How to Move with the Military

If you get a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) notice, you might be wondering what comes next. Believe it or not, the Department of Defense moves more families than any other United States organization. It might be intimidating to pack up all of your belongings and start over somewhere new, but it’s not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

Your moves will first start with your orders. From there, you’ll need to determine whether your family will be coming with you and what your housing options are at your next destination. You’ll also need to consider whether you want to move on your own or with the military’s help. Here’s a guide to moving with the military.


How to Move: HHG or PPM

There are two types of military moves for domestic PCS orders. You can do an HHG move, also known as a Household Goods move. This is a move that’s completely done by the government. The government employees moving services which will come to your home, pack your belongings, and move your things for you.

Your other option is a PPM, also known as a Personally Procured Move. This is a DIY move in which you’re responsible for packing and moving your belongings. Your other option is to hire your own outside moving company. The military will pay you up to 95% of the cost it would have been to move your family with the military, so you can put this allowance towards your moving efforts.

No matter what move type you choose, don’t forget about your vehicle. Moving your car can be the most complicated part of the process, especially if you have a particularly nice motor vehicle. Luckily, you can use military transfer services with auto shippers who specialize in military moves.


Preparing For Your Move

The time leading up to your move is sometimes stressful. First, you’ll want to set up a meeting with your base transportation office. This will help you determine the best type of move for you as well as discuss any allowance or special circumstances.

Next, you’ll want to talk to the family center at your new location if you’re traveling with dependents. You’ll need to know what to expect of your new community, whether that includes a school, finding housing, or other relocation services.

Of course, you’ll also need to take steps to secure housing. This might include a waiting period if you plan to apply for government housing. Otherwise, you’ll need to inquire about off-base housing and whether there are any partner housing options.

Last but not least, use the military’s PCS checklist to make sure you have everything ready for the big moving day. It’s easy to lose track of the little details if you aren’t careful, so the checklist is a lifesaver. Keep track of everything from start to finish. This includes documenting your valuables and belongings as well as keeping your receipts separate.


Final Thoughts

Now that you know what to expect from your PCS military move, you’re ready to hit the road. Starting over is a great chance to get to know a new base and a new community. Whether you’re worried or not, it’s surely going to go smoothly.

These tips above will help you make the best choices about your move. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to do next. Start taking action today to prepare in advance. The good news is thousands of families have moved with the military. There are resources around every corner to help you through this process, whether you’re moving alone or with loved ones. Read more on