military man and wife holding boxes

Things to Know Before Your First Military Move

Perhaps you’re just about to ship out, or you’ve just been deployed. Maybe you’re beginning your career in the military and aren’t sure about too much. Whatever the case, your first military relocation, also known as PCS, can be quite daunting. It’s tough to learn everything you can about your relocation while preparing your family at the same time, but with some preparation, planning and partnership with a moving company skilled specifically in military moves, the process can go smoothly.

Here are some tips on what to expect for your first military move in San Diego.

Start Early

As soon as you get your orders, start planning the move, advises You may receive your orders anywhere from two weeks to five months prior to the need to report for your new command. Only having a few weeks in some cases can pose a lot of stress on anyone. The key is to hit the ground running.

Starting early is especially important if your move is to take place during peak summer season, which runs from May to August. This is when things can get dicey in terms of securing the pickup and delivery dates you desire. Don’t procrastinate, be proactive, and book your movers as soon as you have a date.

Head to Your Installation’s Transportation Office

The first step is to visit your local installation’s Transportation Office or Personal Property Office so you can receive a relocation briefing. This is when you’ll learn about all the options available to you as part of the relocation, from dates to housing to new posts. This is also a good time to ask about the Personally Procured Move (PPM), which reimburses you by the government to move your own stuff.

Take a Class

It can be confusing and overwhelming to face a military move, especially if this is your first time. You may want to sign up for a class on base which can let you in on all the specifics of the moving process. In those classes, you will review paperwork, learn how to set up a account, enter your orders, and schedule packing dates. Save all moving expense receipts in case you are able to get reimbursed.

The military move system is organized on, an invaluable resource for soldiers and their families who want to know how best to plan for the move as well as how to file claims later on.

Contact the Housing Office

Now is the time to sign up for on-base housing so you can secure a spot. Find out how you can get on the waiting list. These lists can be quite long, so be sure to make alternative living arrangements while you wait for your name to be called.

Make a PCS binder

Organization is crucial. The best way to keep track of all your documents, receipts, birth certificates, powers of attorney, packing checklists, orders and more is to put them all in a designated PCS binder. Add a calendar with important dates and deadlines. Color code the calendar to stay even more organized.

Get to Know Base Family Services

Each branch of the military has family service centers that are free of charge. Here, you can get advice and resources on relocation information, budgeting tips and employment. Make an appointment to visit with a relocation assistance specialist. Having someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of military moves is extremely helpful.

Research the New Installation

If you can, take a road trip to visit your new location in San Diego. But if this proves impossible, you’ll have to do your own research about the base and the surrounding area. Gather important contact information and get to know your sponsor if you have been assigned one. Print out PCS checklists and follow them each week to make sure you stay on track.

Bond With Other Military Families

The military is like a big family. Why not take advantage of those who are more experienced with handling multiple moves? They are an invaluable resource because they speak from experience. Find out the behind-the-scenes info, the stuff that’s not in all the classes and brochures, to get the real deal about what it’s like to move.

Talk to as many on-base families as you can, including adults and children, to get their advice on what to expect. They will likely have some tips that you never considered.

Know the Route

Even if you are hiring movers to relocate your belongings, you will still need to navigate to the new location in your own vehicle. That’s why it’s helpful to research the route beforehand and know all the stops along the way, such as hospitals, hotels, restaurants and rest stops.

Go For Counseling

Take advantage of on-base counseling so you can better adjust to your new life in a new place. Particularly with your first military move, you may be feeling a little lost, uneasy and scatter-brained in the first few months. Connect with local groups, military families, support groups and counselors who can help you take the transition in stride. Check out Military OneSource for counseling services specifically for military relocations.

Take Inventory

Organization and discipline will lead to efficiency. Your movers will provide the muscle when it comes to the actual transportation of your goods, but before that, it’s up to you to keep a detailed inventory of all your stuff. That will make the packing and unpacking processes much easier on you and your family. Ultimately, you want to settle into your new home on base as seamlessly as possible.

Contact Best Fit Movers

Here at Best Fit Movers, we have specific experience related to military moves in the San Diego area. Whether you’re moving to San Diego proper or any of its neighborhoods, such as Carlsbad, Lakeside, Chula Vista or San Marcos, contact us for a free quote on your upcoming military move.





    1600+ Reviews