6 Things to Consider Before Your PCS With Pets

Many military families have four legged members. Preparation for both national and international travel will make the process as simple as possible. After all, an organized PCS in a smooth(er) PCS. Here are 6 things to consider before you PCS with your pets!

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Crate Train: Before moving with a pet, “crate training” is imperative. Cramped quarters are inevitable on a flight or in a car. Familiarity with small spaces and spending some time in them will prevent him or her from defecating and/or urinating in the tight quarters. (Which would make for an unpleasant trip).

Microchip: Have your pet microchipped. This will make them much easier to find should they get lost. Tags and collars can fall or be torn off, but a microchip inserted under the skin is a safe and easy way to ensure your pet can always be identified.

Health Certification: Any travel across international borders requires a health certificate. Some states may also require the health certificate. Following a full physical exam and evaluation, your veterinarian can provide a certificate ensuring that your pet has up-to-date vaccinations, is free of any diseases, and is medically ready for travel. Not only is the document absolutely essential for travel, it must be dated no more than 30 days prior to the expected travel dates. If the 30 day window is passes, the entire process must be repeated.

Service Animal Verification: Service animals require not only all the health certificates and veterinarian exams, but current service papers. In some countries both family pets and service animals may be required to remain in quarantine for a certain amount of time.

Safety Check:  If you’re flying, bear in mind that not all airlines put pet safety at the top of their list. Thoroughly research the airline requirements, and safety protocols before your pet is loaded on the plane. If European travel is on the agenda for your pet, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends traveling with Continental, KLM, British Airways, and/or Lufthansa Airlines (note: most of these are part of the StarOne Alliance), who all have optimal guidelines in place for the four-legged traveler.

European Laws: If you’ll be abroad in Europe for an extended period of time, you may be subject to the Commission Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the council. What that means is simple: every European country (with the exception of the UK, Sweden, and Norway) requires your pet to have a microchip and a series of up-to-date vaccines if they are to stay with you for an extended period of time. For dogs, the required vaccines are: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Leptospirosis (DHLPP), and Rabies within the last 12 months or a minimum of 4 weeks before arrival. For cats, the required vaccines are: Feline Viral Rhinotrachetis, Calicvirus, Panleukopenia (FVRCP), and Rabies within the last 12 months or a minimum of 4 weeks before arrival. Finally, but certainly not less importantly, your dog and cat must have a completed EU certificate of veterinary health in order to remain in Europe for an extended period of time. Forms may be downloaded at PetRelocation.com — and brought to your veterinarian for completion. If you’ll be in a non-English speaking country, a list of local, English speaking veterinarians will be a must in case your pet becomes ill.

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

6 Moving Tips For Military Service Members

As a member of the military, you understand that moves are part of the lifestyle. Whether you have kids or not, you don’t have time to dwell endlessly on the military relocation process. Instead, you want to get it over with so you can get on with your life in your new home!

Here are 6 moving tips for busy people that can make that process suck a little less!

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#1 – Make Sure Your Emergency Binder is Easy to Find and Packed Where It Will Travel With You

This binder should contain all the critical information: access to bank accounts, social security numbers, birth certificates, and everything you’ll need to set up utilities, enroll the kids in school, and transfer your information to new medical providers. Keep this binder up and out of the chaos so that even if it takes you a while to get settled into your new home, you have the papers you really need on hand.

#2 – Let the Kids Help Pack Their Rooms

Allow the little ones to pack either a bag or a couple of boxes each, depending on available space, that will travel with you instead of the moving truck. You might not know all of the items that are utterly precious to your child so let them participate in the process to avoid tears later!

#3 – Pack By Room

This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be tempting to fill boxes as you walk through the house, shoving everything that will fit into them. While there will probably be some boxes that are packed this way at the end of the packing process, make unpacking easier by separating boxes by the rooms they go in and labeling them accordingly. This will make the unpacking process much easier when you get to your new home.

#4 – Use the Move as an Opportunity to Clean Out Clutter

Chances are you’ve accumulated plenty of stuff even if you’ve only been at your current location for a few years. From old electronics that have been upgraded to all the papers that kids come home with, clutter adds up fast. Go ahead and get rid of anything that you won’t be using at your new home.

#5 – Be Prepared For the Movers

If you’re using military movers to help pack and transport your possessions, make sure that you’re prepared for their visit. Military movers are known for their efficiency, not necessarily for their care and attention to detail. Veterans of military moves have experienced plenty of surprises when they reach the other end, from trash that’s packed up in the can instead of being taken out to items that weren’t packed as securely as they should have been. Pack up precious or easily breakable items yourself to ensure that they’re protected properly.

