9 Things to Remember When Preparing for a Military Family Move
Have you received military orders in a new host country? You may be full of excitement, but don’t let the big move cause extra stress. Here’s a checklist of essentials to remember throughout your move.
1. Keep All Your Legal Documents and Receipts in One Binder
There will be a lot of expenses during your move. To ensure you can get reimbursed properly, keep all your receipts in one folder. Other documents, such as your family’s passports, children’s medical records, and immunization documents should all be stored safely. You should also store transportation tickets (airline, train or boat) in this folder. Your marriage license and your children’s birth certificates are essential. Never let them get lost!
2. Apply for Passports and Visas
Your passport may be in order, but what about your spouse’s and children’s? If you do have a holiday while you are stationed in another country, you may want to do some sightseeing in another country besides your host country. This could be a great travel and learning experience for your kids. So make sure that both your government passports and your personal passports are in order. Start working on your area clearances and visa process, if necessary.
3. Decide If You Want to Live Off-post or On-post
This depends on your family’s needs. Do you want to be in a community with other military families, or would you rather live more like the locals? This is an important decision, as it affects your children and family members. Get clear on your personal choices and reasons for doing so.
4. Do a Household Inventory
In reality, you will not be able to ship all your possessions to your new destination. How much you are allowed to bring depends on your rank and length of service. Hiring a reliable moving company and packing services can ensure that you are able to bring the most necessary items. Whatever you have to leave, make an inventory. This way, you know whether or not to buy that item in the future. You can also arrange to take valuable items to trusted family members who can store them for you. Find out whether your service can handle some of the storage and moving fees.
5. Define Your Packing Strategy
Packing professionals say it’s important to pack in a systematic, organized way. You may have to move your possessions in several batches. Some items will not be necessary to have on hand immediately. These include the following:
- Unaccompanied baggage — shipments that can arrive after you do (such as sports equipment or non-seasonal clothing)
- Household goods — if shipped by sea, household goods (such as an extra cutlery set, for example) will take a few weeks to arrive
6. Make a Realistic Plan for Your Pets
If none of your family members or friends can take care of your pets for you while you’re away, you need to find other solutions. For example, local non-profits or organizations can help you find volunteer host families for your household pets. Communicate with your moving truck rental company if you need help in shipping your furry friends somewhere. Getting professional help is essential in reducing moving-related stress for you and your family. If you have young children, leaving their pets can be very emotional, so be patient and understanding during this time.
7. Review Your Home Insurance Policy
Unless you are renting a home, you want to have a good home insurance policy set up before you leave. Under the US Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, it is your legal right to terminate a lease upon PCS orders. Just make sure you have the necessary documents printed out to show your landlord. If you own your home and decide to rent it out, go through a property contractor or real estate agent who can help you lease to good and trustworthy tenants.
8. Make a Plan for Your Vehicle
It may be possible for your family to get coverage for shipping your vehicle. Find out if the military will cover the expense of shipping your vehicle overseas. It may come in handy and save you lots of dollars in your host country.
9. Assign a Contact Person in Your Home Country to Handle Legal Documents and Proceedings
No matter how long you are going to be stationed overseas — whether a few months or a few years — you need to have a contact person in your home country. They could be a trusted family member or friend. They can help you with arranging shipping or other legal requirements. If anyone needs to contact you, they can go through your contact person, to relay news or messages.
Need to avail of the best packing, moving, storage and truck rental services for your military family move? Ayer Moving does it all. Contact us today for more information.