10 Packing Tips for Moving to San Diego

With blue skies, umbrella drinks, and sandy shores as far as the eye can see, moving to San Diego can be one of the best decisions you ever make. But before you can start sunbathing, you’ll need to pack up your old life to prepare for the new one.

If you’ve ever moved before, you know this is tougher than it sounds, especially if you’re moving long distance. How are you supposed to protect grandma’s fine china with boxes you picked up at the dollar store? Is there any way to haul around couches and chairs without scuffing up their ends?

For those planning a move to San Diego, here are a few packing tips for moving to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently. These hacks will get your wheels turning in the right direction.

1. Roll Your Clothes

This is a common airline stewardess hack since they are often trying to fit everything they need into a small carry-on bag. If you roll your clothes instead of folding them, you can pack a lot more into your bags without wasting any space.

Not only will the rolling method cut down on the amount of luggage and boxes you have to move, but it will also leave your clothes wrinkle-free when you finally reach San Diego. You’ll be able to pop them out and wear them right away instead of hunting down the box with your iron in it.

Need boxes for your move? Move Central provides quality moving boxes ranging from small to large, as well as dish pack cartons and wardrobe boxes.

2. Use Socks for Padding

You probably won’t need a lot of warm socks after moving to San Diego, but before you toss them out in anticipation of sunshine and palm trees, there is one last way to use them. They make great padding for fragile items and keeping other belongings separated.

You can wrap your wine and shot glasses in socks, use them as liners for boxes filled with collectibles, or even ball them up as makeshift packing peanuts. They’ll be able to hold things in place without getting chipped or cracked. There are loads of ways you can use socks when getting packed. Just make sure to run them through the washing machine first.

3. Wrap Sharp Objects in Linens

You can always buy things like knife sheaths and blade guards for each of your sharp-edged objects. But if you don’t have the time or money to do so, there are simpler ways to protect your fingers and other possessions. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Put your kitchen knives in oven mitts.
  • Wrap your razors in old rags with the handles sticking out.
  • Use a tablecloth or blanket to cover the edges of furniture you don’t want to scratch or dull.

Thin bed sheets don’t always provide the necessary protection for larger pieces of furniture. Be sure to use thick furniture pads or blankets to avoid scratches on your bookshelves, pianos, and other pieces.

4. Everything is a Container

Moving to San Diego doesn’t have to involve hundreds of bags and boxes. You can save a a great deal of space by re-purposing everyday items as storage containers.


Put your spice bottles inside your cast-iron pots, stuff your extra sheets and pillowcases in your laundry baskets, and put fresh liners in your trash cans so you can fill them with cleaning supplies. If it can be used to hold something, don’t hesitate to use it as a moving container.

5. Color Code Your Boxes

Have you ever dropped or tipped over a box while trying to catch a peek at the black marker label you scribbled on the side? We often try to make it easier on ourselves by writing which room or area of the house the box goes on, but depending on the box, they aren’t always easy to see. Using colored packing tape can be a quick and easy way to keep track of where everything is supposed to go.

Colored packing tape will function just like the regular clear kind, but it will allow you to closely monitor which boxes belong in which rooms. Red tape boxes might go into the living room, while yellow tape boxes are meant for the kitchen. Buy tape in a few bright hues to make your unloading coordination that much faster.

6. Take Pictures of Your Cords and Wires

If you have dozens of cords running behind your home entertainment center, don’t untangle them just yet. Snap a picture of what they look like when everything is plugged into its proper place. Then, you can easily recreate the photo when you’re at your new place in San Diego.

Another tip for tricky, tangled cables is to label them with masking tape tags. You can write “TV” or “Xbox” on the tags after taping them to the cords in question. You can even leave them on after moving to San Diego. This way, you’ll never get confused when you peek behind the furniture and see a mass of unruly cables.

7. Cover Open Containers in Plastic Wrap

Unfortunately, not everything comes with a lid, leaving plenty of opportunities for your items to go flying about in your boxes. Perfect for makeup kits, utensil organizers, and flat-bottomed drawers, using plastic wrap is one of best packing tips for moving.

plastic wrap

Instead of taking everything out of the tray and packing it into a separate container, simply cover the whole thing with plastic wrap. It’s a quick way to save yourself some time and leaves you with less boxes to lug around.

8. Divide and Conquer

When it comes to moving things like lamps, it’s not usually a safe idea to leave the light bulbs in during the transfer. You may also want to avoid big disorganized piles of shoes and other items that can take up more space than necessary. If you’re prefer to keep things tidy as you move, you’ll have a few different options:

  • Use egg cartons to organize small objects.
  • Sort items by category.
  • Get rid of things you no longer need.
  • Use the dividers in wine boxes for glass ornaments and/or light bulbs.
  • Drawer separators can be purchased to group specific items.

