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Planning for Success on your next PCS Move — Some Helpful Tips

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June marks the start of "PCS Season." Over the next few months, thousands of Sailors and their families are beginning to pack up and move to a new duty station. Here are a few helpful tips from the experts.

Finding your next job and getting to your next duty station successfully starts long before the packing begins. 

Sailors nearing the start of their orders negotiation window should check their records and ensure all qualifications and Navy Enlisted Classifications are listed and up to date.
 
This simple records check will significantly impact what you are qualified to apply for and might make the difference in getting the orders you want and need for your career.

Sailors with questions about the process or what is available to them should reach out to their detailer, who is one of their main advocates during the orders process.

Once a Sailor is approved for orders and knows where they are headed, that is the time when they can build a personalized timeline, get packing tips, to-do lists and checklists with the Plan My Move online tool.

A good idea is to not finalize any personal plans until orders are in hand. It is recommended, if able, to schedule move dates and begin packing once orders are in hand.

Take a full inventory of your belongings. A smartphone, tablet or computer is an easy way to keep records of everything in your home. Free home inventory software is available at Ready.gov. You could also check with your insurance company to see if they have recommendations for an inventory app. 
Start early in planning what you will carry with you and what will be packed by the movers. 

Knowing what to pack and what to take with you is vital. Once you arrive at your new duty station, you may have to wait for your belongings to be delivered. This is especially true for those relocating overseas, where furniture and vehicles could take several months to arrive.
  
Examples of essential items that you’ll need to keep with you at all times during your move include a copy of your orders, military IDs, driver’s licenses, social security cards and passports for every member of the family. If anything is damaged or lost during the move, you’ll need your insurance company information and your inventory on hand to file insurance claims. Don’t pack your inventory and send it with the movers — it might not make your destination. Bring it with you.
 
Consider whether you will need other documents such as marriage, divorce, birth and naturalization certificates, as well as medical and medication information for each family member. Consider bringing electronic copies of items as a backup on your computer or smart devices.

Research the area you are going to before you leave and have your temporary lodging details worked out ahead of time.
 
If you haven’t been assigned one, ask your new command for a sponsor. Line up a sponsor and leverage them for details and points of contact to ensure you have someone to ask as urgent questions arise. 

As you get ready to leave your current house for the last time, don’t forget to forward your mail and make sure your pets are prepared for the move.

Take a deep breath as you head off on your new adventure. Just remember to be as flexible as possible because things don’t always go according to plan. Part of taking charge of your move is expecting the unexpected. 

Moving is a challenging experience for children. Tell them about the move as soon as possible. Reassure them that the essential things in life – such as how much you love them – won’t change.  

For help, there is Military Kids Connect, an online community designed to help military children ages 6–17 deal with the psychological challenges of military life, including frequent moves.

If you use these moving tips, you will be ready for your next move! 

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