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10 Genius Tips for Military PCS Relocations

10 Genius Tips for Military PCS Relocations

At some point in time, all military families will get their orders for a PCS relocation. Some military families are experts because they have been through a PCS relocation plenty of times. For families who have never gone through it before, the experience can be very stressful. Here are several tips from veteran military families to make your family’s transition as easy as possible.

1. Create a Moving Binder

It is a good idea to create a binder with all your important documents before you move. This binder can include the military orders, family’s birth certificates, military ID’s, social security cards, mortgage or rental documents, the children’s school transcripts, passports, and any other important papers that you are going to need. Having all these important documents in one place can make the move easier. On the day of the move, keep the binder with you rather than putting it on the moving truck. This way, your critical documents are less likely to get lost in the shuffle of your move.

2. Take a Moving Inventory

If you hire an interstate moving company to move your things to your new home, you should take an inventory of the number of boxes and all your furniture. When your items are delivered to your new home, you’ll be able to more easily any boxes or pieces that might be missing.

3. Follow Cleaning Guidelines

If you are living in military housing, it is important to follow the guidelines set by the military housing authority for cleaning your home, so you are prepared in case of an inspection. If you are living in private housing, you should still follow specific guidelines, such as cleaning the home, making any necessary repairs, and informing your landlord of your move. If you paid a security deposit when you moved in, you want to be sure that you get it back in full.

Organizing your family's PCS for the first time can be difficult, especially if your spouse is deployed. Turn to Catholic Mil with all of your questions and concerns!
Organizing your family’s PCS for the first time can be difficult, especially if your spouse is deployed. Turn to Catholic Mil with all of your questions and concerns!

4. Contact Your Bank and Credit Card Company

Before your move, contact your bank and your credit card company with your forwarding address. This is one of the details that you can take care of early, as soon as you find out where you will be moving.

5. Get Permission to Move a Vehicle

If your PCS relocation orders send you OCONUS and you are financing your vehicle, be sure to speak to the financial institution before you have your vehicle shipped. It is illegal to leave the country with the vehicle if you don’t first get permission from the lender.

6. Get a Hard Copy of Your Medical Records

The medical clinic will often tell you that your family’s medical records will be sent to the medical clinic at your next duty station. While they probably will get there, you can’t be sure, and you don’t know how long it will take. Just to be on the safe side, you should request hard copies of your family’s medical records and keep them in your moving binder.

7. Take Advantage of Military Discounts

Depending on rank and number of dependents, the military gives families a set amount of money to cover the cost of the move. Whatever money that is left over from your moving allowance goes in your pocket, so if you move yourself for less than the allowance, you could make money. If you are going to move without government assistance, look at a truck rental company that offers discounts for active military members or shop rates from low cost moving providers like You can also get discounts on packing supplies.

8. Do Your Research

When you get your orders and you know exactly where you’re headed, do some research on your new location. If you choose to live in military housing, know what options are available on and off the base. The move is easier if you know as much as possible about your new home.

Make sure to pack an "essentials" box for every member of your family, so they have some familiar items during weeks of transition.
Make sure to pack an “essentials” box for every member of your family, so they have some familiar items during weeks of transition.

9. Pack Overnight Bags for Each Family Member

While you are packing up your home, you should pack an overnight bag and “first day” box for each member of the family. The bags should contain items like changes of clothing, toothbrushes, hair brushes, snacks, water bottles, and a book or video game to keep the kids busy. If you are going to be driving long distance or flying, these items will come in handy.

10. Be Prepared for Changes

Just because you received your orders, does not mean that they are set in stone. If you have been in the military for a while you understand that orders can change without any warning. While you should prepare for your move, don’t be surprised if things suddenly change.

The first military PCS relocation can be difficult. Even the second and the third are not easy. Over time, you will get in the routine of constantly moving. Until then, follow the above to make the move as easy and stress-free as possible.


5 Tips for Completing a DITY/PPM Move

5 Tips for Completing a DITY/PPM Move

Completing a Do-It-Yourself (DITY) or Personally Procured Move (PPM) can be incredibly stressful, especially if you have to do the work on your own, without your deployed spouse around to help. By thinking ahead and making a plan, you can eliminate some of the pressure and anxiety of getting everything done. And to help you sort through your next move, here are a few tips that can make the process easier on you and your family.

1. Fill Out All Paperwork

It’s important that you get all paperwork completed correctly and on time. This includes filling out Standard Form 1038 and Original DD Form 1351-2 to receive advanced funds and get your travel expenses approved. Make sure that you remember to register all vehicles, including trailers, boats, and other large items that you’ll be pulling behind you. These forms should be filled out as soon as possible, ensuring that no information is left out at the last minute. Additionally, you should complete DD Form 1299, DD Form 1797, and DD Form 2278. For those who aren’t sure which documents you’ll need or need guidance filling them out, visit Great Guys Moving personally procured move guide for additional information.

