How to Plan and Prepare for a Successful PCS

Life is about movement. Some you plan for others you don’t – like when you’re facing a PCS (Permanent Change of Station).

It’s the unforeseen or unexpected details that get the best of you. An accident, illness, mover delays (or not showing up as planned), complications of an overseas relocation, and more become personal “war stories.”

Systems and protocols are in place. They’re designed to help and make you and your family’s transition easier.

Still, you must plan, strategize, and anticipate every contingency. And remember to ask for help.

Plan your exit

Place an emphasis on planning. You can’t over-plan.

Your training has embedded a be-prepared mindset in you. Use it to your advantage.

  • Create a detailed checklist of your entire move.
  • Chunk your checklist into scheduled tasks depending on your PCS timeline (e.g. three months, six weeks, one month, two weeks, one week, etc.)

“Shake-hands” with your destination

Get to know everything you can about your new location.

  • Schools – recommended districts, homeschooling associations (if applicable), etc.
  • Neighborhoods – search online reviews of neighborhood associations, recommended communities, suburbs, and related amenities.

When in doubt, and if available to you as an active duty member or Veteran, ask your “sponsor.” They can perhaps provide you insight into the area including schools and residential locations.

Give your movers a “hand”

This contingency will help you avoid miscommunication and mistakes. Anything to reduce the stress of your move, right?

  • Create a space or room for “don’t pack” items. Personal belongings, luggage, jewelry, electronics, pet supplies, etc that you don’t want your movers to pack.
  • Preserve your comfort as long as possible. Ask movers to save beds, bedding, etc. for packing at the last possible moment.
  • Arrange for your pets to stay with a friend or family member until you’re ready to hit-the-road. This keeps them (and you) from unnecessary stress.
  • Keep your movers fed and watered. Bottle water, pizza, fruit, etc. is a welcome touch that promotes goodwill for those assisting you with your transition.


And of course, “the-best-laid-plans” can go “south!” Keep it all in perspective by remembering to laugh when possible.

Today’s PCS stress becomes another of tomorrow’s “war-stories.”

Contact me about Services provided for Veterans. Visit my website for more information about military relocations.