PCSing is one of the most stressful parts of being In a military family. Every few years we are uprooted from a place that we have worked so hard to make feel like “home” just to start all over again!
Relocating state side can indeed be stressful but when relocating to another country it’s as if all your stress triples! While my family was preparing to PCS to Germany simple small details completely went over my head! Here are a few things that would have made our relocation go a little smoother, maybe they can help you!
Unlocking your phone if it is not already unlocked.
This may seem like a no brainer but my husband and I were so focused on other large aspects of the move that we did not even consider this until the last minute. This caused us to make irrational decisions. We both had recently gotten new phones and since we had only had them for less than 6 months with our phone company they declined our unlock request. When we reached Germany we had to purchase new phones through our new cellular provider so that we had a form of communication. This may not sound terrible but after already spending a great deal of money to prepare and move the last thing you want to do is spend money that could have been avoided! If we would have looked into the requirements sooner we would have had a larger variety of options that would have been more costs efficient.
Download the WhatsApp application
WhatsApp allows you to communicate with your sponsors while you are still stateside with no worries of being charged international fees!
-Sponsors give you advice and guide you to make you transition a little smoother. One is provided to the service man or woman as well as the spouse.
The WhatsApp application uses your cellular internet connection or WiFi. Free calls,messages and multi media messages are included. (pictures,videos) The app uses your telephone number so it is vital that you completely set this up before you leave the states. The application request verification by sending a code to your telephone number which you will be unable to receive once your out of the country. Unless of course you decide to get an international plan with your existing provider. Airports typically provide WiFi so at each layover you should contact your sponsor to update them on your whereabouts using this app.
-Sponsors of the service man or woman are in charge of reserving a place for the family to stay,and also picking the family up from the air port.
So for this reason communication is vital.
WhatsApp is free in the App Store, Check it out! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whatsapp-messenger/id310633997?mt=8
Notify your bank(s)
Make sure that you communicate with your financial institutions to let them know you will be leaving the country! Most banks will decline your transaction if it feels that the transaction was not made by the account owners. Typically they base account security off of your usual average purchase amount or where the transaction is occurring. With my bank if I travel to somewhere I normally don’t go I must make sure that I call and make them aware of possible places I may use my card or the region so that they do no suspect fraud and block my card. I actually love this feature but it can be annoying when you need to make a purchase but your card is frozen and you have no way to call and make your bank aware. Each financial institution varies,discuss your options with your personal bank!
Wait to covert your currency!
Airports have currency converting stations that you will be tempted to use,DON’T! Exchanging currency at airports is absurdly expensive and loaded with margins. I recommend waiting until you make it to your post,you can exchange your currency at your local PX. There are also several if not all ATM machines that dispense euros. Be aware of the fees that come along with using your card while over sea,it adds up, but this is a small price to pay for being in Europe!
-We opened an account with community bank that specifically deals with people of the DOD. There aren’t any fees when you use one of their several ATMS located throughout post.
Last but not least,
keep an open mind!
I know from experience that relocating can be difficult both mentally and physically but it’s vital to be positive and to keep an open mind. Take advice that is given into consideration but do not solely base your every move off of another’s experience. Do what is best for your particular situation but ask questions and try to become somewhat familiar with your new destination so that your not walking in blind. Stay positive,and take it one day at a time!
I just touched base on a few things that I wish I had known before relocating! If you have any questions or would like more tips feel free to leave me a comment!❤️