PCS Pitfalls: Missteps in Planning for PCS

Author: Jeremy Flint, Former Infantry Officer, Former Captain U.S. Army

PCS Pitfalls to Avoid

PCS moves are a fact of life for military members and their families. While the chance to explore new places and meet new people can be exciting, the logistics of the move can be daunting.

There are many moving parts to keep track of, from packing up your belongings to finding a new home in an unfamiliar location. It’s no wonder that many military members and their families make mistakes along the way.

Here are some tips and insights from military experts and spouses to help you avoid common PCS mistakes.

Preparing for Military PCS

Waiting Too Long to Start Planning

One of the most common mistakes military members and spouses make when it comes to PCS moves is waiting too long to start planning.

It’s easy to underestimate the time and effort required to pack up your entire life and move to a new location, especially if you’re moving overseas.

Getting organized to PCS Military Cars

Not Doing Your Research

Start researching your new location and housing options as soon as possible and make a checklist of tasks you need to complete before the move.

Research Military PCS location

Not Decluttering Before the Move

Another common mistake military families make is not decluttering before the move. It’s easy to get attached to belongings, but the reality is that you probably don’t need everything you own.

Take the time to go through your belongings and get rid of items you no longer need or want. This will not only make the move easier, but it will also help you start fresh in your new location.

PCS Must Have Checklist

Not Getting Organized

Organization is key when it comes to a successful PCS move. Make sure you have a system in place for keeping track of important documents, receipts, and other paperwork.

Use color-coded labels and markers to identify boxes and items and take photos of your belongings before packing them up. This will make it easier to unpack and organize your new home once you arrive.

Plan your PCS orders early

Not Researching Your New Location

Another mistake military members and spouses make is not researching their new location before the move.

Every location is different, and it’s important to learn about the local culture, customs, and amenities before you arrive.

Research schools, healthcare providers, and other services that you’ll need once you arrive. This will help you feel more prepared and comfortable in your new surroundings.

Why your PCS location matters

Not Communicating with Your Spouse

Communication is key when it comes to PCS moves. Make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to housing options, logistics, and timelines. Take the time to talk about your concerns and expectations for the move, and work together to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Spouse guide to PCSing

Not Asking for Help

Finally, many military members and spouses make the mistake of not asking for help when they need it. PCS moves can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of resources available to help you through the process.

Reach out to your installation’s relocation office, base housing office, or other military support services for assistance. These organizations are there to help you, so take advantage of their expertise and support.

Getting help to PCS Military Autosource


PCS moves are stress-filled and overwhelming, but with a little planning and preparation, you can avoid common mistakes and make the transition as smooth as possible.

Remember to start planning early, declutter before the move, get organized, research your new location, communicate with your spouse, and ask for help when you need it. With these tips in mind, you can make your PCS move a success.


Author Jeremy Flint is a former Infantry Officer and Former Captain in the U.S. Army. He currently works for the Department of Veteran Affairs and is a freelance writer. And interestingly enough, we learned Jeremy used his military car buying benefits while overseas and purchased a Jeep from Military AutoSource in 2015.

About Military AutoSource

Created by and for the military, Military AutoSource provides a factory-direct program tailored to the unique circumstances and needs of military life. As the only Exchange authorized overseas car buying program, MAS is the exclusive military distributor and retailer for AudiChryslerDodgeFordHarley-Davidson, JeepLincolnNissanRam, and Volkswagen vehicles.

Through our program, U.S. military stationed, deployed, or on TDY, DOD contractors, and the Diplomatic community overseas can purchase a new or pre-owned US spec vehicle for delivery in the United States or to more than 50 overseas duty locations.  Learn more about your overseas US military car buying benefits.



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