For those who are new to Army lingo, PCS is "Permanent Change of Station". (for more acronyms, check out my previous post - Army Acronyms) Now that we have that out of the way...
As we all know, part of this military lifestyle is moving from place to place and whether it's your first PCS move or your 4th, it's still stressful! So many things to do in so little time, and it makes a difference if you are going to have the army move you or do a DITY move. ((A DITY move is when you move yourself and all your belongings.))
We have had the Army move us 5 times! We have never done a DITY move, for me, I'd rather not deal with it when someone else can do it for me. I'm just not that patient or organized, LOL.
Here are some helpful tips from personal experience and around the web =)
1. The first thing you should do is go to your transportation office and discuss your options, whether you're going to have the army move you or do it yourself. If the army is going to move you you will need to set up a time to have packers come and pack your things for you. The transportation office should help you with the information you need. You can probably also get help with information from your local ACS office AFTER speaking to transportation first.
2. One helpful thing to do may be to contact the family center at your new location. Family centers offer relocation assistance programs that provide moving information to you and your family. Ask questions, and learn about your new community and what it offers.
3. If you live on post, make sure you go to your housing office and follow the correct procedures for clearing your residence. Make sure you do everything the way they say or you could screwed out of money. We haven't had it happen to us personally but I have seen it happen to others. Simple mess ups too.
4. Personal tip from me: the day before the packers came I took everything we needed to keep with us (because we were driving to our new duty station) and put it into our downstairs closet and put on the door "DO NOT PACK". In the closet I had all our clothes we needed (about a week and half worth), my traveling books, things for the kids, a few pillows and a few throw blankets. I locked up my purse in my car to make sure that didn't get packed too. So basically, whatever you plan on keeping on you in person when you move, keep it somewhere the packers won't get it!
5. Personal tip from me: the amount of stuff you have depends on how long the packers will be there. Some people provide them with drinks (water, koolaid, soda) and lunch (pizza or subs) just as common courtesy. I find they are very appreciative of this and your things may be packed a little better ;) lol
6. Make sure your spouse applies for your DLA (dislocation allowance). The purpose of DLA is to partially reimburse you for the expenses incurred in relocating the household on a PCS move. Personal note from me: if you can afford to, save a little money each month towards a "moving fund" to help. You may not need it though since you will have your DLA and you'll be getting your BAH. Here is a link to the DLA rates effective Jan. 1, 2011 - PRIMARY DLA RATES 1.4%-*(Effective 1 January 2011)
Here are 2 helpful links... one is a PCS checklist through Military.com and another is info on PCS-ing when someone in your family has special needs or is EFMP:
PCS Checklists for Your Move
Tips for PCS moves when you have special needs. (PDF)
There is a lot of information on Military OneSource about moving too - Making your next move easier.
Hope this helps some =)