What is Geo-Baching in the Military

“Geo-baching” is a term used in military slang to refer to the situation where a service member’s family lives in a different location (often their home of record) than the service member’s duty station. The term is a combination of “geographical bachelor” or “geographically separated bachelor.” This situation arises for various reasons, such as the service member being stationed in a location where family accommodation is not feasible or practical, or when it’s more financially viable for the family to remain in their original location. Geo-baching can be a challenging experience for service members and their families due to the separation it entails, but it’s a relatively common aspect of military life, particularly for those in assignments that involve frequent moves or deployments.   Will I get BAH while I geo-bach? Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a military benefit provided to eligible service members to assist with housing costs […]

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How to Make a Rental Feel Like Home

Making a rental property feel like home is all about personalizing the space and adding touches that reflect your style and personality. Here are some tips to help you achieve that: 1. Decorate: Add your personal touch to the space by decorating it with items that you love. Hang artwork, photographs, or posters on the walls. Use throw pillows, blankets, and rugs to add color and texture to the room. Consider temporary decor solutions like removable wallpaper or decals if you’re not allowed to paint. 2. Furniture: Invest in comfortable and functional furniture that fits the space well. Choose pieces that reflect your style and provide both comfort and utility. You can also use slipcovers to customize furniture pieces that may not match your aesthetic. 3. Lighting: Lighting can greatly affect the ambiance of a space. Add lamps or string lights to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Consider installing […]

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How to travel with pets overseas

Traveling with pets overseas requires careful planning and adherence to various regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of your pet and compliance with the destination country’s requirements. Here are the general steps you should follow: 1. Research Requirements: Research the specific requirements and regulations for bringing pets into your destination country. This can include vaccination requirements, microchipping, health certificates, and quarantine regulations. 2. Visit the Veterinarian: Schedule a visit to your veterinarian well in advance of your travel date. Your vet can provide necessary vaccinations, health certificates, and any other documentation required by the destination country. Some countries require specific vaccinations or treatments that need to be administered within a certain timeframe before travel. 3. Microchipping: Ensure your pet has a microchip implanted if it’s not already done. Many countries require pets to be microchipped for identification purposes. 4. Pet Carrier: Purchase an airline-approved pet carrier that meets the […]

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Should I Use a Real Estate Agent to Buy New Construction?

Whether or not to use a real estate agent when buying new construction depends on various factors and your personal preferences. Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision: Builder’s Representation: Keep in mind that the on-site sales agents at new construction developments work for the builder, not for you. Their primary responsibility is to the builder’s interests. Having your own agent can provide you with someone who represents your interests in the transaction. Negotiation Skills: Real estate agents are experienced negotiators and can help you get the best deal. They may be able to negotiate upgrades, closing costs, or other incentives on your behalf. If you’re comfortable negotiating and understanding the intricacies of the new construction process, you may feel confident handling it yourself. Understanding the Contract: Real estate transactions involve complex contracts. An experienced agent can help you navigate through the paperwork, ensuring that you […]

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Military Movers Damaged My Stuff, What Can I Do?

If your belongings were damaged by military movers, you have options to seek compensation and resolution for the damages. Here are steps you can consider taking: Document the Damage: Take detailed photos of the damaged items as soon as you notice them. Keep a written record of the damages, noting the date and a description of each item affected. Report the Damage: Report the damages to the military moving company as soon as possible. Follow their specific procedures for reporting damage. Ensure that your report is in writing and include the documentation (photos and written record) you’ve collected. Review the Contract: Refer to the contract or agreement you had with the moving company. It may outline the process for filing a claim and the time frame within which you must do so. File a Claim: Most moving companies, including military movers, have a claims process for damaged items. File a […]

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Can I Purchase a Home on a Military Base?

Have you ever wondered if you can buy a home on a military base? I mean, many bases do have commissaries, a NEX/PX/BX, gyms, pools, childcare, and are behind the heavily watched gated community. However, military bases are owned by the US Federal Government. Therefore, no, it is not possible to purchase a home on a military base, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind if you are wanting to buy off base or rent in base housing. Military bases typically have options available for service members and their families, including both on-base housing (government-owned or privatized) and off-base housing in the surrounding community. Here are a few key points to consider: On-Base Housing: Many military bases offer on-base housing, either owned and managed by the government or operated by private companies through privatization initiatives. In some cases, service members may be required to live on-base, while […]

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What are the Steps to Buying a House?

