The LA Skyline at night

Leaving Los Angeles? What You Need to Know About Moving Costs and Relocation Services

California Los Angeles

by Kristin Hanes Posted on February 15, 2023

So, you’re ready to leave the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles? Maybe you’re tired of battling hours of traffic anytime you want to head to the beach or grab BBQ in Koreatown. Or maybe the perpetually rising housing costs are finally too much for your wallet. Which begs the question… What’s the price tag for leaving Los Angeles?

Whatever your reason for moving out of the city, know you’re not alone. All of California is seeing movement, and LA is leading the charge.  The San Francisco Chronicle, citing the U.S. Census Bureau, reports that the state’s population declined by 114,000 in 2022, and Los Angeles saw a significant portion of that.

to see how using PODS for your Los Angeles move fits your budget.

The Public Policy Institute of California confirms this. California’s population continued to decline through July 2022, but less drastically than in 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, California saw a population decline of about 400,000. In 2021 and 2022, that decline was only about 115,000. Still down — but not as bad.

If you’re one of the many leaving L.A. County, you’re probably wondering how to get it done and how much it will cost. In this guide, you’ll find details on what to expect with each type of service and cost breakdowns on Los Angeles moving companies, portable container services like PODS, and the total DIY approach. In addition to moving locally to someplace like Riverside, we’ll include cost estimates for popular destinations, like moving from L.A. to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego.  

Moving is never easy, but armed with some solid intel you have the chance to avoid needless work or stress.

A man is loading his PODS portable moving container for his move out of Los Angeles.

Which type of LA moving service is right for you?

When you’re moving out of L.A. or within the area, you’ll have to decide which type of moving service fits your needs. A lot of this depends on your budget, how much time you have to get out of your current place, and when your new pad will be available. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How much stuff do you have to move?
  • What’s your budget and timing?
  • Are you looking for contactless moving to reduce risks of COVID-19 spread?
  • How much work are you willing and able to do yourself? Do you have friends or family who can help?
  • Do you need storage or scheduling flexibility?
  • Are you moving out of an urban area that has parking restrictions?

Once you’ve done some thinking, it’s time to pick the moving service that’s right for you.

What are your options for moving in L.A.?

There are many different ways to move your stuff from Point A to Point B, whether you’re moving out of the city to the Riverside suburbs or relocating to another state. While many areas of Los Angeles County have room to park a rental truck or moving container, some ultra urban locations can be more of a challenge. If you absolutely hate the idea of driving a huge truck in L.A. traffic, you may want to consider using a moving container service or hiring a full-service moving company.

Don’t want to fork over money for full-service? Bribe friends or family members to help you load up a moving truck.

But if you prefer not to rush your moving process, use a PODS moving & storage container that lets you pack and load at your own pace. Not sure where your next address will actually be? PODS will keep your container — and your belongings — safe in a secure storage center until you’re ready to have it delivered to your next home. 

Whatever your moving scenario, you still have four main options for moving:

  1. Traditional full-service mover
  2. Moving container service
  3. Rental truck
  4. A combination of the above

Let’s take a look at moving costs, how each service works, and its pros and cons.

Aerial view of the city of Riverside, California. You can see the mountains in the background and the sky is a clear blue.
Riverside, California

How much does a move cost to the LA suburbs?

Are you staying in the L.A. area, but moving to a different neighborhood or suburb? Even if you’re moving the nearly 60 miles to Riverside, that’s usually going to be considered a local move for pricing purposes. While you should always get detailed estimates based on your specific move, here’s a general range on local L.A. moving costs based on pricing from PODS and the MoveBuddha Moving Cost Calculator. 

Depending on the amount of stuff you’re moving and the number of miles, local moving costs in Los Angeles for a moderately furnished 2- to 3-bedroom home will range from $161* on the low side for a rental truck to $4,505* on the high end for a traditional mover.

If you go with a PODS moving container, the cost to move locally in L.A. for a moderately furnished 2- to 3-bedroom household is usually between $349* to $549*, including one-month built-in storage, either in your driveway or at a secure Storage Center, with standard delivery and pick-up service.

L.A. Moving Costs*: Local Moving Estimates

Household SizeFull-Service MoversPODS
(1-month storage included)
Rental Truck
(plus fuel costs)
2-3 bedroom
(800-1,200 sf)
$1,044 - $2,321$617 - $789$161 - $217
*Based on estimates from PODS, MoveBuddha, and Costs don’t include insurance or taxes. Prices will vary based on specific locations, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. For a detailed quote, visit PODS (local moves only) or call 877-350-7637.

How much does it cost to move from Los Angeles to Phoenix, Las Vegas, or San Diego?

Some people move out of Los Angeles in search of cheaper housing and less traffic. Or maybe they’re pursuing a job opportunity or want more room to spread out. Whatever the reason, many Angelenos are packing up and moving, and Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Diego are among the most popular destinations.

Below you’ll find estimates on moving to each city, whether you’re using a rental truck, PODS moving containers, or professional movers. We hope this helps you pick the right moving service for you!

