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Moving from California to Texas | Costs & Benefits

Our guide to relocating from California to Texas will give you highlights of moving costs, the perks of living in Texas, and some of the best cities in the Lone Star State. 

A one-story brick home with a beautiful green lawn Adobe

A lower cost of living, a lack of income taxes, and lots of wide-open spaces are just a few of the reasons California residents consider moving to Texas.

If you’re considering making the move to the Lone Star State, it may be a good idea to begin reviewing the top moving companies in California, as well as those in Texas, to get an idea of relocation costs and which services you’ll need.

We have highlighted our picks for the best moving companies serving California and Texas below and given you a quick look at reasons for relocating and perks and downsides.

Best California to Texas Movers

Benefits of Moving from California to Texas

As of 2050, approximately 20 million people who used to live in California will have moved to Texas. The projection is based on an ongoing trend of Californians becoming Texans. So, why are so many California residents wanting to call the Lone Star State home?

Here are three of the top reasons:

  • Lower cost of living
  • Growth economy
  • Unique culture

Lower Cost of Living

It costs, on average, a lot less to live in Texas than in California, in terms of housing, food, childcare, and other key factors. Housing in Los Angeles is a staggering 221% higher than in Austin, for example. The median home price in Austin is approximately $260,000 while the median price in Los Angeles is about $883,000.

Growth economy

Several of Texas’ major metropolitan areas are among some of the fastest-growing economies in the nation, with Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth holding the second, third, and fifth spots, respectively, on Forbes’ list of the 10 largest cities with the fastest-growing economies. That growth has only generated more interest from major corporations and industries. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook have all expanded or opened up offices in Austin in recent years, and Texas has a stronghold in the manufacturing and hospitality industries.

Unique Culture

There are few U.S. states with as distinct culture as Texas, but it’s not all cowboy boots and country music. A mix of rural and urban locales and a diverse population make Texas culture as varied as its people and geography. The Lonestar State is home to more than 2,000 barbecue restaurants featuring the much-loved southern fare with a distinct Texas-style and flavor. Austin is a big draw from musicians of all genres, thanks in no small part to the annual South by Southwest Festival. A deeply rooted Latino tradition also remains a strong influence on the tastes and sounds that make Texas stand out. And an influx of people from across the country is continually evolving Texas’ culture, though at its heart, the state maintains its reputation for being one of the friendliest places to live.

Top Movers: California to Texas

Before you make a move to Texas from California, it’s important to set your budget and decide which specialty services, if any, you’ll need. Are you going to drive to your new home, or do you prefer to have your vehicle shipped? Do you have a lot of antiques or heirlooms you want handled extra carefully through fragile packing services? Are you relocating without a lot of furniture and just want the quickest and cheapest DIY option? Once you decide what you’ll need and how much you have to spend, we recommend reaching out to at least three moving companies before making a final decision.

International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover

International Van Lines (IVL) is our overall pick for long-distance moves into or out of Washington due to its experience, availability, and variety of services.

Since 1933, IVL is available in all 50 states and more than 180 countries. The company can handle local, long-distance, and international moves of all sizes but specializes in long-distance relocations. International owns and operates its own fleet of vehicles but will partner with local agents within its extensive network for areas outside of its immediate service area.

International Van Lines Pros & Cons

✔ Includes all-risk insurance, which covers the full value of items at a 4% cost, with the purchase of packing services

✔ Offers a 15% discount for senior citizens

✔ Provides sample costs for insurance and a list of common associated moving fees to help you budget for your relocation

✘ Requires a 25% deposit to schedule a moving date

✘ Working with local agents within a larger network means procedures, policies, and customer service could vary based on location and provider.

Cost

According to International Van Lines’ moving cost calculator, relocating a three-bedroom home from Sacramento, California, to Austin, Texas in early June would cost between $4,200 and $6,150. However, IVL will only give a more detailed estimate after an in-person or virtual assessment of your home and its contents.

