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Moving To Idaho From California: Benefits, Cost & More

Moving to Idaho from California can be a drastic change. In some ways, the two states couldn’t be more different. However, if you’re looking to move from a busy state to one that’s a bit more relaxed, then relocating to Idaho is a great way to accomplish that. Learn about the pros and cons of moving between these states, average moving costs, and the best movers to work with.

    Best Movers from California to Idaho

    Working with a professional moving team can make your relocation easy. Here are the best movers available to serve this route today:

    Best Full-Service Mover

    International Van Lines

    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    Allied Van Lines

    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    North American Van Lines

    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support
    Provider Superlative Service Model Average Cost Our Rating
    International Van Lines
    Best Full-Service Mover Full-Service Carrier, Broker $2,100 – $5,100 ★★★★☆ 4.8/5
    Allied Van Lines
    Best for Extended Storage Full-Service Carrier, Broker $2,700 – $5,700 ★★★★☆ 4.6/5
    North American Van Lines
    Best Customer Service Full-Service Carrier, Broker $2,700 – $5,700 ★★★★☆ 4.6/5
    American Van Lines
    Best Moving Add-Ons Full-Service Carrier $2,600 – $5,600 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
    Safeway Moving Systems
    Best for Military Moves Full-Service Broker $2,200 – $5,200 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
    Most Affordable Moving Container Service $1,600 – $2,600 ★★★★☆ 4.5/5

    * Average moving cost is based on a 1,000 mile two-bedroom move. Cost can vary significantly based on move weight and distance. Be sure to request a free quote to get an accurate estimate for your move.

    Should You Move From California to Idaho?

    It may come as a surprise, but many Californians are moving to Idaho every year. In the latest year of census data, 17,722 people made this move. Not everyone enjoys the fast-lane living that’s found in California. Idaho offers a lower cost of living, plenty of job opportunities, and quite possibly the best outdoor living available. You just have to be prepared for harsher weather (particularly winters) and ready to live life at a slower pace. Here’s everything you need to know to decide if moving to Idaho is right for you:

    Housing Costs

    Housing costs are much lower in Idaho. Here’s a quick breakdown:

    California Idaho CA to ID
    Avg. Home Cost (source) $683,996 $403,291 -$280,705 (-41%)
    Avg. Rent (source) $2,542 $1,271 -$1,271 (-50%)
    Utilities (source) $401 $364 -$37 (-9%)


    • Home Prices. California is the third most costly state to buy a home in the nation, while Idaho is the tenth. Still, you can realize significant savings if you’d like to buy a home in Idaho, with the average home costing $280k less.
    • Rental Rates. Renters stand to reduce their monthly rates by half when moving from California to Idaho. Of course, renting in a city will cost you more, but Idaho is still much cheaper on average.
    • Utilities. There isn’t a huge difference between the states when it comes to power, water, and cable bills. That said, relocating to the Gem State can help you to save an average of $444 per year on these bills.

    Cost of Living

    Beyond housing, basic amenities are significantly less expensive in Idaho than California, with average overall savings of 18%. On a national scale, with the national average being 100, Idaho is at 97.7. California, on the other hand, is 149.9. Here’s a quick look at how typical expenses compare between the states:

    Expense CA to ID
    Groceries -28.6%
    Restaurants -9.6%
    Transportation -18.3%
    Childcare -18.1%
    Entertainment -17.6%
    Clothes -16.8%
    Average Savings -18.2%


    • Food. Idaho is the third largest agricultural state in the west with over 25k farms within its borders. With such a diverse and rich agricultural landscape, food is much more affordable. A gallon of milk, for example is 30% less in ID than CA at $2.60 vs $3.75. A typical meal for one at a restaurant is also cheaper by about 8%.
    • Childcare. For those raising a family, a move to Idaho can help you save a lot of money. Childcare is 18% cheaper in the state and clothing for you and your kids is nearly 17% cheaper as well.
    • Sales Tax. Both states have relatively high sales tax compared to the rest of the country. California has the highest rate in the nation, at 7.25%. Idaho’s rate of 6% is slightly less but still higher than the country’s average of 5.09%.

    Weather & Climate

    Idaho is arguably one of the most beautiful states in the country. However, to enjoy Idaho fully, you must be prepared for the weather. The summers are hot and dry, while the winters are harsh and snowy. The winters especially can be a major change when moving from California, which is one of the mildest states when it comes to weather.

    California Idaho CA to ID
    Average Temp July 87.1 80.7 -6.4
    Comfort Index Summer 8.7/10 8.7/10 -0.4
    Average Temp Jan 53.5 31 -22.5
    Comfort Index Winter 7.5/10 4.2/10 1.4
    Average Sunny Days 69% 56% -7%
    Average Daily Rainfall (in) 1.69 1.66 -0.03

    Source CA / Source ID

    Job Opportunities

    Idaho and California both provide ample job opportunities, but there are some key differences:

    • Unemployment Rate. Idaho’s unemployment rate is less than the national average of 3.9%, sitting at 2.6% currently. California, on the other hand, is much higher, with a current unemployment rate of 6.9%.
    • Key Industries. While Idaho has many different job opportunities, they are not as diverse as in California. Idaho’s major industries include food processing, lumber/wood products, chemicals, paper, mining, and tourism.
    • Income Taxes. Both states have a bracketed tax system based on different income levels. In Idaho, anyone making over $15,878 will pay 6%. In California, the 6% rate starts at $34,892, but rates increase all the way to 13.3% for income over $1,000,000.

    Things to Do

    For people looking for urban activities, California is a far better option. Idaho is not known for its city life. That said, anyone who loves the outdoors will appreciate the state. The Rocky Mountains provider a perfect playground for adventurers, with popular activities including hiking, rafting, fishing, and more. The state boasts 30 state parks, world-famous natural hot springs, and many scenic routes through the mountains.

