A Beginner’s Guide to PCSing Overseas

Aloha everyone! We have been in Hawaii for about four (almost five) months now, and we have finally gotten everything settled in. By no means is this blog something you should completely rely on! Make sure you go with your spouse to any briefings you might have because there is A LOT of information and it is all somewhat different depending on where you are going to be stationed. I just wanted to bring up a few things that helped us or that we didn’t really realize when we were going through the process. So…. let’s begin!


Make sure you send your car over with PLENTY of time. It can take a while to get to your final destination.

We sent our car from St. Louis five days before we left and took about 6 weeks to get there. It honestly didn’t take an awful amount of time, but when you first get to a new duty station, there are a lot of places you need to go and fill out paper work. You also don’t want to be stuck in the hotel all the time when you get there. We figured out public transportation, but when our car got here we were finally able to travel out of the five mile radius we were staying in.

Keep a folder with EVERYTHING that is given to you in it.

We called our folder the Hawaii folder and every time we were given any info on the PCS, we put it in there. Make sure you keep EVERYTHING because you never know when you will need it again.

Be prepared to live in a hotel for a LONG time.

We lived in a hotel for about four weeks and we were some of the lucky ones! We know people who lived in there for three months. Be prepared because household goods can take a really long time to get there. Depending on where you go, the housing may be in higher demand too, so you may have to be put on a waiting list. We moved outside of your typical PCS season, so we easily got a place with on base housing.

Take pictures of all your high value items before the movers come!

Things happen, so make sure you are fully prepared. When my husband PCSed from Germany the first time, they lost his entire TV and gave him the remote. This time, our table, dresser, and bed were damaged. Luckily, we had pictures of all the items and they are either giving us money to replace or sending someone out to fix it. Make sure you inspect everything and start an inventory of what you have BEFORE the movers even come to pack up everything.

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Make sure you are aware of the amount of luggage you can take before hand.

We were able to take a lot more luggage than we originally thought because we are military. Check with your airlines ahead of time to see what you can take. Depending on where you are going you can’t take certain things which leads me tooooooo…

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Make sure you got everything straightened out for your pets!

This topic broke our hearts because while we got everything straight for our pet rats in Hawaii, like the papers they needed to enter the state, no airlines would let us bring them on the plane. Not even put them underneath. We were heart broken, but luckily my amazing in-laws took them in and they are living an amazing life. Some pets aren’t even allowed in Hawaii such as snakes, some types of lizards, etc. Also, don’t forget that places like Hawaii that are rabies free require your pet (dogs, cats, etc.) to go through quarantine upon arrival at the airport. All that info for Hawaii is under this link here. Be sure to check what the process is at your next location to see what the process is.

Make sure you have everything straight with medical.

This was a headache. I am in the EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) because I have to meet with an endocrine every now and then. The process is really easy, it can just take a long time to get an appointment sometimes. So make sure you do this as soon as possible!

Don’t stress.

When you go to that initial briefing where they give you check lists and a million instructions, try not to freak out! It will all get done and before you know it, you will finally be settling down in your new place. Trust me, I stressed about everything, but after it was said and done, I sat back and thought “Dang, that wasn’t too bad.”


Enjoy your next location!

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