Military relocations, or Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, are a standard part of military life. Yet, they can still prove daunting, especially if it’s your first move or if you’re unfamiliar with the process. To help navigate this significant transition, here are essential military moving tips designed to alleviate stress and reduce costs.
Start Early with Pre-Move Planning
The early bird not only catches the worm but also averts many potential PCS pitfalls. As soon as you receive your orders, begin your planning. Make checklists, prioritize tasks, and establish a realistic timeline. An organized start can set a smooth trajectory for the entire relocation.
Research Your Allowances
Each military move comes with specific entitlements and allowances, such as Dislocation Allowance (DLA) or Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE). Ensure you’re fully aware of what’s available to you, as these can significantly offset moving costs.
Decide: Do-It-Yourself (DITY) or Government Contracted Move?
The military allows you to choose between a full-service move, where a government-appointed contractor relocates you, or a Personally Procured Move (PPM), formerly known as DITY. With PPM, you manage your move, and the government reimburses you. The latter can be cost-effective if you’re organized and can sometimes result in a profit.
Declutter and Downsize
Before you begin packing, assess your belongings. Moving is an excellent opportunity to declutter. Consider selling, donating, or discarding items you no longer need. This can save you packing time and potentially reduce moving costs.
Keep Essential Documents Accessible
Create a “vital documents” folder containing medical records, birth certificates, PCS orders, and other crucial paperwork. This ensures easy access to essential information and facilitates various processes at your new location.
Invest in Quality Packing Materials
If opting for a PPM, don’t cut corners on packing materials. Sturdy boxes, quality packing tape, and ample bubble wrap can protect your belongings. While there’s an upfront cost, it can prevent potential loss or damage to valuables.
Document your possessions, especially high-value items. Taking photos or videos can provide a visual inventory, useful for insurance purposes or potential claims.
Understand Your Insurance Options
The military offers limited liability coverage for lost or damaged items during a government-contracted move. However, it might not cover the actual value of your belongings. Consider purchasing additional insurance for peace of mind.
Prepare for the Movers
If you’re utilizing a government-contracted move, prep your home for the moving team. Separate items you’re transporting yourself, label rooms, and provide clear instructions. A well-coordinated move reduces potential mishaps.
Stay Informed on Travel Entitlements
If your PCS requires travel, understand your entitlements. This can include transportation, per diem, or lodging allowances. Keeping abreast of these allowances ensures you don’t overspend.
Connect with Your New Base’s Relocation Assistance Program
Almost every base has a Relocation Assistance Program. This resource provides valuable insights into your new location, housing options, schools, and local amenities. Take advantage of this support.
A military move, while challenging, can be efficiently managed with careful planning and the right resources. By leveraging these military moving tips, you’re not only ensuring a smoother transition but also optimizing cost-effectiveness. As you embark on this new chapter, remember: preparation is the key to PCS success. Safe travels!