A permanent change of station move can be expensive. Even when the military handles the move itself, there are often additional out-of-pocket expenses, and reimbursements from the military can take a while.
It helps to have extra cash on hand because unexpected emergencies can happen on the road. Having a little bit of money saved up can be a real life saver. Pets might get sick on the road. A car could break down and require an expensive repair. Extra cash can help alleviate the stress of potential travel-related emergencies.
Passports, military identification cards and licenses should all be up-to-date or renewed.
This is especially important for families who are moving overseas. It can be a real pain getting licenses renewed after leaving the state. Important documents should be kept safely for a move. They should never be packed and shipped.
Inventories are so important. They are great a tool for do-it-yourself moves too! Start your inventory list early, packing is so much easier if it is done gradually in advance.
Moving is a really great time to eliminate clutter. There is no sense in moving items that are totally unnecessary or waiting until the last minute to pack items you rarely use, pack them first.
Keep track of all items that are packed. There should be a master inventory list for all boxes and the list should have where items are located. This list will be very helpful after a move. It can be painstaking to locate one small item in a sea of packed boxes. If each item is properly inventoried, anything can be found rather quickly, especially if the boxes are labelled clearly.
Organization is the key to a stress-free PCS move. A lack of organization can cause stress and panic. There should never be a scramble to find important documents or valuable items.
Organization can actually begin a few months before a move. This makes everything go so much smoother on moving day. Items and documents should all be organized according to category. Medical papers should be filed together. Education-related documents and transcripts should have a separate binder.
Scrambling to find a hotel on the road is the last thing anybody want to do during a PCS move. Drivers are tired, and kids are hungry.
In addition to travel days, temporary lodging arrangements should also be made for when one arrives to a new duty station. This can alleviate the need to get into a house or apartment immediately. Base lodging should be contacted for information on booking and rates. Some families may need to make arrangements to board pets as well.
Plan for the four legged members of the family. Traveling with pets is easy when a few issues are taken into consideration.
Pet-friendly hotels should be booked for overnight stays. Pets should be acclimated to traveling well in a car. Some people find the concept of crate-training to be a great help with nervous pets. Base lodging should also be contacted for the availability of pet-friendly units at the next duty station. Make a list of potential veterinarians on the road and at the new duty station.
The landlord or military housing office should be notified as soon as orders come through. This is a good time to find out what needs to be done before moving.
Many base housing contracts require professional cleaning. If an approved professional company isn’t used, they may charge the service member for cleaning costs. It is important to get everything in writing. It is also essential to keep and make copies of all receipts. Landlords will appreciate a receipt for professional carpet cleaning and it will help with getting a deposit refunded.
Valuable items and important documents should never be shipped. These things should be packed and carried with a family member at all times.
Anything that would be very difficult or impossible to replace should be packed into a carry-on type bag. Items and Documents That Should Not be Shipped:
This step is an easy one to forget about. Banks should know when their customers are moving.
To prevent identity theft, they may cancel a credit or debit card that is being used in a new location. It can take hours or days to get these cards working again. This can leave families stranded at hotels or gas stations with no way to pay for anything.
Usually, a quick call is all it takes to let one’s bank know they are moving. They can note it in one’s file. This can ensure one’s cards are working properly during the whole trip. In addition, it is a great idea to pack a little emergency cash. Nobody plans on losing their wallet, but sometimes it happens. A little bit of cash in a carry-on bag can be a tremendous asset.
The daughter of a U.S. Air Force member holds an American flag as she leans against a newspaper stand while attending a Veterans Day Parade in Columbia, S.C., Nov. 12, 2012, just days after the United States presidential election.
Finally, all local business should be taken care of before leaving town. Newspapers should be cancelled. Gas, water and electricity bills should all be paid. In addition, all library books and fines should be taken care of.
Families that own houses should have a plan in place for potential renters. Many military families choose to go with a professional broker or leasing office. This is a great way to ensure all of the details are covered. A successful PCS move depends upon well executed plans.