Last updated November 29, 2022
“We have orders!”
Those may be the sweetest words you’ve ever heard if you’re at a duty station you hate. But if you’re fond of where you live, those words may induce panic.
It’s the famous PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders. These orders are the ones that let you know where your soldier will be serving next.
Within the orders, you’ll find information on the relocation assistance that is being afforded to your family. Do not act until you have orders in hand; depending on the location of your next assignment, the benefits accompanying it can vary greatly.
The weight allowance is one of the most important things the orders will contain. This is the total weight that the Army will move without charge to you. This weight allowance is based on rank and whether the soldier has dependents.
If you exceed your weight allowance, you will receive a bill for the overage, which will not be pretty!
What is allowed to be moved and how much can also vary based on location, particularly if it involves an overseas move. It is important never to assume something is covered and to contact your transportation office if you have questions.
And because you are charged by weight, be sure to clean out and declutter before packing. Don’t risk paying to move things you are going to throw away or donate.
There are few restrictions on what you can take CONUS; but OCONUS moves may be a different story depending on the country.
Think carefully about what items you want to be out of your possession versus what you want to take with you. If it can’t be easily replaced, take it with you instead of allowing it to be packed.
If you move CONUS (within the continental United States) and choose to drive your vehicles to the next duty location, you will likely be reimbursed for travel expenses.
The Army typically provides a mileage rate and an allowance for food and lodging. The transportation office can give details on how this applies to your situation.
You will need to move your pets on your own. Be sure to check with your new duty station about any quarantine or immunization requirements.
Temporary lodging is available on most posts and provides a place to stay while waiting for on-post housing or other housing to become available. This lodging can vary greatly from one post to the next.
Some are like a standard hotel room, while others are similar to suites. Most have a few rooms that are pet friendly for small pets. Regardless, this lodging is almost always less expensive than a comparable commercial hotel off-post.
Temporary lodging fills up quickly, particularly in the summer when many people move to a new duty location. It is advisable to make reservations as soon as possible.
In some cases, it is required for you to check with temporary lodging on post for availability before the Army will agree to reimburse you for accommodations at a commercial hotel. Be sure to check before you make reservations off-post.
The transportation office on-post is there to answer your questions and assist you in coordinating your move. Be sure to utilize their knowledge! If you are not near an Army post, you can utilize the services of the transportation office at the military post that is most convenient for you.
The transportation office can also help you decide whether it’s best to have a moving company move you or do a DITY (do it yourself) move. I personally always let them do it – less work for me! But I know several who enjoy the DITY move because if it’s planned just right, you can bank some extra cash (though, be warned, I know others who have lost money doing one!).
Check out the DoD website for moving.