Moving from San Diego to Tucson can be a big change for some people. But if hot summers are your thing, it will be a welcomed change

Both cities are relatively close to the US-Mexico border, but the populations of both cities differ. Tuscon is known as “America’s biggest small town” so you can expect it to feel smaller than San Diego.

So if you’re planning on trading in the Birthplace of California for The Old Pueblo, this guide can help you have a stress-free relocation.

The Moving Process From San Diego to Tucson

How Far is Tucson from San Diego?

The distance between San Diego and Tucson is 407 miles. The driving time of this journey is approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes by car depending on traffic.

It’s a manageable drive, so it’s definitely possible to do a DIY move in a rented truck and driving the whole journey yourself. Or if that’s too much work for you, you can hire a professional moving company to transport your belongings and drive your car there yourself.

The flight time is roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes long, so if the idea of driving for 6+ hours doesn’t appeal to you, you should probably consider flying there instead.

What is the Average Cost to Move From San Diego to Tucson?

The average cost to move from San Diego to Tucson is between $2,800-$5,000. So the average cost is around $3,900.

Keep in mind that many variables determine the exact cost of a move from San Diego to Tucson. Such as the number of items being moved, the dates of the move, and whether you’re planning a DIY move or hiring a professional moving company to transport your belonging for you.

Should I Move From San Diego to Tucson?

This move might bring about a huge change for some people, but there are so many benefits to relocating to Arizona. Hotter summers and massive decreases in housing costs are two of the biggest benefits. If this sounds good to you, then you should move from San Diego to Tucson.

How San Diego Compares to Tucson

Living Costs Compared

The first thing you may notice after moving from San Diego is that things cost significantly less in Tucson.

Living in California can definitely have its perks, but it can be pricey. So if you decide to make the move to Tucson you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise because housing costs are a whopping 71% cheaper than in San Diego.

The median rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in San Diego is around $2,393 per month. While in Phoenix, the median rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is only $893!

If you’re planning to buy real estate in Tucson, you’ll be happy to know that buying a house in Tucson is around 2.4 times cheaper. In San Diego, the median sale price for a 3 bedroom home is around $798,964. And in Tucson, the median sale price of a 3 bedroom home is only $332,838.

Entertainment, transport, healthcare and food costs are all cheaper in Tucson than they are in San Diego so expect to have an overall general lower cost of living.

Public Transportation

Tucson’s main form of public transport is the Sun Tran bus service which offers more than 40 routes throughout the city and its outskirts.

Tucson also has the Sun Link Streetcar which links the University of Arizona campus with four downtown-area shopping-dining-entertainment districts.

In San Diego, a Regional Adult 30-Day Pass is $72 and a One-Way MTS ticket costs $2.50. In Tucson, you can expect a lot cheaper fares because a monthly pass for the Sun Tran Bus service costs only $42 and one ride costs $1.75.


Tucson has hotter summers than San Diego, so if you love hot summer days you’re in luck. The summers in Tucson hit average highs of around 100℉. San Diego’s summers are milder, with the average high in July reaching around 79℉.

Both San Diego and Tucson get no snowfall throughout the year, so there won’t be much adjusting on that front. San Diego and Tucson have milder winter months too, in San Diego the average daily temperature in January is around 46℉, while in Tucson you can expect the average temperature in January to be around 39℉.

Moving From San Diego to Tucson DMV

If you plan to move from San Diego to Tucson, please note that you’ll need to get a new driver’s license.

After becoming a resident in Arizona, you must visit the DMV in person to obtain your initial driver’s license and title, and registration.

More information about what you will need to bring with you to your appointment can be found here.

Buying a home in Tucson

As we mentioned earlier, buying property in Tucson is undoubtedly cheaper than buying property in San Diego. If you are looking to purchase a home in Tucson, the following neighborhoods are great options to consider.

Sam Hughes

If you’re looking for a quaint neighborhood with tree lined streets, filled with houses at a varying price points, then Sam Hughes is a great neighborhood for you. The housing stock in the area is made up of bungalows and turn-of-the-century territorial houses.

The area is quite central, and is close to the University of Arizona, which is the city’s number one employer. You’ll find a mix of university professors, young families, artists, students, and professionals in this neighborhood.

If you’re looking for a neighborhood filled with hip cafes, brew pubs, trendy restaurants and a park for jogging and cycling, then Sam Hughes has you covered.


Are you socially-conscious and on the look out for a neighborhood that has a community that’s forward-thinking? Well Civano could be a great neighborhood for you. The neighborhood is known for being safe and family-friendly.

Civano is located on the southeast side of Tucson and the area is filled with cafes, shops, swimming pools and has a community garden.

