Moving is an integral part of the lives of military personnel and their families. And while it is a part of the life, receiving a permanent change of station still brings the stressors associated with any move. You will need to deal with leaving behind your home and neighbors and prepare for your new duties. You may also need to prepare for a move across the country, or even across the ocean which can bring up other challenges and requirements. Regardless of how big or small your move is, you will want to start planning and will need to make a few decisions along the way.
Once you receive your orders it is important to make an appointment with your Personal Property Office, or PPO. If it is your first military move, you will be able to get some guidance at your meeting. Even if you are a pro at military moving, you will get valuable information, including you your contact at your new base and important paperwork. You will be instructed on your options, and also encouraged to register on the military moving portal. You will be told if you qualify for certain allowances and if you will have weight or packing restrictions based on whether you are moving within the continental United States or not. Once you have this meeting, you will probably have a lot to think about and discuss with your family what is best for all of you.
There are two options when you move as a member of the armed services. You can choose a DITY move, or you can utilize the military to conduct your move. A DITY move, otherwise known as personally procured move (PPM), is a do-it-yourself move with a twist. For armed service members taking on a DITY move, the government will pay you what it would have cost had a military contractor moved you. There are pros and cons to this option. While you will get some time off regardless of how you move, you will have some extra time if you are doing a PPM. This could give you some extra down time if you are able to efficiently schedule your move. If you plan property and budget well, you may be able to earn a little extra money if you can make it to your new home for less than it would have cost the government to get you there. However, if your move ends up costing more, you unfortunately will have to pay those extra charges out of your own pocket. Additionally, you will need to keep track of all your receipts and the reimbursement process may take longer than desired. If embarking on a PPM, you should set aside some money as an emergency fund while you wait for your reimbursement. If this sounds like too much, don’t fret. There is another option.
The second option is to enlist the government to handle your move. Your move will be completely handled and paid for by the government. While this sounds great for some, others do not like relinquishing total control of their move to someone other than themselves. Additionally, you are not choosing the company that will be handling your belongings. The military will handle all the planning, including the selection of the mover. You will have some say in when your items are packed and when they are delivered. However, you may not have total control, especially if you are moving during the peak summer season. Additionally, you or a representative must be present for the loading and unloading of your belongings, which may be difficult depending on your and your family’s schedules. You may also be waiting a bit longer if there are multiple loads that need to be delivered before reaching your base. For some, it is easy to put all these details into the hands of the military and not have to worry about the costs or getting reimbursed.
Ultimately, you should base your decision on what you are most comfortable with and what type of move best fits the needs of you and your family. For some, a PPM is just what they need, while others may do better having their move handled by the military. Both options will get you to your new home and base. It is important to remember that moving is an important part of military living and that each move should hopefully get a little easier. Learn from each move and enjoy the adventure of seeing new places with each move.