As a member of the military, you may be required to move to a different location through a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move. This type of move can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With careful planning and organization, you can make an efficient and successful move. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for a military PCS move.

What Is a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Move?

A PCS move is a relocation of military personnel from one duty station to another. It could include movement within a country or overseas. PCS moves are usually triggered by orders from the Department of Defense or other military branches. Upon receiving the orders, you’ll need to begin the process of packing up and moving to the new duty station.

The military provides a wide range of resources to help service members and their families during a PCS move. These include financial assistance, help with finding a new home, and advice on packing and moving.

What Are the Benefits of a PCS Move?

In addition to the assistance provided by the military, there are many other benefits of PCS moves. One of the main benefits is the chance to experience a new location and culture. You may also find career opportunities at the new duty station, as well as educational and recreational activities.

Another benefit of a PCS move is the chance to make new friends and connections. This can be especially beneficial for military families, as they can make new ties with other military families at the new location.

Finally, PCS moves can be a great way to save money. Through the military’s PCS move program, you may be eligible for relocation allowances, which can help cover costs associated with the move.

How to Find a New Home

One of the most challenging tasks of a PCS move is finding a new home. With the help of the military, you can find a home in the new location. The military provides housing assistance through the Family Housing Office. This office can provide you with information on available homes and provide assistance with the relocation process.

You can also use online resources to find a new home. Research the area to find out about neighborhoods and schools. You can also search for available homes on websites like Zillow or Trulia.

PCS Move Preparation Checklist

Before you begin the process of packing and moving, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need. 

Here is a checklist of items to consider when preparing for a PCS move.

  • Change of address forms: Make sure to update your address with the post office, bank, insurance companies, and other organizations.
  • Travel arrangements: Research flights and/or car shipping services to get to your new destination.
  • Shipping of belongings: Find a reliable shipping service to transport your belongings to the new location.
  • Packing supplies: Gather boxes, packing tape, and other packing materials.
  • Moving truck: Rent a moving truck if you’ll be moving a large amount of furniture or other items.
  • Ship your car: If you’re relocating overseas, you may want to consider having your vehicle shipped instead of driving it. You can use military vehicle shipping services to do this.
  • Pet relocation: If you have a pet, research pet relocation services to transport them to the new location.
  • Notify family and friends: Let family and friends know of your relocation and provide them with your new address.
  • End lease: If you’re currently renting, make sure to end your lease before the move.
  • Cancel utilities: Make sure to cancel your utilities and close any accounts at the old location.
  • Pre-move inspection: Schedule a pre-move inspection with a local realtor to assess the condition of your home before the move.
  • Medical records: Request your medical records from your current doctor and contact a new doctor in your new area.

Post-Move Checklist

After the move is complete, there are a few items that need to be taken care of. 

Here’s a post-move checklist to help you get settled in your new home.

  • Change of address: Make sure to update your address with the post office and other organizations.
  • Set up utilities: Contact the local utility companies to set up services such as gas, electricity, and water.
  • Register vehicles: Register your vehicles at the local DMV.
  • Get involved: Join local organizations and events to meet people in the area.
  • Explore the area: Take some time to explore the area and find out what it has to offer.

Tips for Adjusting to a New Location

Moving to a new location can be stressful, especially if it’s a long-distance move. 

Here are some tips for adjusting to the new location.

  • Get to know the area: Research the area and find out about attractions and activities.
  • Make connections: Make connections with people in the area to help you adjust.
  • Get involved: Join local clubs, organizations, and events to meet new people.
  • Set up a routine: Establish a daily routine to help you stay organized.
  • Stay positive: Don’t be afraid to embrace the change and stay positive.


A PCS move can be an overwhelming process, but with careful planning and organization, it doesn’t have to be. Use this guide to make the process smoother and easier for you and your family.

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