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DITY Move vs. Government Transportation

The following is the second post in our miniseries covering Primary Change of Station (PCS) moves by guest blogger Janet McIntosh, Army wife.

As many of us gear up for PCS season, you may be contemplating whether you want to choose a do-it-yourself/personally procured move (DITY/PPM) or go with military transportation.

This is a decision many military families face, so I thought I would take a closer look at these two PCS options. There can be pros and cons with both of these options, and being informed will help you make the best possible choice for you and your family.

A DITY/PPM move means you will move all of your household goods yourself.  The military will provide you with financial assistance to do this.  You can choose to do a full DITY/PPM move, meaning you will move absolutely everything, or you can choose to do a Partial DITY/PPM move, which means you will move some of your items and the military will move the rest.

If you choose to go solely with military transportation, then the military will move all of your household goods.

Now, as you make this decision, you probably have many questions.  Perhaps you want to learn more about a DITY/PPM move because you have never done one before.  Perhaps you want to know what the pros and cons are of each option. I am here to help provide you with some of those answers and resources.

You may think DITY means renting a U-Haul truck and moving your family and belongings to your next duty station. In some instances, you would be right, but DITY doesn’t always mean do-it-yourself.

Did you know you can still choose to pack your belongings, but have someone else do the loading, lifting and driving for you?

uShip allows you to post your moving needs online and look at quotes from vetted service providers. You can learn more about DITY/PPM moves through uShip, who has provided some great information on this option and some of the advantages of choosing to do-it-yourself (you can make money and receive extra time off for starters!)

I still wanted to know if DITY/PPM moves were easier.

I wanted to go a step further to find out why military families might choose a DITY/PPM move, and what they thought some of the advantages were. I went in search of military spouses who had experienced a DITY/PPM move first-hand.  Through my research, I found that families chose to do DITY/PPM moves for a number of reasons.  Some want to save money, some want to protect their valuables, and some found it more convenient and even less stressful. 

I found that most of these families were able to save money.

Marianne Weaver, a military spouse, says her family probably broke even in regards to financial costs. However, she had priceless valuables she just could not stand to see placed on a moving truck in the hands of an unaccountable transporter. For Marianne, a DITY/PPM move was the best option to ensure her things arrived in one piece at the other end of her PCS.  I think we can all relate to this, as we have all probably had some items that just didn’t make it through a move – at least not in one piece.

Viola Angel, another military spouse, told me that for her it was about convenience.  Her family chose to do a Partial DITY/PPM move so upon arrival at their duty station they would have the necessary items needed right away, such as toys for the kids and kitchen items.  They let military transportation move the rest of their household items in which they could live without for a few weeks. For Viola, it was convenient knowing she would have needed items on hand.

“We found [the DITY/PPM move] fairly easy. We made sure we were well informed. We got advice from my husband’s unit on the pros and cons and realized the pros far outweighed the cons.”

 Kerry Ellington, Military Spouse

This is not to say that all the spouses I spoke with had amazing experiences with their DITY/PPM moves.  Some spouses had issues during their moves, but I found that many issues may not have been a problem with a few more resources, a little more advanced preparation, and some organization. uShip is a great place to find those resources, even if you are doing a military transportation move. 

It is important to stay organized throughout any PCS move – uShip provides handy checklists to make sure you have everything covered. Check out this guide to the 5 Things To Do When You Receive Your PCS Move Orders. Resources are available for DITY/PPM moves, Partial DITY/PPM moves, and even for those who choose to do a military transportation move.

A DITY/PPM move may not be for everyone.  As we have discussed above, it is important to start planning your PCS early. Look at the pros and cons of every option both you and your family have, and which of those options will best fit your needs. Make sure to educate yourself on all of these options and take advantage of the wealth of tools and resources that are available to you.

Next in our series, we will bring you some great PCS tips to continue helping you make your PCS move go smoothly and as stress-free as possible.