For more than 500,000 servicemembers and their families, summertime is synonymous with smells of cardboard and paper, and the sound of packing tape ripping in the air. However, many also move between September and April. While PCSing, in general, can prove difficult, relocating in the fall and winter can present its own unique set of challenges. Here are some tips to help make your off-season PCS go smoothly.


No matter where you go, the housing market is all about supply and demand. During the summer months, there is a high supply and an even greater demand. It’s not uncommon to look at upwards of 10 to 15 houses before finally being able to secure one that hasn’t been snatched up by someone else.

However, for those relocating during the off-peak season, this can work to your advantage. While the housing inventory may be lower, you will have greater flexibility in choosing your location and can take time to decide which house or village suits you best. Landlords may also be more willing to negotiate to fill a vacant house.


If you have school-aged children, moving during the middle of the academic year can be an emotional and challenging prospect. Being the new kid at the beginning of the year is hard enough, so make the transition easier for your kids and yourself. If you know which school your child will be attending, make contact early and explain the situation. Often, you can find information online, including registration packets and the required documents. If a school physical is necessary, complete it before you move. It’ll be one less thing to have to worry about when you get to your destination.

When your child leaves his or her current school, ask teachers to put together a summary of what has been covered in class thus far. It can help your child’s new teachers better understand any gaps in the curriculum. If you are transferring out of a DODEA school, please be aware that there are specific early withdrawal dates. These are designed to help students not lose credits due to a mid-year move.

If you’re not sure which school your child will be attending, contact the school liaison officer (SLO) at your new installation. That person can help guide the school transfer and answer pertinent questions that you have.


It’s amazing how much of a role weather can play in your move. Periods of bad weather can often delay shipping times, especially with household goods. When prepping your unaccompanied baggage, throw in a few extra blankets if you’re moving somewhere cold. Heading to the tropics? Trade the blankets for some beach chairs and towels.

Shipping a vehicle to your destination? If you’re heading to frigid climes, be sure to have your vehicle inspected and leave the winter tires on before you ship it.


The fall and winter are full of holidays — Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all within a two-month period. If you have special traditions during the holidays, be sure to set aside a few favorite decorations. You can either send them ahead via the postal service or put them in your unaccompanied baggage. You may not get your household goods for a while, but at least you can still enjoy some comforts of home from your loaner furniture.

Pack a little extra patience and creativity

Moving, no matter what time of year, is always challenging. Having extra patience is always easier said than done — especially when your shipment is delayed by an East Coast ice storm or your vehicle isn’t equipped with the right tires. Just breathe and remember that sometimes the only thing in your control is your reaction. Don’t fret when you realize that your boogie boards are in your unaccompanied baggage to Germany. You’ve just discovered an awesome way to sled down that sweet hill in your neighborhood.

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