A Comprehensive Guide To Preparing For Your First Military Move

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Embarking on your first military move can be a daunting endeavor, filled with uncertainties and a lengthy to-do list. At Military Car Shipping, we understand the unique challenges that come with military relocations.

That’s why we’ve crafted this comprehensive guide, designed to streamline your preparation process and alleviate the stress of transitioning to a new post. Whether you’re an active service member or a supportive military family, this guide is your ally, offering expert insights and practical tips to ensure a smooth journey from start to finish.

With over two decades of experience in military vehicle transportation, we’re here to help you navigate the complexities of your move so you can focus on what truly matters – your service and well-being. Get ready to turn the page to your next chapter with confidence and ease.

Starting Your Military Move Journey

preparing for your first military move, military member

Embarking on a military move can be a significant milestone in your service career. It’s a period marked by change and new beginnings, whether you’re heading to a new duty station or preparing for a permanent change of station.

1. The Initial Steps: Understanding Orders and Timelines

When orders to a new location arrive, understanding the details and timelines is crucial. Service members must review their orders carefully, noting critical dates and requirements.

This initial step sets the pace for the moving process, ensuring that every subsequent action aligns with the military’s schedule. Early engagement with your local transportation office can provide clarity and help you map out the logistics from one duty station to the next.

In the first few days after receiving orders, it’s essential to visit the personal property office. They’ll offer guidance on military pay for moving costs and the steps for a personally procured move if you choose to handle the relocation yourself.

2. Researching Your New Destination

Moving to a new duty station involves more than just packing. It’s about familiarizing yourself with your future duty station. Researching your new installation can ease the transition, providing insights into local amenities, military families’ support systems, and educational opportunities for military spouses and children.

Military moves are not just about the service member but the entire family. The family support center at your new location can be a valuable resource, offering programs and services to help you settle in.

3. Creating a Comprehensive Moving Checklist

A well-thought-out moving checklist is a cornerstone of a successful military move. It should encompass every detail, from when the movers arrive to the delivery of your personal property. A checklist ensures nothing is overlooked, from securing important documents to scheduling the moving truck’s arrival.

The checklist should also include a timeline for each task, helping military families stay on track throughout the moving process. This proactive approach can save money and prevent last-minute rushes.

4. Budgeting for the Move: What to Expect

Understanding and planning for moving costs is a vital part of preparing for a military move. While the military pays for many moving expenses, there may be out-of-pocket costs, especially if you opt for a personally procured move.

Creating a budget early on can help you manage expenses and even save money by identifying cost-effective options, such as yard sales to reduce the load or choosing the right moving company that offers military discounts.

5. Family Preparation: Tips for Spouses and Children

Military spouses often bear the brunt of organizing for a move, and their role cannot be overstated. Preparing the family involves discussing the move with children, coordinating school transfers, and ensuring that the family support center’s resources are utilized.

For military families, the moving process is also a family affair. Engaging everyone in the planning can make the transition to the next duty station smoother and less stressful.

6. Special Considerations for International Relocations

International relocations come with their own set of challenges. From navigating customs to arranging long-distance movers, service members must consider various factors. Engaging with the transportation office early can provide insights into the unique aspects of an overseas move.

Understanding the military’s guidelines for international moves, such as the Air Force’s requirements for personal property shipment, can ensure compliance and a smoother transition to your new duty station abroad.

7. Utilizing Military Resources and Support Systems

The military offers a plethora of resources to assist service members during a move. From the personal property office to the local transportation office, there are numerous points of support.

Taking advantage of these resources can provide guidance on everything from the moving truck to the details of a permanent change of station, ensuring that service members and their families have the support they need.

8. The Importance of Early Planning

Early planning is perhaps the most critical aspect of preparing for a military move. It allows for a thorough understanding of the moving process, from the first pcs to subsequent relocations.

Starting early gives service members the advantage of time, which can be used to research moving companies, understand the military’s moving policies, and prepare for the move without undue pressure.

Organizing Your Belongings

air force, continental united states

The physical act of moving starts with organizing and packing your belongings. It’s a task that requires attention to detail and an understanding of what should make the trip to your new duty station.

1. Sorting and Inventory: What to Keep and What to Let Go

Before the movers arrive, it’s essential to sort through your personal property. Deciding what to keep and what to let go can significantly impact the ease of your move. A yard sale can be a practical way to declutter and save money on moving costs. An accurate inventory helps track your items during transit and ensures everything arrives at your new location.

