I recently wrote a post on 6 Travel Tips for a Successful PCS by Car, but before you even pack and load up the car it’s important to make sure you check these items off the list. Maybe this is your 10th move and you’re a pro. Or perhaps this is your first move to a duty station. Either way, I hope you find these tips useful!
If you are working:
Request a letter of recommendation! It’s important to have this for your professional portfolio from job to job and also for your personal development. A great letter of recommendation can be just what you need to land you that dream job at your new location. And leave on a good note. This is super important because you never know if you might be returning to that town at some point, which the military can often do. I was upfront and honest with my employer about when we were moving and laying out a plan to train my replacement if need be. If you feel you’re at a good place with your employer, ask if they know of anyone where you’re moving to put in the good word for you. It’ll be a great foot in the door.
Spend one last day in town:
I’ve had so many people tell me that there’s nothing to do in their town. It’s unfortunate that anyone would think this because even the lamest of towns have something unique about them. If you never played ‘tourist’ when you first moved there, now’s the time, even just one afternoon, to paint the town red. Find a local museum or landmark and explore it. Take pictures and make positive memories before you leave.
Personally thank your friends:
The entire packing and moving process can be bittersweet. I was heartbroken to move from our last duty station because I had met such wonderful life friends there. It was an end of an era and I was sad to leave it behind. I have met the most interesting people along the way…from neighbors to co-workers. Make the time to chat and have that closure with them. Relationships are hard to maintain through distance but you’ll feel better knowing you said your goodbyes. I was able to sit down with my 90-year-old neighbor and I will always remember our time together. If it’s too daunting to sit with every person who’s had an impact on your life at that duty station then consider hosting a going away party. Invite everyone over, for one last shindig and take pictures. Make sure to get their most recent contact information so you can keep up over the years.
Get rid of crap:
Let’s face it, it can be daunting going through your house, room-by-room, packing up your life in boxes. Rather than pack every single item away, decide early on before your move whether you want it or not. Find a local organization, like the Fisher House, which can benefit from your donated items. You’ll feel more free unloading unwanted items rather than bringing them with you to your new home.
Research the place you’ll be living and start connecting:
This has proven to be so useful to many other military spouses I know. You’re moving to a new place, after all, and research is key. But more than that, it’s important to start networking and connect with others before the big move. Will you be living on base or off? Research neighborhoods and walkability to restaurants and activities. Do you have kids? Find a local mom group you can join. Are you job hunting? Research the local newspaper, lifestyle magazines and businesses and other organizations for job openings. Start talking to people who are there now for tips on best local places to shop and eat. I have found that by doing this I instantly feel a part of a local community, before I even move.
Be super excited to be moving to a new place and be ready to explore the area. There are new friends just waiting to be made for you!
Sonia is an Army Wife from Texas and currently resides in Washington State. As a mom of a toddler, with another on the way, she is quickly learning how to balance work and family. She earned her college degree in communications/journalism and recently completed her masters. She freelances for various publications and own Events By Sonia, an event production company to support military families. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling and hanging out in the sunshine. Follow her Blog or on Facebook.
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