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Military Life: Quick PCS Tips For Beating A Challenge You May Have Overlooked

In military life, PCS season (Permanent Change of Station) brings with it an unexpected challenge that many military spouses don’t think about as we prepare our families to move. Sure we can pack up our goods better than most moving companies, but can we ever have enough quick pcs tips to make things easier for families?

When moving cross-country often the last thing on our mind is how we will physically adjust to the new stomping grounds. So in true Direction Diva form, I’m not going to talk about PCS tips in the sense of how to work with the movers or the best way to go about finding out where to get good produce. What I’m talking about today is something you may have overlooked specifically making the acclimation to the physical environment of your new duty station. It’s an unexpected PCS challenge that can throw a wrench into a seamless PCS move.

For me most recently I had difficulty making the adjustment to living in the humid, allergen rich, buggy and hot conditions of southern Missouri. For other battle buddies it’s been learning to deal with the higher altitudes of Colorado or the rainy days of Washington State. No matter where you are moving, here are 3 quick tips that can save you a lot of headaches when you begin your journey and get settled at your new duty station.

Quick Tips For A Military Life PCS

Tip #1: Know what you are getting into.

With all we have to think about it’s easy to be more interested in the schools, housing and resources available at our new duty station. But if you find yourself with altitude sickness, your family pet is covered in ticks or your allergies kick into high gear trust me you won’t care a lick about any of that. Take some time to learn a little about the climate of where you are going AND what some of the challenges that other military families are dealing with.

Ask questions on Facebook pages and see what people are talking about. Trust me you don’t want to get to Fort Leonard Wood in July at dusk without a huge supply of bug spray on hand, nor do you want to be dehydrated when you get to Colorado Springs. Both situations can make for a VERY rough transition.

Tip #2: Arm Yourself

Just like a boy scout you want to be prepared for whatever can come up. I suggest that you create a New Duty Station “Transition Kit” that has the essentials to make life a little bit easier. For example if I am going to a new assignment in the Midwest or Southeast in the summer months  you can be sure I have easy access to: bug spray, calamine lotion, allergy medicine, Benadryl, sunscreen, tweezers (to take out a tick or a stinger), aloe, and a big ‘ol fly swatter! Nothing else matters if I don’t have these things first…

Tip #3: Educate yourself about the plant/animal life

Every part of the country has various plants and wildlife that you need to be careful of. I know that the minute we get to a new place, the first order of business for kids and pets is to explore the new turf, and by all means it’s important to let them do so.

But it’s just as important to remember that a garter snake is VERY different from a cottonmouth, a common house spider isn’t the same as a brown recluse or a black widow and running through a field filled  poison ivy makes for a horrible few weeks. So be sure you know what harmful plants and animals and do a little recon before you set the gang free!

Every new duty station comes with its own set of challenges and a little preparation goes a long way in helping your family make a smooth transition!

Take a moment and share your best military life tip for
someone new to your installation in the comments below!

~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up  and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at


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