The Complete Guide to Moving From California to Florida

December 18, 2023Moving Tips
Maya Brown

Born in Atlanta, Maya has called many places home in her lifetime. She's a content writer and moving expert who loves to help people relocate smoothly

Ready to trade in your Hollywood dreams for a slice of the Sunshine State? Contrary to popular belief, moving from California to Florida is much more than swapping your Mickey ears from Disneyland to Disney World. Buckle up as we embrace a whole new world of palm trees, alligators, and year-round flip-flop weather.

After you’ve decided to embark on this coastal switch, it’s all about creating a meticulous plan and choosing the right relocation company. With a detailed household inventory, both packing and unpacking can be done efficiently. Also, it’s important not to forget to handle the legal requirements, including changing your address. Once you’re there, it’s time to meet the neighborhood and start building this new, exciting chapter of your life.

Why Are People Moving From California to Florida?

Since 2020, California has seen a decrease in its population, with about half a million people bidding the Golden State farewell. In contrast, according to the US Census Bureau Report, Florida has been experiencing a population surge. For the year 2022, this state boasts its highest increase in residents yet, welcoming a whopping 319,000 newcomers.

The state of Florida had a population boost of 1.9% in 2022

This trend has been on a steady rise, and experts believe there are several factors driving this migration. The high cost of living in California is a primary motivator, but it’s not just about money. The ever-growing opportunities for getting a job, as well as the allure of the similar climate, also play significant roles in this mass relocation.

Living in Florida vs. California – Let’s Break Down the Numbers

You might be wondering – why is Florida better than California? Why are so many people taking the leap and moving there? Well, it depends on who you ask, really. But to help you get a clearer picture of this coastal switch, let’s dig into the numbers:

Category California Florida
Median Income $84,000 $62,000
Tax Rates 9.3% No individual income tax
Median Home Price $836,000 $410,000
Median Rent Price $3,300 $2,950

As you can see, it’s pretty clear why people are flocking to Florida. The median income might be lower, but the cost of living is also lower, and the state charges no income tax to individual workers.

All in all, the Sunshine State seems to shine brightly as a promising alternative to the Golden State when it comes to interstate moving. No matter if you want to find a job or experience the hustle and bustle of a big city without breaking the bank, let’s get into everything you need to know to ensure a seamless transition.

California is beautiful, but the high cost of living is starting to drive people away

Timing and Organization Are Key – Here’s How to Plan Your Move

Some entrepreneurs move to Florida from California seeking the allure of lower living costs and taxes, while others are simply chasing sunny skies and relaxation. But regardless of your reason to move, one thing remains constant – the importance of meticulous planning and a well-structured timeline. This rings true, no matter if you’re planning to hire movers or not.


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Here’s How to Create the Perfect Household Inventory List

A moving-out list can be pretty extensive, but one of its non-negotiable parts is creating a household relocation inventory. It’s simple – having a clear picture of what’s going with you to your new destination will help you organize packing and streamline the whole ordeal.

Here’s a quick checklist to consider for your household inventory:

  • To pack furniture efficiently, first make a list of all your major pieces, from sofas to bed frames,
  • Also, note down all kitchen appliances and electronic devices,
  • Categorize your wardrobe and personal belongings,
  • Include jewelry, important documents, and sentimental items,
  • Go room by room to ensure no item is forgotten.

Money Matters – Budgeting for Your Move

Making this interstate move involves a set of expenses, so having a comprehensive relocation budget should be a top priority. Among others, this includes gathering packing materials and covering car shipping costs if you decide to employ an auto transport company.

This plan should be as detailed as possible. For example, you should choose between getting door-to-door auto transport or terminal-to-terminal car shipping well in advance, as budgeting for these services early can help you save on relocation costs. But your four-wheeler is obviously not the only one making the journey – so consider any travel expenses for yourself and your family, like flights or gas.

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How to Pack Efficiently for Your Interstate Move

Anyone who has moved at least once in their life will tell you that knowing how to pack efficiently is absolutely crucial. Depending on the moving services you opt for, your chosen movers might take care of just disassembling, transporting, and reassembling your major pieces, or they can handle virtually all of your belongings.

No matter which route you choose, having some relocation hacks up your sleeve is always a smart move. Here are some practical tips to make the whole process as smooth as possible:

  • Before you start packing, take a good look at what you have and decide what you want to get rid of and what you want to bring with you,
  • Use colored relocation labels to categorize boxes by room, as this will make unpacking a breeze,
  • Wrap fragile items like glassware and dishes individually with packing paper or bubble wrap,
  • Instead of buying extra packing material, use your clothes, towels, and linens to cushion fragile items,
  • Prepare a box with essentials like toiletries, a change of clothes, and important documents to have ready for your first day in your new home.
Two girls smiling while packing for cross-country moving
It's all about staying organized and planning ahead

Choosing the Right Moving Company Can Make or Break the Whole Experience

Choosing a moving company is a pivotal step because, unfortunately, there are plenty of relocation scams in this industry. After all, you’re entrusting them with your prized possessions, often including your beloved ride. Therefore, you must opt for a business that’s insured and licensed, such as the USA Auto Transport company.

To check if a company you’re considering is legit, you can verify its credentials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Also, make sure to do a USDOT number check, as every legitimate business needs to have one.

