If this is your first time moving while you're doing active military service, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. A PCS (permanent change of station) requires planning, prepping, and patience. With these suggestions, your first military relocation can be less stressful and you can get on your feet right away.
Use Available Resources
While you might think it will save time to handle most of the moving responsibilities yourself, using the resources available to military families can make the ordeal more peaceful for your entire family. Seeking out your current on-base transportation office or family support center can give you specific details about how your family can be supported. If you need more money than your moving allowance, you may also qualify for emergency financial assistance. Many service members don't fully use the resources available; by doing so, you'll put yourself in a better position.
You'll also want to read through the guide at the official Department of Defense moving portal, Move.mil. The site has a weight estimator for your belongings and other useful relocation tips.
Think Twice About a PPM
A personally procured move, or PPM, can seem immediately attractive because you'll be able to keep some of the money the government provides for service members to move. However, be aware that you have to apply for a PPM and might not get approved. In addition, the strain of having to handle making your own arrangements can be more than you're willing to deal with. Compare the costs and time of a PPM and make a decision that will result in the smoothest transition for your family.
Use a Binder
If you've not used one before, a single binder can lower a lot of the stress you might deal with during your military relocation. Having one place to store PCS orders, rental agreements, prescriptions, insurance documents, and other vital information means you won't have to go looking for them when they're needed.
With small kids, you'll need to do additional planning to ensure that the kids are occupied while you pack or unpack. You don't want them to be bored, nor do you want to lose patience because you're trying to get things done. Calling in other servicemembers, using childcare on base, and other options should be available so you can focus on the physical aspects of relocating.
You might also start your search for childcare options in your new neighborhood now. By looking at different childcare options, you won't feel so rushed when you arrive at your new base or place of residence.
These tips make military relocations less stressful to go through. Your first PCS can go smoothly and your family can settle in easier. Talk to on-base personnel and military relocation professionals for greater assistance.