What to Bring with you During a PCS
Updated: Apr 27
Whether you are buying a home or renting, if you are PSCing there are certain things you should bring with you in your suitcases or put in your unaccompanied baggage. You can usually fit more in unaccompanied baggage depending on the weight and size limits, but many people complain that the shipment often arrives about the same time as their household good shipment. If this does occur, it would render most of the items unnecessary; unless you are very slow at unpacking .
Today we are going to go over the minimalist items that you'll want to bring with you or pack in your suitcases as well as review the current airline baggage requirements for active duty military.
So how much can you pack? Well depending on whether you are only flying commercial or taking a military flight there will be different weight and baggage limits for each. If you have a military flight you will want to call the air passenger terminal that you are flying out to verify their baggage and weight limit as sometimes it is less than commercial carriers allow.
The major American air carriers are Southwest, United, Delta, and Jet Blue. We have listed the baggage policies as of August 1, 2018 below.
Major Airline Baggage Policies
“Exception: Military Passengers traveling on active duty or permanent change of station orders will be exempt from the two-piece Baggage limit and will not be subject to excess, oversize, or overweight Baggage charges, provided that none of the pieces of Baggage exceeds 100 pounds in weight and 80 inches in size (L+W+H).” - https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/baggage/checked-bags-pol.html
3+ Free Bags “Active duty military Customers must have their current, valid military ID to receive the exemption. Non-active military Customers must have their orders to receive the exception. “ - https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/travel-fees.html?clk=HOME-BOOKING-WIDGET-BAGGAGE-FEES
“Active U.S. military personnel and their accompanying dependents, not traveling on official business, receive waived service charges for up to three checked bags at 70 pounds (32 kg) each.
Active U.S. military personnel and their dependents traveling on official business receive waived service charges for up to five checked bags at 100 pounds (45 kg) each.
Dependents traveling with active U.S. military personnel are also exempt as long as they are traveling in the same reservation.” – https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/baggage/changed-bag-rules-optional-services.aspx
5 Free bags 100lbs each “On military orders, your bags can be 80 inches (total length + width + height), For personal travel, your bags can be 62 inches (total length + width + height)” - https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage/before-your-trip/checked.html#MilitaryBags”
“Active duty traveling for duty (and dependents)
5 bags each for you and dependents traveling with you on the same itinerary
You will be required to show travel orders and DoD Common Access Card
Active duty traveling for leisure (and dependents)
2 bags each for you and dependents traveling with you on the same itinerary
You will be required to show DoD Common Access” - https://www.jetblue.com/flying-with-us/military-customers/
You should print out a screenshot of these policies just in case you have any issues. Now if you are coming from overseas you should check the airline that you will be flying on first. Sometimes foreign airlines allow less baggage or have fees even if the proceeding carriers do not. They may make you pay for your baggage but you should be able to have this refunded by the military if you keep all of the receipts and file it with your travel claims.
What you should bring!
* Orders — Keep your original set of and make at least 5 copies
* Tickets and Itinerary
* Hotel Reservation information
* Identification for each family member —Military IDs, driver's licenses, Social Security cards, passports and birth, marriage and naturalization certificates.
* Vehicle documentation —Bring your vehicle title or lease information and proof of vehicle inspection, registration and insurance.
* Financial information — Bring personal checks, any hard copies of recent bank statements, and all credit and debit cards — even the ones from department stores you never use.
* Housing information —household inventory list your moving company provided, lease or mortgage paperwork.
* Legal documents — Bring divorce or annulment paperwork from a previous marriage, wills, custody or adoption paperwork, and any active power of attorney documents.
* School or employment records — transcripts, report cards or grade sheets for school registration
* Medical and physician information —medical and dental records and vaccination records (pick them up from the base or your local doctor) you will likely be needed for school registration and for some employment.
* All legal paperwork (birth certificates, social security cards, ID’s, Orders, marriage license, divorce / custody papers, housing papers, insurance papers, wills, power of attorney’s, and all Military related paperwork).
* Pet records – vaccinations and medical paperwork
The more the better! Keep in mind the local weather and bring as much clothing as possible so you don’t have to do laundry as quickly.
* Extra clothes/clothes for the next season
* Winter jackets/hat/gloves/scarves/boots
* Extra shoes
* Running shoes
* Dress uniform
* Dress shoes
* Specialized gear/field gear
*Pot for cooking
* Utensils – forks, knives, spoons, spatula, Chef’s knife, paring knife
* Can opener, wine/bottle opener
* Casserole dish, cookie sheet
* Plastic bowls
* Microwavable containers
* Plastic cups for each person
* Dish detergent
* Laundry detergent
* Shower curtain, curtain rings
* Dish towels
* Power Strips
* Towels – Microfiber camping towels are compact and light
* Water/ food dish for pets
*Leashes and collars for pets
* Or you can find a local thrift store and purchase these items after arriving
* Phone chargers
* Air mattress – summer pool blow up raft (compact, easy to bring for kids to lay on)
* Baby-proofing items
* Pack and play
* Toy or something to entertain
* Tape Measure
* Screw drivers
* Hex wrenches
* Utility tool
Did we miss something? Do you have other great items you think should be included in the list? Comment below!