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Turn Your PCS "Hurry Up and Wait" into a Staycation

In the famous Dr. Seuss Book, Oh, the Places You'll Go! he writes of "the waiting place." Military families arguably spend more time in this place than their civilian counterparts. It becomes a way of life to wait for orders, dates, details, belongings, and for the proverbial green light to move on to what’s next.

There's a reason (or 20) that "hurry up and wait," is such a commonly used phrase among military families. How do you get through it, especially when you're dealing with the stress of a PCS?

Two key pieces of advice I can share with you while you're navigating this period are: manage your stress and make it fun.

First, let's get the stress part out of the way. Before you can kick back and relax, make sure you don't stress unnecessarily about your belongings.

Watching everything you own get boxed up, crated, and hauled off in a truck can rattle the toughest of constitutions. Having the right insurance with a qualified team of caring, supportive professionals can remove additional worry. Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) is proud to offer Auto, Home, Renter, Flood, Pet, and Valuable Item Insurance, to name a few. Created by former military leaders, AFI protects those who protect our nation, while offering competitive rates. Trust AFI to take one thing off your plate during your PCS.

Now, let's get to the fun part! Here are ideas to turn your PCS "Hurry Up and Wait" into a Staycation.

7 Ways to Have Fun During a PCS Move

  • Live it up with friends. Although your house may be empty, it doesn't mean that you can't still have fun with your friends and neighbors before you go. Use your grill one last time before you give it away or it hits the trash pile, and have your friends bring sides and drinks. Disposable plates, cups, and utensils make the most sense now, and if you have to hose down your trash and recycle cans to clear housing, ask neighbors if you can use their cans. (If they're not at your party, be sure to take them some goodies as a thank you.)
  • Living room sleepover. When you are down to just air mattresses, sleeping bags, sheets, and pillows, why not have fun with it? Grab a deck of cards for some classics like Go Fish, play games that require no equipment like 20 Questions or Charades, and if your kids are old enough, tell some ghost stories.
  • King/queen for a day. When you've moved from your house to lodging, it's easy to feel like a fish out of water. Your familiar surroundings and friends are no longer there, and it's important to keep spirits up. One idea is to take turns being "king or queen for the day." This means that one at a time, each family member gets to pick that day's meal, movie, and activity. If you have kids, this will offer a sense of control and power, which they will appreciate during this period of upheaval.
  • Hotel fun. Utilize the perks of your temporary lodging and don't stay confined to your room. If offered, be sure to experience the complimentary breakfast, the fitness center, the pool, vending machines, nature trails, or in-room movies. As a money-saving hack, pack an HDMI cable so that you can connect your laptop to the hotel room tv and stream your favorite shows and movies from sites you already pay for.
  • Map it out. Google nearby areas of interest and activities you can enjoy close to your hotel. If you don’t have your POV with you because it’s been shipped, take a rideshare service to nearby parks, playgrounds, ice cream parlors, malls, movie theaters, nature trails, museums, and more. Moving is hard -- give yourself permission to play a little.
  • One-on-one time. Being together constantly is something you don't have to do (unless your service member is deployed or away and you have the kids all the time). Don't feel obligated to make everything a group activity. Outside of being alone once in a while which is also important, consider taking turns going to breakfast or going for a swim with just one child at a time. They may open up and share what they're going through during the move, and it could provide some important bonding time.
  • Staying with family. If part of your transition between duty stations includes staying with family for a while, make the most of it. Drive around and explore your old favorite haunts, order your favorite food, and have conversations that you’ve been meaning to have with loved ones back home. As a sanity-saving tip, don't feel the need to go and see all old friends piecemeal. Pick a day and time where they can all come to you -- you're going through enough, that it's not up to your military family to travel to and accommodate everyone.

During your next PCS move, remember these tips to stay sane and let go a little. They can make "hurry up and wait" a lot more fun.