Moving from California to Texas (2023 Guide)
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 considering moving companies to get an idea of relocation costs and which services you’ll need.
We’ve 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
The highest rated moving companies to use when moving from California to Texas include:
- International Van Lines: Best Service Offerings
- American Van Lines: Best Overall Moving Labor
- Interstate Moving & Relocation Group: Most Efficient
- Safeway Moving Inc.: Most Reliable Pricing
- JK Moving Services: Best Specialized Packing
- Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
- North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
- 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service Mover
|Best For||Star Rating||BBB Rating||Link|
|International Van Lines||Best Service Offerings||A||VISIT SITE|
|American Van Lines||Best Overall Moving Labor||A||VISIT SITE|
|Interstate Moving & Relocation Group||Most Efficient||B||VISIT SITE|
|Safeway Moving Inc.||Most Reliable Pricing||A+||VISIT SITE|
|Moving APT||Best Customer Service||B||VISIT SITE|
|JK Moving Services||Best Specialized Packing||A+||VISIT SITE|
|North American Van Lines||Best for Claims||A+||VISIT SITE|
|Allied Van Lines||Best for Vehicle Relocation||A+||VISIT SITE|
|United Van Lines||Best Base Moving Coverage||A+||VISIT SITE|
|Mayflower||Best for Large Moves||A+||VISIT SITE|
|Interstate Moving & Relocation Group|
|Best For||Most Efficient|
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:
1. Lower Cost of Living
Texas is far less costly than California. Living in California costs nearly 50% more than the national average. The single biggest factor that contributes to this is housing costs. At 235% higher than the national average, your rent or mortgage takes up a substantial portion of your monthly expenses. Texas’s overall cost of living, by comparison, is 5.8% lower than the national average, with housing 16.5% lower than nationwide norms. According to Zillow*, average home costs are currently over $716,000 in California and $290,800 in Texas.*
Zillow data is current as of March 2023
2. 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.
3. 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 moving services you’ll need. Once you decide what you’ll need and your budget, we recommend reaching out to at least three moving companies before making a final decision.
International Van Lines
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.
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.
International Van Lines is transparent with its associated moving fees, listing the cost and frequency of each fee broken down by item on its website. For example, IVL has a one-time elevator fee of $75 and stair fee of $75 per flight of stairs used when moving your items. IVL will only give a more detailed estimate after an in-person or virtual assessment of your home and its contents, but you can start the process by filling out this online form.
We used International Van Lines’ moving cost calculator, to obtain the sample quote below.
- Sample Quote: $4,200–$6,150 (3 bedroom move from Sacramento, CA to Austin, TX in early June)
Learn More: International Van Lines Review
American Van Lines
American Van Lines is an experienced full-service mover that specializes in long-distance moves. 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 is approximately ten years.
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
To provide a binding estimate, American Van Lines will first conduct a virtual or in-person assessment of your home to review your inventory and calculate the cost of moving your items. The binding estimate ensures your rate will be locked in at that price, which greatly reduces the risk of surprise fees and helps customers stick to a moving budget. Just remember any items added after the estimate will be moved at an extra charge, so it’s important to be thorough during the quote process.
- Sample Quote: $7,000 (3 bedroom move from Sacramento, CA to Austin, TX)
- Deposit: 10%–50% of your total moving cost
Learn More: American Van Lines Review
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group (IMRG) is a broker that maintains an excellent network of partner carriers throughout all 50 states. When you book through IMRG, a third party will carry out your move. IMRG’s partners are highly rated, with qualified self-service and full-service movers among their ranks. The booking is handled by an IMRG move coordinator, while your assigned moving company takes care of your relocation needs after the booking is complete. Once your move details have been submitted during the quote process, you can rest assured your movers can carry out your move from California to Texas.
