Tips for a Military Move

Tips for a Military Move

Moving is hard. With a military move, factors to consider don't come with the normal stresses of moving: travel, thousands of miles away from family and friends, new cultures and people, and the deployment itself.

For most, a military move isn't an option. It's a necessity, and there are strategies to make the journey smoother.

Here are some tips for your military move:

1. Prepare

Getting ready for a military move is stressful but necessary. You need to prepare yourself and your family with the right information, so you aren't taken by surprise when it comes time to pack up all of your personal belongings, say bye to loved ones, and head out on the open road.

The first place to start is contacting your unit's Family Readiness Officer (FRO). They can help you know what the process is and how to prepare for all of it. There's a lot to look into with your military move so try not to miss an important date or deadline.

2. Prepare Your Family

Your family will want to take in a new culture just as much as you do. They'll want to participate in the local festivities and explore the new area as much as possible.

For some, this is a viable option; for others, it's not. Below we've listed different scenarios and how to prepare your family if you choose so:

If You're Moving Overseas

This one is a bit different than the normal military move. With an overseas military deployment, your family doesn't have to come with you, but if they decide to, there are some things to consider that might help make their life easier when they arrive in-country.

With this scenario, you and your spouse should explain everything about the culture, local laws, and customs. If you are still confused, here's a military moving checklist which covers most of the points. There will be an abundance of information that you'll need to provide for them, so they are prepared as much as possible for the move and deployment.

Try not to overwhelm them with information but prepare them just enough to know what is going on around them. An example would explain different ways to communicate, types of transportation, local laws, and customs.

Being prepared will help make the transition easier for everyone and put your mind at ease knowing your family is in good hands.

If You're Moving to a Different State/Province or Country

As we mentioned above, most of the time, a military move isn't an option, but when it is, you need to get ready for a new adventure.

A military move to a different state/province or country is very pricey, and depending on the travel distance, it can take you months to get there, even years. The other option is if you're not driving, which most people don't want to do for that long, but if you are, then try to make sure your family understands what's going on.

They are probably scared and nervous about the move too, so again, make sure you or your spouse is a good point person for information.

3. Travel Preparation

Depending on what service you're in, it can take months to get settled into your new living arrangements. This doesn't mean that you have to wait until then to start getting the house ready for your family.

Start as soon as you get word of where you're going, especially if it's overseas. You can't live in base housing, so the sooner you find a good place to live and move into, the better.

Moving is hard on everyone, but it seems that much harder when you're doing it by yourself. But it's not just about you and your spouse. You need to be able to think of your children, too, so make sure you find a good house for them while still allowing your family time to adjust before the move day comes.

4. Local Amenities

As soon as you have an address, tell everyone in your family. They will want to start looking into schools, local things to do, and local laws.

Start making a list of everything they'll need from doctors' offices to clothing stores. Make sure everyone is in the loop, so you don't have any surprises while you're settling into your new home.

5. Shipping Your Belongings

One of the hardest things about moving is that most soldiers don't have the luxury of driving their belongings to their new duty station. Most military moves are made via shipping, so your family might have to start making arrangements ahead of time to get everything they need to be shipped over.

If this, is you, then you're in for a tough road ahead of you? You will have to contact each company individually and find out the cost of shipping everything over.

Not only will it be expensive but also time-consuming, so you might want to start making some arrangements early on before you're given an E-day date.

6. Pet Preparation

Depending on what service you're in, there are some restrictions for shipping your pet. Depending on the branch of service and their regulations, you might be able to take a pet or not.

If you do have a pet, then make sure that you get everything ready so when they tell you that day is the day your pet can be loaded onto the truck and taken with you.

You'll want to keep on top of how everything is going with the paperwork, vaccinations, etc. Upon arriving where you're going, your pets will need a health certificate, so make sure they have had all their shots before being shipped out.

7. What to Do Before You Leave

As you get closer and closer to your E-day, or even when you know that it's right around the corner, there are a few things that you should do just for yourself.

The last thing you want is to be in your new home and miss old friends, so make sure before leaving that you schedule time with them so when you're settling in, everyone can be happy to see each other.

This might be hard on them if you have kids, but it's also nice for them to get some downtime with the friends they've made before starting a new school, so maybe plan a dinner or just something simple where your family and friends can hang out together.


Military moves can be a pain, especially when you're doing it and not your spouse. You are dealing with the family issues and the move itself, so it's important to know what steps to take early on before you even get your E-day information.

It can be not easy but at least make sure that you have someone to keep you in check and tell you what needs to be done as soon as possible.

Make sure that you're not the only one getting prepared for your move because if you are, it will all fall on you, and it might make moving stressful. So, make sure that everyone is on top of their game, so when E-day finally comes around, you can be as relaxed and stress-free as possible.

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