The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Military Relocation – Cross-Country Moving Made Easy

Photo of author

By Jacob Maslow

Moving to a new state can be stressful, and the level of difficulty increases when you are in the military. Although the military pays for all or most of the expenses, you have little influence over where and when you move, and there may be a lot of complex paperwork involved.

A PCS transfer (permanent change of station) is unavoidable for a military family. Every soldier in the US military can anticipate at least one station shift every two and a half to four years.

Here are some suggestions to help you have a smooth military relocation:

Consider the Financial Aspect of the Move

Technically, nothing is “paid back” to you. The government will pay you for the expense of a full-service moving firm. It’s up to you how much money you will spend and how you will spend it.

Your payment for a DITY move is regarded as taxable income. When filing your taxes, you can deduct moving expenditures if you keep the receipts for the items you purchased to move. Therefore, keeping receipts for anything you buy to move is essential.

If you receive more money than you require to finish the move, you have the right to retain it, unlike individuals who choose a GPM (government-procured move). However, you need a DITY calculator to estimate your costs based on the number of family members, distance, and allowable travel days, among other factors.

Determine How You Will Transport Your Household Goods

In a DITY relocation, you can transport household goods by hiring a company or driving them yourself. But you need weight tickets for both selections.

Before loading, you must visit a weigh station nearby to receive an empty weight. Once everything is loaded, you must return to the scale to get the entire weight. You can only use items within the vehicles to calculate your weight. Therefore, you should weigh the vehicles at zero load. If necessary, you can use a trailer or car dolly and weigh the entire setup empty.

These tickets are intended to help you determine the weight of your HHG. You will only receive an amount up to your weight limit. It’s not a huge deal if you go over because there are no additional fees. Also, you won’t get paid as much if your goods weigh less than your permitted limit. You can exceed the ideal weight slightly if you want to receive the maximum compensation.

Available Options If You Hire a Company to Move Your HHG

A few more alternatives are available if you employ a firm to transport your home items for your DITY transfer. They include:

Trailers That You Load Yourself but Don’t Drive

In most cases, trailer companies will deliver trailers to your house, give you three days to pack, then come and get it. They will then arrange delivery to the new location and give you another three days to unpack. These companies will charge you per linear foot.

You can make as many reservations as you estimate you’ll require. For example, they can send two if you need more than one trailer. You will pay less if you use less space than you reserved and vice versa. Also, you can pack everything in since weight is not a problem.

Containers from a Moving Company

Some moving companies offer smaller containers that you can load, and they transport them for you. However, the main disadvantage of renting a full container instead of a trailer is paying for the space you don’t use. They also come with weight restrictions. As a result, you might not be able to squeeze as much into each one because the weight of what you pack cannot exceed the container’s weight restriction.

Additionally, most moving companies don’t always give out weight tickets; therefore, you might need to take extra steps to get them. The main benefit of this option is that you can use the containers for however long you need rather than the three days that trailers allow. 

A military move involves substantially more logistics than a non-military transfer; you need to have more documentation organized and have a plan for packing, loading, and offloading at the new station. However, if you plan well, you can make a move easy for you and your family. Selecting a reliable mover makes packing and transporting your stuff easier.

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos