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Military PCS to Ft. Meade MD: Your Relocation Guide and Moving Checklist

Moving Frequently is Part of Military Life

In fact, military families move an average of once every three years. The Department of Defense estimates that one-third of all military members make Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves each year. So do not fret as this military PCS to Fort Meade MD guide provides some key information to get you going in the right direction.

Moving to a new city is both a thrilling adventure and an intimidating change. It allows you to see parts of the country or even the world you might not have seen otherwise. You get to embrace a new city with new people. However, uprooting yourself from familiar places and people is never easy, and you will face many challenges as you adjust to your new locale.

Relocating to a new city can be stressful for anybody. You have to pack all your belongings and hope they make it to your new home in one piece. Then you’ll have to unpack and set everything up again.

Your family will be confronted by many significant changes once PCS orders are received. The good news is moving gets a little easier as you gain experience.

In this military PCS to Fort Meade MD guide, I will share with you tips that can help you conquer the unnecessary stress that a military relocation often brings.

What is a Permanent Change of Station

A Permanent Change of Station is an official relocation of an active duty military service member- along with any family members living with him or her- between one duty station and another, or between a final duty station and home of record upon retirement or discharge.

It is a longer-term assignment, generally lasting two to four years. It applies until mooted by another PCS order, completion of active duty service, or some other event.

CONUS moves refer to moves inside the continental United States while OCONUS moves include moves to Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. territories, and overseas. 

What You Need to Know About PCSing to Fort Meade MD

Did you just get orders to relocate to Fort Meade Army Base?

Fort George G. Meade
Military installation
Fort Meade1.JPG
Maryland Route 175 is beyond the main gate
Eponym: George MeadeArmy of the Potomac
Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
County  Anne Arundel
Part of Intelligence and Security Command
Borders on E: Severn, Maryland,
W: National Cryptologic Museum,
W: National Vigilance Park,
W: Training School Cemetery
Parts Fort Meade CDP [1]
Location wooded lot [2][clarification needed]
 – elevation 173 ft (53 m) [3]
 – coordinates 39°6′25″N 76°44′35″WCoordinates39°6′25″N 76°44′35″W [4]
Area 7.92 sq mi (20.5 km2[1]
 – CDP 6.6 sq mi (17.1 km2)
Population 48,008  CDP residents
dependants: 6,000[1]
42,133 employed (2010)
military: ≈10,689[1]
NSA: >20,000[5]
DISA: 4000[6]
Access Controlled
GNIS ID 2512196 [4]
Wikimedia Commons: Fort Meade

Fort George G. Meade[4] is a United States Army installation located in Maryland, that includes the Defense Information School, the Defense Media Activity, the United States Army Field Band, and the headquarters of United States Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, the Defense Courier Service, and Defense Information Systems Agency headquarters. It is named for George G. Meade, a general from the U.S. Civil War, who served as commander of the Army of the Potomac. The fort’s smaller census-designated place includes support facilities such as schools, housing, and the offices of the Military Intelligence Civilian Excepted Career Program (MICECP).

Relocating to Fort Meade MD gives you the opportunity to reside in the largest city in Washington DC Metropolitan area. It is often referred to as Washington, Maryland and Virginia.

The community is truly a melting pot of styles and demographics, rooted in rich military tradition and history. We are surrounded by other bases such as Andrews Air Force base, Patuxent Naval Base, Pentagon, Bowing Air Force Base, Fort McNair Army Base, Walter Reed Medical Center and Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

1. Set up a Meeting with Your Transportation Office

The first step is to contact the Transportation Management Office (TMO) to learn all the logistics for your move. Find out about all the moving options available to you, including your travel stipends, moving expenses, and more. Start making preliminary arrangements for your move.

Your TMO will deal with everything related to relocating your entire household. Contact them as soon as your paperwork comes through to make sure your move is scheduled.

2. Choose Your Move

There are three ways to execute a PCS move. You can have the military organize and plan the move for your or you can take the reigns have more control over your move.