9. Mobilize Your Heavy Objects

If you cringe at the thought of hauling all seven of your hardback Harry Potter books in a flimsy-bottomed box, there’s an easier way to get the wizard’s story to San Diego. Instead of over-taping a box to keep it secure, try putting your books in a rolling suitcase. You can secure them with the straps inside and you won’t have to strain your back as you roll them to your new room.

heavy objects

The same concept works for anything you have with wheels. Stash your heavy belongings inside rolling desks, tool chests, or even laundry baskets. As long as the container has wheels, you can glide it into your new home instead of exerting extra energy to lift it from place to place.

If you need a dolly or hand truck to carry heavier items, be sure to check out the moving supplies we provide our customers.

10. Cover Bottle Openings

Few things are worse than opening a box and seeing all your soaps and shampoos in a mushy pile. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix with our good friend, plastic wrap.

To avoid leaks with your toiletries, stretch a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic baggie over the open lid of the bottle and simply screw the top back into place to seal it. The extra protection will prevent liquid from getting through, even if the top is loosened during transit. You can enjoy moving to San Diego without the fear of a soggy mess soaking through your luggage or boxes.

Need Moving Supplies for Moving to San Diego?

These are just a few tips for moving to San Diego without suffering any major packing-related mishaps. It may not be easy to transport all your possessions to a new city, but if you’re careful, it shouldn’t be overly difficult.

There are plenty of household items you can use to pack your belongings. But if you want more protection, be sure to take a look at our list of San Diego moving supplies and let us know what you need.

If you need packing materials or want help with your upcoming move, feel free to give us a call at (858) 230-8281 for details about our San Diego moving services.

To learn more packing tips for moving to San Diego and things to do there, you can also check out our blog.

Cost of Living in SD

If you’re thinking about moving to San Diego, you might be wondering if you can really afford to live in this sunny west-coast city. Your asking yourself “How much does it cost to Live in San Diego? While it’s not LA, San Diego is generally regarded as an expensive place to live, so you’re not alone in wanting to get down to the real truth of the matter. We won’t lie– living here isn’t cheap. However, there are options that make it more affordable, and work opportunities here abound. Plus many San Diego residents are transplants. Worried about the cost of relocationg? Use a San Diego moving company that won’t nickle and dime you.

Rent Prices in San Diego

Are you a young professional who’s moving to San Diego? Congrats! You’re taking a huge step forward in your career and life, but you’re probably not ready for home ownership just yet. That’s okay! There are plenty of amazing rented accommodations available throughout the city.

In San Diego, renters make up almost half the residential population. You can find a studio or one bedroom apartment for about $1,500 a month here, though this price usually doesn’t include utilities. Need an extra bedroom? You might be paying upwards of $2,000 per month. This might seem very expensive until you remember that the average price for that same two-bedroom in Manhattan averages in at $3,895. It’s all about perspective!

Home Prices in San Diego

Gorgeous home in San Diego

Maybe you are ready for that first home. Or, maybe you’re moving to the area with your family in tow, and need enough space for the kids, the dog, and maybe even yourself. The median home value in San Diego is $567,400, according to DataUSA.io; Zillow puts it even higher at $629,100.

Zillow has also seen more than a 6% increase in home prices in San Diego over the last year, and forecasts a continued upward trend, making San Diego firmly a seller’s market. So, buyers beware: between the rising costs, and the competition to get into desirable neighborhoods, you may find yourself in a bidding war even (or perhaps, especially) over the most affordably priced homes.

This is not to say that all the homes in San Diego are that pricey. In fact, Data USA estimates that more than 40% of San Diego homes sell for under $500,000. The trick is to find them, and get under contract before someone else does! Just make sure you’re looking at San Diego neighborhoods, as well as home prices. You don’t want to go for a cheaper place just to wind up in an area you don’t like!

Utility Costs in San Diego

You may not have to worry about heating your house through frigid winter snowstorms in San Diego, but the utilities costs here are still nothing to scoff at. Utilities in San Diego cost about 17% higher than the national average, and 3% higher than the rest of California. In this aspect, San Diego also has higher prices than LA– 7% higher in fact.

For a standard apartment that’s under 1,000 square feet, you’re likely to pay about $120/month for water, heat and electricity, in total. Many towns may also have an additional monthly charge for trash pickup. And if you want internet (which, let’s face it, you definitely do), you can expect to pay at least $50/month for that as well.

