Seven Tips for PCS-ing in 2020
Many people (myself included) were due to PCS this summer, and few had the opportunity to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving is always tough, and having to do it in the middle of a viral outbreak doesn't help at all. I was fortunate enough to PCS right on schedule, but if that's not the case for you, here are a couple of tips to help on your journey.
1. Have important paperwork and identification handy at all times.
This is a no-brainer for international travel (or crossing state borders). Your parents may take care of this, but it is smart to make sure you've got a copy of your orders and your passport handy at all times, as well as any plane/train tickets you will need.
2. Not a bad idea to have a mask in a place that is easily accessible.
I am not the biggest fan of masks. However, for the sake of other people's self esteem and the fact it's mandatory (highly encouraged) in most public places, a mask is a good item to have with you. If you want to get real fancy, you could wear some gloves too. Personally, I did not go anywhere where masks were required during my PCS; I drove to my destination, and the only precaution I really had to take was keeping my window rolled up at border control. With that being said, I am almost positive they are required in most train stations and airports.
Hand sanitizer is just another handy dandy little tool to have on you; it doesn't need much explanation. I like to buy the small ones that fit in your pocket and smell good.
4. Do your best to social distance
Not my favorite rule, but do your best to respect the the regulations so you don't get kicked out of that train/gas station or airport.
5. Ration your snacks
This particular tip is very important, and quite honestly is applicable to life in general outside of a mid-pandemic PCS in my opinion. It took about seven hours for me to get from Belgium to England; let me tell you the highway looked like another planet. It was pretty much empty except for trucks, and all of the stops were closed and deserted. Food is a very important part of my life (no regrets) and running out of it was pretty depressing. Moral of the story, consume your food wisely.
6. Be patient
Depending on where you travel, you may have to be tested for COVID-19. If I'm not mistaken, it takes up to seven hours to receive results for a COVID test. That doesn't mean you will always spend seven hours in a waiting area at border control, but between being tested, waiting in line, and having your paperwork approved, things will take time. Just relax. Breathe. Every step you take is a step closer to being able to take a nap, play a video game, or [insert hobby here] at your final destination. In my travels, I was not tested for the coronavirus, but upon my arrival in England, I was required to self isolate for 14 days. If you have to do the same, make sure your family is in contact with your military sponsor. Here, the staff were pretty harsh about my family staying inside our room at the TLF, and our sponsor had to do all grocery shopping for us.
7. Don't forget your phone charger/ headphones
They're essential :)
Hopefully these tips help. Wash your hands, stay safe, and happy travels!
If you or someone you love needs help during this tough time, check out our Resources page for links to mental health resources. If you are unsure how to properly protect yourself against COVID-19, click here for the CDC's instructions. Please follow all CDC guidelines when you are PCS-ing to keep yourself and others healthy! Stay safe out there!