You’re a military spouse and you expect this, but relocating is a huge undertaking. The idea of packing up your entire life and moving to a new place is very overwhelming. However, the following tips will get you started down the right path and help you get through your move with ease.
A lot of paperwork goes into a military move. First, find out which documents you will be required to have. Get a large expandable folder and keep everything organized. Make several copies of the most important documents because you will be expected to provide a copy to each of the departments and agencies involved in your relocation.
Although we would all like to believe in military efficiency, those with experience know that’s not always the case. If you are expecting something, whether it be an answer to a question or a necessary document, and you do not receive it, then you need to speak up. Call or go to the department and remind them of what you need. If you are having an especially hard time getting anything done, your spouse’s chain of command may be able to offer some assistance.
There is a wealth of information to help with military moves on the internet. Do some research ahead of time to help you have a better understanding of what you’ll be experiencing. Military OneSource, Military HOMEFRONT, and SMARTWebMove are all excellent sources of information.
The best source of information are other military families. Most have been through a relocation at least once. If you have a question about something, chances are someone else has already experienced it. Try to connect with families at your new installation. They will have a better idea of the ins and outs of that particular place and will be able to point you in the right direction.
If you’re having a hard time relating to others in your area, there are several online groups that can help. Many of these group’s members include spouses from all over the world and all branches of the military. There are so many support groups on the internet that you can search for one that will best meet your needs and interests.
As hard as domestic moves can be, international ones tend to be even more difficult. First, everyone in your family will be required to have a no-fee passport. It does not cost you anything and can only be used for government purposes. You will be using it when you first enter your new country and when you leave it. If you’re planning on doing any traveling while living abroad, you’ll need a tourist passport.
Everyone in your family will also undergo a screening to determine if they are healthy enough to leave the country and live abroad. Any necessary medical procedures will have to be taken care of before you leave.
You should also expect the bulk of your household goods to take several months to arrive at your new home. You will be able to pack vital belongings into a smaller shipment, called unaccompanied baggage, which will get to you much quicker.
Expect the Unexpected
Relocating your family is a big deal! There is so much and so many people involved that getting everything off without a hitch is near impossible. Not everything is going to go exactly as planned. The more you come to terms with this now, the less frustrated you’ll be when it happens.
The life of a military family can be difficult, but it can also be very exciting. You have an opportunity to travel and live in many places all over the country and even throughout the world. The better planned your relocation is, the more you can enjoy this experience!