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All You Should Know About Living in Orange County Before Moving There

 In Living Abroad

If you’re planning to relocate internationally or long-distance to California’s OC, you have come to the right place. We have prepared detailed guidelines about everything you need to know if you’re about to start living in Orange County. Keep reading and find out why this gorgeous area is among the most desirable ones in the whole world.

Laguna Beach

Moving to Southern California definitely won’t be a wrong decision

Is Orange County a Good Place to Live?

If you’ve decided that moving overseas is just the right move for you, consider some of the best places to live abroad. One of such is definitely OC in California. So the short answer is yes. Unfortunately, it’s mostly overshadowed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego. Yet, we are here to tell you all about California’s real gem. If you decide to start living in the OC, know that you’ll be surrounded by the great weather, fantastic beaches, delicious food, and overall you’ll enjoy a high quality of life. OC has pretty much everything, and whatever it does not have is just a short drive away. Let’s get into more details on why living in Orange County, CA, is just the best. With our guide, you’ll get all the answers you need on how to live abroad and will be fully prepared for one of the most friendliest countries in the world.

Your children will most certainly love OC’s fabulous beaches

Is It Expensive to Live in Orange County?

OC is pretty expensive. According to BestPlaces, the cost of living index is 167,7, which is more than the US average of 100. It is actually among the most expensive places in America. Housing is a significant factor that affects Orange County cost of living index. If you want to purchase a home, know that the median price is around $710,500. The median rent cost is approximately $2,700. Together with home maintenance and utility expenses, all this is 150% higher than the national average. Grocery prices are also higher than the average. You’ll need $3.75 for a loaf of bread, $2.2 for a gallon of milk, $2 for a carton of eggs, and $3.8 for a bunch of bananas. Transportation expenses, including public transportation and gas prices for your own car, are 37% higher than the average. If you’re planning to book overseas vehicle shipping, know that gas costs $3.56 per gallon.

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Orange County?

According to the Traditional Housing Affordability Index, if you want to start living in the OC, your income per year should be at least $162,000. The monthly income should be around $4,000 after paying taxes and insurance. According to LivingWage, better paid professions in OC are management ($120,400), computer & mathematical ($105,000), legal ($103,040), architecture & engineering ($96,950), and healthcare practitioners ($90,090). These are typical annual wages. If some of these are your professional occupations, you’ll have no problem with a costly place like OC.

Money being put into the piggy bank by a woman

Be sure to save up as much as you can because OC is pretty expensive

Great Educational Opportunities for Your Children

If you’re moving to Orange County with children, know that this is one of the best places to live abroad with family because it has high-quality schools. According to Niche data, highly ranked public ones include Jack L. Weaver Elementary School, Lakeside Middle School, and Troy High School. On the other hand, if you and your kid are looking for a university, OC has one of the highest-ranked ones in the Western US. It’s a private Chapman University that specializes in business, law, arts, and film. When you settle in your new OC home, you’ll generally notice plenty of students strolling down the streets and enjoying their time between classes.

Two kids painting with watercolors

OC has some of the highest-ranking schools in California your children will love

Be Sure to Find a Job Before Relocation

If you’re moving across the world for a job, a list of relocation questions to ask your employer is essential. On the other hand, if you’re already here and haven’t found a job yet, we suggest taking some of your time to research. The good news is that there are plenty of job opportunities, with some of the world’s biggest companies being situated in OC:

Send a couple of emails or schedule some job interviews. If you come from a non-English speaking country, you can start breaking the language barrier by having a job interview with your potential employer. Once you have the job, adjusting to a life in the OC will be easier.

A man in a suit sitting on a chair

Your life will be much easier if you find a job before you relocate

Some of the Reasons Why Living in the OC Is Simply the Best

California’s beaches are probably its main perk, and the ones in OC are pretty special. You’ll find that each one can actually offer a different experience and vibe. For instance, Laguna Beach has this small-town atmosphere and attracts more of a sophisticated crowd. On the other hand, Huntington has more of a casual, hippie, and free-spirited vibe. We are sure you’ll find the one that suits you best. Take a look at some other great things about living in the OC.

The Favorite Area for Filmmakers

When you move here, you’ll most likely notice some actors and cameras down the streets. Because of the excellent weather conditions, big television and movie productions are often filming somewhere in the area. Some of the movies filmed here were Rain Man, Poltergeist, and Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon. If you like movies, you’ll definitely like it here.

OC Has Its Own Zoo

Located in Irvine Regional Park, OC Zoo is a small and enjoyable spot for animal lovers. You’ll simply love the beautiful sights of mountain lions, black bears, and bald eagles. Remember to pick up a free audio tour via a cell phone. The Zoo hosts fun events for both adults and kids every Halloween. Children can participate in trick or treating, scavenger hunts, or create animal-themed crafts. The Zoo is one of the favorite spots for locals.

