LA Moving Tips From Transplants

Los Angeles Residents from Out of State Offer Their Advice on Moving Here

People moving fragile boxes during a move
••• SeanShot / E+ / Getty Images

For natives, the quirks and peculiarities of LA life seem normal (see: "Moving Tips From LA Local Natives"). But it's easy to see how transplants and expats might take some time getting used to practically living in a car, personalized license plates, and open-toed shoes in the winter. Some have the "if I knew then, what I know now," feeling about moving to LA. So, we've rounded up a few transplanted LA residents to weigh in on some things you might want to know before making your big move.


"Bring warm clothes. I thought LA was like a scene from the TV show Baywatch and every day was sunny and 90 degrees; was I wrong. We do get some cold, rainy, dreary days and I wish I had brought a warm jacket and not so many tank tops for the winter."

Marc Edward, facialist
Moved from Boston


"It may seem silly but it takes time to make new friends all over again. Just having friendly faces to talk to at the end of the day made a huge difference in my happiness my first year in town. I knew no one when I moved her from the East Coast. I learned how to develop a network and "fake" companionship or go crazy. I adopted a dog and was at the local dog park for about an hour each day. Don't like dogs? Join a sewing circle, hiking club, take a Spanish class (that'll come in handy living in LA, too!), or join a church or a temple."

Amanda Jude, writer/journalist
Moved from the East Coast


"Purchase a Thomas Guide as soon as you get here.

Long before Google Maps and GPS, there was the Thomas Guide, a grid-by-grid map of the vast landscape that is Southern California. It is indispensable, especially when your GPS isn't working and you're too far out in the Inland Empire or Antelope Valley to pick up Wi-Fi."

Howard K. Brodwin, marketing/business strategy consultant
Moved from West Orange, NJ


"You are not likely to 'make it' overnight and you better have a plan B and a plan C ready for income. Have a tough skin. Be aware and come to LA with your eyes wide open, not with wide eyes! There are good people all over LA. The better you read them, the better you will be at not following players, empty promises and dead ends. In other words, move to LA for the right reasons and be prepared to work and work and work at it!"

Mark E. Sackett, creative director in advertising
Moved from Kansas City, MO via San Francisco


"I was happy that someone turned me onto the Westside Rentals website to find a nice place to stay. I wish I knew about it earlier, I could have avoided a lot of visits to places that weren't right for me."

Dr. Andrea Pennington, author/life coach
Moved from Washington, DC


"Come visit before you move here and look at the best of what our city has to offer. Look at the quality, variety, and number of museums, sports teams, and live entertainment here. Also, before you decide to move be sure to test out the worst parts about living here as well. Visit LA on a day when the air quality is rated unhealthy because of smog and try out some of our busiest freeways during morning and evening rush hours."

Janis Brett Elspas, mother of four


"You can actually get around without a car if you live close to certain bus routes like Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, and save stress, save money while catching up on calls, emails and reading."

Rachel Winokur, interior designer
Moved from Boston


"LA is many villages connected to each other. Regrettably, they are not well connected. Therefore, pick an area that suits your desired lifestyle and your desired community of friends, neighbors and contacts. And choose one that is near your work. For example, choose Santa Monica if you want intelligent, engaged people with fairly progressive or center and left-of-center politics as friends and neighbors but don’t choose it if you will be working in, say, downtown LA or the Valley."

James C. Roberts III, Esq., transactional and corporate lawyer
Moved back to LA from Washington, DC


"Expect to meet real characters. To illustrate, I met a man poolside in Marina del Rey. Intent upon making small talk to know him better, I asked what he did. I drive a Ferrari! he asserted."

Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D., corporate trainer and author
Moved from Rochester, NY