20 Advanced Level PCS Tips

Woman with couch and moving boxes

Post from MilitaryByOwner

Okay, so you’ve PCS’d a couple of times. You might think that you’re a professional now, and you’ve got it all under control. And you do. Probably. But, as a pro, you also know to expect the unexpected.

Although you’ve got some experience, even seasoned PCS’ers sometimes forget the devil is in the details. Read over these potentially forgotten chores and mark the few you’ve not thought of.

One just might take your moving experience from “meh  to “not bad!”

1) Start studying a perimeter around your next town. It’s amazing just how much a map helps you visualize your new city. Everything from major roadways to Starbucks can be located. If you take an early trip to house hunt, connecting names with the actual landmarks and street signs will be so much easier. Ask your incoming real estate agent for their recommendations or just consult good old Google.

2) Now is the time to reread current and future leases.  Knowing the details of move in and out procedures will remove the possibilities of time and money wasted. You don’t want to be surprised with a deposit problem or other miscommunication. An overlooked detail could be detrimental to your move.

3) It’s never too early to get familiar with potential travel plans, especially if the PCS is scheduled for the popular summer relocation period. Plane tickets and hotel rooms will be scarce closer to departure. Moving around major holidays like Christmas will also put the squeeze on your wallet and availability.

4) If a particular school was the reason for choosing a specific house, be certain no boundary changes or misunderstood boundary locations will come back to haunt you when you arrive. Always consult the next school system’s website. Better yet, get a verbal confirmation with a name, date, and time documented.

5) Talk with your family’s school administration about paperwork. You may need to fill out release forms for test and grade scores. You’ll also want to leave a forwarding address.

6) Extended time in hotels or cars is hard to avoid. Plan entertainment options for you and the kids. Finding chargers, loading iPads with new games, and packing snacks is just the start.

7) DON’T FORGET! to change your Amazon address. You think you’re planning ahead by getting necessary items delivered to your new home, but one little slip and all your good intentions are sent back to the previous address.

8) Remember to cancel any subscription services — from food delivery to once-a-month gift boxes, you’ll be sad to miss out on the latest goodie. The upside is, the new people living at your old house will be thrilled.

9) Is your family a big fan of the library? Don’t take those books with you across country. Return the items and resist the urge to get more, or face fines and postage fees. In fact, as the purging process starts, return all borrowed items from friends and family. They’ll be glad to have their stuff back.

10) If you’ve been lucky enough to stay in one area for a while, you’ll want to consult some of the recent moving resources from other milspouses found on Pinterest and Facebook. Those who have just relocated have the inside scoop on the newest techniques for maintaining sanity and avoiding broken HHGs. Did you know that move.mil has an improved mobile website?

11) It’s the worst to show up to a new base and have the gate guard tell you your ID has expired. No commissary for you. Write a quick list of any identification that will expire near your time of departure: military IDs, driver’s license, and passports are the big ones to check. It’s far easier to navigate the facilities you already know than to anxiously learn where the best DMV is in your new town.

12) Don’t forget about your car’s maintenance and documentation. Decide whether you’ll register at your new destination or update the current system with the address you’ll want be notified at. Avoiding car trouble and a ticket for outdated tags is always optimal out on the road to your new home.

13) The dog is probably already sensing your PCS stress. Our pets are occasionally the family member that gets forgotten until the last minute. Schedule your pet’s  travel and care plans early. Peak moving months often coincide with vacation times, which means limited availability for boarding and transport. While he’s there, update shots and collect any necessary paperwork.

14) Prescription medication is likely crucial to someone in your family, including pets. Inspect refills and prepare to leave with as much medicine as you are allowed. This will relieve anxiety and buy some more time to find a new doctor and pharmacy. This is also a reminder to transfer updated DEERs information ASAP.

15) It doesn’t hurt to ask any of your current doctors if they have a recommendation or colleague in your next town. You never know where they’ll have a professional connection. The same goes for your current real estate agent. They might be able to refer you to one at your next duty station.

16) Do you have good intentions to clean out the rental yourself? We all know time gets tight when preparing for a PCS. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and gather recommendations for a cleaning crew to come for a final clean. If you live in a dense military town, the good companies will get booked up early.

17) You’ve likely had some significant people affect your life where you were stationed. It’s a nice gesture to leave them with a parting gift to show how much they mean to you. Not only friends and neighbors, but those you couldn’t possibly live without — folks like babysitters, teachers, hair stylists, and pet sitters. If you plan to purchase any gift that is produced locally, be sure to buy them before you’ve left town.

18) Speaking of, redeem your own local gift cards before you depart. Cards sitting unused in your wallet thousands of miles away doesn’t help anyone.

19) Thoughtfully consider what to feed your moving crew. You might need to put an order in for sandwich trays a few days early. Don’t forget water and possibly some snacks.

20) Knowing your days at your current home are short, it’s time to plan one last gathering. It can be nice and formal or impromptu, but you’ll regret not getting to see the people you meant to, one last time. Use this opportunity to gift willing takers with all the items you can’t or don’t want to move. From frozen food to alcohol and cleaning supplies, you’ll probably get a lot of takers.

Hope and plan for the best and expect the worst is the mindset most military families live by. With these advanced PCS tips, you’ll be able to mitigate another level of PCS worries!

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