PCS/TDY On The Move

Whether you’re moving your self – or your family – having a plan in place is priceless.


No matter what moves you from place to place, you have to get moving the minute you receive orders to change duty stations. And even though you may be so well practiced – and traveled – that you think you can go over your checklist in your sleep, tackling the to-dos is always an up-to-the-minute activity.

Aside from making list after list, some of the best advice my milspouse friend offered regarding moving a family, was to never fear turning to your new command. Your command can match you with a sponsor whose local insider information can help make your transition comfortable and doable. They are one of the best resources you have available to you. Don’t be shy! No one understands your move as well as those who have experienced PCS or TDY themselves.

PCS-TDY-1That said, I’ve made a few moves in my metro, nothing cross-country and nothing across the globe. So when my friends’ husband was given his most recent orders I started thinking about not only the long trip they have ahead of them, but the long checklist they have in front of them, too. So I did a little research, picked my mil spouse mom friend’s brain and pulled together some not-to-be-forgotten items.

I categorized the to-dos into two lists with her help. Easy stuff you might forget & thanks-for-the-reminder stuff.

Some of the easy stuff you might forget:

  • Have your pets checked by the local vet; get an updated copy of their medical records
  • Check maintenance on your car
  • Take inventory of possessions and valuables (photographs or video)
  • Organize personal records (birth certificates, insurance papers, school records, etc)
  • Cancel local deliveries (newspapers, etc)
  • Renew and pick up necessary prescriptions
  • If possible, settle all of your outstanding bills

Some of the thanks-for-the-reminder stuff:

  • Retrieve all of the items you have loaned out
  • Plan your menus from what’s left in your freezer and pantry
  • Do not plan to ship your jewelry
  • Make a household inventory list to carry in your personal luggage
  • Check expiration dates on everything – from military ID to credit cards

AND Keep all the must-haves close to the vest. Your kids’ favorite stuffed animals? Keep them out of the silverware and underwear. You can find full-sized checklists on sites like Military.com. Their lists break down the to-dos by month, by week and by move-in.

Remember, too, that when spring turns to summer, many are making moves, especially Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard servicemen and women. If you have a transfer on tap, booking your move early can keep you on schedule. For tips on scheduling and shipping, visit Navy.mil.

When it comes to a TDY move, the best move you can make is to support your spouse. Helping them with their short list can help ease their mind during their transition time. Remember, it’s just temporary.


About the author: Heidi Alger

Heidi Alger is the mother of two low-maintenance, high-energy kids under the age of 10. She offers financial guidance, budget tips and lifestyle advice keeping the challenges of modern military families in line, writing alongside an award-winning team at Pioneer Services. Her grandfather, a CW04, served in the Army Security and National Security Agencies during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Follow Heidi on Google+.

Contact: Heidi Alger


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