Military personnel move frequently during their military careers and will quickly learn what is involved, how to prepare and what they are entitled to during their PCS (Permanent Change of Station) move. However, if this is your first PCS move, what should you expect and how should you prepare for the PCS?
Preparing for the Move
Start your preparation for your first PCS move early. Speak to your base transportation office as soon as you know you are moving. Air Force members should contact the Traffic Management Office; Army should speak to their Installation Transportation Office; Navy and Marine Corps will need to speak to Personal Property and Shipping Office and members of the Coast Guard should contact their Household Goods Shipping Office. When you schedule an appointment, make sure you find out all your PCS travel options, including a DITY (Do-It-Yourself Move) and then start to make arrangements for your move.
Passports/ Visas for Family
If your first PCS move will be to another country, do all your dependent family members have a valid passport for travel? This is important, as dependents will not be permitted to enter another country without a valid passport. Some dependents also require a visa, so be sure to look into the country requirements that you are PCSing to in order to find out whether your dependent family members need a visa to enter the country.
Moving is never cheap, which is why you need to look into all your financial support options that are available to you. Stop by the finance office at your current military installation to find out about relocation benefits, allowances and other forms of financial support that you are entitled to as you prepare for your first PCS move.
Know What to Keep or Toss
The day the movers arrive will be a stressful day for military families who are about to PCS. Even when a commercial moving company comes into your home to pack and move your household goods for you, there is still much you need to do to make this experience go by more smoothly. Aerosols, liquids, candles and lighters cannot be packed and shipped to your next duty station, which is why you should go through all these items before the day of the move and make “keep” and “toss” piles. Do not forget to put keys and other essentials in the “keep” pile; otherwise, everything will be packed.
Help make your first PCS move as smooth as possible by preparing early. Obtain passports and any necessary visas for accompanying dependent family members and stop by the finance office to find out about relocation benefits. Finally, know what you need to keep or toss before you pack up.