9 Genius Long Distance Moving Tips from Military Movers

Moving is a big part of military life. The process may seem overwhelming, but these tips will help you make your move as easy and pain-free as possible.

1. Decide what kind of move you want

You can opt to have a do-it-yourself (DITY)/personally procured move or a government contract move, in which the military hires someone to move your things for you. Figure out which type works best for you because each requires different planning.

2. Prepare

As soon as your orders arrive, go to move.mil to start the PCS process.

Gather the following items:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Multiple copies of your orders
  • Personal identification records such as your social security card, birth certificate, and passport
  • Compile these items for yourself, your dependents, and your pets and keep them in a binder for easy access.

3. Understand move restrictions

Some companies won’t allow you to pack liquids. (This is almost always the case for OCONUS moves.) Get prohibited items out of the way before the movers arrive. Have a party to use and give away what you can’t take with you.

4. Document your valuables

Keep an accurate record of your possessions in case there are mishaps. Pay special attention to high-value items such as electronics, jewelry, or artwork. Try to keep these things with you. Take photos of the items, and keep a spreadsheet of the serial numbers and specifications. Should something go missing, you’ll have the information you need to file a claim. Try using a household inventory app to make tracking your belongings easier.

5. Get some Ziploc bags

Even though you may not be able to box things up yourself, you can still put smaller items into Ziploc bags. Seal things like flatware ahead of time so that they will be clean and ready to use at your new home.

6. Pack things you’re carrying with you in advance

Make sure that you have the uniform items, clothing, documents, medications, and toiletries that you’ll need when your household goods are in transit. Check to be sure that everything fits into the space you have before the movers leave.

7. Create an “Open First” box

You can request that movers pack certain items together. Include blankets, pillows, a shower curtain, towels, and any other things you might want to keep with you. Great Guys Moving suggests keeping these essential items in a separate place in your home so they don’t accidently get packed along with the rest of the shipment. You can drive these things yourself to your destination so you’ll have things to get you started in your new place.

8. Know your weight allowance

Military personnel is given a weight allowance based upon their rank and number of dependents. If you think your belongings weight too much, have a yard sale or make donations. Being over your limit is expensive.

9. Make it an adventure

Turn your move into a chance to experience new things. Make a bucket-list of activities you want to do in the days leading up to your move. Research your new home, and figure out where you want to explore first.

With a little planning, you can take the stress out of long distance relocation.

Military Moving Rules | Move Types and Entitlements for PCS

People may think moving around and seeing different parts of the country is ideal, but for military families who move almost every two years, the process can have its pros and cons. On the one hand, these families get to travel around the country, and sometimes, even different parts of the world. They get to experience new cultures and meet different kinds of people. They get a lot more exposure than people who just stay in one place. On the other hand, moving from one place to another within a short span of time can be hard for some. Leaving behind friends and extended family can be tough on people. The process of having to make new friends and re-establish social relationships can be challenging. Moving your entire home from one part of the city to another can also be in a hassle in itself, and requires a lot of planning and manual work.

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

PCS is the common term that is used in the military, which refers to the act of moving the base from one place to another. PCS stands for a permanent change of station and includes several times of moving options that one can opt for. People tend to choose different options based on their needs since different kinds of moves will require different necessities.

Do-It-Yourself (DITY) Moves

The first option that military families have is to opt for a DITY move, through which you move base yourself with the help of your family, and have the military reimburse you for all the expenses therein. The compensation is calculated by the military and reimbursed through a system which may sometimes seem complicated. Moreover, the compensation takes a longer time to reach the families, which is why they don’t commonly opt for this kind of move.

Hiring Military Movers

The second option that military families have is to let the military-hired packers do all the work of moving your things, for you. This is a more relaxed and easier option since you have professional movers to make your entire relocation a lot easier. More and more military families are choosing this option as it tends to be easier and does not involve any form of reimbursements that need to be given back to them.

Families choosing to opt for this can do so through the military website, or by contacting the concerned authorities that are in charge of PCS. There are several articles online that discuss each of these options in great detail, and also provide useful tips that one can implement to make a smoother move to their new home.

Hybrid Moves

A lot of military families also tend sometimes to choose a mix of both these options, making their move a lot more efficient. The families tend to move some of the things themselves, and leave the rest to the military hired packers. The amount that the military has to reimburse you is a lot less and proves to be more efficient since you will always have the things and necessities that you need on hand during the move.


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