International Van Lines is transparent with its associated moving fees, listing the cost and frequency of each fee broken down to a per-item cost on its website. For example, IVL has industry-standard elevator and stair fees, applied when crews use either or both to transport items from your home or apartment. The elevator fee is a one-time charge of $75, whereas the stair fee is $75 per flight of stairs.

Get started on your personalized quote by filling out this quick questionnaire.

Learn More: International Van Lines Review

1-800-PACK-RAT

If you prefer to handle all aspects of the relocation process on your own, we recommend 1-800-PACK-RAT as the top overall choice for self-service moving. The company will deliver waterproof portable steel storage containers to your home. After you’ve loaded your container, PACK-RAT will pick it back up and deliver them to your new destination. Self-service moves through the 1-800-PACK-RAT are supported by a wealth of free resources on the company’s website, including blogs and how-to videos.

1-800-PACK-RAT Pros & Cons

✔ Provides barn-style doors on a majority (90%) of its storage containers

to allow for more space and provide increased security

✔ Matches lower estimates from PODS

✔ Gives customers 30 days to load containers

✘ Is only available in 30 states (not available in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or Wyoming)

✘ Has a C+ rating with the Better Business Bureau due to unresolved customer complaints

Cost

Using the online calculator tool, it would cost approximately $3,500 to relocate a three-bedroom home from Sacramento to Austin in early April. That estimate is for a 12-foot storage container without any add-on services, such as moving assistance.

To estimate the cost of your move with 1-800-PACK-RAT, take this quick online survey.

Learn more: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review

Allied Van Lines

With more than 90 years of experience in the moving industry, Allied Van Lines is one of our top picks for moving into or out of Washington. The company may be a particularly good fit for those who need to relocate a car, truck, SUV, van, or boat. The company uses two transport methods for vehicle shipping: open car carrier and enclosed car carrier. Open car carriers are essentially like the trucks you’ve seen on the highway carrying stacks of new cars from auto manufacturers to dealerships. In contrast, enclosed carriers protect vehicles completely from exposure to outdoor elements or roadway hazards. The enclosed carrier method is a smart option if you want to move a high-value vehicle, such as a classic car.

Allied Van Lines Pros & Cons

✔ Provides vehicle coverage of up to $100,000 with no deductible

✔ Offers mobile storage containers through Allied Express, an alternative solution to metal move containers that includes loading and unloading

✔ Includes a personal moving consultant with all packages

✘ Doesn’t give instant quotes for local moves

✘ Doesn’t have 24/7 claims support

Cost

We received an online estimate of $9,187–$10,149 to move a three-bedroom home from Sacramento to Austin in mid-May.

After completing an in-person or virtual home assessment, Allied will provide you with a binding estimate—the exact amount you can expect to pay on moving day. As part of the assessment, you will need to provide Allied with a detailed list of items to be moved. It’s important to be as thorough as possible during this stage of the moving process since miscalculating the size of your move or adding major items after your binding estimate could increase overall costs.

Find out what your move with Allied Van Lines will cost by filling out this simple online form or calling 877-483-9424.

Learn more: Allied Van Lines Review

North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines (NAVL) has an extensive network of providers across the country and globally. Through its own fleet and staff and those of moving agents within the network, North American Van Lines can service local, long-distance, and international moving needs across the country and in 180 countries. Since North American Van Lines is both a carrier and a broker, customer experiences can vary widely depending on which provider within the company’s network is handling your relocation.

North American Van Lines customers can quickly file domestic or international claims directly from the homepage of the company’s website. Dedicated claims support lines are also available for those who have additional questions or prefer to file their claims by phone.

North American Van Lines Pros & Cons

✔ Offers a wealth of free moving resources through its online library of videos, blogs, FAQs, tip sheets, and checklists

✔ Provides a Not-to-Exceed Pricing package that ensures actual cost will never be higher than your detailed personalized quote

✔ Has a MoovScout app that allows customers who are relocating internationally to track the workflow of their move from their phone

✘ Storage options are based on local availability

✘ Receives varied customer feedback depending on location and the local moving contractor in NAVL’s network

Cost

The cost to move a three-bedroom home from San Diego to Austin, in late June would be approximately $6,391–$7,620, according to NAVL’s online moving calculator.

