Post from MilitaryByOwner
Traditionally, much of the military moves during the summer months for simplicity’s sake. School naturally ends in May or June, and the spring housing market kicks in about March, offering plenty of options to buy, sell, or rent in the months ahead.
But, not everyone has the option to move during the warm months.
An off-season move may seem even more daunting than a summer move because transplanting into a new neighborhood where friends and routines are already established is intimidating. These are legitimate concerns, but remember— the same situation will occur during any other month.
Do focus on the positive aspects of a PCS during the winter months, because truly, there really are great benefits during this time frame.
1) Increased Availability of Moving Companies
During each transition, moving companies become either your very best friend or your worst enemy, depending on their workload. During the winter months, movers have much better timelines to work with and pass on conveniences to you.
If you prefer a door-to-door pickup and delivery, this is the chance to ask for one, as it’s far more likely this time of year. If storage for your household goods for a month or so sounds like the best plan, go ahead and take the option. Moving companies have far more flexibility if their schedules aren’t packed with summer PCS movers.
2) Less Competition for Real Estate
Housing is a chief concern every time the talk of a PCS begins. In the off-season, competition for the best homes is less than during the summer months. It’s a slower time in general for real estate, so agents are more willing to assist with rentals and go the extra mile to make a sale. You might even find that prices are reduced because the owners have plans for the new year, and want to have the property either rented or sold.
3) It’s Cheaper!
Summer travel expenses tend to be higher because June, July, and August are the most popular months to vacation. With the exceptions of traditional winter destinations such as ski resorts, hotels, car rentals, and air fare tend to be cheaper during the colder months, saving money on the move and hopefully stashing a bit of savings in your pocket.
4) Extra Vacation Time Is Built In
PCSing usually gives way to some built-in vacation time, and fall and winter moves often provide even more days off. Use these free days of leave to your advantage and take extended road trips to see family and friends or for exploring sites you’ve always wanted to visit, but never had time to.
5) Easier Travel for Pets
Now more than ever, pets are considered family, and this includes their travel accommodations. It’s a challenge to carefully and properly fly animals during the heat of the summer. Some airlines even refuse transporting pets during the summer months because it’s too risky for your pet’s health. Check with the airlines to understand which months are comfortable for animal travel. Your off-season PCS might be during a month they recommend.
It’s also much easier to travel with a pet in the car. Grabbing a bite to eat in a restaurant is a possibility for the humans, because the temperatures won’t climb into the overheating zone in the car for pets. Just be sure to have the keys in your pocket, have full sight of your animal in the car while you dine, and don’t let the temperatures in the car dip too low.
6) There’s Room for New and Old Holiday Traditions
If your moving dates happen to be before Thanksgiving or Christmas, then fully embrace the holiday season and get to making the place your own with personal décor. Festive decorations turn a new home into one that is much more relatable. The excitement of seeing many of those items for only a couple months a year really helps children adjust and look forward to family traditions.
Take advantage of the winter or holiday events in your new town. Driving through sparkling light displays, tasting regional holiday treats, or viewing local productions of A Christmas Carol instantly gives you “local” status. If the move has really got you down, don’t hesitate to volunteer in some way. Giving back always puts disappointment into perspective.
7) Your Family Has More Time to Help
Because of holiday vacation time, your family is probably much more available to help with the transition. Maybe your mom can fly ahead with a small child or dad can take care of your dog until you arrive at the next destination. Your sister might have the time to catch up with you during a long car ride. Family and friends often extend the offer to help with a move. Take them up on it this time!
PCSing anytime of year is stressful, no doubt. Research and thorough preparation are the best ways to get ahead of the chaos. But, if possible, give an off-season move a chance. You’ll find in some ways, they are much simpler than the crush of the summer PCS season.