Buying a house is a significant financial decision that involves several steps. Here is a general guide to help you navigate the home-buying process: Evaluate Your Finances: We have awesome lenders around the country that can help you evaluate your financial situation for FREE – yes, for nothing! Review your credit score and history. Determine your budget and how much you can afford to borrow. Save for a Down Payment and Closing Costs: Save for a down payment (typically 3% to 5% of the home’s purchase price). As a veteran or VA Entitlement Holder – you have a 0% down payment.  Budget for closing costs, which can include fees for inspections, appraisals, and more. This will also vary on each lender – so be sure to chat with your agent or our team to make sure you are working with the best. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage: Shop around for […]

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What are the Different Types of Septic Systems? How are they Different than Sewer?

Septic systems and sewer systems are both used for wastewater management, but they operate in different ways and are suitable for different situations. Here’s an overview of the two and some common types of septic systems: Sewer Systems: Public Sewer Systems: In urban and suburban areas, public sewer systems are common. Wastewater from homes and businesses is collected in a network of underground pipes and transported to a centralized wastewater treatment plant. At the treatment plant, the wastewater undergoes various processes to remove contaminants before being discharged or reused. Septic Systems: Conventional Septic Systems: This is the most basic type of septic system. It consists of a septic tank and a drainfield. Wastewater from the house flows into the septic tank, where solids settle and are partially broken down by bacteria. The liquid portion then flows into the drainfield, where it is further treated by soil. Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs): These systems […]

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What Is A Settlement Statement?

A settlement statement, also known as a closing statement or HUD-1 (Housing and Urban Development-1) form in the United States, is a document used in real estate transactions to outline the details of a property sale. It provides a summary of all the financial transactions that occur between the buyer and the seller during the closing process. The settlement statement typically includes details such as the purchase price, loan amount, down payment, closing costs, and any adjustments or credits related to the transaction. It also outlines the distribution of funds among the parties involved, including the buyer, seller, real estate agents, and lenders. The purpose of the settlement statement is to provide a transparent breakdown of all the costs and payments associated with the real estate transaction. It is usually prepared by the closing agent or settlement agent and is reviewed and signed by both the buyer and the seller […]

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7 Reasons You Need Title Insurance

Buying a home is an exciting and emotional time for many people. To help you buy, your home with more confidence, make sure you get owner’s title insurance. Here’s why it’s so important for you: 1.  PROTECTS YOUR LARGEST INVESTMENT  – A home is probably the single largest investment you will make in your life. You insure everything else that’s valuable to you—your life, car, health, pets, etc., so why not your largest investment? For a one- time fee, owner’s title insurance protects your property rights for as long as you or your heirs own your home. 2. REDUCES YOUR RISK  –  If you’re buying a home, there are many hidden issues that may pop up only after you purchase your home. Getting an owner’s title insurance policy is the best way to protect yourself from unforeseen legal and financial title discrepancies. Don’t think it will happen to you? Think […]

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What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides protection to property owners and lenders against financial losses related to covered defects or issues with the title of a property. The title of a property is the legal evidence of ownership and right to use the property, and it can be affected by various factors that may not be immediately apparent. The title policy helps ensure that the property’s ownership is clear and free from any legal disputes or claims. Here’s how it works: 1. Title Search: Before issuing a title insurance policy, a thorough title search is conducted by a title company. This search examines public records to determine the history of the property’s ownership and any potential issues with the title, such as unpaid liens, encumbrances, or claims against the property. 2. Policy Issuance: After the title search is completed, the title insurance company issues a title commitment, followed by the title insurance policy after closing. There are two […]

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Do I Need Flood Insurance?

Whether you need flood insurance depends on several factors, including where you live, your risk of flooding, and your financial situation.  Here are some key points to consider: 1. Location: The most critical factor in determining whether you need flood insurance is your location. If you live in an area prone to flooding, such as a floodplain, coastal region, or near a river, you are at higher risk and may be required to have flood insurance. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) designates flood zones and can provide information about your property’s flood risk. 2. Mortgage Requirement: If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender may require you to carry flood insurance if your property is in a high-risk flood zone. Lenders want to protect their investment in case of flood damage. 3. Flood Risk: Even if you’re not in a high-risk area, it’s essential to assess your flood […]

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Do I Have To Disclose Problems With My House?