Cost estimates with North American Van Lines are based on the distance of your move as well as the size of your move, and the time of year you plan to relocate. The special handling of any items is also factored into your quote. Other factors that can affect your total moving cost include: the number of bedrooms in your home, the layout of your home, including any access issues, any items that need special handling services, such as crating, the time of year of your move, and the addition of any optional services.

The company’s discount program for American Legion members provides up to $100,000 in replacement coverage protection on household items while in transit for a bottom-line savings of $850. Discount program members also receive access to exclusive moving and storage discounts, non-peak rates year-round, and guaranteed quotes. A similar program for union members and their families includes up to $50,000 in replacement coverage (a savings of $560) and all perks provided to Legion members, with the addition of packing discounts.

For a free quote from North American Van Lines, call 877-624-0912 or complete this quick online form.

Learn more: North American Van Lines Review

JK Moving

JK Moving is a full-service moving company that focuses on allowing customers to create a fully customized moving package. JK Moving’s user-friendly website and mobile app, as well as 24/7 support, are aimed at making it easier for customers to find the services that best fit their needs and budget.

Through the company’s app, customers can review estimates and provide updates, make payments, add coverage, check the status of their move and receive notifications for important steps in the moving process.

For those looking for a way to spread out moving costs, JK Moving offers in-house financing, with rates as low as 0%*. Still, it’s important to figure out what your rate is ahead of time to avoid having to unexpectedly pay significantly more in the long run.

* Subject to credit approval.

JK Moving Pros & Cons

✔ Has live 24/7 customer support

✔ Offers an app for convenient scheduling of home assessments

✔ Provides in-house financing

✘ Only handles local moves in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

✘ Does not offer an instant quote online or by phone

Cost

JK Moving customers can create a moving package that fits their specific needs and budget, assisted through the process by a personal moving coordinator. Standard factors impacting price with JK Moving include how far you are moving, the time of year you plan to move, your belongings’ size and weight, and how many crew members will be needed to complete your move.

The company doesn’t provide instant quotes online or by phone, but we were able to get a ballpark estimate of $10,000 to move a three-bedroom home from Sacramento to Austin. That estimate included furniture disassembly, wrapping, padding, loading and unloading all household items, and full-replacement valuation coverage.

Complete this online form or call 571-487-8929 to see if JK Moving can meet your relocation needs.

Learn more: JK Moving Review

PODS

PODS may be a convenient choice for those who want to handle most of the moving process on their own because it provides the shipping equipment and handles the transportation of your items but allows you to load and unload at your own pace. PODS works by delivering steel-framed containers to your home. You fill the containers yourself and notify PODS when to pick up the loaded containers and ship them to your new destination. You can also store your containers in a PODS secure storage center in Texas and most other states across the country, with the exception of Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

The company can connect you with professional movers if you do want assistance with loading and unloading.

PODS Pros & Cons

✔ Provides the same variety of free tools and resources as most full-service moving companies provide, including a moving checklist, packing and loading tips, and online moving and storage calculators

✔ Can ship vehicles

✔ Offers City Service, which is specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of metropolitan moving in Texas

✘ Not available in all states

✘ Charges per month, regardless of the actual amount of time you use a container

Cost

PODS provides only local moving quotes online. You must call the company directly to receive your free quote for long-distance moves. Quotes are valid for up to seven days and include the first month’s rental fee for your containers as well as any delivery and pick-up charges.

We were quoted approximately $4,800 to relocate from Sacramento to Austin. That quote was for the use of a 16-foot container for one month and included transportation.

The company offers discounts, such as free delivery and up to 15% off rent with the purchase of at least three months of storage for customers who are moving locally (less than 50 miles).

To find out if PODS is right for your move, take this quick survey.

Learn more: PODS Review

American Van Lines

  • Award: Our pick for long-distance moves
  • Service Model: Full service
  • Founded: 1995

American Van Lines is an experienced full-service mover that specializes in long-distance relocation. The company is equipped for international and commercial moving, as well as corporate relocations, and offers special handling of large and high-value items, such as pianos and antiques.