Transportation Costs in San Diego

Traffic during morning commute.

Of course, we can’t talk about expenses without talking about transportation. Unlike NYC and Boston, San Diego doesn’t have a widely used rail system. They do have a bus and trolley system, called the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. A ride on the bus will cost you $2.25, while a trolley ride costs $2.50. There are monthly, and even quarterly passes available with some discounts to make transportation more affordable.

However, most San Diego residents opt for owning cars instead of relying on public transit. The average household in San Diego owns 2 cars, which is pretty on par with other drivable cities in America. Cars themselves will vary in price, based on whether you’re looking for brand new vehicles, pre-owned or REALLY pre-owned options.

The average commute time in San Diego is 22 minutes. That’s about 15-20 miles, depending on how much of your drive is on the highway, versus downtown. Time to do some math! Your average American vehicle travels 24.7 miles per gallon. As of May, the price of gas in San Diego was about $3.74, though GasBuddy has prices as high as over $4.00 per gallon today in areas like La Jolla.

Fancy math: if I’m driving 20 miles, in a car that gets 24.7 miles to the gallon, in a place where gas costs, say, $3.80 per gallon, how much do I spend on gas per commute? The answer: about $3.08 per commute. Per day, that’s $6.08. If you work five days a week, 52 weeks per year, that bring your grand total (for gas ALONE, not including other car-related expenses) to: $1,580.80 per year. You’ll also be adding over 10,000 miles to your car, just driving to work, so keep that in mind, especially if you have a low-mileage lease!

Other San Diego Living Expenses

Living in San Diego comes with other expenses, too! Goods and services here are more expensive than the national average. San Diego residents, for example, pay 14% more than average on groceries than folks in other areas of the U.S. A big part of this is due to California’s excise taxes, which apply to certain products, which drives prices up.

San Diego is infamous for its high taxes; it’s actually the 10th most taxed State when it comes to sales. The base sales tax in California is 7.25%, but it can be as much as 10% higher than that. Property taxes here are actually relatively low, at .76% of you home’s cash market value; however, when you consider the high cost of homes here in San Diego, the amount you pay in property taxes can still be significant.

Average Household Income in San Diego

Money being exchanged in money bags.

We’ve talked about all the things you’ll be paying for by living in San Diego, so let’s chat about the flip side: what it’s like working here, and what you could be making. The top employment industries in San Diego are Professional, Scientific, Tech Services, Healthcare & Social Assistance, and Retail trade, and top occupations are in Management, Administration and Sales.

So, how much could you bring home by working here? Well, the average San Diego household income is about $71,481 per year. That’s $14,000 above the American average! However, as mentioned above, California has some pretty high taxes, and these apply to income as well. Income tax here can be as high as 13.3% for persons in the highest tax bracket!

Can You Afford Living in San Diego?

When you’re considering moving to San Diego, be sure to take the cost of living into account. And remember, the neighborhood you choose will have a huge impact on some of these costs, from home sales prices to the actual cost of your commute! If you want to learn more about what it’s like to live in San Diego, check out our City Guide to San Diego. We also have a detailed look at some of San Diego’s best neighborhoods that you should check out!

Have you decided that San Diego is the place for you? Well, congratulations! We’re sure you’re going to love it here. Now that you’ve made the big decision, your next big move will be the move itself. So if you’re interested in learning more about San Diego, or getting a San Diego moving quote from a trusted, local company, give us a call at (858) 230-8281 today!

10 Things to do in San Diego with Kids

Looking for the best things to do with kids in San Diego? We’ve got you covered! While there’s no shortage of great family attractions in San Diego, we’ve got the details on our top 10 favorites for families. Of course, we’ll cover the Zoo and SeaWorld, but we’ve also included some fun, interactive museums, and one pretty unique way to tour the city. Have we got your attention? Great, then let’s get started!

Balboa Park

These first three attractions for kids are all in Balboa Park. Spanning 1,200 acres, Balboa park is home to 16 museums, along with the San Diego Zoo, Botanical Gardens, and a variety of performance art shows! If you’re in San Diego, Balboa Park is a must. And if you’re in Balboa Park, here are three attractions you won’t want to miss.

#1: The San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

Panda at the San Diego Zoo

Voted the #1 Zoo in the world by TripAdvisor, the San Diego Zoo offers fun for the whole family! The Zoo covers 100 acres, and is home to over 660 species of animals, including many rare and endangered animals. Walk along the paths to see animals while getting your exercise, or hop on a bus for a 35-minute guided tour of the whole park!

