A PCS, or permanent change of station, is something military families have to undergo several times during an individual’s tenure with the military. Relocating to a new town or city every couple of years or so requires the family to adopt a lifestyle that they’ll be able to shift to a new location without feeling uprooted or overwhelmed. The process requires a tremendous amount of coordination and you can never be half-prepared to make the move, especially when you’re also moving your family.
Here are five tips that will make your PCS relocation a tad bit easier.
Get your key documents in order
Once you have received your PCS order, take the time to organize key documentation, which includes passports of all family members, medical and insurance-related documents, marriage registration certificate, vehicle title, school transfer documentation, key contacts at the new station, travel reservation paperwork, and other personal and household documents.
By organizing all your paperwork in a file, you’ll always know where to look when any of these documents is needed, and by doing this in advance you’ll have plenty of time to figure if you missed something.
Find out what kind of accommodation options are available at the new station
As soon as PCS orders are received, a military family should find out what kind of housing they can avail at the new location. At some locations, military service members are free to choose between military housing and private housing. Opting to rent a private home should entitle you to housing allowance, so if this is the option you’re going with, it’s never too early to find how much allowance you’ll be paid toward rent and utilities and if there are good rental homes available where you’re going.
Choosing to stay in military installation housing has its benefits, but you won’t be paid any allowance toward accommodation or utilities. So find out what’s most feasible and also explore if you’d like to buy your own house at the new station.
Declutter, donate and stash away personal belongings
Moving homes is a great opportunity for families to weed out unwanted stuff accumulated over the years, and it also makes relocating a little less stressful. As you filter out stuff that you no longer need, you will also remove stale energy from your surroundings and will feel re energized to start afresh.
It’s never too early to start classifying your belongings as those you want to donate, discard or place in a storage facility. If you’re moving to a smaller home or to a place with a different climate altogether, you may need to leave some of your stuff in a storage unit.
Don’t forget to look for a storage facility that offers discounted rates to military members.
Book a professional car shipping service
When you have to move a vehicle cross country, it’s best to use the services of an automobile shipping company that has the equipment and expertise to safely transport your car to your destination. In fact, some reputed auto transport companies offer discounted vehicle shipping to military families and veterans.
While there are several companies out there claiming to be reliable military car shippers, we recommend that you do thorough research and use one that is known to provide reliable automobile transit to military service members. This way you’ll have peace of mind that your beloved car or motorcycle is in safe hands. Also, check if the military will pay the shipping fee before making a booking.
Pack in a way that will make it easy to start your new life
Moving is especially tricky if there are children involved, as you must take care of them and cater to their needs all through the process, even when you’re packing boxes or taking some time off to gain back your energy.
Packing smart begins with packing the essentials first and ensuring they’re loaded onto the truck that will reach the destination before you do—or on the same day. Ensure to use your airline baggage allowance to the fullest by packing stuff you’ll need immediately to set up your new home, as not all of your belongings will reach you as soon as you’d like them to.
You can never be too prepared when travelling with kids. If you’re driving, you’ll need everything your children could need on the way, such as homemade food, extra clothing, interesting games and apps, and their favorite toys. Lastly, try and maintain a schedule that won’t exhaust your children and make them irritable.