Creating a detailed inventory list is also a safeguard against loss or damage. It’s a critical step that military families should not overlook, as it aids in the accountability of personal property during the moving process.

2. Packing Strategies for Efficiency and Safety

Packing might seem straightforward, but efficient packing is an art, especially when preparing for a permanent change of station. Utilizing the right packing materials and techniques can protect your belongings and make unpacking at your new duty station a breeze.

Military moves often involve transporting a variety of items, including some that are delicate or valuable. Proper packing ensures that your personal property is protected throughout the journey, whether it’s a short trip to a new local duty station or an international relocation.

3. Handling Valuables and Sensitive Documents

When it comes to valuables and sensitive documents, extra care is necessary. These items should travel with you, not in the moving truck. Service members should keep important documents, such as orders, birth certificates, and passports, in a secure but accessible place during the move.

For military spouses handling the bulk of the packing, creating a personal “essentials” box can be a lifesaver. This box should include items you’ll need immediately upon arrival at your new home, ensuring they’re not buried in the sea of boxes.

4. Preparing Your Vehicle for Transport

If you’re utilizing a military car shipping service, preparing your vehicle for transport is a key step. This includes cleaning out the car, noting any existing damage for insurance purposes, and securing or removing loose items.

The personal property office can provide guidelines on how the military pays for vehicle transport and what you need to do to prepare. Remember, the condition of your vehicle upon arrival at your new duty station can set the tone for your settling-in experience.

5. Arranging Temporary Storage Solutions

Sometimes, there’s a gap between when you leave one duty station and when you can move into your new installation. In such cases, arranging for temporary storage of your personal property is essential.

Military families should look for storage solutions that offer flexibility and security. Some military moves may include storage benefits, so check with your local transportation office for options and assistance.

6. Essential Packing Supplies and Where to Find Them

Having the right packing supplies is crucial for a successful move. Boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and markers are just the beginning. Service members can often obtain packing materials at a reduced cost or even for free from the personal property office or local transportation office.

For those opting for a personally procured move, finding affordable supplies can help save money. Military spouses can be resourceful in gathering these materials, often tapping into community resources or military spouse networks.

7. Last-Minute Packing Tips

Even with meticulous planning, there will always be last-minute packing. Having a strategy for these final items can prevent chaos on a moving day. This includes setting aside personal items you’ll need during travel to your next duty station, such as clothing, chargers, and snacks.

Military families often learn from each move, developing their own set of last-minute packing tips. Sharing these with other military spouses can be a great way to support each other through the moving process.

Navigating the Logistics of Military Car Shipping

cleaning supplies, smooth move

When it’s time to move, transporting your vehicle is a significant consideration. Military Car Shipping services are designed to alleviate the stress of moving your car to your new duty station.

1. Choosing the Right Military Car Shipping Service

Selecting a reputable military car shipping service is crucial. Look for companies with experience in handling moves for service members, offering clear communication and reliable tracking systems. Ensure they understand the nuances of a military move and can guarantee delivery to your new location within the military’s required timelines.

2. Understanding the Costs and Discounts Available

Cost is a key factor when arranging to ship your vehicle. Many companies provide discounts for service members, so it’s worth inquiring about special rates. Remember, the military may cover some or all of the cost of shipping your vehicle, especially if you’re moving to a new duty station overseas.

3. Preparing Your Vehicle for Shipping

Before your vehicle is picked up by the shipping company, take the time to prepare it properly. This includes maintenance checks, removing personal items, and documenting the condition of the vehicle. Your local transportation office can offer a checklist to ensure you don’t miss any critical steps.

4. The Shipping Process: What to Expect

Understanding the shipping process can help set your expectations. From pickup to delivery, a reliable military car shipping company will keep you informed every step of the way. They should provide details on how your vehicle will be transported, the estimated time of arrival, and any necessary paperwork.

5. Tracking Your Vehicle During Transit

A good military car shipping service will offer tracking options so you can monitor your vehicle’s journey to your new duty station. This feature provides peace of mind and allows you to plan your arrival accordingly.

6. Receiving Your Vehicle at Your New Location

Upon arrival at your new location, inspect your vehicle thoroughly before accepting delivery. If you notice any discrepancies from the condition report made before shipping, report them immediately to the shipping company for resolution.

