Checklist for PCS Moves
For most military families, moving becomes second nature. From pack-out to paperwork, it can be a very stressful time for everyone involved. A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) is a good way to get organized quickly and force yourself to get rid of that old lawn mower that has been collecting dust in the garage.
Whether PCSing stateside or overseas, military members and their families are not alone in this process. With over 400,000 families PCSing every year, there are hundreds of different online groups that make it easier to map out the unknown and answer any questions you may have.
Find Out When & How Much You Can Pack
With different family sizes, the amount of weight you are allowed to ship out may vary. Knowing how early and how much you can ship is crucial in determining what you plan on taking versus what you plan on leaving behind. Did you know there are different types of PCS-related household goods shipments?
There are differences between Household Goods shipments and Unaccompanied Baggage shipments and you will get to know both types in your PCS briefings. Another thing you’ll learn in those briefings? The power of a PCS checklist.
Save Money for Your PCS Move
The expenses like travel and lodging will be reimbursed, but you’ll typically pay these expenses as you go and file a travel voucher after you reach your new assignment.
- If you plan on moving your pets, plan ahead. On short notice, your pets could cost upwards of $2,000 per pet, not including vet fees and updating vaccinations.
- If you are authorized to live off-base or off-post at your new assignment, it is smart to save money for deposits, utility hookups, and first month’s rent.
- Some countries may require you to carry specific types of insurance for your car or home; anticipate these expenses and start saving early.
Speaking of Pets
Moving pets can be just as difficult as having another human in the mix. Host nations may require a specific set of vaccinations, quarantine times once the pet has entered the new country, and you may be required to pay for your pet to stay in a local, approved kennel while waiting out that quarantine period.
With additional vet visits, vaccinations, and travel health certificates, your pet’s PCS needs may be as demanding as the service member’s. It is important to speak with your veterinarian at the future base, as well as your current veterinarian, as soon as possible to avoid any quarantine challenges or vaccine mishaps.
RELATED: PCS: Moving the Family Pet
Make Hard Copies and Digital Copies of all Records
Many military commands order their troops to hand-carry vital documents like medical records, service records, professional military education records, etc. It is a good idea to make digital copies of these records, too. Storing them in the cloud (Google Drive, Google Docs, etc) can be risky unless you ensure your security measures are up to date and properly set. Digital copies of your vital records can prevent problems on the other side of your move.
Take Pictures of all Household Goods
And I mean everything. From your 65-inch TV to your china hutch that has been in the family for generations, take pictures of every angle. Being able to identify dings and scratches that were done by the shipping company will save the money of having to buy new furniture in a brand new country. Having physical evidence will help you file your reimbursement claim.
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