You and Your Kids Will Love Disneyland

Whether you have children or not, you’ll probably be thrilled to know that the “happiest place on Earth” is located in Anaheim, a city within OC. Besides the Zoo, Disneyland is another locals’ favorite. If you find a new home close to it, consider purchasing an annual ticket. They are more affordable and will allow you and your family to visit it year-round. There are several types of yearly tickets available for purchase:

  • Disney Signature Plus Passport ($1,449)
  • Disney Signature Passport ($1,199)
  • Disney Deluxe Passport ($829)
  • Disney Flex Passport ($649)
  • Disney Southern California Select Passport ($399)

Getaway to the Past

We are not exaggerating when we say that the OC abounds in historic buildings. As a matter of fact, the whole area features the second-highest concentration of historically significant sites in California. If you are a history buff, you’ll simply love your life here. You’ll learn something new every day about OC. There’s even a whole separate area called the Historic District. The Old Towne Preservation Association maintains the district. Remember to visit the Exchange Fine Arts Gallery, located in the former Sunkist OC Fruit Exchange Building.

Old building and small brown wooden windows

When you settle, you’ll find historic homes at almost every corner.

What Is the Best Place to Live in Orange County: Irvine, Garden Grove, and More

There’s more than one, in fact. You can choose from a wide variety of great cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Take a look at our selection of the best places to live in Orange County, CA.

What’s Happening in Irvine

Irvine is located in the heart of the OC and is brimming with popular restaurants, shops, golf courses, and parks. The most popular hangout spot in the city is the Irvine Spectrum Center. There’s plenty of entertainment there, the hottest restaurants, and an array of cool retailers. Spectrum Center also offers an upscale movie theatre, improv theater, and a Ferris wheel. If you’re moving to another country for love, you can spend a perfect date night with your partner here.

Garden Grove Is a Little Town With a Big Heart

Garden Grove is a small town that radiates with its own unique charm. Its Main Street can take you back into the town’s history, but the whole area is anything but being stuck in the past. Many entertainment options will keep you busy in your spare time. For example, during Memorial Day, Garden Grove organizes one of the US’s biggest festivals—the Strawberry Festival. Its Village Green Park is also known as a spot that hosts many events and concerts throughout the year. This is also one of the oldest green spaces in the area where you can spend your free time. If you’re moving with dogs, know that your beloved four-legged friends are allowed to come, but they must be kept on a leash.

Young Adults Will Love Newport Beach

Newport is among California’s favorite coastal towns. Nearby, you’ll find Costa Mesa, a city that is also a popular OC destination. Yet, if you like spending time on the beach, Newport is just the right choice for you. It is home to Balboa Island that can offer endless fun times in the sun. Along the Balboa Peninsula shore, you’ll find three miles of restaurants and bars. In the heart of the city, you’ll find Fashion Island, the local’s favorite shopping and entertainment spot.

Laguna Beach Is a Laid Back City

Located halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, Laguna Beach is another coastal town in the OC. It boasts of idyllic waves and beaches on one side and wilderness areas on the other. If you like spending time outdoors, you’ll love Laguna Beach. Food-lovers will have a wide variety of great restaurants to visit, such as Carmelita’s, The Rooftop Lounge, Las Brisas, and The Deck. One event you can look forward to here is the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, which is annually held and visited by a large number of people, locals and tourists both. The best part of the festival is that you can participate in and unleash your creativity.

Rancho Santa Margarita: If You Prefer Land Over Water

Rancho Santa Margarita and its neighboring cities are situated at the base of beautiful peaks and a few moments from miles of trails in Limestone Canyon Regional Park, Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, and O’Neill Regional Park. Therefore, even if you don’t really like spending time on the beach, you’ll find a perfect area to settle in OC. The stunning natural scenery could surround your new home. And you’ll still be close to great shopping and dining. For example, Rancho Las Lomas is a spot where you can drink a glass of wine while exploring its amazing zoological garden.

Should I Start Living in Orange County?

The answer entirely depends on you. If you liked what you’ve read so far, you should definitely move to one out of many OC’s charming cities and neighborhoods. The area may be costly, but you’ll be able to afford it with the right job. With so many great restaurants, shops, beaches, and outdoor options, you’ll surely love life in the OC.

Packing a Whole Life and Moving Internationally to OC

If you want to start living overseas, you should begin preparing the documents needed to travel abroad as soon as possible. Go to the closest US Embassy and check what you need to obtain in order to start your relocation process. Traveling overseas during the coronavirus pandemic can be challenging. That is why the second most important thing is to find a reputable international moving company that can offer reliable and efficient moving services. Such a company will send you well-trained movers and packers that will come fully equipped with quality boxes and moving supplies. Apart from professional packing services, they will offer storage units if your move-out and move-in dates don’t match. Don’t hesitate to look for help because an international move is not easy at all. A trustworthy overseas moving company will definitely relieve your moving stress levels.

If you’re coming from a non-English speaking area, be sure to search for an international program and start learning a language abroad. Schedule your first classes as soon as you settle and improve your English skills. Learn more about how to keep in touch with friends because it will help you avoid relocation depression. But before all, know that you’ve chosen one of the best countries in the world to live in and one of the best counties. As time goes by, you’ll start meeting new people and find a wide variety of expat communities and settle in in no time.

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