A commercial airplane flies above downtown Phoenix, Arizona, and its high rise buildings.
Downtown Phoenix
(Credit: @VisitPhoenix via Facebook)

Moving Costs* from Los Angeles to Phoenix: 374 miles

Household SizeFull-Service MoversPODS
(1-month storage included)
Rental Truck
(plus fuel costs)
2-3 bedroom
(800-1,200 sf)
$1,880 - $4,505$1,700-$2,299$374 - $505
*Based on estimates from PODS and MoveBuddha, costs don’t include insurance or taxes. Prices will vary based on specific locations, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. For a detailed quote, visit PODS (local moves only) or call 877-350-7637.
The Las Vegas skyline and strip seen from Summerlin on a hot, bright day.
Las Vegas

Moving Costs* from Los Angeles to Las Vegas: 272 miles

Household SizeFull-Service MoversPODS
(1-month storage included)
Rental Truck
(plus fuel costs)
2-3 bedroom
(800-1,200 sf)
$2,212 - $5,300$2,168-$2,991$374 - $505
*Based on estimates from PODS and MoveBuddha, costs don’t include insurance or taxes. Prices will vary based on specific locations, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. For a detailed quote, visit PODS (local moves only) or call 877-350-7637.
The community of La Jolla in San Diego, California. Large residential homes sit atop rocky cliffs above the San Diego coast.
La Jolla in San Diego

Moving Costs* from Los Angeles to San Diego: 121 miles

Household SizeFull-Service MoversPODS
(1-month storage included)
Rental Truck
(plus fuel costs)
2-3 bedroom
(800-1,200 sf)
$1,852 - $3,474$1,112-$1,782$161 - $217
*Based on estimates from PODS and MoveBuddha, costs don’t include insurance or taxes. Prices will vary based on specific locations, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. For a detailed quote, visit PODS (local moves only) or call 877-350-7637.

How much does it cost to move out of Los Angeles to other parts of the country?

The cost of moving long distance depends on how far you’re going, the amount of stuff you’re moving, and market conditions in your destination city. Truck rentals for long-distance moves average $971 plus incidentals, according to On the other end of the spectrum, estimates that traditional full-service moves cost an average of $4,890. Moving long distance with PODS containers will usually cost from $999 to $2,999, including one month for storage.

Now that you have an idea of the costs, here’s a look at the pros and cons to help you decide on moving services. 

A woman is signing paperwork before having full-service movers pack and load her things for her move. She is leaving Los Angeles.

Traditional Full-Service: Hiring Los Angeles Moving Companies or Long-Distance Movers

If you prefer a hands-off approach to moving, hiring professional movers may be the best choice. The level of service depends on how much you want done for you and how much you want to pay. The basic service covers loading, unloading, and driving, leaving you responsible for boxing everything up and unpacking. Pay more, and most L.A. movers will come in and pack all your belongings into boxes, including your fragile stuff, and reverse the process at your new home. Even without the extras, hiring professional movers in Los Angeles is the most expensive option. 

If you’ve decided using pro movers in LA is for you, start out by asking friends and family members for referrals. Remember to get estimates in writing you can refer to later! Be wary of unusually low bids -- they could be scams.

Here are some key points to cover with moving companies:

  1. Check their licensing and online reviews.
  2. Ask if they’ll be using subcontractors.
  3. Find out how their scheduling works and how they handle date changes.
  4. Ask about the deposit, cancellation, and refund policy.
  5. Find out if there are any extra fees for stairs, extra-heavy items, or other factors.
  6. If you need storage, ask if it’s available, and get details on costs and access.

Pros for hiring a full-service moving company in Los Angeles: 

  • You won’t have to deal with driving a truck through LA’s infamous traffic.
  • If it’s a reliable mover, this can be the easiest moving option.
  • You can choose extra services depending on the company.
  • You won’t have to bribe friends and family members with pizza to help you move.
  • If you have them pack and unpack, you won’t need to get moving supplies like boxes and tape. 

Cons for hiring a full-service moving company in Los Angeles:

  • It’s the most expensive option.
  • This is the least flexible option; you’ll have to schedule your movers on a particular day, a likely extra charges if you have to change your dates.
  • You probably won’t have a convenient storage option.
  • You’ll have to deal with people coming in your house and touching your stuff
  • There can be more potential for damage, especially on long-distance moves, when your stuff gets handled multiple times during transport. 

How to get estimates for full-service movers:

  • For local moves: You can usually get an estimate by phone (ask for a written copy via email) or sometimes online, based on an hourly rate per moving professional.
  • For long-distance moves: An in-home visit or virtual walk-through is usually required, and the estimate is based on the distance and estimated weight of your belongings, which means the final amount can change. 
A man and woman are carrying things out of their house to their PODS portable moving container. The container is nearly full and ready for leaving Los Angeles.

Portable containers: How PODS works for moving in L.A.

If you’re not into hiring professional movers but also don’t want to deal with driving a moving truck, a portable container service like PODS could be right for your L.A. move. Using a PODS container is a lot more affordable than full-service movers, and you don’t have to deal with driving a truck in horrendous L.A. traffic. Plus you’ll have convenient storage options if you haven’t found a new place yet, have a gap between moving in and out, or need to do some downsizing, home staging, or renovations. 