I know of issues with my home. Do I need to disclose them? Yes, in most jurisdictions, you are legally obligated to disclose known problems with your house when selling it. This is typically done through a document called a “Seller’s Disclosure” or “Property Disclosure Statement,” which varies in format and requirements depending on your location. The purpose of this disclosure is to inform potential buyers about the condition of the property, including any defects or issues that could affect its value or safety. The specific requirements for what you need to disclose can vary by state or country, but common items to disclose may include: 1. Structural issues: Such as a leaky roof, foundation problems, or issues with walls or floors.2. Environmental concerns: Such as the presence of asbestos, lead-based paint, or mold.3. Mechanical systems: Problems with heating, cooling, plumbing, or electrical systems.4. Pest infestations: If your property has […]

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Should I Pay For Points When Buying a House?

Whether or not you should pay for points when buying a house depends on your specific financial situation and long-term goals. Points, in the context of a mortgage, are a form of prepaid interest that can lower your mortgage interest rate over the life of the loan. Each point typically costs 1% of the total loan amount and can lower your interest rate by a certain percentage, often 0.25% per point, although this can vary. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to pay for points: 1. Your Financial Situation:– Do you have the funds available to pay for points upfront without straining your finances?– Will paying for points affect your ability to cover other homeownership costs like a down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses? 2. How Long You Plan to Stay in the Home:– If you plan to stay in the home for a long time, […]

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How Do First Time Home Buyer Programs Work

First-time homebuyer programs are designed to assist individuals who are purchasing their first home by providing financial incentives, guidance, and support. These programs vary by location and can be offered at the federal, state, or local level. Here’s a general overview of how these programs typically work: 1. Eligibility Requirements:   – First-time buyer status: Typically, you must be a true first-time homebuyer, meaning you haven’t owned a home in the past several years. The exact definition of a first-time buyer may vary by program.   – Income limits: Many programs have income limits to ensure assistance goes to those who need it most.   – Home price limits: There may be restrictions on the maximum purchase price of the home you can buy.   – Credit score: You may need to have a minimum credit score to qualify for certain programs.   – Homeownership education: Some programs require completion of homebuyer education courses. 2. […]

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VA Appraisals: What Items Will They Call

During a VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) home appraisal, the appraiser’s primary goal is to determine the value of the property and ensure it meets the VA’s minimum property requirements (MPRs).  The MPRs are in place to ensure that the home is safe, sanitary, and structurally sound for veterans and their families. Here are some common safety items that an appraiser may call out during a VA home appraisal: Structural Issues: The appraiser will look for any significant structural problems, such as a sagging roof, foundation issues, or serious cracks in the walls. These issues can pose safety risks and may need to be addressed. Roof Condition: A damaged or deteriorating roof can lead to leaks and structural issues. The appraiser will assess the condition of the roof and may recommend repairs or replacement if necessary. Electrical Systems: Faulty wiring, outdated electrical panels, or other electrical hazards can be safety […]

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The Pros and Cons of Buying New Construction

Buying a new construction home can offer several advantages, but it also comes with its own set of drawbacks. To make an informed decision, consider the following pros and cons of purchasing a newly built home: Pros of Buying a New Construction Home: Customization: Many builders allow buyers to customize various aspects of the home, including floor plans, finishes, and sometimes even the layout. This enables you to create a living space tailored to your preferences. Energy Efficiency: New homes are often designed with the latest energy-efficient technologies, such as energy-efficient appliances, windows, insulation, and heating/cooling systems. This can lead to lower utility bills and a reduced environmental impact. Warranty: New construction homes typically come with warranties that cover structural issues and major systems for a certain period (e.g., 10 years). This provides peace of mind and protection against unexpected repair costs. Modern Amenities: New homes often feature contemporary amenities […]

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Essential Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Certainly buying a home for the first-time can be an exciting yet daunting experience.  Here are some essential tips to help you navigate the process and make informed decisions:   Assess Your Finances: Review your financial situation and determine how much you can comfortably afford for a down payment, monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Set a Realistic Budget: Based on your financial assessment, set a clear budget for your home purchase. First-time homebuyers should remember to consider additional costs such as closing costs, moving expenses, and potential renovations. Check Your Credit Score: A good credit score is crucial for obtaining a favorable mortgage rate. Review your credit report, correct any errors, and work on improving your credit score if needed. Pre-Approval for a Mortgage: Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. This will help you understand your budget and show sellers that you’re […]

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Tips for Maximizing the Sale Price of Your Home