Pros and Cons
✔ Offers price matching
✔ Has helpful moving guides and partner bios on its website
✔ Provides a cost calculator tool for quick ballpark pricing
✘ Charges a 4% fee for cancellations made within 72 hours of moving day
✘ Provides varied service quality, depending on location
Your move details will influence your cost; the range we obtained is simply an approximation. Crating, packing, or other specialized services could inflate your cost further.
To get your fully personalized pricing figure from IMRG, submit a quote form on its homepage. A company representative will contact you to complete a survey about your home and belongings. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be quoted a custom rate that takes your inventory and services into account. Deposit requirements will vary, depending on which partner handles your move.
We received the sample quote below from IMRG. To get your quote process started, fill out this online form.
- Sample Quote: $3,900–$7,000 (2 bedroom move from San Francisco, CA to Austin, TX with one flight of stairs and light packing services included)
Learn More: Interstate Moving & Relocation Group Review
Safeway Moving Inc.
Safeway Moving Inc. is a nationally recognized mover that provides premium moving services in all 50 states. Safeway’s status as a moving broker grants it great versatility of service. Its partners can offer specialized add-ons to accommodate antiques and high-value items, including fragile-only packing, vehicle shipping, and similar services. All Safeway moving partners come equipped with $1,000,000 insurance policies, which is above the industry minimum of $750,000 and allows them to comply with even the strictest homeowners’ association (HOA) requirements.
Pros and Cons
✔ Offers flat-rate pricing for all moves
✔ Has partners that can operate in all 50 states
✔ Maintains $1,000,000 insurance policies for all partner companies
✘ Requires a 40% deposit to book
✘ Has little pricing information online
We received the sample quote below from a Safeway representative.
- Sample Quote: $6300 (2 bedroom move from Atlanta, GA to Chicago, IL)
- Deposit: 40% of your moving cost
Learn More: Safeway Moving Inc. Review
JK Moving Services
JK Moving Services is a professional moving company that allows customers to create a fully customized moving package. JK Moving’s 24/7 support, user-friendly website, and convenient mobile app are aimed at making it easier for you to find the services that best fit your 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.
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
JK Moving allows you to create a moving package that fits your budget, with a personal moving coordinator assisting you through the process. Additionally, JK Moving offers in-house financing, with rates as low as 0% with credit approval. The price of your move will be impacted by how far you’re moving, the time of year you plan to move, the size and weight of your inventory, and how many crew members are needed to complete your move.
- Sample Quote: $10,000 (3 bedroom move from Sacramento, CA to Austin, TX with furniture disassembly, wrapping, padding, loading and unloading all household items, and full-replacement valuation coverage)
- Deposit: $250
Learn More: JK Moving Services Review
Allied Van Lines
With more than 90 years of experience, Allied Van Lines is one of our top picks for those relocating from California to Texas. The company may be a particularly good fit for those who need to relocate a car, truck, SUV, van, or boat. Allied uses two transport methods for vehicle shipping: open car carrier and enclosed car carrier. Open car carriers are 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, which is ideal for high-value vehicles.
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
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 to ensure your moving costs won’t change.
- Sample Quote: $9,180–$10,150 (3 bedroom move from Sacramento, CA to Austin, TX in mid-May)
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. North American 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.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers a wealth of free moving resources through its online library of videos, 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 estimates with North American Van Lines are based on the distance of your move, 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.
- Sample Quote: $6,400–$7,600 (3 bedroom home from San Diego to Austin, in late June)
Learn More: North American Van Lines Review
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.
Pros & Cons
✔ Provides barn-style doors on a majority (90%) of its storage containers to allow for more space and provide increased security
✔ Has a A rating with the Better Business Bureau
✔ Gives customers 30 days to load containers
✘ Is only available in 30 states
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
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.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We conduct research by reading through the company websites, analyzing customer reviews, conducting consumer surveys, requesting quotes, and speaking with customer representatives. We then score each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling, trailer and container options, additional benefits, and reputation to arrive at a final score out of 100.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.