5 Tips for a Successful PCS Move

5 Tips for a Successful PCS Move

Getting ready for your next military PCS move? A little organization and planning can go a long way to ensuring an easier and less stressful move for all members of your family. Consider these five tips:

Gather important paperwork. Make copies of all pertinent legal documents, and ensure they are easily accessible at all times during your move. This includes birth certificates, social security cards, passports, health records, copies of orders, marriage certificates, proof of car insurance, etcetera. This helpful checklist of important documents and other relocating considerations will help make sure you’re not overlooking something, especially if you’re moving overseas.

Prep the kids. Discuss the move with children and actively listen to their questions and concerns, then notify schools, sports teams, and clubs they are involved in. Resources such as the U.S. Department of Education provide information on local school systems, after-school programs, and community-based organizations. 

If possible, try to find an equivalent activity at your new assignment. Separating out important/favorite clothes, toys, and books so children can find them easily makes them feel at home and can help make the transition to a new location a lot easier. 

Read “Moving With Kids Made Easier” for additional advice.

Make pet arrangements. Check state, base, and, if flying, airline regulations for pet-specific policies, and get your pets a pre-move check-up to make sure they are healthy and refill any prescriptions they have. If you are traveling overnight, double-check the hotels you are staying at are pet-friendly. You also can look for military-friendly vets at your new location to ensure your pets are well cared for. 

Find additional details in “Tips for PCSing With Your Pets.”

Plan out where to stay. If you are moving across country or overseas, determine where you will stay during your move. Choose an area where you would feel comfortable leaving personal items in your car, as you probably will not be bringing everything into a hotel or friend’s house after traveling all day. Having a grab-and-go bag of clothes and toiletries so you don’t have to dig through your car to find a clean shirt or toothbrush also makes long moves less stressful. 

Have a back-up plan. Moving never goes as planned, whether it’s due to a sick family member, a rental house not being ready, or inclement weather. Having backup places to stay, a list of hospitals in the local area you are moving to, and copies of all of your records can help ease stressful situations when something goes wrong. 

Katie Lathrop is the Digital Content Specialist at MOAA and the daughter of a currently serving Army Officer. Follow her on twitter @Katie.F.Lathrop.