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As a military family, you’ll probably move a few times during your career, either from one local home to another or to a different base, a couple states away. Some of that will depend on your personal preferences on relocation, as well as the needs of your military branch and your rate, and the nearby commands at which you could be stationed.

Your first military move could be the first truly stressful thing you experience as a military spouse. But, with the right amount of pre-planning, there are ways to get through your first PCS move like a seasoned pro.

1. Know your schedule, in advance.

Once you know when your PCS packers and movers will be arriving, make sure you aren’t dealing with them on your own. Find a family member or a good friend

Sometimes, depending on your circumstances, it might be easier to do your own PCS move instead of doing a military pack out. Also, if you’ve bought a new home and that’s the only reason for a move, you’ll be doing that move yourself.

But do you know the best tip for your own move? It’s this: share boxes! It’s good for the environment and it means not spending money on boxes or totes. It also saves time by not making trips to various grocery stores to see if they have free boxes. If you’ve moved enough, you know that never really works out anyway.

The trick is to start early with this venture. Check with the people at your or your spouse’s command to see who has recently moved, and get in touch with your Ombudsman. Also, find out if your command has

One of the harder parts of a PCS happens after all the boxes are unpacked. When you are no longer busy with all the details of the move, you come out from under your pile of boxes and emerge from the house and realize you’ve got to find some support, connections, and friends. Being new in town is a challenge, but the good part is you are not alone, and there are plenty of ways to find friends. 

1. Facebook 

Facebook is not a good substitute for real friends, but it is a great place to scope out what is happening around you and plug into the social calendar of your base or town.

2. Classes

If you are a military spouse interested in learning, enrolling for classes is an excellent way to meet new people. It doesn’t have to be college- you can try

You did it! You survived the entire planning process, and the wait is finally over. You have finally arrived at moving day! We asked around, and these seemed to be the big tips for keeping your sanity on one of “big” days of a PCS move. 

1. Create an off-limits room and check on it every so often.

My dear friend goes so far as to lock all important paperwork and her absolute DO NOT PACK items in the trunk of her car before the morning of the move before the movers even step foot in her home. On one of her many PCS pack-ups, her x-ed out “do not pack” room was taken as more of a suggestion. A couple of hours later, they were forced to do some creative digging to find boxes they needed with passports and orders that had somehow ended up in the very

Ben Franklin said it best when he stated: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” There is a reason that advice is still so relevant. PCSing is a juggling act of planning and coordination. It’s easy to drop some balls, especially in the budget department, when you are in transition. There are unexpected expenses, times when buying something is easier, and all sorts of things that just happen. Start with these ideas and make sure going way out of the budget isn’t one of the things that just happen to you.

1. Review your existing budget.

You don’t need to have a spreadsheet to be on top of your expenses and your budget (although it is a useful tool), but you do need to be aware. You can use an app or write it down, but you need to have a

The “P” in PCS should really stand for planning when you consider the amount of it that has to be done! While you sort, donate, pack, and get down to moving day, consider these top 5 important items to move with you personally. No matter what type of move you choose to do, these items can help you survive the first few nights in your new place.

1. Kitchen Goods: You can only eat pizza and takeout for so long in the high-stress time of your move. Plan accordingly and keep a few key items for a minimalist kitchen. We recommend a small cutting board, paring knife, can opener, and some paper plates to get started. We also suggest taking into account your needs. If you cannot function without coffee every morning, do yourself a favor and pack your mug,

Earlier this month, Kristen Smith of the SpouseBuzz.com blog wrote an article entitled “This Is It, the PCS Pause.” Kristen is a military wife and social media maven who has tackled a topic that anyone facing a relocation has dealt with, but with a dash of hope and some serious silver lining, both of which can be in short supply when you’re playing the waiting game. 

The “PCS Pause” is the time when you know orders are coming, but nothing is official, and you spend a lot of time chatting about what might be happening in the not too distant future. 

Instead of focusing on the anxiety that this time can inspire in even the toughest and most resilient of military families, Kristen offers the solid advice to slow down and make the most of this time of

In the early stages of getting new orders? Orders in hand and need a starting point for your budget? Curious about BAH, DITY or PPM, COLA or just need an estimate on general PCS expenses? 

Check out these calculators for more info. These sites are a great tool to help you come up with estimates for moving. They are not the final say in what your move will cost, but a great jumping off point as you start to get your budget and plans for relocation going! 

Defense Travel Management Office BAH Calculator


DITY Move and PPM Calculator


PCS Estimation Calculator


2016 CONUS COLA Payment Calculator

We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of movers showing up and packing things they shouldn’t. Like the full trash bag, or half-eaten sandwiches. As unpleasant as it might be to unpack a full trash bag after a week in a moving truck, it is more unpleasant to do without important items while waiting for the truck to arrive.

Avoid the unpleasantness by cordoning off an area of your home that is a “no pack zone” ideally behind a door that you can label as such. In your no pack zone, you should be sure to place all the things you want to keep close during a PCS move. Here are our top 7 items to keep with you during the move. 

1. Orders and copies of your orders.

No explanation needed really. They are important, and you should always have the original

Advice on how to handle all the ups and downs of a PCS move are everywhere. Just one quick internet search will open the floodgate of planning ideas, workbooks, and endless articles of advice on what works and what doesn’t.

The truth about PCSing is as unique as you are. You’re looking to make a big decision. You may not even be in the same country. You’ve never visited the place you have orders to before. You’re a military spouse tasked with buying a house, and your partner is deployed- those are just a sliver of the potential scenarios you might face. Throw in kids, pets, timelines that may or may not be set, time zone differences, and an array of other unique factors, and you can see why PCSing is a topic that generates so many advice columns.