Overseas PCS: Things Not to Forget When PCS’ing
Less Obvious But Still Essential Overseas PCS Tips
There is a lot of advice out there on what to pack and how to prepare for your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) overseas. Starting with deciding what to ship across the world and what to keep back, and ending with your final check list the night before, it is easy to forget the things that might come in handy the day of the move.
Moving from place to place and traveling overseas might be common for some military families, but it is not every day that you pick up your whole household and move hundreds to thousands of miles away. It is important to have a small bag that you keep with you at all times to make sure all of the important items and documents get where they need to be in a comfortable manner.
More than likely the airline that you will be traveling on, whether that be the Patriot or commercial, will provide you with the options of meals and snacks. It is also more than likely that the kids will not enjoy what the airline has to offer. The hot meals, with limited options, will probably not satisfy the sweet tooth of a 10-year-old after 6 hours in the air. Bringing your own snacks will give you the chance to have those favorite peanut butter filled pretzels or chocolate candies one last time before the foreign flavors if traveling overseas.
Traveling with a PCS Binder should be your first priority. Having a binder with everything all in one place from passports to pet health certificates is crucial. At each step of the process, you may be asked to provide your orders and they may not be returned. Even though it may seem redundant, having extra copies of orders and passports tucked away in your carry-on luggage can be a lifesaver. When your teenager says “don’t worry, I won’t lose it” and then proceeds to leave your official orders in an airport bathroom, it is always a relief to remember that there is a copy at the bottom of their carry on.
When traveling to another country, it is important to exchange foreign currency so, in the case of a declined credit or debit card, you have physical currency to get by. Outside the United States, it is common for smaller businesses such as taxis or gas stations to not accept cards, forcing you to pay with cash. Do some research on the type of currency used in the country, in Japan, coins are most common making a coin purse come in handy.
Extra Clothes and Personal Items
With traveling the world you may find yourself sitting in the same clothes you put on 26 hours prior. It is important to keep a simple change of clothes in your carry-on. Whether that be just an extra change of underwear or an entire outfit, anything to keep you feeling comfortable over a long period of time is great! This allows for a quick cleanup for any type of accident that occurs in the air. Additionally, the travel size disinfectants and baby wipes will always come in handy.
After arriving at your new station, it may be hard to get the proper cleaning supplies needed before you move into your new home. Having things like a small bottle of all-purpose cleaner, a duster and a roll of paper towels may seem to take up extra space, but making sure your new home smells and feels clean before unpacking is important. Adding an extra toothbrush and hairbrush to this part of your luggage will come in handy in the case that one goes missing during your travels.
Even though you think that your pet might be able to make it through that 8-hour flight, accidents do happen. Many people think that since their pet can sleep through the night without fail, or travel without problem they would be fine on the long haul. Water may spill, they might get sick or they end up not being able to hold it, having extra pet wipes or towels will help keep them clean. Regardless of how they react normally, it is always best to prepare for the worst. Loud noises, other unknown pets, and separation may cause heightened anxiety for your pet.
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About the author
Kellie is a military spouse currently residing in Japan. She acquired her bachelors degree in Communications from the oldest private military college in the United States, Norwich University.