#6 – Pack Bags or Boxes That Will Get You Through a Week or So Even If Your Items Don’t Arrive on Time

This is particularly important for long moves or if you’ve been warned that your possessions are going to take a while to get to you. Pack up enough clothes to last a week or so, add a sleeping bad, pillows, or favorite blankets, and be prepared to wait for your items to arrive if necessary.

Packing for a move is stressful no matter how you do it. Over the course of your military service, you’ll likely hone it down to a fine routine, developing techniques that work for you. Staying organized and taking it one step at a time will get you through this move and all the others in front of you!

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

PCSing With Kids? 5 Free Apps Designed For Military Kids

A PCS is hard. Packing up, moving across the country, meeting brand new people in a brand new place isn’t easy, no matter what the age. However, PCSing as a kid has its own special challenges. Leaving behind classmates, neighborhood friends, familiar parks and towns, to start over in a strange place can create anxiety. We have pulled together what we consider 5 of the best apps to download for your kids. These apps are geared towards helping your littles better understand and thrive in the military lifestyle. Here are 5 free apps designed to help military kids during this process and beyond!

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Sesame Street’s Big Moving Adventure – Geared for younger children, ages 2-5, this app helps frame moving as a grand adventure, rather than something to be feared. Through customizing a Muppet character experiencing a move, they learn what to expect as they help their Muppet pack, prepare and organize a room in a fun, interactive game. This app can help shed some light on the moving experience and make it fun and exciting.

FOCUS on the Go! – A multifaceted app, FOCUS on the Go! teaches relaxation techniques to practice when your kids are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Buddy Bear, a character in the app, has trouble expressing his feelings and sometimes needs a little extra help. This game allows your child to help Buddy express his feelings through finding “feeling” words. They can play games with Buddy, and create their own story in the Comic Creator section (which they can share with family and friends). This app focuses on assisting children to name their emotions, and how to best manage those emotions.

Sesame Street App for Military Families – Rated for children 9 and older, this app is great for the whole family. It addressed topics such as deployment, injuries, grief, reunions, and self-expression. Through the stories of other military families experiencing challenges may be similar to what they’re going through, kids are reassured they are not alone. Guides are available in case you have questions about how to broach certain topics or how to help your child deal with certain issues. The app also connects military families through social media.

Kids In Touch – During deployment remaining connected can be tough. This app helps solve that problem. Kids and their deployed parent can now send texts and pictures back and forth for absolutely free. Though it is never easy being separated from a loved one, with this app, your child and service member can stay as in-touch as possible through the duration of the deployment.

Military Kids Connect – Though not a true app, this website is still a must-have for military kids. They can connect to other kids in their own age range, from 6-8, 9-12, and 13-17. This site allows them to tell their story, read other kids’ stories, play games, and learn how to cope with stress. Not only can they have fun on the site, it can also work as a tool to teach them how best to react to stressful events and to show them how other kids their age have gone through similar experiences. The Youth Resource Guide offers more fun websites for military children. Parent resources include discussion guides to assist sharing various military-related topics with your children.

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

3 Tips for Organizing For Your Next PCS

Whether it’s your first PCS or your eighth, it doesn’t make it less stressful. Even if you’re using military movers, you want to be sure that you can find everything when you reach your new destination–and you know the importance of unpacking and having your household up and running as soon as possible. By preparing an inventory system in the days and weeks leading up to your move, you can help make the entire moving process smoother.

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System 1: A Paper and Folder System

For many traditionalists, this is the easiest way to keep track of your possessions. Make sure to take pictures of expensive furniture, antiques, or other valuable items as you go so that if they’re damaged during the moving process, you’ll have proof of their original condition. Keep copies of pictures in the folder with your lists. While you’re taking inventory, be sure to set aside any items that you would prefer to move yourself to ensure their safety. If you prefer to take inventory, try to organize and label your inventory in a logical way. You can choose to do it by room, by type of item (furniture, jewelry, small appliances), or in another way that makes sense to you. It’s best, however, to label each inventory sheet clearly to make it easier to check off all those important items again when you reach your destination.

PCS time is also an excellent time to sort out all the clutter and other items that you don’t use anymore. Take the time to get rid of possessions that are worn out, never used, or not useful for some other reason. Do you really need two bread machines? What about your extensive cookware collection? Now is the time to get rid of the items you don’t use on a regular basis. Just remember, if you remove it from your home now, you don’t have to unpack it later!

System 2: There’s An App for That

There are plenty of apps that make life easier for military families, but nothing is quite so convenient for a PCS than moving apps. Sortly, for example, is an excellent home inventory system that divides inventory by rooms or by boxes. MoveMatch will store your inventory by rooms or by boxes. MoveMatch will store your inventory by box as well as letting movers know which room those important boxes should go in. Moving Van, on the other hand, doesn’t just make an exact list of each box’s contents. It also lets you search by item so that when you arrive at your new home, you can quickly determine which box has the critical item you’re missing.

