– Need to Make a Trip To California –
Do you Need to Make a Trip To California? There are tons of reasons to consider when making a trip to California with pristine beaches and hip, bustling cities waiting to be explored. However, there are some other things that will take some getting used to. If you’re deliberating over why you should make that trip or move to California, read on.
Stretching along the west coast for nearly 840 miles, California’s size and diversity offer a place for everyone. It’s a state known for its booming tech and agriculture economies.
It is also a nature lover’s paradise full of sunshine year-round and landscapes ranging from mountains to pristine beaches and deserts. Dreaming of making that trip to California?
California is located on the so-called West Coast of the USA which, thanks to its weather, was renamed as the Golden Coast.
It’s a narrow and long piece of land, the South is more populated than the northern part and shares a southern border with Mexico (Tijuana is only a few km away from San Diego) and a northern one with super American Oregon.
Arizona and Nevada are very close to California and it’s very common to visit Las Vegas too during a trip to California.
How Expensive Is California?
When going to California, it depends on what kind of trip you want to experience, on what kind of traveler you are and what kind of experiences you want to enjoy there. I, for example, prefer to pay more for good food and not for extremely expensive accommodations.
But food-wise, there’s plenty of choice. In California, you can spend a lot and you can spend not that much. Of course, Los Angeles and San Francisco will be extremely expensive compared to other places.
In fact, finding somewhere cheap to sleep can be difficult in the big cities, while it’s not the same for the food: you can find really cheap restaurants that do not compromise with quality.
What Documents Do I Need for a Trip to California
- A valid passport for 6 months starting from the day of the arrival;
- The ESTA to get into the United States which can be requested from here (it can be renewed every 2 years);
- Travel insurance that covers both the trip and illness: it’s not a must, but it’s cheap and you never know if it could be useful;
- An international driving license if yours already isn’t;
- A credit card. If you want to rent a card you will need one and it’s the same for some hotels (A debit card may be not accepted);
- A list of drugs that you cannot take, food that you cannot eat, anything you are allergic to, really [of course the list has to be in English, no matter if you’re French!]
- An electrical adapter, flat and 110 volts;
- The City Pass, but ONLY if you intend to do everything that can be found in the full itinerary, otherwise it’s better if you pick what you want to visit. I recommend visiting museums and aquariums only if you have already visited San Francisco more than once!
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What to Expect When Moving to California
Big City Living With Chill Vibes
Each city in the Golden State offers a unique living experience, but Palo Alto and San Jose are two of our favorites. Palo Alto has scored a spot on our annual Top 100 Best Places to Live list due to its cool, tech-centered culture and year-round margarita-on-the-patio weather.
San Jose is in the heart of Silicon Valley, and although it’s California’s third-biggest city, it boasts small-town charm. Its proximity to nature and other fun California cities make it a winner in our eyes.
There Is Literally A Festival For Everything
No idea why this is, but Californians love festivals. Maybe it’s that we have better weather here, so it’s easier to have them, but from renaissance festivals to internet cat festivals, we’ll celebrate just about anything imaginable.
Look Out for Celebrities
California is a huge state, and there’s tons to do for just about anyone. Like to people watch? Los Angeles is the celebrity hub of America, and if you hit the right spots (like the hip lunch spot Alcove) you may just see your favorite celeb.
Disneyland, the “Happiest Place on Earth” is also located in the Golden State. If you’re more of an outdoorsy person, the state boasts some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, including picturesque La Jolla Cove along the state’s southern coastline.
Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and Joshua Tree National Park are all beautiful natural wonders perfect for exploring.
Eating Out Is A Breeze – For All Types Of Diets
The restaurant scene is a paradise for all food lovers as the ethnic diversity is reflected in the eclectic variety of cuisines available from Mexican and Vietnamese to Indian and Thai, just to name a few.
Besides, whether you’re looking for vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free meals, it’ll be comparatively easier to find something that fulfills your requirements and cravings in California than in other states. The average cost of meals per person in a single day in California is approximately $36.
However, within California, the prices can vary substantially depending on the city. For instance, lunch (including a drink) in the business district of San Francisco would cost approximately $18, but only $12 in smaller cities such as Fresno[ii].
More Colleges Than Any Other State
With more than 400 colleges and universities, California has the most of any state in America. Stanford, California Institute of Technology, University of California-Berkeley, and Pomona College are some of the country’s top colleges and universities, and they’re all located here!
In fact, it boasts the biggest public university system in the country. In-state college tuition in California is $13,803, and places the state at the middle of the pack when it comes to tuition prices.
