I know what it’s like to PCS with very little to no notice. My husband and I have received orders to move four times in the past three years, and we are about to make yet another PCS in two months...gasp!
I know, you’re thinking, who does that? My husband has been in aviation training for the past two years and before that, officer training. Most training stints are approximately six months, give or take. Each of those four moves and our fifth one coming up has allowed us no more than two weeks to find out where we’re going, receive written orders, and make our move.
This is not a pity story; I love it! Regardless, we consider ourselves some sort of experts now.
Here is a checklist for your short-notice PCS move from me, a military spouse who’s been there!
Decide if you will rent or sell your home.
If you're a homeowner, you need to choose if you will lease out your property or go ahead and sell. Because you have such little notice, it is a good idea to hire a property manager to handle renting out your home. Now is the time to do so.
Decide whether you will DITY or let the military move you.
My husband and I have moved ourselves up to this point. Call us crazy, but the financial benefit for us to DITY ("Do It Yourself" Move) outweighs the luxury of having movers. If you are doing a DITY, file the paperwork, then start packing up everything you can live without on a daily basis. If you're letting the movers come, file the paperwork and schedule your packout dates.
Create a budget and stick to it.
Even though your PCS is short notice, you have time to set aside the appropriate finances to get to your next duty station. If you submit paperwork quickly enough, you may see a percentage of your moving costs up front; if you don’t, that’s okay. If your move is going to be out of pocket, i.e. you don’t receive up-front moving reimbursements and or you're doing a DITY move, you need to be mindful of your allotted per diem and how much of it you're willing to spend on food, lodging, etc. Set a number and stick to it by being mindful of your transactions along the way.
Map out your trip.
Whether overseas or CONUS, you'll need to decide how you want to get to your next duty station and where you want to stop. Do you want to visit historic sites along the way? Do you want to stop and see friends or family to catch up and save money on a hotel? Or do you want to get to your new home with as few stops as possible? These are all things to decide before you begin traveling.
Cancel the bills and hold your mail.
Simple, but essential. Set a reminder on your phone to cancel all your bills and hold your mail online.
Wait to find housing.
Since you already have your hands full with the above list, I encourage you to wait to find your next home. Trust me, juggling the stress of simply leaving your current duty station is enough to handle for a short-notice PCS. Wait to figure out where you will live next until after you get there, and use that Temporary Lodging Allowance while you figure it out!