The downside to a digital inventory, of course, is that most of these apps don’t allow space for comprehensive pictures of their items. Make sure that you’re taking those pictures. Storing them on your smart phone or flash drive will make them easily accessible when you need them.

System 3: A Little of Both

Some people prefer to use pen and paper for all of their important moving information. Others prefer a digital solution. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to pick just one! You might, for example, keep a paper inventory of your goods, but store pictures of your furniture and other valuables on your smart phone. You could also choose to take a picture or scan in a copy of your paper inventory so that you’ll have a digital backup just in case something happens during the move.

It’s also useful to keep a digital copy of any important papers and other documents. While you’ll need the real paper, paper copies for most important activities–enrolling the kids in school, for example–having that digital copy could come in handy if you need social security numbers, information from a birth certificate, or other information in a hurry and can’t find your emergency binder or folder. A copy of your insurance card will work just as well as the real thing if you happen to need it while you’re on the road!

When you have a clear, comprehensive household inventory, it becomes easier than every to keep up with important items. You’ll be able to easily determine where things have been packed, where they need to be, and whether or not anything is missing. This organization is a critical part of streamlining your PCS for yourself and your family.

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

3 Things to Know When PCSing Alone as a Military Spouse

A PCS without the assistance of the service member isn’t at all unusual in military life. Sometimes a PCS take place prior to the end of deployment, in the midst of deployment, during a time the service member is attending school, or simply in the field.

While these occurrences are not unusual, that doesn’t negate the stress a spouse experiences during a solo PCS.

In this situation, organization is imperative. Here are three things that can help your PCS run smoothly if you’re flying solo!

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Create a Comprehensive PCS Moving List

Create a PCS list or binder outlining all upcoming tasks. If at all possible, it’s best to start a month or two in advance to get a leg up on the biggest tasks.

Using a calendar to monitor tasks is a great way to organize the PCS binder. Daily tasks help keep the process moving forward and focused. It is important to note that the Department of Defense (DoD) funds are allotted only for DoD instigated PCS moves. When the PCS is DoD required, typically house-hunting travel expenses for up to ten days are compensated. If the PCS orders are executed and there is no on-base housing available, DoD covers the cost of a hotel until on-base housing becomes available.

The government can reimburse some real estate expenses, notably 10% on sale price, and 5% on purchase price. This only applies to civilian spouses. A home marketing program is available through the DoD that reimburses 1% to 5% of the residence selling price.
You can get extensions on selling your home and purchasing a new residence.
If you live in a mobile home, the DoD reimburses the costs of moving it with a commercial transporter.

Ensure the Power of Attorney (POA) is Up to Date

It is always a good practice to have a general POA on hand. Regardless, it’s possibly out of date by now and needs updating. As you attempt to make a move on your own, you can’t do any of the paperwork unless you have a legal POA.

If you have your POA in a safe deposit box, go check it to make sure it hasn’t expired. The worst thing that could happen is having legal snags as you attempt the move without your spouse. Scrambling to get a new POA at the last second could also take weeks of time.

Be sure to look over other types of powers of attorney you may need before the move takes place. These are all major security blankets if something unforeseen happens.

Checking and Obtaining Insurance

It’s essential to make sure you have your household items insured during a move so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for any damage occurring. Even if you get eventual government compensation for a move, they won’t pay for any damage occurring to your furniture.

One thing that many overlook is obtaining renters insurance if you’re renting an apartment until finding a new house. If you have more than $35,000 worth of possessions, you’ll definitely want to protect yourself until your spouse rejoins you.

Ready to get started looking for housing? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

Navigating a New Town After a Military PCS

Whether you’re going through first PCS or your tenth, there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to navigating a new town. Our advice? Do it the old fashioned way and just start exploring your new stomping grounds. The question is, where do you start?

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Step One: Decide What’s Important to Your Family

Do you have children who will be enrolled in a local school or daycare? Or are you and your spouse seeking fun night life spots? Outdoors enthusiasts? Or more gym focused? Priorities will vary depending on interests and activities. Of course, if littles are a part of life, finding their new school and a good route will serve the family well. That way, when pressed for time on their first morning, mom or dad won’t be desperately trying to enter the school address into the GPS while in early morning traffic or struggling to find the charging cable for the cell phone, which will, of course, be dead. The next task will be finding the places you visit regularly. Getting to know the base, of course, is important. Equally important, however, is finding the interesting, exciting and essential places in this new duty station. Explore, poke around, sniff out the hidden gems, and have fun.

