Ah, summer. That easy, breezy time of year when the real-estate market kicks into high gear. It’s an ideal time to move because it’s safer than trying to move during the snowy, slushy, icy months. Summer also makes for perfect timing because school is out for the season. But what if your military move is happening during a different time of the year? Should you automatically count yourself unlucky for getting your orders when you did? We don’t think so.

In fact, there are actually plenty of pros to receiving orders for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move in the off-season — more moving company availability and lower moving costs, for example. 

Of course, there are questions and concerns (but what move doesn’t come with those?). You’ll have to consider how to enroll your kids in school mid-year and account for potential inclement weather. Your holiday season may even be interrupted. 

Insider Tip: Looking for a step-by-step guide to making your PCS happen? Military.com has created a checklist to walk you through .

Luckily, this guide is here to point out the positives of off-season PCS moves. Who knows? You may even end up preferring to make your military moves outside of the summer months!

Sun rays coming out from behind a cloud on a summer day
(Source: Sam Schooler via Unsplash)

Military PCS moves: Frequently asked questions

What time of year do military families move?
Truly, military families can move nearly any time of the year. Summer months are when a lot of families may want to pick up and get out of town because school is out of session and more homes are available in the local real-estate market. But moving in fall, winter, or spring also offers some serious benefits. 

How much does a PCS move cost?
Costs depend on a lot of issues. But estimates that average PCS moves cost service members and their families around $1,725 in non-reimbursable costs. If you have to make such a transition every two to four years, you may want to think about that in terms of savings plans and budgeting, as well. 

What months are PCS season?
According to some base websites, the peak times — or when most service members are making their moves — are between May 15th and September 30th of the average year. Typically, most PCS moves are actually scheduled between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, with a goal of settling the kids into new neighborhoods and establishing good routines before most educational facilities go back into session. That doesn’t mean that moves aren’t happening year-round, though. 

Q: What is the benefit of making your PPM move with PODS? 
A: With PODS, you move on your own schedule. Have a portable storage container delivered to your driveway, then take as much time as you need for packing and loading. When you’re ready, PODS will pick it up and take it to your next home — or keep it at a secure storage center until you’re ready to move in. And (bonus!) you may even get the chance to pocket some leftover entitlement money.

Possible hurdles of a PCS off-season move

Okay, let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room: Moving is all about timing, and timing a move during the off-season may seem counterintuitive. Are your kids in the middle of a school semester? Will your move occur during the holiday season, affecting planned get-togethers? Will you have to travel through some less-than-desirable weather during the move? 

Of course, there’s nothing you can do about mid-year school transitions and seasonal weather. But something that may be pleasantly surprising about making an off-season PCS move? Because it’s not happening at peak moving time, you may actually find that you’re less stressed during the process. Think about it. How much do you have going on in your everyday life during the summer versus during the winter, for example? The change of pace could mean more time to focus on getting ready for the move (and maybe throwing in some pre-move decluttering while you’re at it).

Insider Tip: Traveling through some rough conditions? Take the burden of transporting your belongings off of your shoulders and let PODS handle the driving. Simply load up your things in a weather-resistant PODS container and breathe easy. The best part? You’ll save 10% just for being a service member!
A military couple standing in front of their new home during an off-season PCS move

Benefits of a PCS off-season move

Cost Breaks
Now, let’s consider the pros of an off-season PCS move. The first one that has the greatest impact on a service member’s financial situation? Cost savings. Many times, housing inventory in the city where you’ll be moving may be higher in the three seasons outside of summer, and the home sellers or rental companies may be more open to offers. It’s likely easier to find a real estate agent to work with, as well, since they’re probably not doing as many showings. There may also be more PCS movers or moving companies with spaces in their schedules — and they may have off-season moving discounts. 

Extra Availability
Another pro of moving during the off months is that there may be more people around to help. Families who usually have a bunch of summertime commitments or travel may be sitting around at home and see moving as something exciting to help with. Plus, you can get them involved in helping set up the new house. Having those familiar faces around is also a great way to help your kids with the transition, so it doesn’t feel so abrupt. 

And an underrated bonus… Boxes. The holiday season usually means an overabundance of cardboard from countless online orders, gifts from family, and parties. Do you know what those leftover boxes and packing materials are perfect for? Moving. They can make packing less expensive and even a little more festive.

Potentially Milder Weather
There’s so much focus on harsh weather conditions during winter moving, but what about excruciatingly hot and humid weather in the summer? If you’re moving to a state with high summer temperatures, count yourself lucky for getting PCS orders outside of those brutal summer months! Getting all of those boxes into the right rooms, unpacking them, and setting up new spaces can be way less stressful if you can keep the windows open and not have to bribe your kid to follow you around with a portable fan. 

A woman in the military standing next to a PODS container in front of her new home

PCS tips for an off-season move

The most important thing to keep in mind during all of this? It doesn’t matter when you’re moving; there are always people and services that can help. For example, if you have items that you’d like to store instead of moving, or if you want to take your time unpacking at your new place, there’s a portable storage container with your name on it. And don’t worry. PODS representatives can offer help in figuring out what size storage container you might need as well as packing advice. Want more advice along the way? Check out the PODS Blog for tips and tricks on how to turn this PCS move into a peaceful transition. 

PODS is proud to serve the men and women who serve our country. Active, retired, and veteran members of the military receive a 10% PODS military discount with promo code SERV10. Call 866-556-9574 for a personalized quote. 

Karen Dybis is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, The Detroit News, and more.

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