  • Government Contract Move – Your local TMO will verify your orders and contract a commercial moving company to pack, ship, and unpack your belongings. This is sometimes the easiest option, but you will need to be thorough in your inventory in case of damage.
  • Personally Procured Move – It allows you to pack, ship, and unpack your own stuff-all for which the government pays you 95% percent of what it would cost them to contract a commercial mover. If you end up spending less than
    the 95 percent payment the government provides, you get to keep the rest.
  • Combination Move – With this option, a part of your goods are moved by the government, and you move the remainder. You can also be reimbursed for moving expenses, but you must keep all receipts and get an empty and full registered weight reading of your moving vehicle.

There are pros and cons to each. When making a decision, you should consider your finances, the amount of time you have to plan your move, and how well you want your belongings packed, inventoried, and labeled.

You also have to keep in mind that the government imposes a weight restriction on PCS moves based on rank and whether or not the service member has dependents. Any weight you move above the restriction will not be paid by the government.

Permanent Change of Station (PCS) and Non-Temporary Storage (NTS) Weight Allowance (Pounds) for CONUS moves


PCS without dependents

PCS with dependents























































3. Use a PCS Checklist 

While preparing for your move, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the tasks that you have to do. You can stay on top of it all by using a PCS Checklist.

With a checklist,  you can stay more organized by assuring you don’t skip any steps in the process. It also allows you to quickly and efficiently manage your various tasks. A checklist also helps you delegate tasks more easily.

Our ready-to-print list will help you remember what needs to be done and when. It covers everything from packing to setting up in your new location and helps you create a timeline from 3 months prior to your move to after you arrive at your new destination.

Download and print our FREE Military PCS Checklist here.

4. Stay Organized with a PCS Binder

Staying organized during a PCS can be very difficult. In fact, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress scale, moving even within the same city is considered fairly stressful.

Moving in the military means a lot of paperwork. You need to keep track of all of your receipts, invoices, and paperwork throughout the process. You don’t want to lose track of them.

One of the best ways to minimize stress and to remain organized is by creating a PCS binder. Instead of trying to keep track of all the separate papers, you can put them all together in one place.

To create a PCS Binder, you’ll need the following:

  • Binder
  • Sheet Protectors
  • Zipper Pouch
  • Dividers with tabs

So what documents should you include in your binder?

  • Important documents like birth certificates, marriage certificate, social security card, and passports
  • PCS Orders (Original and several copies)
  • Your PCS Checklist
  • Health/Dental Records
  • School Records
  • Pet Information/Vet Records
  • Deeds and titles to all real estate and other property
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills and power of attorney documents
  • State and federal income tax returns
  • Moving Documents
  • Travel Documents (All of your hotel and gas receipts, weigh tickets, toll fees, and more can all be included here)

Watch the video below about the three “must-have” items for your PCS binder. 

5. Make an Inventory of All Your Belongings 

Taking inventory of all your belongings is another way to ensure a hassle-free PCS move. You will experience a smoother transition when you know exactly what you’ve got and where they are stored.

There are differents methods for taking a home inventory.

Notebook or Spreadsheet

You can list your items room-by-room or grouped by category. This method may be tedious and time consuming. However, it’s still an effective way to document your belongings.

Picture Documentation

Walk through each room of your house and take pictures of every item. Make sure to take photos of serial numbers and manufacturers, especially on higher-value items. Remember to save backups of your pictures and store them in a location that will be easily retrievable when you need them.

Video Documentation

It is similar to picture documentation with the added benefits of narration and including some extra details about the items as you walk through. 

Digital Inventory

There are several online tools and apps that can help you document all the items in your home. They come in many varieties and levels of detail.

MoveAdvisor is an app that features a state-of-the-art home inventory checklist tool. The app allows  you to create a complete virtual house moving inventory list of your household for your upcoming military PCS to Fort Meade MD.

Sortly is another moving inventory app that enables you to snap a photo of each item using your mobile phone and organize the items into categories so that you know exactly what you have in your home.