Don't delay in filling out all of your paperwork.
Don’t delay in filling out all of your paperwork and important military forms.

2. Give Yourself Time

The biggest benefit of a DITY moving process is the ability to space out your time and move on your terms. If you need an extra day or two to load a moving truck or to do some sightseeing along the way, you have the ability to arrange your travel plans accordingly. This way, you can give yourself a cushion in case anything goes wrong or something unexpected comes up. To get the most out of your time, make sure that you plan ahead and give yourself plenty of space for the packing, loading, and traveling process.

3. Create a Binder

If you haven’t already, organize a moving binder with all of your emergency information, such as social security cards, copies of insurance cards, and anything else you might need. It’s also a good idea to include moving checklists, registration forms, an inventory of household items, and a schedule of the moving day. Make sure to regularly check your binder to review that you have all documents needed from enrolling your children at their new school to utility information for your new home.

A binder or notebook can help keep papers and looseleaf items all in one place.
A binder or notebook can help keep papers and looseleaf items all in one place.

4. Pack Strategically

When packing for a move, it’s essential to know where everything in your house is being placed. Make sure that you correctly label each box of household items, such as kitchen utensils, bedding, and toiletries, so that you can quickly locate and open containers that are needed right away. It’s also good to plan out which boxes will be placed at the back of a moving van rather than placed at the front and to carefully package all fragile and breakable items.

5. Get Rid of Clutter

As military families tend to move from place to place, most quickly learn how to get rid of items that take up much-needed space and aren’t used often. As you’re packing, go through each room and find old furnishings, clothing, or miscellaneous appliances that create unnecessary clutter around your home. You can either donate your items to charity or sell them at a yard sale. And at the end of the process, you’ll feel much better knowing that you have less to pack and more space to use!

Ideas for Packing the Ultimate Soldier Care Package

Ideas for Packing the Ultimate Soldier Care Package

Being separated from family or friends who serve in the armed forces can be tough. If your loved one is serving far away from home, try sending a care package to create a genuine connection amidst the distance. Below are a few tips on what you can gift your soldier and how to add a few personal touches to their package to make them feel special.

Food and Drink

Sending favorite foods can help bring familiarity to those who are serving out of the country. Powdered drinks that can be mixed with water, such as instant coffee, lemonade, or iced tea, are a good idea to send. They’re light, easy to pack, and can offer a nice break from drinking plain water. Seasonings and condiments in small packages are always welcome as they can jazz up an otherwise bland and boring meal. Just be sure not to send condiments that can spoil in extreme heat or without refrigeration. Tabasco sauce is a favorite standby, as well as Sriracha sauce, which is growing in popularity.

Snacks that come in hard containers, such as nuts, pretzels, chips, and cookies make great package gifts. And quick to eat items such as protein bars, beef jerky, trail mix, and dried fruit can offer sustenance when time is short, and a full meal can’t be had.

Homemade trail mix is a great gift to send to your soldier.
Homemade trail mix is a tasty ad healthy gift to send to your soldier.

Personal Care Items

Your soldier will gladly appreciate any personal care items that you pack for him/her. Toiletries such as toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo/conditioner, and disposable razors might be available on base but are probably not the best in quality. Other gifts to consider sending are cotton swabs, feminine hygiene items, foot powder, and high-quality sunblock (if they are regularly in the sun). Underclothing such as athletic socks and underwear wear out quickly and are often requested, so be sure to send a new pack inside of your care package.


When your soldier has downtime, books, puzzles, adult board games, or video games are a preferred method of relaxation, so be sure to send a deck of cards or a new book in your next care package. You can also keep them in the loop with local or social issues by sending them magazines and city newspapers. Small sports balls such as foam footballs and tennis balls are also a favorite to receive.

Send small board games and puzzles to bring your soldier joy and entertainment.
Send small board games and puzzles to bring your soldier joy and entertainment.

Personal Touches

Adding a personal touch can bring a tremendous amount of comfort to your loved one and make them feel cared for. Try writing a handwritten letter or recording a message with friends and family on a USB drive. If there’s a holiday around the corner, be sure to decorate the box with festive decorations or include seasonal items to include your soldier in the holiday festivities. You can also send printed pictures or a USB filled with photos to help your loved one feel connected and close.

Above all, remember to ask your soldier what they want you to send! Some things don’t travel well overseas or are prohibited in certain destinations, so be sure to think ahead when packing your items. For a list of what you can’t send to specific countries, try looking at the USPS website.