Military life can be both exciting and challenging, especially when it comes to relocating. Military families often face numerous moves throughout a service member’s career, which can be stressful and difficult to manage. However, there are various resources and services available to help make the transition smoother and less overwhelming.
This article will outline some of these resources, including tips to make the relocation process easier and more efficient, car shipping services, military-specific housing resources and programs, and advice on handling your family’s emotional stability during the relocation process.
Beginning your preparations early and staying organized is key to a successful relocation. Create a detailed timeline and checklist of tasks to accomplish before, during, and after the move. This can help you track your progress and ensure that nothing important is overlooked. Assign responsibilities to family members and involve everyone in the process to make it a team effort.
Take advantage of military resources such as the installation’s Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) and the Military OneSource website. These services can provide valuable information and support for your move, including access to relocation counseling, checklists, planning tools, and referrals to other services.
Join online forums and social media groups for military families who are relocating. These communities can be a wealth of information and support, as well as a place to share experiences and advice. Connecting with others who are going through the same process can help alleviate stress and create a sense of camaraderie.
Gather as much information as possible about your new duty station and the surrounding community. Research schools, medical facilities, job opportunities for spouses, and recreational activities. Familiarizing yourself with the area can help ease anxiety and make the transition smoother.
Relocating can be expensive, so it’s important to create a detailed moving budget that accounts for costs such as travel, temporary lodging, and shipping or storing household goods. Military families may be eligible for financial assistance, such as Dislocation Allowance (DLA) or Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE), to help offset some of these costs. Make sure to keep receipts and documentation for reimbursement purposes.
Relocating can be emotionally challenging for both service members and their families. Be prepared for feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness. Maintain open lines of communication and encourage family members to express their feelings and concerns. Keep a positive attitude and focus on the new opportunities that await at your new location.
Shipping your vehicle can save you time, energy, and potentially reduce wear and tear on your car. It also allows you to focus on the other aspects of your move, such as packing, settling into your new home, and helping your family adjust. Car shipping services can handle the logistics and ensure that your vehicle arrives safely and on time.
To find the right car shipping service for your needs, research and compare several companies. Look for reviews, testimonials, and ratings from other military families who have used their services. Obtain multiple quotes to compare pricing, and make sure to ask about any military discounts.
There are several shipping methods available, including open and enclosed transport, as well as door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal shipping. Open transport is typically more affordable but exposes your vehicle to the elements, while enclosed transport provides added protection at a higher cost.
Door-to-door shipping offers convenience, as the company will pick up and deliver your vehicle directly to your desired locations, while terminal-to-terminal shipping requires you to drop off and pick up your car at designated locations. Consider your budget, vehicle type, and personal preferences when choosing the right method for your needs.
According to Montway Auto Transport, one of the New York car shipping companies available to military families nationwide, “The distance of transport, time of year and your specific vehicle type will have an impact on shipping options as well as your total cost. There are thousands of carriers across the country, and the one you choose to work with is an important decision to make. Rather than finding a carrier yourself, consider working with an auto transport broker.”
Before shipping your car, it’s important to prepare it properly. Remove any personal items and valuables, as they won’t be covered by the shipping company’s insurance. Ensure that your car is in good working condition, with properly inflated tires, and no leaks. Additionally, document any existing damages with photos and provide this information to the shipping company to avoid any disputes upon delivery.
Inquire about the insurance coverage provided by the car shipping company. Make sure you understand the extent of the coverage, any deductibles, and the process for filing a claim in case of damage during transit. Consider purchasing additional insurance if the provided coverage doesn’t meet your needs or preferences.
Coordinate with the car shipping company to schedule pickup and delivery dates that align with your relocation timeline. Keep in mind that shipping times can vary depending on factors such as distance, weather, and transport method. Ensure that you or a designated representative are available to receive the vehicle upon delivery, inspect it for any damages, and sign off on the final paperwork.
There are several military-specific housing resources available to military families. Here are just a few that you should be aware of.
Consult with your installation’s Military Housing Office (MHO) to obtain information on available housing options, both on and off-base. MHO staff can provide guidance on local housing markets, waitlists for on-base housing, and assistance in securing off-base rentals or purchases that meet your needs and budget.
Service members may be eligible for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which is intended to help offset the cost of housing in the civilian community. BAH rates are based on factors such as pay grade, location, and dependency status. Use the Department of Defense BAH calculator to estimate your allowance and plan your housing budget accordingly.
Many installations offer privatized housing options, which are managed by private companies in partnership with the military. These communities often provide amenities such as parks, recreational facilities, and community events tailored to military families. Research the privatized housing options at your new duty station to determine if this may be a suitable choice for your family.
Service members and veterans may be eligible for the VA Home Loan Program, which offers competitive interest rates, reduced down payment requirements, and other benefits for purchasing or refinancing a home. Explore the VA Home Loan Program to see if it’s a viable option for your homebuying needs.
If you own a home and are struggling to sell or rent it due to a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or other qualifying events, the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) may provide financial assistance. HAP offers several forms of aid, including reimbursement for certain losses incurred during the sale of your home or assistance with mortgage payments.
Maintain open lines of communication with your family throughout the relocation process. Discuss the upcoming move, share information about the new location, and address any concerns or questions. Encourage family members to express their feelings and provide emotional support.
Establish routines and maintain familiar traditions to create a sense of stability and continuity during the relocation process. This can help ease anxiety and provide comfort for your family, especially children who may be struggling with the changes.
Involving children in the moving process can help them feel more in control and invested in the transition. Assign age-appropriate tasks and responsibilities, such as packing their own belongings or researching their new school. This can help them feel more prepared and excited about the move.
Connect with other military families, both at your current location and your new duty station, to create a support network. These connections can provide valuable resources, advice, and emotional support during the relocation process. Reach out to friends and family outside the military community as well for additional encouragement and understanding.
If you or a family member are struggling with the emotional impact of relocation, consider seeking professional help from a counselor or therapist. Military OneSource offers free, confidential counseling services to service members and their families, and many installations have mental health professionals available to provide support.
While military relocations can be challenging, they also offer opportunities for personal growth, new experiences, and the formation of lasting friendships. Focus on the positive aspects of the move and remind your family of the exciting adventures that await at your new duty station.
Relocating as a military family can be a complex and emotional process, but with the right resources and support, it can also be a successful and rewarding experience. By utilizing the various resources available, including relocation assistance programs, car shipping services, military housing options, and emotional support strategies, military families can navigate the challenges of relocation with confidence and resilience. Embrace the opportunities that come with each move and cherish the memories created along the way.