Is it PCS season already?
Everyone I know seems to be moving in the next few months and that includes my family as well. A few of my close friends are going on to great adventures in Spain. We, on the other hand, are only moving up to Maryland, not quite as exciting. While I’m simply house hunting online and slowly decluttering, my friends with an overseas PCS are running around town trying to get so many things done. PCSing overseas takes a lot more prepping than simply moving one state over.
When we move this summer, it will be to my 17th house. For some people that may sound like a lot of moving around and for others it might not. I’ve lived in Germany and Australia and all over America as well. While I would love to be moving overseas again, I am happy to not be feeling the stress these women are as they race to check so many things off their list before the big move.
I spoke with three of them today and collectively we’ve come up with a few tips to make your upcoming overseas move easier.
- Ensure you have all the paperwork you need to complete for the move and know when it is due. Double-check with your family sponsor that you have everything together so you aren’t running around last-minute trying to get things done.
- Make a PCS binder to keep important documents in such as: a copy of the military orders, birth certificates, your marriage license and car titles. Take this binder with you. Do not let the movers pack it in your household goods shipment.
- Get your passport in advance. It can take some time to get them back so go ahead and apply for one the moment your spouse starts talking about orders.
- Schedule doctor and dentist appointments as soon as possible. If you have a military provider, it may take a while to get an appointment. You’ll need to make sure all your shots are up-to-date and have proof of it. You’ll want to get a hard copy of your medical and dental records as well and if you have prescription medication, you’ll want to ensure you have enough to make it until you get an appointment at your next duty station.
- Sell unnecessary belongings. The less you have to pack and unpack the better. Will you really need the items that you’ve stored in your garage or those that you never unpacked from the previous move? It’s time to declutter. There are many Facebook online yard sale pages you can go through; you can sell items on Craigslist, eBay or through the paper. If it doesn’t all sell, you can always donate items to a local charity and on-base thrift store.
- Be prepared to sell or store your car. Do you really want to take your Toyota Tundra to Spain? Just imagine trying to drive that giant truck down the narrow street and forget about parking it. You’ll want to look into storing it, selling it or trading it in.
- If someone is registered with the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), you’ll want to make sure all of their information is up-to-date in the system. You can follow these tips to make an EFMP folder with all the pertinent information such as: an individualized education plan (if applicable), school paperwork and medical documents.
- Find out about the military installation you’re moving to. MilitaryShoppers has a Best Bases section where military families have provided their opinion on different locations and offer recommendations on where to live or not to live.
- Make a bucket list of things you want to do before you move. Have you really seen all the sites in the town you live in now? Is there a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try or a park you’ve wanted to stroll through? Take some time, if you can, and soak up the local atmosphere. You might not get the chance to do it again.
- Make arrangements to visit friends and family before you go. Saying goodbye to friends is part of military life unfortunately. Make sure you take a moment to say a proper goodbye and let them know how much you have appreciated their friendship. Moving of course doesn’t have to mean that friendship is over; I have many friends from different bases. It’s a good time to let them know how you feel though. If you can, make a trip home to see your family. For some, it might be a long time before you see them again.
These are just a few recommendations based on previous and current moves we’ve all made. Hopefully these tips will help you prepare and you will feel confident and excited about your move.