Natural Disaster Risks
Moving to California comes with its own set of risks. It’s known to be vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be at risk. For instance, according to the data provided by U.S. Geological Survey, a negligible percentage of earthquakes (0.2) are of a magnitude greater than 4.0.
NorCal or SoCal?
There’s an intense rivalry between Southern and Northern California, so choose wisely when you’re deciding where to live.
NorCal is known for its variety of food options, while SoCal’s Mexican food is unrivaled. Weather-wise, it’s generally cooler and wetter in the North when compared to the South’s consistently sunny weather.
Whichever you choose, you’re sure to love it.
A Car Will Take You Places But Get Used To The Traffic
If you’re moving to California, having a car is an absolute necessity. The biggest cities in California were quite literally built with cars in mind.
A massive population, sprawling suburbs, and dense inner cities have led to the state’s infamous traffic scene. Budgeting some extra time to navigate through the traffic to reach a destination on time is a must.
In addition to long commutes and frustratingly slow traffic, the cost of gas and car insurance is among the top five in the country.
Yes, California Does Actually Get Snow
We have Tahoe, we have Yosemite, Big Bear, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley…the list goes on and on. And what’s more, is that a lot of people go seek out the snow every year for fun and really love the stuff.
The weather is amazing here, better than just about anywhere else, but there’s so much variety that just about everyone has made a snow angel at some point.
While moving to California is immensely rewarding with amazing perks like beautiful weather and stunning beaches, there’s also a price to pay. Housing costs are steep for both renters and homeowners, which comprises the largest chunk of living expenses.
San Francisco and Los Angeles are two of the most expensive cities in the country to live in. According to Zillow, the median listing price for homes in San Francisco is nearly $1.3 million, while in Los Angeles it’s $850,000.
Every Californian Can Do Two Accents: Valley Girl And Surfer
Go on. Ask them. No idea if it’s something in our genetic code or not, but every person just reaches a point where they can imitate valley girls, surfers/stoner, and even our former governor.
Though, for that last one, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be a good impression. What do you love about living in California? Leave a comment and let us know!
Casual Friday Is An Every Day Sort Of Thing
You know what CA tech company employees never say? “Boy, I can’t decide which tie to wear to work today.” In general, in any part of CA, office attire tends to be much more relaxed. Even if there’s some form of dress code, you probably will never need to own a full suit in this state unless you want to.
Employment And Economy
Apart from the weather, the most important consideration when moving to CA is the job scene, and California won’t disappoint you in this regard.
With a thriving economy powered by tech, agriculture, and tourism, unemployment rates in major cities like San Francisco are quite low.
However, keep in mind that you’d be competing alongside thousands of other hopefuls as moving to California to work in Silicon Valley is a dream for many!
The average income is higher than that of the other states but unfortunately is offset by a higher cost of living (second only to NY).
It’s Easy To Maintain A Healthy Diet In California
If you want a diet that’s heavy on fresh produce (and you can afford it), California is a great place to live. If you want fresh juice, ditto.
And if you love eating out but you don’t eat meat, sugar, gluten or some other controversial ingredient, you should have an easier time of it in California than in other U.S. states.
Healthy living is big in California and, at least in urban areas, it’s normal to be a little fussy about one’s diet.
Rejoice, All Nature Lovers
For all you nature lovers, relocating to California is undoubtedly a dream for you. From gorgeous beaches to gigantic redwood forests and stunningly beautiful state parks and mountain ranges, California has it all.
There’s no scope for boredom as you can take walks along trails and go hiking if you’re a mountain person. Or if you enjoy the ocean, go swimming, surfing, or just soak in the famous Californian sun!
Some attractive destinations include Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Sequoia National Parks. Wherever you’re located in California, you can enjoy the outdoors even on a tight budget, as you can go cycling or walking anytime.
California Is A High-Tax State
California income taxes are high – there’s no way around it. If you’re a high earner, you’ll pay a sizable chunk of your earnings to the state government. Of course, you get a lot for that money in California and property taxes are below average which can soften the blow.
California Is NOT Los Angeles
The Golden State isn’t all movie stars and beaches, despite what you’ve been led to believe. In fact, most of the state isn’t even on the water at all, and we have our fair share of mountains and wide-open spaces. Sorry, Hollywood.
It’s Not San Francisco Either
California: The land of the hippy-dippy laid-back lifestyle, right? Not everywhere. There are plenty of spots that are more along the rodeos-on-Saturday-nights and American flags-displayed-proudly-on-every-storefront. To be honest, most of the CA makes fun of SF. So leave that tie-dye behind.
Hopefully, our guide to moving to California has helped you analyze the pros and cons of California and set the right expectations before you set out on your journey to the West.
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