(BPT) – Moving is hectic for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for military families. Frequent relocations, sometimes across the country and often with short notice, can make it difficult for military families to build the kind of friends and family support teams that civilians rely on to help them move.
While military branches offer support programs and monetary allowances to help service people and their families move, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of relocating, military families can feel like they’re on their own. However, from hotels to moving companies, many moving-related businesses offer discounts and support to military families. For example, Penske Truck Rental not only offers military families a 20 percent discount on moving truck rentals, they have a dedicated call center for U.S. military moves.
If your family will be relocating this summer because of new orders, the moving experts at Penske offer some tips that can help make the move go smoothly:
* Plan ahead — Sometimes you might know in advance when and where you’ll be moving, but other times you might have short notice. Keep a folder of important information, such as phone numbers, contact names, checklists and bank accounts that will need to be moved. Having everything in one place before your orders arrive means you won’t be scrambling to locate important information at the last minute.
* Visit your Relocation Assistance Office — Military and Family Support Centers have relocation assistance offices that can help you navigate your move by connecting you with resources, helping you create a personalized moving calendar, contacting the support center at your new installation and connecting you with a sponsor there.
* Get to know your sponsor — When you move to your new installation, you’ll be assigned a sponsor who’s already working there. Generally, the military tries to pair sponsors who have something in common with the incoming personnel, such as the same rank or family background. Your sponsor can help make you feel welcome in your new location, share information about your duty station, and answer questions you and your family may have.
* Be mindful of rental truck weight — Military rules require you to certify the weight of your rental vehicle when it’s empty and after it’s fully loaded. The weight affects travel reimbursements, as do your rank and number of dependents, so it’s important to estimate the weight of your load ahead of time. Generally, you can expect 1,000 pounds per room, excluding bathrooms and storage areas. Add in the estimated weight of large appliances, garage items and things in storage, then compare that number to your allowance so you can be sure to avoid overweight costs. Penske offers a Certified Public Scale locator tool online to help movers in finding weigh stations.
* Make an inventory of your belongings — Before you load your rental truck, be sure to make an inventory of everything you’re putting on the truck. Consider taking pictures of any high-value items. Mark each box with your family name, destination, the room the items will be going to in your new home, and a general idea of what’s inside the box.
Moving is an inevitable part of military life, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. With some planning and support from resources like Military One Source’s moving pages and Penske Rental Truck’s dedicated military call center, you can make your family’s move as smooth as possible.