While the majority of PCS moves occur during the Summer months, thousands of military service members and their families continue to move during the off-season. Moving outside the peak Summer months can offer opportunities, but also present challenges!
In military communities across the world, moving vans start rolling in late May and continued in full force through September. While the number of PCS moves slows down by September, moves continue throughout the Fall and Winter months, as military schedules are not limited by the calendar. Let’s take a look at the added challenges and potential opportunities of an off-season PCS move.
Off Season PCS & Schools
One of the most significant hurdles involved in an off-season move is changing schools during the school year. Starting a new school at the beginning of the year presents enough challenges and changing schools mid-year presents a whole new set of issues. Don’t hesitate to use available resources to help navigate this change. Identify your new installation’s school liaison, someone familiar with requirements of the new school district. Some schools also offer additional resources when they serve a largely military community.
- Contact the new school directly (if you know where you will be zoned for) and ask what documentation is required.
- Ask your child’s current teacher to help you put together a summary of what your child has already covered this year so the new teacher knows about any differences in curriculum.
- Get in touch with the school liaison at your new installation to discuss transfer requirements and any attendance issues.
Finding a new home creates a tremendous amount of stress during a PCS. House hunting outside the high tempo summer move season can be tricky. With fewer people moving, many locations experience a smaller inventory of available homes – both on and off the installation. On the positive side, homes often take a little bit longer to rent and owners may be open to negotiating the rent during the off season to avoid a long vacancy.
- Update your AHRN.com dashboard with your new installation and PCS date.
- Use the Choose The Right Home worksheets in your PCS Toolkit so that you know exactly what you’re looking for in a new home.
Taking Weather Into Account
Winter weather (or even Fall and Spring storms) can create PCS complications – on both ends. Severe or wet weather on clearing and packing days can cause closures that slow down the process and result in delays. There can also be weather-related delays for truck drivers, resulting in a late household goods delivery.
With the numerous ways weather can impact your move, prepare a PCS back-up plan. At each end, account for a longer than anticipated hotel stay. Be prepared to get your household goods later.
Just as with any PCS, proper upfront preparation and planning can lead to a smooth transition. Be sure to start the planning process as soon as possible.