When someone mentions a PCS or a military move, most of us feel something. Good or bad…we feel something. We might tense up as we remember the move where absolutely nothing went right, or smile thinking about the PCS where the baby took her first steps amidst all of the boxes. We may feel pride for the time the house was unpacked and set up for living in record time, or maybe laugh a little thinking about the movers eating pizza in the driveway. We might even pause to remember tearful goodbyes among friends who had become family. We are military spouses…we move and we feel.
After 9 moves myself, I have felt and learned a lot. One of the most memorable moves was a PCS from Vicenza, Italy to Columbus, GA with 4 weeks’ notice. A lot had to be done in an incredibly short amount of time. The experience was almost surreal as we were making plans and decisions that my brain hadn’t caught up with yet. Short-fused orders can be tricky–coming at the last minute, so here are my top 3 tips for your next short-notice military move.
- School needs some special attention.
Gathering and hand-carrying school records, withdrawal letters, recent report cards, standardized test grades, documentation on gifted or special needs programs and phone numbers to key school contacts are imperative. Requirements for school registration and credit transfers differ from state to state. Being armed with all possible documentation often expedites an otherwise painfully lengthy process. Make sure you understand the Interstate Compact for military children. You may have missed testing deadlines in your new area, so understanding your child’s rights could help them seamlessly transfer to their new education experience.
- Don’t jump ship without a proper goodbye.
The hustle and bustle of a short-term move is real. Scheduling appointments, out-processing, packers, cleaners, and movers can be overwhelming. Moving is the mission and the family works together to carry it out. PCS moves often bring families closer together, but taking the time to appreciate and farewell the friends and memories of your current home cannot be overlooked. Allow each member of the family to express their excitement or grief about the sudden move. Talk about your favorite memories. Make time to visit your close friends or involve them in your final weeks. Eat at your favorite restaurant or take a picture at your go-to weekend hotspot. Closure is necessary and when moving quickly, can often be forgotten.
- Traveling with pets is hard…it just is.
Leaving an overseas assignment with your family pet and little warning is a huge challenge by itself. Depending on where you’re moving and when you are heading out, you need to consider quarantine rules, documentation requirements, and even the temperature outside. All of these things can impact your pet’s experience and your emotional stability. I recommend making arrangements as soon as possible. Research your new location’s requirements, possible airline restrictions, and gather all of your official Veterinarian records. Have a backup plan for transporting your pet. During summer months, the backup plan is often needed.
As military families, we always know to expect the unexpected, and sometimes those orders will come at the very last second causing panic to ensue. But short-fused orders don’t have to be a nightmare–it just takes a few extra deep breaths, a good plan, and maybe some chocolate.
What are your best tips for moving at the last minute?