You’ve got your orders for your first permanent change of station (PCS). To start prepping for your move, you’ve probably attended the relocation briefing at your installation’s Transportation Office and checked out the Military’s official moving site, with tutorials and branch-specific information.
But you still have a ton of questions.
Don’t worry—you’re surrounded by people experienced with PCS moves. In fact, some of the best moving advice may well come from your fellow Military Members and their spouses. Pamela C. and Julie G., who are both married to Marines stationed in Quantico, Va., have dozens of moves under their belts. Here are their insider tips.
1. Take Time
House hunting takes time, energy and money—and the Military knows it. That’s why you may be able to take permissive temporary duty (PTDY) of up to 10 days before your move. While the Military won’t reimburse your travel expenses, the extra allowance of time can help you find a comfortable place to live.
2. Pack Smart
Julie says that one of the best parts of having made many moves is the liberating feeling of having lightened her household load each time. A couple things to keep in mind:
- If the Military is moving you, be sure to check with the Transportation Office about items they won’t take.
- If you’re moving overseas, check the voltage standards and television broadcasting system in the country you’re heading to. Consider selling or storing appliances and electronics that won’t work there.
- You can probably pick up some used goods from departing Service Members when you arrive in your new base.
3. Go DIY
While you can have the Military move you, it could be more cost-effective to do a Personally Procured Move (PPM). Also known as Do-It-Yourself, or DITY, this is an option available for moving within the continental U.S. You organize the move on your own and the Military pays you a lump sum based on the weight of the household goods you’re moving. Both Pamela and Julie say they’ve saved money this way—money that Julie has used to cover necessary items the new home was missing. You can also do a partial DITY; just decide on the items you’d like to take yourself and have the Military pay you to transport them. It’s always best to check with your Transportation Office representative before deciding on a PPM; understanding the specific requirements, authorizations and allowances is essential.
4. Save Money On Packing
Need moving supplies for your PPM? Join your duty station’s community Facebook group, recommends Pamela. “I’ve gotten moving supplies for free this way—and have been able to give them to others.”
5. Make A Plan For Your Pets
If you’re moving with your pet, check into local laws on pet ownership; some municipalities have laws that regulate owning certain breeds. If you’re moving internationally, get started on the paperwork required to move your pet as early as possible.
6. Maximize Your Reimbursements
Check the Joint Travel Regulations and your pre-move PCS paperwork for instructions on requesting and receiving the following reimbursements (restrictions and exceptions apply):
If your PCS is within the continental U.S. (CONUS) and you want to drive your vehicle, you can get a mileage reimbursement under the Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) program.
This allowance can help cover lodging and meals while in transit.
If you need temporary lodging at your old or new location (for example, if your new home isn’t ready to move into), check your benefits for the Temporary Lodging Expense (mainly for CONUS moves) or Temporary Lodging Allowance (typically used if your PCS is outside the continental U.S.).
For those eligible to receive it, Advance Dislocation Allowance (DLA) can help reimburse relocation expenses not otherwise covered.
7. Stash Your Stuff
The Military will cover storage of items you’re not shipping (up to a certain weight allowance). With non-temporary storage, or NTS, your belongings will be kept near the original duty station and then delivered to you when you’re back from your tour and have a new address. Restrictions apply, so get the details before you separate out the items you want to store.
GEICO has been a proud supporter of Military Members and their families for more than 75 years. Find out more about military discounts and benefits you could receive.
Read More: Moving Tips From Military Spouses
By Kelly Couturier