How to PCS to Alaska
If you’ve gotten Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders to a military base in Alaska, there are some special circumstances to consider. Though Alaska is part of the United States, the military considers it OCONUS (outside of the contiguous United States). But don’t worry, PCSing can still be done easily! U-Pack® has a lot of experience moving military members and their families to Alaska, and we have some tips and information to help you through the process.
Completing an Alaska military move
While you’ll still have to complete all of the steps for a PCS move within the U.S., going to Alaska has a few more things to keep in mind. The biggest differences are: PCS move entitlements, moving company considerations, travel and vehicle shipping. Take a look at the details below to learn more.
You may also be interested in these resources:
- Moving to Alaska. Learn what to expect in the state and get answers to FAQs.
- Military Moving. Get information on military moves and a free PCS checklist.
Determining your PCS move entitlements
An OCONUS move involves different moving and travel entitlements than a PCS within the lower 48. Before leaving, find out what moving options you qualify for, what your weight allowance is, and what you’re entitled to financially (lodging, per diem, mileage, pay advances, etc.). If you have dependents, make sure to go over their travel guidelines as well.
- Consider doing a Personally Procured Move (PPM) to save money. If there’s a difference between your allowance and the actual cost, you keep the difference.
- Use your time wisely. For an OCONUS move, you may get more time than a typical stateside PCS, so you might want to take a more scenic trip to see sights and people you may not see for a while.
Choosing an Alaska military mover
Along with potentially putting money in your pocket, a PPM puts you in control. You get to choose the move date, decide how to pack and load, and get your belongings faster. There are two options with a PPM: truck rental and a moving service like U-Pack.
With truck rental, there are a few hurdles to consider. The first is getting weight tickets, since they’re required for reimbursement. The second is going through Canada. You’ll have to choose a company that allows travel outside of the U.S., then drive the entire distance to Alaska and get everything in order to pass through Canadian customs (and back into the U.S. in Alaska) with all of your belongings in tow.
U-Pack makes the process easier. As a “you pack, we drive” service, we handle transportation of your belongings, delivering everything door to door. Since we handle the driving, you don’t have to worry about traveling through Canada or dealing with customs — you can focus on getting you and your family there.
- Need weight tickets? Just let us know when reserving the move (online or by phone), and we’ll take care of the rest.
- Worried about all the details? We have an in-house military moving specialist who makes sure everything is completed correctly.
We recommend planning as early as possible, especially with a long-distance move like this one. Get a free moving quote from U-Pack to get started.
Rather than just packing up and driving a few states away, traveling to Alaska requires a bit more planning. You could either fly and ship a vehicle, take the ferry across the ocean or drive the ALCAN highway through Canada.
Start planning travel early, especially during the summer months when tourism travel is high. Ferry tickets can sell out and hotels can get booked up. As you decide what option is ideal for your family, make concrete plans like purchasing plane or ferry tickets, or figuring out the driving route and booking hotel rooms.
Keep these things in mind:
- You can apply for a government “no fee” passport to travel through Canada. Just be sure to note that it’s not for leisure travel — only for the execution of orders or related travel.
- Check with your cell phone provider before you leave to ensure you have service in Canada and at your base. Some remote areas may have limited coverage options.
- Use the Milepost guide to the ALCAN highway to plan your stops if you’re driving. Some parts are pretty sparse for gas, lodging and food, and the guide lets you know ahead of time what to expect.
Shipping your vehicle
In many cases, orders for an OCONUS move will allow for vehicle shipping. If you’re not planning on driving (or have multiple vehicles and want to ship one), we refer customers to Mr. Car Shipper® at 877-528-9627.
If you’re trying to move a motorcycle, dirt bike or ATV, you can include them in your household goods shipment as long as you drain the fluids first. Make sure to check out the Do Not Ship list that we send after reservation. It contains complete guidelines for your shipment.
Military bases in Alaska
There are several military bases in Alaska, including many sub-units. Air Station Sitka, Kodiak Base and USCG Juneau are all located in their namesakes. Eielson AFB, Fort Greely and Fort Wainwright are near Fairbanks, while Elmendorf AFB and Fort Richardson are close to Anchorage. Book any temporary lodging before arrival, since there can be a lot of tourists in these areas during certain times of the year. Here are some of the larger bases U-Pack can move you to:
- Eielson AFB
- Elmendorf AFB
- Fort Greely
- Fort Richardson
- Fort Wainwright
Have questions? We’re here to help!
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