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Moving tips for military families

The average family moves once every six years, but this rate can double for military families who need to relocate, according to www.Army.mil, the official website of the United States Army. Any military family understands the potential of moving is part of their duty in serving our country, but that doesn’t mean it’s not stressful, particularly when relocation may be required within a short period of time.

Whether you need to move during the popular PCS season – permanent-change-of-station moves that typically take place during the summer – or your family is moving at a different time during the year, there are some things to keep in mind to make it a smooth transition for everyone.

Plan ahead. As soon as you get official word of the move, it’s time to start planning. Keep a moving calendar so you’re sure not to fall behind. Keep valuable phone numbers, contact information and checklists in order. The U.S. Department of Defense website offers helpful tools for planning.

Know your options. Contact your transportation office to learn about what moving options are available to you and your family, such as the do-it-yourself move, called DITY by the military. Be sure to ask any questions you may have.

Moves made easy. A DITY move can be a great way to move your family and potentially make some money in the process. If you move yourself and come in under your allotted costs, the military may reimburse you for the difference. It’s wise to learn more about a DITY move.

Discount truck rental: Penske Truck Rental offers a 20 percent discount on one-way truck rentals for active military personnel and free unlimited miles on one-way moves. Simply reserve your truck online to save 10 percent and present your military identification at pick-up to enjoy an additional 10 percent off the rental.

Know your weight allowances. If you go over the amount allowed, you are financially responsible for moving the extra weight. A good standard to follow for estimating moving weight is 1,000 pounds per room, not including storage rooms or bathrooms. Then add the estimated weight of large appliances and other large items on top of this amount. If you’re too high, consider getting rid of or donating non-essential items.

Since the military requires troops to weigh their rental moving trucks for expense reimbursement full and empty, Penske has created a new free online certified public scale locator tool to help assist DITY movers in finding weigh stations.

Update contact information. If possible, submit your change-of-address form to your local post office before your move so mail can be forwarded as necessary. Also make sure your information is correct and up to date with your specific branch of the military.

Keep documents sorted: Keep all move-related documents and receipts in a central location for easy access. This will help for identification purposes and reimbursement of expenses.

Get to know your new home: A good family project is to learn more about where you are moving. Spend some time online gathering information and learning about the city’s history and amenities. A good place to start is by visiting the Military Installations website at http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil that links families to information about bases and the local community where they are moving.

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