If you have the chance to spend the whole day at the Zoo, you’ll want to enjoy one of the many activities offered in the park. Stop by an Animal Encounter to get up close and personal with an animal ambassador, or enjoy Keeper Talks throughout the park. Kids will also love the Petting Paddock, where they can pet goats and sheep. You can even soar through the park using the Skyfari Aerial Tram to see the whole Zoo from up above!

Associated with the zoo is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The safari itself isn’t in Balboa Park, but about 35 miles northeast in Escondido. When you take a tour in the Safari Park, you’ll get to see more the homes of 2,600 animals, across 1,800 acres! Kids will have fun seeing herd animals in wide open spaces, and learning from tour guides about the animals and the importance of conservation. During your Safari trip, you and the kids can also have the experience of feeding birds nectar at Lorikeet Landing— and yes, the birds will land right on you!

#2: Fleet Science Center

For kids who love science, the Fleet Science Center is one of the top things to do in San Diego. The museum offers over 100 interactive exhibits, where your kids can explore the wonders of the world, outer space, and even the human body. Whether you’re living in San Diego or just here for the weekend, you can also enjoy the Center’s seasonal exhibits and special events!

Fleet Science Center has been a pioneer for science museums for decades, and is even the home of the world’s first IMAX dome theatre. In the IMAX theater, get a 360-degree view of barrier reefs, wildlife areas around the world, cities and more! Then, take an out-of-this-world trip to the Center’s planetarium, where you can learn all about our solar system and the stars beyond.

#3: The San Diego Natural History Museum (TheNAT)

Rivaling its NYC counterpart, the San Diego Natural History Museum (AKA TheNAT) is one of the most fun attractions for kids in San Diego. While Fleet Science Center focuses on math and science, electricity and outer space, TheNat brings things home with dozens of exhibits on the plants and animals that make our world amazing. Plus, everyone will love the intense 3D experience in TheNAT’s very own Giant-Screen Theater.

Before going to theNAT, make sure to check their website for special events and discounts on tickets! For example, kids are free this October, all month long! San Diego residents also get a special privilege; the first Tuesday of every month is Residents Free Day. Take a look that the museum’s calendar for a full list of special exhibits and events for families in San Diego.

#4: SeaWorld San DiegoDolphins performing for families

Another top thing to do with kids in San Diego is to visit SeaWorld! Explore all the creatures of the sea, from exotic fish to sea lions to famous killer whales. Watch dolphins perform flips and tricks, while learning about conservation efforts for these magnificent animals. For families who want to do something extra special, Sea World offers opportunities to get right in the water with dolphins, and even beluga whales!

The fun starts as soon as you enter, walking through Explorer’s Reef, which features hands-on tanks of sharks and rays. Young kids will love the Ocean Explorer experience; five mild rides offer safe, kid-friendly fun, while three animal encounters let kids get up-close and personal with the deep blue sea. We recommend setting aside a whole day for your visit to Sea World, because there is just so much to see! However, it can certainly be seen and enjoyed in a half-day, if you’re short on time!

#5: LEGOLAND California

Inspired by the kids’ toys we all grew up with, LEGOLAND is a park full of adventure and fun, and one of the best things to do with kids in San Diego. Thrill rides and kid-friendly experiences join together, so every family can enjoy a fun day here, though the park’s activities are mainly aimed at kids from 2-12. Ride around in LEGO cars in FunTown. Become a crime-fighting ninja on the LEGO Ninjago ride. Build your own robot in the LEGO Mindstorm’s experience. You can even meet the characters from the hit film, The LEGO Movie, for a perfect family photo opportunity. Also, be sure to bring along some lego minifigures, so you can have fun trading with guests and park guides!

Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit to this popular family attraction in San Diego, because LEGOLAND is also home to LEGOLAND Water Park! At Imagination Station, kids can build cities, dams and bridges in the water using DUPLO bricks. If you enjoyed Disney’s Splash Mountain, you’ll love Pirate Reef, an exciting flume ride for families with older kids and teens. Plus, you’ll have a blast rocketing down water slides or riding the surf in the enormous wave pool.

#6: Birch Aquarium

Didn’t get enough sea-life at SeaWorld? Birch Aquarium offers another kid-friendly activity in San Diego that everyone is sure to enjoy. The aquarium is home to more than 5,000 fish in over 60 habitats each with something special to show your family. Learn all about seahorses at “There’s Something About Seahorses,” an exhibit featuring more than a dozen seahorse species. View exotic and tropical fish, while learning about the importance of coral reefs, and what we can do to protect them. Plus, learn about the amazing adaptations fish have made to survive in the depths of the sea by walking through Oddities: Hidden Heroes of the Scripps Collections.

Before you head to the aquarium, check their schedule of daily events online! Events can vary day-to-day, but include kelp forest dives, shark and sea turtle feedings and more. For a special end to the day, head out to Tide Pool Plaza, where you can see all the creatures that live in tide pools, while enjoying an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean.

#7: New Children’s Museum

Kids enjoying an art studio

The last museum on our list of top things to do with kids in San Diego, the New Children’s Museum is located in the heart of San Diego, and is the perfect place for kids to explore their artistic side! The Museum’s mission is to “stimulate imagination, creativity and critical thinking in children and families through inventive and engaging experiences with contemporary art.”

At the New Children’s Museum, kids can join in daily art events. Art studios run seasonal programs, but are also open daily for kids who want to learn about crafting, building, sketching and painting. The community garden helps kids understand how to growth healthy food, and get involved with their community. There’s even a studio just for tots under 4, where they can enjoy sensory experiences!

In addition to the studios, the museum also features a variety of interactive art exhibits that are perfect for kids and families. The Nature Matching System shows kids Pantone colors, along with the fruits and veggies that show that color. The Wonder Sound offers kids of all ages free reign to climb, hide and explore using ropes and ladders. Toddlers will also love Wobbleland, an interactive playground made with food sculptures. For young kids who want to express themselves, there’s no better place to visit than the New Children’s Museum.

#8: Belmont Park

Mom and daughter on a carousel

If you have older kids and teens, you’ll definitely want to spend a day at Belmont Park. As San Diego’s resident amusement park, Belmont is one of the best things to do in the city with kids who love adventure. Thrill seekers will want to ride the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster again and again, or take the plunge after plunge from the Zipline Tower. Meanwhile, bumper cars, a Tilt-a-Whirl and a carousel give the park a carnival feel, along with tons of where you can win prizes (and lots and lots of carnival-style food!).

If you’re not into carnival rides, there’s still plenty for the whole family to do! Tiki Town mini-golf is a great opportunity to try and get a hole-in-one, while laser tag lets you build a team and fight your way to victory! And when you’re tired from all that, you can stroll along the boardwalk, take in the views, and maybe grab some dinner at one of three in-park restaurants.

#9: Seal tours

If you’ve ever been on a Duck Tour on the East Coast, welcome to their West Coast cousin! Seal Tours are guided tours of San Diego that take place in an amphibious vehicle. Riding on the “boat with wheels,” you’ll see all of San Diego’s biggest attractions and tourist spots, from Lindbergh Field to the Maritime Museum. Your family will get to learn all about the city and its people, while riding in style.

Then, prepare to take a dip! Your bus will launch from land to sea for a water adventure in Mission Bay. Get great views of the city and beaches and enjoy the sea air, without having to get wet. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a few other San Diego natives: sea lions and dolphins! Seal Tours are available most every day, and take about 90 minutes (60 minutes on land and 30 in the water.) But be aware, you will need a reservation for these unique tours!

#10: Kid Friendly Beaches

Family enjoying a day at the beach

One of the best FREE things to do with kids in San Diego is visit the beach! Plus, in San Diego, you aren’t limited to one beach, full of tourists and surfers and crowded to the gills. With 7 miles of coastline, this city has plenty of room for everyone. Some of the beaches are more focused on water activities, or have an active adult nightlife vibe. So here are three great, kid-friendly beaches in San Diego:

  • Mission Bay: A popular tourist destination, this is the largest man-made aquatic park in America! Parks and playgrounds provide kids with easy activities, plus there’s plenty of space for a picnic on a sunny day!
  • Moonlight Beach: Beloved by the locals, this beach has been recently renovated and looks fantastic! The playground offers an ideal spot for kids to get rid of excess energy, while a gradual slope on the beach provides perfect swimming water for younger kids and beginners.
  • Coronado Beach: Like Moonlight beach, Coronado Beach has a gradual slope that helps keep rough waves away, so younger swimmers (and their parents) can safely enjoy the water. Plus, it’s a popular spot for building sandcastles, so you’ll see everything from kids’ attempts to amazing structures built by sandcastle pros.


Whether you’re looking for something to do in San Diego this weekend, or next summer, there are always plenty of options in and around the city. From Zoos and Aquariums to museums of every sort, San Diego is a great place for kids to play, learn and grow.

Want to learn more about San Diego? Check out our neighborhood guide to learn what it’s like living in San Diego. We can’t wait to see you out here on the West (Best) Coast!