Top PCS tips from others who have been there!

1. Have a way of keeping your most important documents organized and together. Some ideas were a binder or box. This is especially useful if there is an emergency during the move and you need someone’s medical records or Social Security Card.

2. If you are moving in the states, then you know you will be able to keep your vehicles. What about moving overseas? It could possibly take months for your vehicle to get there. Plan that now and get something lined up for where you are moving to.

3. Determine your preferred type of housing.

When you are embarking on a PCS relocation, there are several options for finding a home:

· Private military installation housing. In this situation, a service member and family can receive basic housing allowance and live in a private home where rent is paid to a manager or owner who functions as a property manager in the civilian community.

· Government-owned military installation housing. Sometimes, especially overseas, government housing is the only solution. This is owned and maintained by the DoD, and the family wouldn’t pay rent or utilities but also won’t receive a housing allowance.

· Single military installation housing. This is also called “unaccompanied” housing, which is an option when the service member is single, or if a married service member is separated from the family and living alone. Often, these take the form of barracks or dormitory style living, which could mean a single or shared room or private room with a shared living area. In this case, too, there is no housing allowance, but there is also no paying rent or utilities.

· Rent a home off-installation. If you choose to live off the installation, you could rent a home or apartment that you find yourself. In this case, you handle the specifics of your lease, utilities, maintenance and other responsibilities. The military does have specific legal protection if service members must break a lease when they are deployed or transferred.

· Buy a home off-installation. Of course, buying a home is a huge commitment and investment. The biggest consideration is what you will do if you are reassigned or deployed. Would you put your house on the market immediately? Is the area likely to be a good seller’s market? Would you look for a tenant if you can’t sell immediately? Can you afford to maintain the one home and buy or rent another in your new location? These are all questions that you must ask if you’re contemplating buying a home near your installation. (

4. Talk with your children to give them plenty of time to absorb the reality of the move, overcome the fear of relocation, and ask questions.

5. Plan the set-up of utility services at your new address. Inform current electric, gas, trash, water, phone and cable companies of your move. Cancel any local subscriptions or services

6. Save ALL your receipts. Although most expenses are supposed to go on a Government Travel Credit Card, there are cases where personal credit cards are used, and you’ll need to get reimbursed. This process can take at least a month, so it’s important to save your receipts in case anything gets lost in translation.

7. The movers will not take liquids, food, candles, batteries, or lighters.

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