American Van Lines movers all work full time and receive ongoing training and education. The company says that the average experience level for crew members with American Van Lines is approximately ten years. American Van Lines is also a great option for those who want to support green business practices. The company says it has set goals to increase sustainable practices and guidelines for reducing fuel consumption. However, like North American Van Lines, American Van Lines requires an up-front deposit that can be steep—as much as half the total cost of your move.

American Van Lines Pros & Cons

✔ Movers are certified to handle pianos and antiques

✔ Will match competitor pricing

✔ Follows green business practices in packing materials

✘ Does not accommodate local moves in Washington

✘ Does not provide online instant quotes

Cost

American Van Lines provides flat-rate pricing, ensuring moving costs will not change after signing a contract or scheduling your move. It does not provide an instant quote online or by phone. The company will first conduct a virtual or in-person assessment of your home, review your detailed inventory and calculate the cost of moving your items to their new location before giving you a detailed binding estimate, meaning your rate will be locked in at that price.

American Van Lines did provide a ballpark estimate of a $7,000 starting price to move a three-bedroom house from Sacramento to Austin.

This fixed-rate pricing approach greatly reduces the risk of surprise fees and helps customers

stick to a moving budget. Just remember that a fixed rate will lock you into the moving inventory you provide the company. Any items added after the cost estimate will be moved at an extra charge, so it’s important to be thorough during the quote process.

American Van Lines requires an up-front deposit of 10%–50% of your total moving cost.

Request a personalized estimate from American Van Lines by completing this quick questionnaire or calling 877-960-3186.

Learn more: American Van Lines Review

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do before moving cross country, and when should I begin preparing?

If you are planning a long-distance relocation, there is a lot to consider and take care ahead long before moving day. It is best to get at least a three-month head start on moving day by deciding on a budget and beginning the search for a moving company. It’s also good to determine how you and your family will be traveling to your new destination. If you’re flying, you may need to pick a mover that can handle transporting your vehicles.

In the weeks leading up to moving day, you should be packing up the items you don’t need and selling or giving away items you no longer want, as well as contacting physicians for copies of any records needed and your homeowners insurance provider to confirm your coverage will transfer to your new location.

If I handle some or all of the packing on my own, will the mover still be responsible if something is lost or broken in transit?

Moving companies are liable for losses and damage caused during transit unless a loss or damage is due to an act of nature—such as a lightning strike, tornado, or earthquake—or other scenarios involving extenuating circumstances, such as a piece of furniture being dropped down the stairs due to a pre-existing loose handrail or a broken floorboard causing a crew member to stumble and knock over a fragile item. To ensure safe transport of a customer’s belongings, movers often operate under a tariff provision that allows them to repack improperly or unsafely packed boxes.

It’s important to note that movers are also exempt from liability if the loss or damage was caused by an act of omission on the shipper’s part. Improper packing falls under that act of omission category, so it’s crucial that you follow professional moving tips on proper packing and notify your movers of any questions or potential issues you may have concerning the items you packed.

What should I do if my bill is higher on moving day than previously estimated?

If the moving cost is higher on moving day, you are not necessarily obligated to pay the additional charges at that time. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you are not required to pay more than 100% of a binding estimate (or 110% of a non-binding estimate) for any price increases after the moving truck has been loaded. The mover is required to bill any additional charges 30 days after delivery of your goods. A company cannot refuse to deliver your items due to non-payment of any added charges, which can be incurred if the inventory you provided ahead of moving day is incomplete or inaccurate. If you feel you have been hit with extra fees unfairly or a company will not deliver your possessions, you can file an online complaint with the FMCSA or contact the organization at 1-888-368-7238.

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Our Rating Methodology: How We Chose the Best Moving Companies

The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for moving service providers is on a 100-point scale based on 7 factors:

  • Moving Services (30): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and or international moves?
  • Additional Services (29): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
  • Coverage (10): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
  • Scheduling (7): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
  • Trailers/containers (7): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
  • Additional Benefits (12): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
  • Reputation (5): What rating does the company feature on popular review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.