7. Post-Transport Vehicle Inspection

After your vehicle has been delivered, take it for a post-transport inspection. This is especially important for service members who rely on their vehicles for daily duties at the new installation. Ensure everything is functioning correctly, and if there are issues, contact the shipping company immediately.

Read More: Find Out How To Pack Your Car For Shipping

Settling Into Your New Home

tech school, new house

Arriving at your new installation is more than just a physical move; it’s the start of a new chapter in your military life.

1. Unpacking and Home Organization

Unpacking efficiently can help you and your family settle into your new home quickly. Start with essentials and work your way to less critical items. Military families often find that a systematic approach to unpacking can reduce the stress associated with settling into a new duty station.

2. Registering Your Vehicle in a New State or Country

If your move involves relocating to a new state or country, you’ll need to register your vehicle according to local laws. Check with the local transportation office or your new installation’s support services for guidance on this process.

3. Finding Local Resources for Military Families

Many installations have a family support center that can provide information on local resources. These centers are invaluable for military spouses and families looking to integrate into their new community.

4. Community Integration: Tips for Adjusting to a New Environment

Adjusting to a new environment takes time. Participate in local events and join military spouse networks to build connections. These activities can help military families feel more at home at their new duty station.

5. Dealing With Relocation Stress: Mental Health Resources

Relocation can be stressful for service members and their families. Utilize the mental health resources provided by the military to help manage the emotional aspects of a move. The family support center can provide information on available services.

Read More: Find The Best Deployment Vehicle Storage Solutions

Why Choose Our Military Car Shipping Services?

When it comes to relocating for military personnel, transporting your vehicle shouldn’t be a burden. At Military Car Shipping, we specialize in providing seamless, stress-free car transportation services for service members. Our expertise and dedication to our military customers set us apart.

Tailored Transport Plans

  • Understanding Your Needs: We start by assessing your specific situation, whether it’s a move across the country or an overseas deployment.
  • Customized Solutions: Our team crafts a transport plan that aligns with your timeline, destination, and personal preferences.
  • Comprehensive Service: From pick-up to delivery, we handle every detail, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

Secure and Reliable Shipping

  • Safety First: Our carriers are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to ensure the safety and security of your vehicle during transit.
  • Tracking and Updates: We provide real-time tracking so you can stay informed about your vehicle’s journey every step of the way.
  • Insurance Coverage: Every shipment is insured, giving you peace of mind that your vehicle is protected.

Affordable and Transparent Pricing

  • No Hidden Costs: We offer straightforward pricing without any hidden fees, making it easy to budget for your move.
  • Military Discounts: In appreciation of your service, we provide special rates for active duty and veteran service members.
  • Value for Service: Our competitive pricing doesn’t compromise on quality – you get the best service at the best price.

Dedicated Support

  • Personalized Attention: Our customer service team is dedicated to supporting you throughout the moving process.
  • Expertise on Call: With years of experience in military relocations, our staff can answer any questions and provide expert advice.
  • Post-Shipment Assistance: Even after your vehicle is delivered, we’re here to help with any additional needs or concerns.


Preparing for your first military move can be a daunting task, but with the right resources and a solid plan, it can also be a smooth transition to your new duty station. From understanding orders and timelines to settling into your new home, each step is an opportunity to make your move efficient and stress-free.

Remember, Military Car Shipping is here to support you in transporting your vehicle safely, affordably, and on time. We take pride in serving those who serve our country, and we’re committed to making your relocation as seamless as possible.

If you’re planning your first military move, reach out to us for a quote and experience a move that’s as dedicated to your service as you are to our nation.


What should I do to prepare my vehicle for shipping with Military Car Shipping?

Ensure your vehicle is clean, personal items are removed, and you have documented its condition. We’ll guide you through the rest of the process for a smooth experience.

How can I track my vehicle during transport?

We provide real-time tracking for your vehicle. Once your car is on its way, you’ll receive a tracking number to keep tabs on its journey to your new duty station.

Are there any discounts available for military personnel?

Yes, we offer special discounts for active duty and veteran service members as a token of our appreciation for your service.

What happens if my vehicle is damaged during shipping?

While damages are rare due to our stringent safety measures, we provide comprehensive insurance for all shipments. If there’s any damage, we’ll assist you with the claims process.

Can Military Car Shipping handle international car transport for military moves?

Absolutely, we have extensive experience in international car shipping and can transport your vehicle to virtually any global destination your service requires.