Relocation is a fundamental part of military life. In fact, active-duty families move three times more often than their civilian counterparts. Military life is stressful already, and when you add a cross-country or OCONUS relocation to the mix, it can feel overwhelming—both emotionally and financially. So, what should you do when you receive your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders? Here are six steps to help.
Step 1: Plan ahead
Start planning as soon as you receive your orders. Putting things off is a common pitfall, especially for first-timers. Learn more about your new duty station. Make a detailed task list. Plan for moving your pets. Make sure you do your research!
Step 2: Know your entitlements
It’s important to make sure you know all of your entitlements. You may qualify for extra financial help depending on your rank, whether you have dependents, and where you’re moving to. Don’t spend any move-related money without first knowing what you’re entitled to.
Step 3: Consider your moving options
Consider the pros and cons of a standard PCS, DITY, and a combination move. A partial or full DITY move may cost you more money up front and require you to do some of the labor, but it’s possible to get some extra cash through reimbursement.
Step 4: Protect your personal property
Keep track of your valuables. Insurance may cover the cost if lost or broken, but there are certain things that just can’t be replaced.
Step 5: Moving out
Supervise the packers and give them clear instructions. It’s a good idea to pack and transport keepsakes, paperwork, and irreplaceable valuables yourself.
Step 6: Moving In
Arrive at your new destination in time to supervise the move-in process and unpacking. Inspect items as they’re unpacked and document any damage. Be sure to take photos to protect yourself if you need to file a claim. Don’t sign any paperwork until you’ve made sure everything is to your satisfaction.
A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) may seem overwhelming when you first get your orders, but if you follow these steps, you’re sure to make your next PCS move a success.