week5feature

Week 5 – How To Relax During a PCS!

Play, Laugh & Smile.

roadtrippers

Great site to plan a road trip! *Week 5 of A Month to PCS at The Real Sweetheart*

Those three things are key to a relaxing and fun PCS. With the overall process being a tad stressful on everyone, including the kiddos, why not make one of the last steps of the journey a fun one?! So, try out a few of the suggestions below on your next PCS to make it a special, fun and relaxing one!

  • Make your PCS into a Road Trip.

*Try using roadtrippers.com – it’s an amazing site that not only gives you the directions, but also has entertainment, food, historical place suggestions and more! I’m not saying you have to stop at every sight seeing place, but try a couple to make memories!

  • Consider taking extra leave during a PCS.

*Now this one may seem weird, especially considering your spouse is probably taking PCS leave (Permissive TDY) already, but taking an extra 5 days of personal leave can make the PCS more enjoyable due to an extended time frame.

  • Instead of staying at a hotel overnight, try meeting up with family in an area.

*On our way up to Fort Lewis from Reno, we stopped at Blair’s Aunt’s and Uncle’s place in Klamath Falls and stayed the night. Not only was it nice to catch up with them, but also nice to feel welcomed by family in the middle of our move.

  • Pack games or make up games to play in the car.

*This is one that I loved to do when I was younger – the license plate game. Seriously it had me on lookout for hours. What you do is write down the 50 states on a piece of paper, then every time you see a state license plate you check it off your list. Plates from outside of the states like British Columbia were extra points. I never saw an Alaska plate when I was little and it infuriated me! Anywho, just an idea – try this or make one up of your own! Any games are fun!

A fun little box of questions to ask on the road!

A fun little box of questions to ask on the road!

  • Try making road trip question cards or buying some.

*Table Topics conversation starters are too fun! Years ago I bought a set of these to ask my dad questions about the ’70s at dinner time. It was funny to see how he answered, and interesting to see what he would laugh or smile about! Try picking up a Family Edition set or one of their many other fun sets! Both you and your kids will be laughing and (best of all) talking!

So I want to know – what do you do to make a PCS more relaxed or enjoyable?

Lauren

*I can’t believe it’s already been 5 weeks since I started this series and with it being the last post of *A Month of PCS*, stay tuned for June’s mini series going to be announced next Monday! Have a great weekend!

Previous Posts for *A Month of PCS*

Week 1 – The Basics to a PCS!

Week 2 – On or Off Post?

Week 3 – Who Moves Our Things?

Week 4 – Making the Move!

week2

On or Off Post?

militaryspouseappreciation 2First of all – Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Today is a day to pat yourself on the back! It takes a lot to be a military spouse – dealing with deployments, early mornings, late nights and those 24 Hour Shifts! The list goes on!

But go ahead and treat yourself to something! Trust me. Don’t feel guilty! I’m sure your solider wouldn’t mind you spoiling yourself just a little, because I can promise you that he is extremely thankful and appreciative for the love, respect and laughs you  give him.

Want to buy something little for yourself and save some money? Here are some places that offer Military Discounts!

  1. Old Navy – 10% off the first of the every month (the Old Navy here has the military discount everyday, so check your’s out!)
  2. Aeropostale – 20% off with valid military id
  3. Lady’s Foot Locker – 20% off
  4. Eddie Bauer – 15% off
  5. Payless Shoe Source – 10% with valid military id

Now to Week 2 of *A Month to PCS*! – On Post or Off Post?

categoriesPicking Your Home.

When it comes to PCS-ing, one of the most stressful and difficult things is finding a place you can comfortably call home.

But a good starting place is to consider whether you plan to live On Post or Off Post.

Below are some pros and cons of each broken down into categories! Remember to keep a list of your own Pros and Cons list as well!

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on

1. Proximity

Pros:

  • The drive is considerably shorter due to not commuting – wake up times are later due to less of a commute.
  • Some bases have bike lanes available to avoid driving and gas costs.
  • Your spouse can come home easily to shower after PT and eat.
  • You are closer to base amenities: PX, commissary, base hospital, etc.

Cons:

  • Your spouse is closer to work, so he or she might be more likely to be called in for a 24 Hour Shift or details.
  • Your spouse might feel like they never truly are able to leave the “work environment”.

