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Moving tips: Military moves

Tips to help the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who move each summer.

Tips to help the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who move each summer.

The summer months are a busy time for America's servicemen and women, as each year hundreds of thousands of military personnel receive transfer orders and new assignments. The American Forces Press Service recently compiled some tips to help troops make their moves a little easier.

Book your moving date early, Defense Department officials suggest. The DoD and Coast Guard make roughly 225,000 household goods shipments each summer, and many civilians also choose that time to make a move, since most schools are out of session and the relocation will be less disruptive for children. Troops who find themselves trying to move during this bottleneck time period might find themselves with fewer options as far as a moving date is concerned.

The DoD has created an online tool to help troops manage their moves, as well. The Defense Personal Property System, or DPS, allows servicemembers to apply for moving assistance online, track their personal property shipments, file claims and settle with professional movers online, and ensure the full replacement value of lost and damaged goods, according to the official DPS website. Troops can also complete customer satisfaction reviews of the companies they use.

Officials counsel flexibility when it comes to military moves, but note that sometimes move dates are not open to change. If this is the case, servicemembers can hire a private moving company and file for reimbursement later. There can be benefits to taking this route. Depending on rank and pay grade, some troops may be subject to a weight limit on personal shipments which carry a penalty if exceeded.

Private movers offer a number of services for both civilian and military families. Some companies offer the option of dropping off a portable storage container that people can load at their leisure. The company will then pick up the container and transport it to the new location, where it can be unloaded at a relaxed pace.

When it comes to the move itself, officials recommend creating a moving checklist, according to the AFPS. This can include an initial moving budget, medical and school records for any children who are moving, room inventories and tax information concerning new towns or states.

Moving checklists should follow a timeline that starts up to eight weeks before a move, depending on how much notice is given before a redeployment. With careful planning, your move will be executed with military precision.