    Lifestyle & Culture

    California is known for its faster pace of life. Some of the country’s biggest cities are located in the state, and most residents are progressive. Idaho has a bit slower pace of life, with more conservative residents than you’ll find in California.

    How Much Does It Cost to Move From California to Idaho?

    Moving distance and weight often play the biggest role in determining your moving cost. Los Angeles to Boise is about 850 miles, while Sacramento to Boise is about 550 miles. Most moves between the states will range from 500 to 1,000 miles. To help you plan your move, here is what you can expect to pay for different types of moving services:

    Provider 2 BR Cost 4 BR Cost Get A Quote
    Full-Service Move International Van Lines $2,100 – $5,100 $5,700 – $8,700 Free Quote
    Allied Van Lines $2,600 – $5,600 $7,400 – $10,400 Free Quote
    Safeway Moving Systems $2,200 – $5,200 $5,500 – $7,500 Free Quote
    Moving Container U-Pack $1,600 – $2,600 $2,800 – $3,800 Free Quote
    PODS $1,700 – $2,700 $2,900 – $3,900 Free Quote
    Truck Rental National Average $1,300 – $1,700 $1,500 – $2,000 Free Quote


    Cost Factors

    There are many factors that can impact the cost of a long-distance move, including:

    • Season: Just like any other industry, there are peak seasons for moving. Costs tend to be higher over the summer.
    • Weight: The weight of your belongings plays a significant role in your cost. The larger your shipment, the more fuel and crew members will be required. In some cases, multiple trucks may even be necessary.
    • Services: Many items need special handling. You’ll find that additional services beyond basic loading, unloading, and transportation will inflate the cost of your move.
    • Timing: Last-minute moves typically cost more. Additionally, waiting too long to move in after your belongings have been moved requires storage, increasing the cost of the move.

    Best Places to Move to in Idaho

    Are you still deciding where you want to move? Here are some of the best places to live in Idaho:

    Boise, ID

    Boise is the capital of Idaho, nicknamed the “City of Trees.” It is the home of Boise State University, as well as the campuses of Idaho State University and the University of Idaho. The cost of living in Boise is just above the national average, making it a relatively affordable place to live. It’s also the largest city in the state, making it a great urban area to live in.

    Find the Best Boise, ID Movers

    Twin Falls, ID

    Twin Falls is a city in south-central Idaho, near the northeastern border of Nevada. The median home cost in Twin Falls is under $300,000, which is more affordable than most of the United States. It also offers exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities and great healthcare.

    Find the Best Twin Falls, ID Movers

    Pocatello, ID

    Pocatello’s popularity has exploded during the last few years, as the home of ON Semiconductor, a manufacturing giant. Great jobs are available in the area as well as a strong sense of community. Pocatello has some of the state’s best outdoor sports during all seasons of the year, meaning you can get outside and stay active year-round.

    Find the Best Pocatello, ID Movers

    Nampa, ID

    Nampa is close to Boise, allowing residents access to the big city while enjoying a slower lifestyle. Agriculture is one of the key sectors in Nampa’s economy, and the town still feels rural. The town itself is home to two different colleges as well as 20 different parks. It also has a few golf courses for residents to enjoy.

    Find the Best Nampa, ID Movers

    Meridian, ID

    Meridian is the fastest growing city in the state. Since the 2000 census, the population of Meridian has nearly tripled. It’s considered a cultural hub in Idaho, housing the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. Living in Meridian is a bit more expensive than other towns, however, even Boise. The average cost of living is 7% higher than the national average, with the median home cost sitting at $505,000.

    Find the Best Meridian, ID Movers

    How to Choose a Moving Company

    One of the most important aspects of moving is choosing the best moving company. When moving to Idaho from California, consider the following:

    • Customer Service: The moving company you choose should provide exceptional customer service. Some companies even provide service to customers around the clock, making them easy to contact in any situation.
    • Moving Rates: The mover you select needs to fit your budget. All the movers listed here allow you to get a free quote for your move before booking.
    • Proper Licensing: Moving from California to Idaho requires crossing state lines. To do this legally, movers must hold an active FMCSA license with valid USDOT and MC numbers.
    • Property Coverage: Movers need to carry a minimum amount of released liability coverage for your goods in the event of an accident. Many companies offer additional protection, though, as the minimum may not cover your costs entirely.

    Book Your Move Today

    If you’re planning to move from California to Idaho, it’s crucial that you plan well in advance. Generally speaking, organizing a move needs to happen at least 8 weeks in advance. This allows the company to inventory your home, and lets you add services as necessary before the move. A last-minute move may result in undesired results. Start planning your move by getting a free estimate from our top 5 movers.

    Best Full-Service Mover

    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best Moving Add-ons

    • Local, Long-Distance & International Moves
    • Direct Carrier to All 48 Continental US States
    • Storage Options Available

    Most Reliable

    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Moving to Idaho from California FAQs

    How much do I need to make to live comfortably in Idaho?

    According to a study done by MIT, a single person can live comfortably in Idaho with a salary of around $30,000 a year.

    Is hiring a moving company worth it?

    Often, hiring a moving company is far better than handling a move on your own. The stress of moving can often be overwhelming. Working with a mover can remove a lot of that stress while making your move safer and more efficient.

    How do I pack if I hire movers?

    If you’re hiring a mover and doing your own packing, be sure to pack heavy items in small boxes. This makes them more manageable. Lighter items can be packed in larger boxes. Be sure to label all boxes clearly, which can make the process much easier for your movers while minimizing damage.