Preparing for A Winter PCS

Feeling frozen while looking at the to-do list for a PCS is normal, but trying not to literally freeze while navigating the list adds an extra layer of mental and physical difficulty. Here are a few things to remember if you are preparing to move in the winter.


Flight Points mean snacks, not guarantees.

   If you have traveled in the last few years, you know about the rising trend of canceled flights and plane delays. Still, with a season of bitter cold coming, especially if you are going above the southern states, you need to be prepared for winter storms, blizzards, and flights that cannot take off because there’s too much ice. Being flexible with your travel window can help alleviate the panic when a flight is delayed, canceled, and then delayed again.



There are over 17 holidays within December and January across different faiths, which means some places may be closed, many people are traveling, and what usually takes two weeks to go across desks may take a month or more. Start any paperwork as soon as possible. Even if you think it is slightly outrageous to send it up, send things out, or double-check everything is signed correctly, do it anyway.

   In the best-case scenario, you get it back early, but if it’s a Murphy’s Law PSC with snafus around people traveling or having a vacation, you are covered. Thinking ahead gives you a cushion for your orders, SOFA Stamps, EFMP approval, and even animal health certificates.


Too Cold for Cosmo

   On top of ensuring you have a correctly filled-out health certificate for your animals, you need to check with the flight you are taking to see if they have any cold temperature restrictions. Various airlines have different requirements for temperatures and training. You need to know what your specific airline’s rules are in transporting your pet, and it is essential to check because you want to avoid being surprised at the airport when you arrive. 

   Unfortunately, sometimes, getting a straight answer from an airline is not always easy. There are Facebook groups where people share their experience of traveling as a military family with pets, and sometimes going to the front check-in counter, even if it’s not on your flight day, to ask questions can get you a clear answer or at least more information.


Layers, like an onion, like a parfait!

   Pull out warm clothes as you pack your household goods and unaccompanied baggage. If you’re living in a place like Hawaii and are about to move to Germany in January, as much as you want to keep wearing those slippers (flip flops), you need fluffy slippers and a winter coat instead. 

   You can always pick up things when you land, at the thrift store on base or even nearby stores, but it’s best not to rely on those for your essentials. Having the bare minimum to survive cold weather when you land will make a big difference in your ability to keep all your fingers and mental fortitude in their best working capacity.


All in all, a winter PCS means there may be a few more things you need to plan and look out for so you don’t hit an icy patch during your move.


About the Author:

Aj Smit is the author of the book Red Thread: Weaving an Embodied Life of Joy, speaker, glitter enthusiast, and professional weaver of Joy. She is a military spouse in S. Korea with a pup and houseplants galore. Aj has led various Red Tents, retreats, and workshops internationally over the last ten years to help others discover how to weave creativity and curiosity into their lives. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @TheJoyWeaver and