Make Sure to Get a Moving Estimate

As we’ve already discussed, planning your budget is an essential step in preparing for your interstate move. Getting a quote from the company can help you make informed decisions when creating this plan. Pay attention to factors like the included services, the weight of your belongings, and any additional charges.

A woman counting money needed for a car shipping company
Make sure to discuss the expenses with your chosen company in great detail

Here Are a Few Additional Things You Need to Take Care of Before the Move

Before your big move from California to Florida, there are a few additional tasks you’ll want to check off your list. First and foremost, don’t forget about the legal requirements – ensure you update your address with the relevant authorities, including the post office, and also transfer your utilities.

As for shipping cars in the USA, there’s plenty of legal documentation you’ll need to cover with your movers, no matter if you opt for the budget-friendly open trailer or the super-secure enclosed auto transport. You’ll also need to update your vehicle registration to reflect your new Florida address.

Don’t Forget to Transfer Medical Records and Find New Healthcare Providers

Amidst all this paperwork, make sure you also transfer your medical records to new healthcare providers in Florida. Research and establish contact with healthcare professionals and facilities in your new area to ensure a seamless transition.

A man leafing through documents
Stay organized - there are plenty of documents you'll need to handle

The Time Has Come – What to Expect on Moving Day

Alright, the big day is finally here – the Sunshine State awaits you! It’s the moment you’ve been planning for, stressing about, and, let’s be real, secretly looking forward to. Here’s a heads-up on what’s about to go down:

  • Expect the relocation crew to arrive at the agreed-upon time, ready to load your belongings onto the truck,
  • They will likely go over an inventory list to ensure everything is accounted for,
  • Movers will use padding and wrapping to protect your furniture and delicate items,
  • Your belongings will be carefully loaded onto the truck, making the most of the available space,
  • Once everything is loaded up, the truck will hit the road, heading for your new Florida destination.

Planning Your Journey From California to Florida

Now that your belongings are on their way, it’s time for you to embark on this journey as well. There are several ways to make this cross-country trek, from driving your own vehicle to flying and arranging transportation for yourself.

Woman at an airport
It's up to you to decide how you'll get to the Sunshine State

Nice and Cozy – Settling Into Your New Florida Home

Once you’ve made it to the Sunshine State, the adventure is just beginning. Your new home might be empty at the moment, but that’s where the real fun starts. It’s time to turn it into a cozy residence where the sun feels just right, and the palm trees are your new favorite neighbors.

How to Unpack Efficiently and Not End up Swimming in Cardboard Boxes

Now, about those cardboard boxes that have followed you all the way here. It’s time to tackle them head-on and organize your new home. Here’s how to unpack after relocating without feeling like you’re drowning in all of that stuff:

  • Unpack the essentials first, like kitchen items, toiletries, and bedding,
  • Take it one room at a time to stay organized and keep the chaos under control,
  • Use those labels you put on boxes during packing,
  • If you come across items that went under your radar while packing and you no longer need them, create a donation pile as you unpack,
  • Set up your furniture before dealing with smaller items and decor, as it will give you a sense of home as soon as possible.

Take Time to Get To Know Your New Neighbourhood

Now that your home is shaping up nicely, it’s time to get out there and explore your new neighborhood. Strike up conversations with your new neighbors – they’re a wealth of local knowledge. Visit nearby parks, shops, and eateries to discover your new go-to spots.

Embrace the local culture, try some seafood, and don’t forget to catch a sunset or two at the beach. Watch this video for some amazing recommendations:

YouTube video

Embarking On Your New Journey to the Sunshine State

In the grand scheme of things, your move from California to Florida is more than just a change of scenery – it’s an opportunity for a fresh start. From gathering the packing essentials to settling into your new home, working with a reliable relocation business is your golden ticket to a seamless transition.

And if you’re still wondering about that trusty car of yours, why not consider the services of a reputable car shipping company? Contact us at USA Auto Transport and, with the help of our enclosed trailer, ensure your prized ride arrives in Florida just as you do – ready to take on the open road in style.


How Far in Advance Should I Start Planning My Move From California to Florida?

It’s wise to start planning your relocation from California to Florida at least two to three months in advance. This allows ample time to research movers, gather quotes, and create a detailed schedule.

What Is the Best Season to Move From California to Florida?

The best season to relocate from California to Florida is typically during the fall or spring. These seasons offer more moderate temperatures, avoiding the extreme heat of summer and the unpredictable weather of hurricane season.

How Long Does the Move Typically Take?

The duration of the move can vary depending on factors like the distance, the amount of belongings, and the chosen mode of transportation. Generally, a cross-country relocation like this may take anywhere from one to two weeks.

Do I Need Additional Moving Insurance?

While moving companies always provide Mandatory Liability Insurance coverage, it’s a good idea to consider additional moving insurance, especially for valuable or delicate items. This extra protection can provide peace of mind during your relocation.

How Do I Make My New Florida Home Hurricane-Ready?

To make your new Florida home hurricane-ready, invest in impact-resistant windows and doors, secure outdoor furniture, and stock up on emergency supplies like non-perishable food, water, flashlights, and batteries. Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and have a plan in case of a hurricane warning.

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