There are two service options when using PODS containers in L.A.: 

  1. PODS standard service, for those who have a place where they can keep a container overnight
  2. PODS City Service, designed for urban areas that don’t allow containers on the street

Here’s how PODS standard service works:

  • The container is delivered to you.
  • You load the PODS container at your convenience, whether that takes you a few days or weeks.
  • PODS picks it up and takes your container to your new place or to a secure storage facility, where you can access your stuff by appointment.
  • When you’re done unloading, PODS picks up your container.
  • You can take a full 30 days to move, or pay a set monthly storage rental fee for more time.

PODS standard service is probably easiest if you have a house with a driveway or live on a street or in an apartment that will accommodate a container. If you need to keep your container in the street or live in an apartment, check with your local government or your building manager about what’s allowed. 

If a container can’t be left at your location, that’s where PODS City Service comes in. This is really handy if you live in a denser part of Los Angeles where it’s out of the question to park a container on the street for very long. 

With this service, your container stays on the truck while you load it up, assisted by a built-in hydraulic lift that allows you to load at ground level. The driver stays with the truck at all times, guarding against tickets and protecting your stuff. When you’re done loading, the truck takes your container to your new place, or to a nearby storage facility.

You can combine City Service with PODS standard service, depending on the parking availability in each location. For example, you might be moving from a city apartment to a home in the suburbs.

Pros for using a PODS moving container when you’re moving out of Los Angeles:

  • The most flexible option for dates and storage 
  • You don’t have to deal with driving and parking a moving truck in Los Angeles
  • You can really take your time loading and unloading the container 
  • More affordable than full-service movers
  • PODS standard service is contactless; nobody will touch or move your things
  • You can add hourly labor to help with specific tasks, like packing or loading heavy items 
  • It’s easy to combine containers with another service such as a rental truck to customize your move

Cons for using a moving container: 

  • You need to arrange for your own help for loading and unloading
  • Usually more expensive than truck rentals if it’s a small, local move 
  • If you can’t keep a container overnight, you may need PODS City Service or full-service movers
  • You’ll need multiple containers for larger moves
  • You may be less familiar with using moving containers than other services

How to get estimates for PODS moving:

The back of a moving truck rental is open and the truck is partially loaded with moving boxes and other random things. Behind the truck, there are more boxes and furniture wrapped in plastic.

Getting a rental truck for your move out of Los Angeles

Some people prefer moving with a rental truck because they can usually save money, and they don’t mind driving a big truck. Plus, you have flexibility with the size of the truck, your rental dates, and who helps you with your L.A. move.

On the flip side, this is the most stressful method, because you’ll have to first deal with Los Angeles traffic, and second, drive the truck to your new destination. You’ll also have to decide where you’re going to park the truck, and either hire movers or find friends or family who are willing to help. For information on how to park legally and avoid tickets, visit LADOT Parking

For long-distance moving, renting your own truck and using a container service is a toss-up in terms of price, especially when you factor in costs for transporting your own vehicle while you’re driving the rental truck, as well as gas, mileage, and other expenses.

Pros for using a rental truck for your L.A. move:

  • For smaller, short moves, trucks are usually the cheapest way to go
  • You’re in charge of your move and who handles your things
  • It’s easy to see pricing options and book the rental online
  • There is usually good availability and a lot of rental trucks on the market

Cons for using a rental truck: 

  • You’ll have to deal with parking the truck and driving on harrowing L.A. freeways
  • You’ll have to figure out all the loading and unloading on your own
  • If you need storage, you’ll probably need to rent a truck and load/unload multiple times 
  • Rental trucks are usually the most stressful experience
  • High late fees
  • If you’re moving long-distance, it can cost nearly as much as a moving container, and you’ll still have to drive the truck. 

How to get estimates for rental trucks:

  • For local and long-distance moves: You can get a detailed quote online or by phone (followed in writing via email)

Los Angeles Storage Units

When you’re moving out of Los Angeles, you may be headed to a smaller house or apartment. Or maybe your move-in or move-out dates don’t quite align, forcing you to figure out where to keep your stuff in the interim. 

That usually means finding a temporary storage unit in L.A.

You can either choose self-storage, where you’ll have to rent a truck and move all your stuff to the storage unit yourself, or rent a portable storage container.

A PODS portable container simplifies storage, especially when combined with a move. You choose between three container sizes, and a PODS truck shows up and drops it off for you. After you fill the container, PODS picks it up and drives it to a secure storage facility, where it will wait until you need your stuff. You can easily access your container and items by appointment. When you move into your new place, PODS will deliver the container to your doorstep.

Moving day in Los Angeles

Moving day is tons of work, but there are definitely ways to cut down on the stress and hassle. Make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks! If you’re well prepared and pick the right L.A. moving option for your circumstances, moving day can be an exciting transition to your new life.

Kristin Hanes is a California-based freelance writer. Her work has appeared in SF Gate, Marie Claire, and, among other publications.

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