After you tape up one of the countless boxes scattering your home, you stretch to reach for the Sharpie®. Cap in mouth, you scrawl in big bold letters “Kitchen. FRAGILE.” The plates and glasses inside are packed tightly with bubble wrap for padding, but you never know. Better safe than sorry. It’s only been a few days since the order came through and already, you’re exhausted.

Whether it’s your first or fifteenth, each PCS move comes with a new set of challenges, problems, and unexpected changes. In 2017, there were 430,000 PCS moves in Summer alone. Among those 430,000, there were sure to be last-minute movers, broken furniture, lost family treasures, and unexpected temporary accommodations. Despite all the ways things could go wrong though, you can minimize the unexpected.

Preparation is key. And there is a wealth of helpful tips to make your move a success, such as:

  • Start early: You have less time than you think. Begin making your arrangements and packing belongings right away so that there isn’t a last-minute rush.
  • Do your research: Learn all you can about where you’re headed, like housing, schooling and childcare options.
  • Ask for help: Moving isn’t easy. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and neighbors for assistance - and don’t be afraid to accept their offers of help either.
  • Pack smarter, not harder: Pack things like cleaning supplies last, so you have them available to clean your home before you leave. Clearly label everything. Keep important documents (passports, bills, medical information) separate and easily accessible.

After the packing process, you should prepare for a possible in-between stage as well. Your family, out of your former home but not yet in your new one, may spend days, or even weeks, in a temporary living situation. Do your research and visit for hotel accommodations conveniently located inside in many U.S. Army installations, and specifically designed with military travelers in mind.

IHG® Army Hotels serves as a reliable home base until you get to move into your new home. With a clean and welcoming atmosphere for families, kids and even pets, you can rest easy. Amenities like complimentary breakfast and courtesy on-post shuttle service give you two less things to worry about at a time when crossing things off your list is invaluable.

There’s another, often-neglected aspect of moving. It’s easy to focus on the logistics of relocating – packing items, arranging things for pickup, travel plans. What’s just as important to consider is the emotional toll moving takes on yourself and your family. Where you live is more than the four walls around you. You’ve built a home – you’ve created memories – and saying goodbye isn’t easy. How does one cope with this added emotional stress?

One of the main strategies you can use is maintaining a positive outlook. Instead of seeing the things you’re leaving behind, look forward to the opportunities that await you. There will be new friendships forged, new experiences had, and a new chapter started. A change in scenerycan also be a time to reorganize things in your life – both physical possessions and mental habits. Research shows that big life changes, such as moving, offer reliable opportunities for individuals to make a lasting change in routine. With a positive attitude, you can break bad habits and replace them with good ones.

Now imagine yourself one last time. You’re surrounded by boxes again, but this time they’re empty. There’s only one left to unpack. You start taking out the family photos and placing them on the refrigerator. You survey the potential around you and breathe a sigh of relief. It wasn’t easy, but you made it happen. Your PCS move is over, and it’s time for a fresh start.

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