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5 Ways to Get Ready for an Overseas Move

Have you ever known a stress-free PCS? Chances are, you haven’t. There’s so much to coordinate with any military move. You’re often consumed with making big decisions like choosing to sell or rent your current home and busy filing paperwork to transfer schools, doctors, and vets. Not to mention taking the time to research your new duty station while striving to maintain any bit of normalcy you can! And that’s with a regular PCS move. But when you’re faced with an overseas move, the chaos takes on a whole new level, and the term overwhelming becomes an understatement.

When you’re grasping for sanity, try to think about it like this: It’s just another PCS move! Your move overseas will be filled with a little more unknown, a few more decisions, and a few extra miles. But when you think about it, it’s just a relocation from one duty station to the next.

Here are five ways to get ready for your overseas PCS move:

1. Get organized!

The best way to reduce stress is to get organized. As with any move, you need to get all your important documents in order. Only this time, you may need some more paperwork.

MilitaryByOwner’s Overseas PCS Survival Guide provides a great list to guide you through creating your overseas PCS binder:

  • Copies of orders
  • Powers of attorney, if applicable
  • Vehicle shipping information
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage license
  • Child custody paperwork
  • Car titles and insurance policies
  • Moving documents
  • Hotel and flight reservations
  • Children’s school records
  • Veterinarian paperwork, including shot records
  • Passports and copies of passports
  • List of contact numbers, in case your cell phone doesn’t work in the new area.

2. Set a budget.

While the military handles a large majority of your moving costs, there are a few that you’ll need to cover on your own. It’s a good idea to do your future self a favor and start setting aside money now to keep the costs from adding up and creating a financial burden. Here are some things to consider:

  • Security deposit: If you’re renting your current home, get an estimate of how much you’ll see back so you can determine an accurate budget.
  • Pets: If your furry friends are going with you, they’ll likely need a handful of visits to the vet and a few vaccinations. These trips can add up quickly, and aren’t typically reimbursed by the government, so it’s a good idea to start setting aside money now.
  • Restocking: You may not give it much thought now, but replacing your toilet bowl brushes, cleaning supplies, staple foods, condiments, and spices can make for a hefty bill.
  • Vehicle: The government only pays to ship one POV. If you have more than one vehicle, you’ll need to decide if it’s worth it to ship the second car, store it, or sell it and buy a new one at your overseas location.

3. Decide what you’re taking.

This time, it’s not as simple as having the movers pack everything you own. There are certain rules about overseas moves that may limit what you can bring, especially if your overseas destination has different laws in place. (Check with your sponsor to see if downsizing is needed or not.)

You’ll also want to be mindful of your potential space. There’s a chance you’ll be forced to downsize at your new location, so in addition to leaving things you can’t take, you might also consider leaving things that you can live without behind as well.

This is a great opportunity to ask yourself the four essential questions and make piles of things to donate or store. Does it serve a purpose? Are there multiples? Is it being used? Does it draw emotion?

4. Pick your overseas sponsor’s brain.

You should have a sponsor for your overseas move, who will be there there to answer questions, tell you about the area, and help you set up temporary lodging and transportation. The best part? They’ve been in your shoes. They’ll remember what it was like moving to your new overseas location and can give you the insight you need to feel prepared.   

Having said that, there’s no sense overlooking the value of connecting with the military community and researching the area online!  

5. Remember to have fun.

It’s important in the midst of your overseas move to remind yourself of the opportunity at hand.

Find ways to take advantage of the new locale, try new food, and explore the local culture. And, if this destination wasn’t your first pick, then remind yourself that it’s temporary. You’ll have the rest of your life to settle into a home in the middle of your comfort zone. For now, embrace the opportunity to learn and explore!



Ready to get moving? Hopefully you’re feeling a little more motivated and empowered to make this crazy move happen. With a lot of organization, a little bit of research, and an adult beverage (or two), you’ll have this move behind you in no time!

By Danielle Keech for MilitaryByOwner


  • MilitaryByOwner Advertising Inc

    In 1999, the owners of MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc, David, (USMC,Ret.) and Sharon Gran, were stationed in Germany faced with a move back to the states. This move triggered the idea of linking relocating military families. In 2000, MilitaryByOwner was launched. Our website offers advertisements of homes for sale or rent near US military bases. Our home advertisers connect with other families in need of living near a military base. Our business advertisers provide valuable resources to help make a PCS move a smooth one. For more information, please email We strive to provide superior customer service by being available for questions through our live chat online, email and office hours. The majority of our staff is either military spouses or dependents who can relate to the joy and stress of a military move. Don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or live chat!


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Late Night Talking

Late Night Talking

I’m a college kid, so late night talks and deadlines are part of my life. School’s back in session for me, and I’ve been doing a ton of writing as of late.

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