Don't Let Your PCS Cost More Than Money

Tue, Apr 07, 2015 @ 08:04 AM Danielle Keech PCS Moves

We know that you're familiar with moving. Not only have you moved enough times to be considered a professional, but you've read countless articles on MilitaryByOwner regarding PCS moves.

Rarely will a move happen the same way twice, so why not learn from one another’s experiences?

Take Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Johnson and his family, for example. They've moved countless times with the military. Unfortunately, last July, the Johnson family arrived at their new home to find that their precious items would never make it. They kept their valuables in a safe. Not unwise. Safes are meant to protect your belongings, as we all know. However, the safe was taken and it contained birth certificates, passports, marriage license, and social security cards along with several personal items that can never be replaced. The worst part about this story is that whoever stole their belongings got away with and it, and it can happen again. It can happen to any of us.

These are the items I would recommend you hand-carry during a move: 

  1. Your spouse's orders. If I've learned one thing from moving with the military, it's that your printed orders are the key to everything. You need them for reimbursement for moving allowances, on base housing, etc. They are important. Do not get separated from them during a move.
  2. Your spouse's uniforms. I would not expect military uniforms to go missing during a move; however, any time you allow the movers to transport your belongings you lose control over when they arrive. As unfortunate as it may sound, our household items don't always show up when we do. So if the servicemember needs to report for duty, but uniforms haven't arrived...well, I don’t really want to know what happens.
  3. Any and all identification documents. Your family’s birth certificates, passports, marriage license, adoption papers, wills, social security cards, insurance policies, car titles, etc. Not only will the loss of these documents be a headache to replace, but if they fall into the wrong hands, your identity could be stolen. It's much better to keep these items on your person during a move than to clean up the mess of losing them.
  4. Money. If you have gold bars, large sums of cash, and bonds, it's much better to move these things yourself. That is true even if your money is secured in a safe, as we've seen that even a safe can go missing. 
  5. Fine jewelry. Costume jewelry is one thing, but if you have expensive jewelry that you don't wear everyday, be sure to put it in your purse or suitcase and move it yourself. Don't let the movers handle your precious jewels!
  6. Other personal items. Anything that is irreplaceable, such as letters, heirlooms, and photos. Anything that cannot be replaced with money provided by an insurance company should go with you. I pray no one feels the heartache of losing sentimental items.
  7. Firearms. This depends on state and federal regulations. Do your research about transporting firearms across state lines. You may choose to move these yourself instead of allowing the movers to transport them.

We have much more freedom regarding the belongings we move within the states than those of you moving to OCONUS locations, who will be more limited in the things you can move yourself. This list, minus the firearms, applies to both. Firearms may restricted in the country you're moving to, so you may consider leaving them behind. Your spouse's orders, uniforms, documents, money, and jewelry should all fit in your carry-on. Consider creating a binder for your important documents to hand carry. If you have sentimental items that cannot fit in your carry-on, you might think about leaving those things behind with extended family.

What tips do you have for keeping your precious belongings safe?

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