California couldn’t be more different than NYC, it’s true. But sometimes a fresh start in a new place is all we need.

Although California is mostly known for its chill atmosphere and perfect surf conditions, destinations like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, or San Jose can be very upbeat and filled with entertainment too.

If you’re planning on moving from New York to California, you are probably aware of how different these states are. To make your transition a bit easier, FlatRate gathered the tips you will need for a flawless move. 

Cost of Living: California vs New York

Let’s be honest, NYC has an expensive reputation. But if you’re been here long enough, you know there are ways to beat the expensive bills. Similarly, California is also often associated with million-dollar mansions and fancy lifestyles. Even still, the cost of living doesn’t come anywhere near New York’s average prices. 

A one-bedroom apartment in NYC would likely run right around $3,000 per month depending on the building and location. A fairly spacious, similarly-sized apartment in downtown San Diego could go for $1,600. 

Housing is not the only area where you can save big — public transportation, groceries, clothes, utilities, and much more are all considerably cheaper in California. So, ready to start saving? Moving from New York to California is sounding better and better.

Public Transportation in California

Here’s a fact: there is no other city in the United States that can compete with New York’s public transportation. Owning a car or even driving anywhere in New York is just not the usual go-to unless you live outside of the five boroughs. So, if you grew up in the city, shifting to a lifestyle where you need a car to go places might be a bit of a shock.  

Car culture is prevalent in California. You can get away with not having a car in one of the major cities, but you will find that the majority of residents tend to drive. When planning your move to the West Coast, keep in mind that if you don’t already have a car, investing in one might be an essential expense.

Also, the heaviest freeway traffic in California is between 6 am – 9 am and 3 pm – 7 pm, Monday through Friday. Keep that in mind when making your moving plans, since parking gets harder and delays become more likely.

California DMV

If you live in one of the areas of New York where people do tend to drive everywhere, so you have a car that you will be taking (or driving) to California, you will need to be aware of California’s strict regulations. There are rules and requirements for registering your vehicle with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

First, you have to register within 20 days of establishing residency. You will also need a smog/emissions inspection to register your vehicle unless it is the model year 1975, or older.

You must obtain a California license within 10 days of moving to the state. If you own a moped, recreational vehicle, or all-terrain vehicle they will need to be registered, as well.

Employment in California

Whether you are a college graduate, freelancer, or laborer, you should have no problem finding a job in California. No education or work experience? No problem! There are enough touristy areas where anyone entering the work field should be able to snag a job in the hospitality sector.

California’s largest sectors are trade, financial services, education, health, transportation, and manufacturing. Familiarize yourself with opportunities available in different cities ahead of time, and decide what kind of employment options are best for you.

Start your research early and learn about your new home. For example, San Diego is one of the country’s best cities to launch a startup business, while San Francisco’s Financial District has earned its nickname as the “Wall Street of the West.”

California Climate

Nice weather is definitely not hard to get used to! But before you assume that all of California is sunny and warm year-round, you should get to know your new state better.

California is a big state and weather varies significantly based on location. If you don’t already have your heart set on a specific destination, you may want to use this breakdown to help you make your decision. Also, get familiar with an area or a new route before having to navigate it in the dense fog.

  • Central Coast – With its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean the Central Coast sees year-round mild temperatures with occasional fog.
  • Central Valley – Summers often include long heatwaves where temperatures are above 100 degrees. Winters are mild, with low temperatures averaging in the 50s.
  • Gold Country – Cold, wet, snowy winters and dry, hot summers are normal in Gold Country. The amount of snow depends on your altitude.
  • Los Angeles – Temperatures rarely dip below 60 degrees year-round with summers in the 80s most of the time. Winter in Los Angeles is wet. If you move to the City of Angels expect 10 to 15 inches of rain during this season. A pair of fashionable rain boots and a waterproof jacket are essential if you plan on spending any time outside!
  • San Diego – In terms of temperature, it doesn’t get much more perfect than San Diego. Year-round, you will enjoy temperatures averaging 70 degrees, and there is very little rain.
  • San Francisco Bay Area – Summers average 78 degrees and winters usually stay above 50 degrees. That is, except if you are actually in the city — where the position to the Bay keeps it a bit cooler. Expect very foggy conditions from May through July.
  • The High Sierras – Summers may be warm and dry, but it is not uncommon for this area to get enough snow in the winter to shut down the roads.
  • The North Coast – If you prefer cooler temperatures, you will love that this area averages 55 degrees year-round. It also rains a lot from November to March.

Tips for Moving to California

  • The heaviest freeway traffic is between 6 am – 9 am and 3 pm – 7 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Carpool lanes are only for multi-passenger vehicles, but many lanes welcome free-flow traffic at different hours of the day.
  • Get familiar with an area or a new route before having to navigate it in the dense fog.
  • Depending on where you are moving, you may be able to obtain a “no parking” zone to reserve a space for your moving vehicle through city offices.
  • California does not require moving van permits.
  • Always check the weather. Be prepared for changes in the conditions.
Categories: Moving Tips