2. Style of Life

Pros:

  • You live the true military lifestyle – everyone around you is serving!
  • The MPs (military police) are constantly patrolling – sense of protection.

Cons:

  • You may feel like you are never able to get away from the military lifestyle.
  • You have to enter through the base’s gate to get home if you leave post *Don’t ever forget your military id!*

3. Housing

Pros:

  • You don’t pay any rent or utilities!

Cons:

  • Extra amenities such as Cable and Internet come out of your pocket.
  • No BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) *essentially you are trading your BAH for the ability to live on post rent and utility free*
  • Inspections of the housing is not uncommon.
  • Wait lists for Base Housing are typically long.
  • There are certain dog breed restrictions.
  • The housing you are given depends on your rank and what is available. *Quality and size grows as the rank grows*

*Make sure to do research on Base Housing for your specific base. I’ve found that Base Housing websites are hard to find, but don’t give up!

*Note: If you are looking to apply to Base Housing and your spouse if still in AIT or OSUT, it may be more difficult for you to apply due to not having Official Orders in hand. Call your base’s housing office for more information – Some bases may vary on this.

4. Area

Pros:

  • Well maintained.
  • Most bases have parks, dog parks, and activity centers (movie theater, bowling alley, etc.).
  • You have easy access to the commissary and PX.

Cons:

  • Proximity to schools may be far.
  • Noises (artillery, ranges, aircraft, etc.) can be considerably loud.
  • Proximity to shopping malls and different types of restaurants may be far.

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off

1. Proximity

Pros:

  • Your spouse is able to “get away” from the work environment living off post.
  • Not as quickly called in to fill on 24 Hours Shifts or details since you live off post.

Cons:

  • Your spouse will have a commute time – Wake Up times will be earlier due to commute.
  • Not able to come home during the day as easily.
  • Gas costs.

2. Style of Life

Pros:

  • You get to choose what school district you live in.
  • Closer to everyday stores and restaurants like Wal-Mart, Chili’s, Target, etc.
  • Able to get away from the military lifestyle!
  • Public parks and dog parks are available for you to enjoy (amount and proximity may vary).
  • You can easily go to places off base as you please  *Meaning you don’t need to get off post to go to the mall then go through the gate to get back on!

Cons:

  • You have to drive commute to base to shop at the Commissary and PX.
  • If you have a medical emergency, you have to commute to the base’s hospital  *This depends on whether you have TriCare Prime or Standard. Also, some neighboring cities and towns of the base have Urgent Care Clinics available for you to go to!

3. Housing

Pros:

  • You get to choose where you live, whether that is in a house, townhouse, condo or apartment! The options are endless!
  • More dog friendly housing options available.
  • You receive BAH to compensate for Housing and Utility costs. *BE SMART with your money! You may be able to save money each month if you plan and spend wisely when it comes to rent. 🙂 Blair and I pocket about $300 a month that goes directly towards savings – I’ll do a post about how to save money while living off post in the near future!
  • Extra BAH money can go towards cable and Internet (not out of pocket!)

Cons:

  • You have to pay rent and utilities.
  • You may not have a yard to let your children or pets play on.
  • You may not have neighbors who are also in the military.

*To figure out your BAH, check here!

4. Area

Pros:

  • Military caused noises won’t be as loud.
  • Neighbors may not be in the military – a chance to grow
  • Easy access to typical stores, restaurants and malls.
  • Parks and Dog Parks may be available.

Cons:

  • Crime rates may vary depending on the area.
  • May not be well maintained.

*Always check out your base’s Military Spouse Facebook page! Ask them questions on what areas to look for housing at and what areas to stay away from. They live there and will be able to help! Maybe even ask what apartments are nice or if anyone is renting their house?

So I’m challenging you! Grab your sweetheart tonight and make your Pros and Cons list on finding housing when PCS-ing. Are school ratings important to you? Proximity to base? How about living on post? Bothered by plane noises? The Pros and Cons for living On or Off Post go on!

Just make sure to take your time and really consider what is best for you and your family!

Lauren

Other Posts for *A Month of PCS*

Week 1 – The Basics to a PCS!

Week 3 – Who Moves Our Things?

Week 4 – Making the Move!

Week 5 – How to Relax During a PCS!