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Blog July 9, 2021

How to Prepare for a Military Move – Best Tips

Posted in Moving Day Tips
Jane Davis

Apart from being a freelance writer and moving expert, Jane is also an art and museum lover.

Moving is part of the service life. When talking about a military move, know that sooner or later, you will receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders and will have to relocate to a different base complex. In some cases, you’ll have as much as five months to report to the new command from the moment you receive the orders, while sometimes, you’ll have only a couple of weeks. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience, and you don’t have to do it on your own. We’ve got your back.

The military helps move families from one assignment to another and can provide several ways to assist in the relocation process. Besides, we’ve prepared a few tips of our own to make your PCS (first or not) go as smoothly as possible.

Relocation Tips Related to Military Move

Although every move carries a dose of excitement about the new environment and challenges that lie ahead, it might lead to anxiety and sadness. After all, you need to leave your old friends behind and start everything from scratch. How to cope with the feeling of nostalgia is a common question, particularly among children. But these issues are only temporary due to the opportunity to meet new people, see beautiful places, and accept different lifestyles.

When it comes to military moves, you have a number of privileges. If you want to make the best of your PCS, make sure that your move is planned thoroughly and in advance. Some of the many entitlements for men and women in service and their families are:

  • Travel allowance
  • Relocation readiness program (RRP)
  • Various websites, forums, and online communities that provide assistance in various forms

The Transportation Office (TO) of a military installment generally takes care of army moves, but if you prefer moving on your own, there is another option called a Personally Procured Move (PPM), formerly known as a Do-It-Yourself Move (DITY). Let’s find out how to weigh the pros and cons of both options and help you choose the right one for you.

TO vs. PPM/DITY Relocation

How does the military move you and your family?

Local Transportation Office handles and coordinates all the aspects of your move, including packing and shipping. That being said, the Department of Defense finds, contracts, and pays for all move-related services and expenses. Depending on your branch, the name of this office varies:

  • Army: ITO (Installation Transportation Office)
  • Navy and Marine: PPSO (Personal Property Shipping Office)
  • Air Force: TMO (Traffic Management Office)
  • Coast Guard: HHGSO (Household Goods Shipping Office)

If you choose TO services, you should use the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) to schedule your move with professionals. For all other questions, doubts, or dilemmas related to planning, scheduling, and settling in, visit the website Move.mil.

When opting for a PPM, you are responsible for all coordination. However, this solution can even leave you with some money in your pocket, thanks to the fact that the government reimburses up to 95% of the costs that it would have required for a full-service relocation.

With DITY move, you can save some money

Let the Military Handle Your PCS Moving

If you’d rather not think about all the details related to moving or you just don’t have enough time or will to organize your move on your own, then TO is the best solution. As soon as you get your orders, it would be best if you started planning for a PCS. The deadline for service members to report to their new installation can vary from five months to two weeks after official notification.

Also, PCS moves are usually carried out during the peak summer season (from May to August) since the school is off. Keep in mind that moving companies are understaffed during that period and more expensive than in winter months, so try to find the best time for moving.

Plan your PCS move on time

Types of PPM/DITY Moves

If you choose to move on your own, you should be well prepared for your forthcoming PCS. To help you get familiar with the whole procedure, we’d like to offer a list of the different types of these moves:

  • Rental equipment. You rent a vehicle and get an advance operating allowance based on mileage and estimated cargo. You’re responsible for packing, driving, loading, unloading, unpacking, as well as expenses related to using storage.
  • You load/they drive. You pack and load while the moving company drives to the desired address. Upon arrival, you unload and unpack your belongings.
  • Privately-owned vehicle (POV). There is no advance operating allowance. If the vehicle is borrowed, the owner’s written permission is mandatory. Also, POV must be a cargo type vehicle with current registration.
  • Relocation in association with Government Arranged Mobile Home Shipment. Household possessions may be shipped at government expenses but must be removed from a mobile home (due to safety reasons). Such items include furniture, heavy appliances, air conditioners, awnings, etc.
Check how much your move would cost Free Quote

Benefits of a PPM

PPM allows you to be reimbursed by the government for moving your possessions yourself. At first glance, it may seem to have more drawbacks than advantages, especially when it comes to keeping track of all the receipts and handling all the possessions yourself. But, with a little planning and effort, PPM offers significant benefits compared to a standard military move, such as:

  • Money – You receive reimbursement for 95% of the total relocation costs the government would have to pay otherwise. Furthermore, you may get the standard travel allowance for you and your family members. If you spend less than 95% of the government’s payment, you can keep the change. With moving company discounts, other special offers, as well as packing and transporting yourself, you can even earn some money.
  • Time – When relocating with the Department of Defense, your moving arrangements are planned and scheduled. But, with PPM, you can manage your time as it suits you.
  • Total control – It’s needless to say that with the PPM, you can control everything – from the help of professionals to your personal involvement.
There are several advantages of the PPM

How Can Professional Movers Help You

So, are you planning to make a profit from the DITY move? If so, you should use discounts and sales to maximize your profit. After getting an estimate of reimbursement from your PTO officer, you should figure out a budget and pick a trustworthy and registered company with professional moving services to assist you during the move.

Find those companies that have exclusive deals with the US government and can provide military discounts. Also, plenty of movers will run seasonal sales that you can take advantage of and get great affordable moving services.

Consider expert help for some parts of the job you can't handle yourself

Do Some Research About the New Location and Find a New Home

It is crucial to research your future city as soon as your orders get in. If it’s possible, find some time and visit your prospective location before the move or check Base Guides and find out more information about the right neighborhood to move to.

When it comes to housing options, you can sign up for on-base housing or rent or buy a new home. If you and your spouse feel the same way about living on the base, make sure to contact the housing office at your installation and ask to be put on the waiting list. With the HOMES.mil service, you have a chance to connect with community housing rental listings located near the local base complex.

To find a perfect home, do research about your prospective community

Additional Tips for a Military Move

Reaching out to professionals and using their services can sometimes be beneficial for your mental health. It might provide you with peace of mind and reduce your worries and stress-levels during the forthcoming PCS.

Here are several tips you should consider if you start to experience anxiety or relocation depression:

  • Connect with other families in service and exchange useful information
  • Contact Military OneSource, which is 24/7 connection to information, answers, and support to help you achieve your goals
  • Outdoor activities and social gatherings may be beneficial for you
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