Military families know all too well that the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season is upon us. We’ve diligently researched the newest PCS tips and tricks, checked our PCS Move Check List twice and scoured local Facebook pages for detailed info about our new neighborhood. Now, the moving trucks are lining neighborhood streets as sad farewells and exciting hellos are underway.
So, what is there left to do? Well, travel of course!
It’s not unusual to have mixed emotions about the transition, but the allure of vacation travel during the PCS always proves to be a source of excitement for families. The chance to meet Mickey or ride the tallest roller coaster in the U.S. helps ease the sting of moving.
Auto Transport Services Provide Easy Travel
Like many families, our household had two cars to move during our last PCS. Personally, I hate to drive and the thought of my family splitting up to drive the cars separately across the country was pretty
daunting. Our trip was going to take us from the coast of Maryland, all the way out to the shores of California. A five-year-old little girl would also be a passenger. We’re all familiar with how many stops young children need!
As an experienced military spouse, I knew there had to be a better way, I just had to find it. And I did. After careful research and word of mouth recommendations, I contacted Executive Auto Shippers. It was the best decision we made for that PCS. So much so, we used the military vehicle shipping service again on the way back to the East Coast.
The process was far simpler than I imagined. Online, I read over the very descriptive process of auto transport and chose an open carrier, although closed carriers were also available. On the day of pickup, I met the driver, he carefully inspected the car, I signed off on his detailed remarks, and away he went.
Executive Auto Shippers was in communication with me the entire trip and we scheduled a date for delivery in California. The company currently supports a technically advanced tracking system via cell phone GPS to relay the current information about your car’s location. At delivery, our car was carefully unloaded and all was well. It was such a relief not to have to drive alone.
Unlike many of the other moving companies we have worked with in the past, Executive Auto Shippers was communicative, dependable, and supplied patient customer service that knew how to ease the mind of a first-time auto shipper. The company also gladly offered us a military discount.
Best of all, we could travel together as a family.
Military Travel Discounts and Attractions
It’s commonplace for service members to endure multiple deployments within short lengths of time, so families often try to squeeze in quality outings during their PCS. We also took advantage of some of the generous discounts travel industry leaders contribute to military members.
Although there are widely available discounts for military families across the country for popular
destinations like Disney World and Busch Gardens, there are also lesser known but very worthwhile options:
- Free Annual Passes to National Parks are available for active duty members.
- The USO (United Services Organization) provides travel resources for many cities near military bases.
- The Armed Forces Vacation Club offers affordable week-long stays in luxury settings.
- Paths Across America is a collection of military installation camping and RV sites.
In the evenings after checking into our hotels, unloading was simple and quick because we only had one car to unpack. An empty car is far less enticing to thieves in a parking lot. Even better were the nights when we were able to check into military lodging across the country. We found them to be clean, comfortable, and inexpensive.
More and more, private companies like the International Hotels Group are building name brand hotels such as Staybridge Suites and Holiday Inn Express on bases across the country. It can be difficult to find availability during the busy PCS season however, so request rooms well in advance. Many are even pet friendly.
Traveling with Pets
Pets are family, no way around it! Where we PCS, they PCS. The earlier you begin preparing for their journey, the more comfortable they’ll be riding in the car with you, particularly if a pet carrier is needed. If your animal doesn’t exactly love the idea of a cross country road trip, begin with a visit to a veterinarian. They’ll give you tips on how to reduce stress, adjustment techniques for your pet in a new home, and verify vaccinations and prescriptions are up to date.
Other important PCS pet notes:
- Research microchip requirements.
- Determine if there are breed or species bans in base housing.
- Inquire about paperwork you’ll need to clear your pet from your current base and move onto the next.
- Investigate HOA regulations regarding pets.
As military families, we tend to identify our objective, prepare for the task at hand and work to make the best of the situation. Which in PCS terms translates to–we receive orders, secure moving arrangements, and plan to make the trip seamless and budget friendly. Our coast to coast trip was far more successful because our family vacationed together at a leisurely pace.
I can easily recommend shipping a car for a long-distance PCS. The investment was well worth the convenience and comfort of sending our vehicle with confidence on a reputable carrier such as Executive Auto Shippers. In fact, next time, we might transport the car and fly to our next destination!