Step 2: Develop a Ritual

Whether PCSing alone or with a spouse and kids, developing a ritual will make it easier to settle into each new place along the way. Make it a point to go out for ice cream your first night in a new town, check out a new pizza delivery service every Friday night until you find your favorite, or go hunting for the best bookstore in town as soon as you’ve unpacked the contents of your shelves. This ritual will help create a sense of continuity between your old city and your new one as well as increase a sense of family connection.

Step 3: Ask for Recommendations

As you meet your new neighbors, make friends with other military families, and get to know the new community, take the time to ask for recommendations from families who have been here for a while. Ask about the best grocery store, both in terms of budget and in terms of selection. Everyone will have an opinion about the best pediatrician in the area. Don’t forget to listen for information about the places you don’t want to go; it’s just as important to know which sandwich shop has terrible customer service or which sushi bar makes people sick a couple times a month as it is to know where to find the best burger in town. If you don’t have the connections or are too shy to ask for personal recommendations, go online! Many bases have groups for military spouses that can be found on Facebook. There, helpful individuals will be delighted to assist new arrivals. There are also websites and apps dedicated specifically to helping military families learn their way around a new duty station. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of those resources!

Step 4: Get Lost

Once you’ve been in town for awhile, it’s time to, as one writer put it, “wean yourself off your GPS dependency.” Some people–those with a great sense of direction, in particular–will do this somewhat automatically, one they get their feet under them. Others have to work up to that point. When you have some free time, go for a drive and turn off the GPS. Don’t panic if you’re outside your comfort zone. Try driving around until you locating something familiar, then backtrack from there. If you simply can’t work your way out of the snarl, you can always turn the GPS back on. Navigating a new duty station can be stressful for everyone: the service member, their spouse, and their kids. Sticking together and treating it as an adventure, however, can help everyone adapt faster to the new location. Before you know it, this new station will be home!

Ready to get started looking for housing? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)

Relocating to San Diego? See if North or South County Fits Best

In the military and PCSing to San Diego? Congratulations, you just hit the jackpot! Read on for some tips on choosing what part of San Diego to call home.

The location of your assigned installation plays a large role in determining whether Northern or Southern San Diego County is the best option. Regardless of the final choice, all of San Diego County offers innumerable opportunities for fun, beautiful neighborhoods and tight knit communities where there is always plenty to do.

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Military bases in San Diego include:

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base- Located in Oceanside, North County
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar-
Located in Miramar only ten miles north of downtown, offers the advantage of living in both North and South County locations
Naval Base Coronado-Southern coastal, near downtown
Naval Base Point Loma-Southern coastal, near downtown
Naval Base San Diego-Southern coastal, near downtown

Everyone drives in California and San Diego is no exception. As in most cities and suburbs, slow-moving traffic is a reality so driving long distances on well known commuter paths can be time consuming. The choice between North or South County all comes down to the location of your base.

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base

If assigned to MCB Camp Pendleton, North County is a great option. The base is bordered to the south by the town of Oceanside. Oceanside is the third largest town in the county and offers a fairly busy nightlife coupled with a variety of family friendly activities and areas. If a good craft beer is a must have, there are numerous breweries located in Oceanside that also offer great food. Camp Pendleton can be accessed from Interstate-5 which runs from North to South County.

Cities Near Camp Pendleton:

Oceanside- 2 miles
Vista- 13 miles
San Marcos-20 miles
Fallbrook- 16 miles
Carlsbad- 19 miles
Encinitas- 28 miles
Escondido- 24 miles

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

Located in Miramar, this base is only ten miles north of downtown San Diego and is still close to the bottom of North County. Enjoy the quiet of North County, or the attractions near downtown including Balboa Park, Old Town and the Famous San Diego Zoo. Enjoy nightlife at the Gaslamp District, which has a variety of trendy shops, clubs and restaurants. The Miramar Base can be accessed off the I-15 at Miramar Way.

Cities Near Miramar:

Some cities to call home that are close to the base include:

Mira Mesa- 4 miles
Scripps Ranch- 5 miles
Rancho Penasquitos- 7 miles
La Jolla/UTC- 10 miles
Poway- 11 miles
Pacific Beach- 12 miles

Naval Bases Coronado, Point Loma and San Diego

The Navy Bases are located in the South Bay area and are all close to the vibrant downtown area. Cities to call home include:

Downtown San Diego
Chula Vista- 10.1 miles to San Diego
Pacific Beach- 8.8 miles to San Diego
Point Loma- 8.7 miles to San Diego

Overall the southern part of the county is more convenient to the Navy bases and the downtown area. There is a diverse selection of the neighborhoods offering convenience and classic beach town living.

Ready to get started looking for housing? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)