Make sure to include the following details in your inventory

  • Name of the item
  • Condition of the item
  • Number of items
  • Brand and description
  • Purchased date, cost at purchase, and an estimated current value
  • Model and serial number, when applicable 

6. Sort Through Your Belongings 

It is important to purge before a PCS move. Go through each room in your house and toss items you haven’t used in the past year that don’t hold substantial sentimental value. If possible, donate them. It’s useless to spend time, money, and effort packing and transporting things that you don’t need or want.

Deciding what to keep and what to toss can be a challenge. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it serve a purpose?
  • Is it being used?
  • Are there multiples?
  • Do you need multiples?
  • Does it draw emotion?

As you ponder on these questions, you’ll find that it’s easier to determine which  things to sell, donate, or to give as gifts.

If you purge your home, you won’t have to pack as many boxes. You could even save money. And you know for yourself it just feels so good to declutter and start fresh in a new home.

7. Research on Your New Duty Station 

Learn everything you need to know about your new duty station. Today there are so many ways to do this.

You can check out Fort Mead Directory for local informationYou can also follow the official Facebook page of Fort Meade to get the most up-to-date information on the area.

You can also learn a lot by diving headfirst into the blogosphere. Military spouses, local photographers, foodies, and real estate agents such as myself know what the area is like and write posts of our personal experiences, which are excellent first-hand resources for you to tap into. Visit my Skip Young Real Estate Blog for a community, subdivision, helpful hints, and of course real estate information available.

8. Prepare Your Children for the Move 

Moving is always a big change for everyone in the family. However, for younger ones, they can be really overwhelming. They have to deal with the chaos of packing and saying goodbye to friends, family, and the familiar comfort of home. It’s like having their world turned upside down.

Here are some tips to help you children prepare for your military relocation.

Tell them the news

Explain to your children what’s happening as you go about preparing for a move. Start preparing the kids for the transition. Encourage your kids to talk about their feelings and ask questions.

It’s important to tell them the news as early as possible so they can prepare their hearts and minds for the changes.

Be excited

Moving can make anyone feel anxious. However, try not to pass your worries along.

Let your children know it’s okay if they are scared or confused and that you’re there to help them.

Get them involved

Look for age-appropriate ways to get your children involved in the moving process. You can let them help you look at potential homes online. You can also encourage them to pack their own stuff.

Visit your new home

If you’re not moving very far, you can take the whole family on a road-trip to your new destination. Get acquainted with the area. Explore the high points like schools, the base you’ll be stationed at, parks, restaurants and other local attractions. If you’re too far, you can always do a virtual tour.

Read books about moving

Books can be an excellent tool to help prepare younger children for the move. Your children can learn through fun stories and illustrations. Visit your local library to find some good ones about moving.

Check out these 7 great children’s books about moving.

Give them time to say goodbye

Give your children a chance to say their farewells to family and friends.

9. Enlist the Help of Skip Young Realtor in Maryland

Having a real estate professional who understands your needs and schedules can make your military PCS to Fort Meade MD makes the transition easier and less stressful.

You don’t have to do it alone!

I am Skip Young, Remax 100 Realtor® and market expert. I tailor my services to meet your individual needs and goals. My commitment to you is to provide the personalized real estate services you deserve.

As a retired Air Force military spouse, I am well versed in the rules regarding VA Loan Eligibility and know all the Housing in Prince Georges County. I know the “ins and outs” of what it takes to qualify for a VA Loan as well as the many different neighborhoods in Fort Mead Area and their corresponding fluctuations in real estate pricing.

I will do everything I can to make your transition to Fort Meade Army Base as smooth as possible!

Follow these tips to ensure that your move  goes well. Be involved from start to finish and play an active role throughout the process.

Call me, Skip Young, at 240-776-2070. Let me make your move easier. I look forward to helping you through your military PCS to Fort Meade MD.  Welcome home to Maryland!

How do you handle your PCS move? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?

PCS Move & Military PCS to Fort Meade MD