The housing stock is made up of energy-efficient adobe and Sonoran-style homes with solar panels, so if you’re looking for a more energy-efficient home that harnesses the Arizonian sun, Civano is a great place to find what you’re looking for.


Broadmoor-Broadway has been ranked the number one place to buy a house, to raise a family and the best place to live in Tucson on Niche. It ranks highly in safety and has highly rated public schools which makes it a great place for you and your family.

85% of the houses in Broadmoor-Broadway were built between 1947 and 1951, and there are high rates of home ownership, as 73% of the homes are owner occupied. The area is filled with lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks, so you’ll find exactly what you need in the area.

Selling Your Property in San Diego

If you plan to sell your property in San Diego, the first step you must undertake in the selling process is finding a knowledgeable and experienced realtor.

Once you have chosen the right realtor for you, you must decide when the right time is to sell. In San Diego, July is the best month of the year to list your home. Generally, it takes 3 months to close on a sale, so you can expect to make a sale in October.

If you decide to list your home in July and sell in October, you can expect to make 2.8% more than the yearly average.

Before you list your home, you must gauge what your property is worth. Your realtor should assist you with this by assessing the market and drafting a market analysis. Once they have helped you with this, you can then confidently price your home.

Finding a Job in Tucson Before You Move There

The job market in Tucson has options within a wide range of industries. The following places are a great place to start looking when searching for a new job;

City of Tucson

If you are looking for career opportunities within the City of Tucson, this page is a great place to start the job search. You can see the current job listings here.


Indeed is usually one of the best places to start the job searching process, no matter where you are and no matter what industry you work in. Use the tools to filter your search to certain areas in Tucson, or to the area you plan to move to.

To see the current job listings available in Phoenix, click here.

Word of Mouth

Do you know anyone that lives in the Tucson area, or has spent time in Tucson area? Try reaching out to them and ask them if they know anyone that’s looking to hire.

Moving From San Diego to Tucson Checklist

The following checklist can be used to check all the things that need to be done before moving from San Diego to The Old Pueblo.

At Least 4 to 6 Weeks Before the Move

– Organize a professional moving company.

– Let your health care physician, dentist, and other service providers know that you are moving.

– Order moving supplies or ask your moving company to provide them as an additional service

– It is a great idea to sell or donate your unwanted items. You can sell on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Or you can donate them to the Salvation Army and they will pick items up at no charge.

– Begin packing; clearly mark boxes with a marker indicating which room they will be going into at delivery.

– You will need to make your change of address known to several different places, such as wherever you do your banking, the DMV, your workplace, any other financial institutions (such as credit card providers), the post office, your utility provider, and, saving the most important for last, your friends and family.

– Sort plane tickets if you’re planning to fly.

2 Weeks Prior to the Move

– It is imperative to clean and/or make needed repairs on your old home before moving out, since leaving your place an absolute mess may leave your security deposit in jeopardy.

– Because of the abundance of fragile items in your kitchen, you’ll want to pack these items away long in advance, with protective bubble wrap to ensure nothing gets broken in transit.

– You will also want to begin packing your things from bedrooms and bathrooms, except for your essential items that you will be using until you move.

– If necessary, you will want to arrange a babysitter for your kids and/or pets for parts of the move that you need to be able to focus and get things done.

A Couple of Days Before Your Move

– Clean up your home completely, double checking any cracks and crevices that may have your stuff hidden away.

– Unless your movers will do it for you, dissassemble your furniture to make your move a smoother process, and ensure to keep any screws, brackets, or other small items that are needed for reassembly. Pro tip: tape these smaller items in a bag to the bottom of the furniture.

– Print out the floor plan of your new home and have enough for the movers as well.

– You may want to hit the ATM before moving day, as you’ll need to have enough cash to tip your movers. Generally speaking, you’ll want to tip $20-$30 per mover.

– Make sure that you confirm with your movers the details of your move. The last thing that you want is to have moving day come around, and you and your movers aren’t on the same page.

– Get in touch with the landlord or current homeowner of your new place, and ensure that you’ll be able to get the keys to your new place when you arrive.

– Document the condition of your old place through pictures and videos, to ensure that you have proof of its state. This will come in handy if your landlord tries to keep your deposit, based on incorrect facts.

Moving Day

– Hand over your old home’s keys to the necessary people, such as landlord or building management.

– Do a quick run-through of your home to ensure that nothing gets left behind, whether it’s just a smaller item, or an entire box of stuff.

– Ensure that everything you packed up is in your new home before unpacking everything.

– If the moving company you are working with is going to assemble your furniture, make sure that they reassemble it in the correct room to avoid unnecessary work.

– Be sure to thank everyone helping you move, and leave them a tip!

You did it! Congrats and enjoy your new home!


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