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Moving Tips for the Single Service Member

June 2009, MC&FP eMagazine

Moving in the military is a fact of life, presenting both opportunities and challenges.  If you are moving by yourself, it is especially important to be well organized and to have a timeline for your relocation.
Step 1:  Know your allowance and entitlements. 
Ensuring that you are aware of all allowances and entitlements is important.  For the latest information, consult the official DoD website, Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee, before planning an upcoming move.  The Defense Travel Management Office allows you to research travel and other information related to your move. 
Step 2:  Decide the type of household goods move to use.
There are two types of household goods moves:
  • personally procured moves (PPM)
  • government managed moves
Many single service members (about eighteen percent) opt to "do it themselves" and execute a PPM.  PPM allows a service member to move household goods and collect an incentive payment from the government when they have orders for permanent change of station (PCS), temporary duty (TDY), separation or retirement, or assignment to, from, or between government quarters.  A government managed move is handled through the installation's transportation office and is a good option if you have a lot of personal property or are moving overseas. 
If you want to learn more about a PPM, visit the new Move.Mil website and use the calculators; find your weight entitlements; perform self-counseling; connect to your local transportation office; and manage your move efficiently from your own home computer.
Step 3:  Find moving logistics help.
One of the hardest parts of any move is finding people to help pack, clean, load, and get ready for a move.  Here are some tips on finding help for an upcoming move:
  • Enlist fellow workers to help on a weekend with packing and moving.
  • Tell friends and neighbors to come "grubby," supply the food and drinks, and have a "paint your home party" before moving.
  • Pay some teenagers in the neighborhood to help have a garage sale. Give them a percentage of the "take."  Or, enlist the help of a local scout troop to help and offer to donate a certain amount to their troop fund.
  • Offer your home for a few meetings to the youth group or singles’ clubs in your place of worship in return for their help cleaning, painting, etc.
  • Put the word out among neighbors. Maybe they'd be willing to pick up dry cleaning at the same time as theirs, return library books, etc.
Step 4:  Make your new home feel like home.
It is normal to be homesick or to feel lonely during and after a move.  Stay connected with friends and family, and get connected with your new community.  Here are some basic things you can do to start to feel more at home:
  • Keep in close touch with loved ones and good friends, being sure to make new friends as soon as possible.
  • Check the web for listings of things to get involved with in the new location.
  • Use the Internet or have the family center relocation manager, sponsor, realtor, friend, or new boss send yellow pages entries for any hobbies you enjoy. Get in touch with the owners of shops that sell supplies for that hobby. They can often put you in touch with other enthusiasts.
  • If you belong to a singles' club in your area, check to see if they have an affiliate in the new destination, or if they know of a comparable club to contact.
  • Same with a health club. Be sure to transfer your membership, if possible, or join a new club right away if your budget can absorb the cost.
  • Installation fitness centers are a great benefit...membership is FREE. Exercising is a wonderful way to keep the blues away and meet others with similar healthy goals.
  • Join or transfer membership in professional organizations. Service clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimists, etc., afford a great opportunity to network and meet new people while helping the community.



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