Blog November 30, 2020

How to Prepare for a Military Move

No matter if you are new in the service or close to retirement, your officers can always give you an order for a military move to another state. One of the most stressful things for the whole family is a permanent change of station (or PCS,) which can be done any time Uncle Sam wants. So if you learn how to prepare for an army move, your relocation will go smoothly.

What is the Military Move?

Are you wondering How often do military families move? Well, the answer will be – a lot. As we mentioned before, an army move or PCS is one thing that every family with a soldier has to learn to live with. It means that if you are needed across the country, you will have to relocate. This usually happens every two to three years, but sometimes, if necessary, even more often. Military moves are part of the job, and it can be an amazing opportunity to explore new places and meet new people. But if you are moving your family to another state every year, this can be challenging, especially if you are moving with kids. They will have a hard time saying bye to friends, and it will be hard for them to see all the benefits of moving. But don’t worry, in time they will make friends in the new city and get used to a new city, school, and home.

Soldier holding a baby
Relocating with small children is easier

Prepare Your Family for PCS Moves

Sit down with your family and talk about your upcoming relocation. Figure out with your kids how they feel about relocating and involve them in this process. Give them a task to focus on regarding relocation and give them the freedom to choose, like choosing a new color in their room, or in which school they would like to go. Set a packing date with your wife and children and start making an inventory list of things you need to bring with you to your new home.

Man,woman and a child sitting on a couch
Relocating with kids doesn't need to be a drag if you involve them in the whole process

Does the Military Pay for Moving?

If this is your first military PCS moving, then the first thing you need to do is contact the Defense Personal Property System to give them your orders and, after that, choose what kind of move you want. And yes, Uncle Sam will cover all expenditures for your relocation. After all, you are not relocating because you want to but because you have to. But the army imposes weight restrictions, so moving your pool table will have to be arranged with your resources. There are three ways for you to use government money for relocation. The first is to have the government arrange everything with the movers, and this means they will pack, unpack, load, and unload everything but only within your weight limits allowance. The second one is to do it all by yourself, a so-called Personally Procured Move. You get to pick moving services you want, and the government will pay you the amount that will cover only your permitted weight. And the third method is a combination of the first two where some things will be transferred by the government and others by you.

Pros and Cons of PPM Military Move

Like in any relocation, there are some pros and cons. Especially when it comes to government and relocating, you should learn more about the PPM model of relocation.


  • You get to transfer all your items – Government pays for everything. You will have to chip in only for the things that are over the permitted weight.
  • You get to load and relocate everything in one day – If you hire a state to state movers, they will pack everything in one day. If you choose the army to move your stuff, it will last a couple of days.
  • The staff will always be under your supervision – You will get to know where your stuff is at all the time.


  • You will have to pay extra – of course, if you have a lot of stuff.
  • You must weigh the truck – You will have to weigh the truck with and without your stuff and get a certificate at the weigh station.

Check this video for more tips on PCS relocation and how to use army resources.

Check Out These Helpful Military Move Tips

Moving to a new state so often can lead to a lot of stress. There are a vast number of military moving tips you can implement to have stress free moving. No matter if you are conducting a PCS for the first time, some advice from other people in the same position can help you.

Pack Your Essentials

When working in the army, you must know where your moving essentials are, all the time. This is basically a bag of all the things you need for a couple of weeks, like clean underwear, clothes, hygiene products, a passport, and other documents. But if you don’t have this ready-to-go bag now, it is time to pack one. Do that before you contact your movers or company that the army provided for you, so your essentials don’t end up in a truck. Of course, if you are relocating with your kids, they will have to pack their essentials too. You may get an order to move in just a couple of days, so it is always good to be prepared for the last-minute moving.

Research Local Moving Service

Working in the army means you always have to be alert to leave quickly. This is why it is important that you do your research on local interstate movers before PCS orders are in place. It will save you a lot of time if you already have all the information about companies that provide this service. You will have time even to save some money. A lot of companies give discounts to people who serve the homeland. So make a list of all information you gather about companies you like and keep it until you need one.

Soldier with a backpack
If you don't have a bag with your essentials, pack one right now

How Do I Schedule a Military Move? Find Best Service

So as we mentioned before, you can choose between three different models of army moves. But if you are moving with a lot of stuff and with your children, maybe the best option for you is to do PPM. This will save you a lot of time and hard work. When hiring movers, you will get a full service, like packing service, and auto transport service, all the packing supplies you need, and even a free storage facility for a month if it’s needed. And best of all, you need to do nothing. You will have time to say goodbye to your friends or maybe even to throw a moving away party.