Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Military Move Hacks #2

Hey y'all! We have been in Japan for almost 5 months now and it has been a dream. I had no idea what it would be like to move to another country, with a toddler in tow no less, but it has been so good! Homesickness does strike at times, but the memories we are making here are priceless. If you follow my Instagram, amodernnavywife, you have been getting peeks into our adventures since we've been here. I have only learned a few key Japanese words and phrases, but getting around using the train system is pretty simple once you get the hang of things. But that's another story, right now I am going to give y'all the next installment of Tips and Tricks. These 6 are geared more towards overseas moves, but a few of them would definitely work for cross-country moves too!  

5. Get your passport(s)
     The earlier you get your passport, and passports for your kiddos, the better. You will need two different passports, a regular travel one and a capital "O"fficial one. Both passports take time and money, for pictures and processing fees. It is better to get them as early as you can. Expedited fees are an additional $60 on top of $135 regular processing time fees for adults 16 & over and $105 regular fees for kids 15 & under.  *To save a little money on the photo side, be sure to pull your hair off your face and do not smile with teeth. One of my applications got rejected because I had my hair down. Boo.

6. POAs for everyone!
     Power of Attorney are essential for deployments and super handy for moves. If your spouse leaves for workups or any last minute trips to gear up for their deployment and you have to cancel any services or utilities and everything is in their name, things can get a little sticky sometimes. If at any point you deal with a customer service agent who seems to not only hate their job, but life in general, as well as you for trying to cancel something that is not in your name, you can flash that piece of paper in their face! I highly recommend getting a POA to cover all of your bases. 

7. Sell, sell, sell!
     Get rid of anything that you know you will not use again and still has life in it. It will just be taking up precious space in your weight allowance. Large furniture is heavy and highly sought after on resale pages, as well as bicycles, baby items, kids toys and clothes, sporting equipment, and lawn care goodies. Craigslist is a good place to start and I also highly recommend downloading Varagesale if it is available in your area.  

8. Make your reservations early
     I have seen, and heard, of horror stories of people desperate to find a place to stay following their move overseas because they didn't know they had to book their own rooms at a hotel (military hotel or civilian) because housing was not immediately available. I am talking, days before their flights in some cases. Or worse, they did not know that their room was not pet friendly and they needed to find someone to watch their fur babies in a new town where they knew no one. Military hotels and lodges book up just like civilian hotels, especially in highly desirable tourist destinations. Book early and be sure to ask for pet friendly rooms if you are bringing your little fuzzies.   

9. Lots-o-copies
     Print out at least 6 copies of your spouse's orders and family entry letter! I am not kidding! If you are flying Space-A /MAC, they will need copies for their records that you do not get back. You will need a copy to get your tickets for the flights, a copy for customs on the other side, and if you need a bus ride to get to your new Base/Post they will need a copy too. You will also need copies for everything from enrolling in the region's Tricare, to getting a driver's license. We made the mistake of only having 3 copies for the trip. Yeah, I thought we were prepared with more than one, but that was a mistake. I have heard of people printing out 10 copies just to be safe. The more, the merrier in this case. 

10. Bring the necessities with you
     Beyond clean undies and pjs, there are a few things you will need to get through your first few days or weeks in a hotel or new home, before your HHG or express shipment arrives. One of my checked bags was just home goods for that very reason. I included things like a set of sheets, a few towels, some bigger toys for the babe to play with, and a crock pot. Yes. A whole crockpot. And that thing saved us when we were living in a hotel room with one stove top burner and no oven for a few weeks. Don't be shy about packing things in your checked bag that you use all the time at home. If you love one specific pot or pan, and you cook all of your favorite meals in it, pack it! It will make your time in "PCS limbo" a little bit better.  

*Kiddo Air-Travel Bonus*
     If you are going to be traveling on a plane to your new duty station, invest in one or both of these two travel necessities: a carseat travel strap and the CARES airplane safety harness. I love these two contraptions so much! The strap lets you connect a carseat to a bag and roll that baby around. So much nicer than slinging it over your shoulder and lugging it around. The CARES harness is amazing if you want to check the carseat but still want a secure seatbelt for your child on the plane. I swear by this thing. It is not a five point since it does not go under their bums, but it held Lizzie in place so well that she fell asleep for the duration of the flight the first time she used it.  


-Safe travels, fair winds and following seas!