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There’s nothing quite like arrival day at your new duty station. Your stomach may be full of butterflies and everyone is ready to get out of the car. Although you may be ready to just explore and have fun, there are a few things you’ll want to check off your list first. Once this is done, you’ll feel so much better about playing tourist!

The essentials

Although experienced military families know to pack a kit containing the must haves when they arrive in their new home, many may not know this important step. My go kit includes my coffee machine, air mattresses, a pump (no way am I doing it by hand), a shower curtain, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. If you don’t have a kit with you, you’ll need to build one filled with your family’s essentials. This is an important step because even if you have your HHG delivery date scheduled, it’s always in pencil. Our delivery dates have shifted days and even weeks before. Always have a plan B and be prepared if things don’t happen as scheduled.

Your new home

Welcome to your new home for the next few years. If you’ve purchased a home, you’ll be meeting with your real estate agent for your closing or a key pick up if you did it virtually. Many times, real estate agents like to gift their buyers with something for their closing. Our advice to those professionals is to consider a few practical but awesome ideas:

  • Gift cards for local restaurants.
  • Professional cleaning for their new home.
  • A welcome home kit filled with all the must haves in their home before their things arrive.
  • Gift cards for the local grocery store or food delivery service.

If you are renting on base or off, you’ll want to pick up your keys and do an in-person inspection of your new place. This is important because the same inspection will be most likely done when you leave as well. When this occurs, you’ll want to take note of any major issues so they can either be fixed or noted so you aren’t on the line for them when you move. Hopefully you set up your renter’s insurance before you left for PCS, but in case you didn’t – you will want to call and get that taken care of immediately. In most places it’s a requirement but even if it isn’t, your landlord or housing office is not responsible for anything except the building. This means if you lost everything, you’ll be held responsible.

Checklist items

Once you’ve arrived and are in your new home, there are a few more things you can check off your list:

  • Update TRICARE with your new address and pick new doctors for your family.
  • Ensure that your active duty spouse has DEERS updated with your new address.
  • Currently the dental insurance is Concordia, call and give them your new address and pick a new dentist in the area.
  • Check with your children’s school to make sure they have their records and are all set to start the school year.
  • Double check that all your accounts are listed with your new address as well. Although this is the age of digital everything, you’ll want to ensure you don’t miss any important mail. I once forgot to change my address on my Target app and the $100 worth of clothing for one of my children was sent and left outside of my old home. Don’t be like me, double check all your accounts.

Once you’ve done all the essential arrival things, it’s time to have fun. Enjoy your new city and take this time to explore. Talk to others and find the must-see attractions and best restaurants to eat at. Your service member will most likely have some time off before he must report in; use this family time to play tourist and plant roots in your new hometown.