Military families must learn the secrets to living out of suitcases for months and unpacking a household’s worth of boxes in just two days. Each new duty assignment comes with its own unique challenges, however, lengthier TDY assignments push families to quickly adapt and hit the ground running.
At Military Crashpad, we want to help you find a temporary home away from home, and we are joined by a growing number of organizations that share this goal. When considering resources to help you through your next relocation, start with traditional military sites, but don’t stop there. New mobile applications are available that you can easily access from anywhere. Also, be sure to think outside of the box and reach for resources you might otherwise use to plan a big vacation or other life transition.
To help you get started, here is a list of resources to be thankful for come TDY or relocation time.
Manage Your Military Move
- Moving Apps: No military move is ever the same, and it can be difficult to keep track of all of the moving pieces. Several new applications are available for your mobile device to help you to manage your relocation. The Organized Chaos app, available for $1.99, is designed to help military families to organize and streamline their lives. The app features a PCS Portal, which includes checklists and countdowns. My Ultimate PCS, powered by militarybyowner.com, is the first PCS planning app. Use this app to track your move progress, store inventory photos, and access important links and resources.
- Kate Horrell’s Ultimate PCS Checklist: For those of us who prefer paper planners, Kate Horrell, a military finance coach, has developed a very comprehensive checklist for PCS moves. This free printable checklist can be tailored to your specific relocation – whether it’s a mid-length TDY or full-blown overseas move. Use this list to help you stay on top of all of the items that must be accomplished both in your new location and old.
- USAA: Before a relocation of any length, it is important to consider the impact on your budget, as well as the security of your household goods and valuables. USAA has a page dedicated to PCS information and tools. USAA members can also gain discounts on travel, moving, and storage.
- PCSgrades: When looking at your housing options, make sure you check out PCSgrades, the only place online where military families can leave their housing reviews in a secure setting. Read about the on- and off-installation housing, find an agent to help you with your rental or purchase, and make sure you check out their cash-back options.
- Facebook: Some of the most up-to-date and complete sources of information about a new duty location are the Facebook groups specific to military families in that area. Groups can be far-reaching, to include everyone stationed in the area, or more specific, such as a playgroup for a specific base’s surrounding environs. Some larger installation areas even have Facebook groups specific to relocation, such as the group Military Moves Us – PCS to DC. Be sure to search out local groups to find other military families who can answer your questions and potentially jumpstart your community, as well.
Help Children Face a Move
- MilKids Ed: Relocations that include school-aged family members have an added layer of difficulty, and families often need to take into consideration the impact and sacrifices of military children. With frequent, and often short-termed relocations, military children have special educational considerations. MilKids Ed provides expert advice to help solve school issues quickly and simply. Free resources for military families are available on the website to help children transition to a new school.
- Sesame Street for Military Kids: Families relocating with young children need to take advantage of the great resources on the Sesame Street for Military Kids Relocation Page. There is a video on the Big Moving Adventure, tips for discussing a relocation, and downloadable PDFs featuring children’s favorite Sesame Street characters. For families facing a TDY that takes a parent away from the home for an extended time, there is another Sesame Street page that offers additional resources on deployments.
Plan Your Next Adventure
- Local Tourism Boards: Tap into the enthusiasm of local experts to see the best of what your new area has to offer, to include the attractions and specialties that draw people on vacation. Get a head start on discovering neighborhoods, restaurants, attractions, and stores. Search for tourism boards online, on social media apps such as Instagram, and on YouTube. For example, if you have an upcoming stay in one of our San Antonio crashpad’s, you should stop by Visit San Antonio site for maps, upcoming events, free brochures, and easy access to all of the tourism board’s social media accounts. Staff are normally easily reached through their online platforms and are available to answer questions that will help you feel more at ease in your temporary home.
- Online Travel Resources: While many of these resources are obvious when planning your next great family getaway, don’t forget to tap into online travel sites when planning your relocation. Traditional travel books series, such as Lonely Planet and Frommers, have extensive online resources worth searching before any relocation. Additionally, online-only travel resources, such as TripAdvisor, allow you to read real traveler’s first-hand reviews of restaurants and attractions. Online versions of travel magazines, such as Time Out, or local interest magazines, such as Washingtonian, also cover some of the latest and most exciting news coming from your new location.
- YouTube: You might be surprised by what you can find on YouTube when searching for your new location. Whether its past episodes of HGTV’s House Hunters, The New York Times 36 Hours features, or videos posted by travel vloggers or other visitors, a good video can make a place come to life and seem more approachable. These videos can be especially helpful for young travelers, who start to see the adventure and excitement in the relocation, instead of the unknown.
- Sygic Travel Maps App: This helpful app allows you to great your own travel guide and itinerary, which is easily accessible on your mobile device. Plan the route from one duty station to the next, discovering the top attractions and hidden gems along the way. Maps can then be downloaded for offline use.
When it’s time to relocate – or well before it’s time actually – take a look at some of these resources and start making a plan. And don’t forget, our crash pads are open and available for you at any time, so don’t rush into anything!
Written by Jessica Harbin