Please Note: This is our experience. I know everyone Else’s is different. This was what we did.
Important Documents. Have certified copies made either with the recruiter or town hall. We had to have a DOD passport (non fee) and a Travelers passport. We had the Travelers expedited to us. Yes you pay more but you can live in the other country for up to 90 days without it. You will also need it to see the other beautiful surrounding countries. Go to Walgreen’s or CVS to get your passport photos. It is cheaper. You need two sets. The sooner you can get them done. The better off you are. We kept original documents and sent certified copies of the birth certificate. They will mail them back to you or someone you trust with your information. When we got our certified copies back. I sent those and a second set of Social Security Cards to a girlfriend to keep in a safe for us. You will also receive a tiny card that has your passport registration number and expiration date on them. Keep those separate from your other documents. If for whatever reason they are separated you will still have this vital information.
Orders.Make about 25 copies. I know this seems excessive. We have only the original set left. You need them for everything you do. We had to give three sets just to have our car shipped. You need them to set up bank account, Internet, cable, phone and cell phone. You need them for housing and more.
Shipping. You can have an express shipment. I was not offered this. If you are not offered this then ask why. That means you can get some stuff here quicker. Then the rest of the stuff arrives soon after. Take advantage. The loaner stuff is horrible to sleep on. Paul and I debated getting a better air mattress. The dishes and cooking pans weren’t bad. I did miss the kureig. If you can ship a car about 30 days out I suggest you do so. Going to a foreign Country and not being able to get around stinks. The bus system where we are stationed in Germany is horrible. It is not conducive to families who are trying to get places. We did do the taxi and gets expensive. 15.00 euros doesn’t get you far here.
Medical Record, School Records. Bring those with you on the plane. It will make your life easier when registering for school. Make sure you have full shot record. If you can get the hep a before you come do so. They will be required to have it for DOD school in Germany.
Flying.We did concurrent travel with my husband. Due to being on military orders we were able to each have two bags underneath the plane (Paul had 3) at no cost. Call the airline ahead of time. We flew united. We each had a rolling carry on and a boarding bag (backpack or small bag) that can fit under the seat. I recommend that you pack enough clothes for week to a week and half. Pack just the essentials. What you can’t pack in your bags you can get once you arrive. That was my biggest worry. We had two boys. We packed their movies and DVD players. Along with Nintendo DS.
So that is kind of an overview and way condensed version of just what I thought prior to leaving. I really had a few panic attacks after the movers came. They had every picture and every video. I have of my children. They had every sentimental piece of furniture and memory. I wish I had put everything on a portable hard drive. That way if something ended up happening to the computer or the disks they were saved on. Do yourself the favor and spend the 120.00 on a 2tb hard drive. You can also put copies of your orders and bills from back home on there for easy access. Lesson was learned after huge panic attack and what if’s. Also take pictures of your property before and after. I have full inventory on our CD, DVD and video games. Also our books. Take pictures when they arrived. Take time to make sure they are wrapping property that is breakable well. Paul and I wish we did a better job at that
I noticed I had tons of paperwork from movers, doctors, schools, and more military forms. I was trying to think of a way to safely move all these things with us. We walked into staples to pay our bill and pick up a few things. One of the best things I picked up were a huge 3 ring binder, dividers and protective sleeves. Here is it after loosing all the extra copies and records. I now use this for our local bills as well. It has made my life easier trying to find things that I need at a moments notice.
Just something that has made life easier. There are many times that Paul has called saying I need this for this class or I need copies of this certificate. Do you know where it is. I sure do because I have it in that binder. I also print of the les each pay cycle. That way I have them. I can check for any discrepancies. When you arrive there maybe and it may take time for cola and all that to appear. This is so you can go to finance and ask questions easily.
I also suggest making sure you husband or wife gets the overseas questionaires done quickly. That needs to be done to get your orders ammended for the family to travel all together.
Other military wives feel free to jump in with your tips.