Selling a home is a significant financial transaction, and maximizing the sale price is often a top priority for sellers. Here are some tips to help you negotiate the best deal and get the highest price possible for your home: Prepare your home: First impressions matter. Ensure that your home is clean, well-maintained, and decluttered. Consider making small repairs and improvements to enhance its appeal. Staging your home can also make it more attractive to potential buyers. Research the market: Understand the real estate market in your area. Look at recent sales of similar properties in your neighborhood to get an idea of the current market value. This will help you set a competitive and realistic listing price. Hire a skilled real estate agent: A knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent can be instrumental in getting the best deal. They can provide valuable insights, market your property effectively, and negotiate […]

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Energy-Efficient Upgrades for New Homeowners

Congratulations on becoming a new homeowner! Energy-efficient upgrades can not only reduce your utility bills but also help you contribute to a more sustainable environment. Here are some energy-efficient upgrades you can consider: LED Lighting: Replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights. LEDs use significantly less energy and have a longer lifespan, saving you money on replacements. Smart Thermostat: Install a programmable or smart thermostat that can adjust the temperature based on your schedule. This helps optimize heating and cooling, saving energy when you’re not at home or asleep. Sealing and Insulation: Check for air leaks around windows, doors, and other openings. Properly seal gaps and add insulation in attics, walls, and basements to improve energy efficiency and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Energy-Efficient Appliances: When it’s time to replace old appliances, choose energy-efficient models with the ENERGY STAR label. These appliances are designed to use less energy without […]

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How to Spot a Rental Scam

Spotting a rental scam can be crucial in protecting yourself from financial loss and potential fraud. Recently, we were looking for a room for rent. It sounded like an ideal place, in the right location, for the right amount. My alarm bells should have been sounding from the get-go. But we decided to proceed. Everything seemed typical until we got to the part where she discussed rental and application fees. No biggie right – no scam alerts yet. Then she stated that he would have to fill out an application to view the room under the premise that if he didn’t like it, it would be refunded.  There it was – alarm bells. I immediately did a reverse look-up of the number to see if the name provided matched – and no info could be found – another alarm bell. He told her to contact me and guess what – […]

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10 Summer Maintenance Tips

Here are 10 home summer maintenance tips to help you keep your home in good condition all year long: Check and clean your air conditioning system: Before the hot weather hits, inspect your air conditioning system. Clean or replace the filters, remove any debris around the unit, and consider scheduling a professional tune-up to ensure it’s running efficiently. Inspect and clean your gutters: Summer can bring occasional rainstorms, so make sure your gutters are clear of debris to prevent water damage. Remove leaves, sticks, and any other obstructions that may be blocking the flow of water. This maintenance tip can also help prevent house fires. Check and maintain your outdoor plumbing: Inspect outdoor faucets, hoses, and sprinkler systems for leaks or damage. Repair or replace any faulty components to prevent water waste and potential water damage. Inspect and clean your windows and screens: Remove dust and dirt from your windows […]

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What are the requirements for a VA loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage loan program offered to eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and select military spouses by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To qualify for a VA loan, you need to meet certain requirements.  Here are the key criteria: Eligibility: You must meet the VA’s eligibility requirements, which typically include: a. Active-duty service members: Generally, you need to serve for at least 90 consecutive days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime.  b. Veterans: You must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable after completing the required service period.  c. National Guard or Reserve members: You may be eligible if you have completed at least six years of service and have been honorably discharged, placed on the retired list, or transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve.  d. Military spouses: Certain surviving spouses of service members who died in […]

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What is a VA Assumable Loan ?

A VA assumable loan refers to a mortgage loan that is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It can be assumed by another eligible borrower. When a VA loan is assumable, it means that a new buyer can take over the existing loan and assume responsibility for its terms and conditions.  In a typical home sale, the buyer secures their own financing by applying for a new mortgage with whatever bank they choose. However, with an assumable VA loan, the buyer has the option to assume the existing loan of the seller. This assumes they meet certain eligibility criteria set by the VA. This process is done with the bank that is servicing the current loan. Assuming a VA loan can be advantageous for the buyer because they may be able to take advantage of the existing loan’s favorable terms, such as a low interest rate or a […]

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Different Ways To Do a DIY Move

Moving to a new home can be an exciting but challenging experience. While hiring professional movers is a popular option, it may not always be feasible due to timing, location, or personal preferences. Fortunately, a do-it-yourself (DIY) move can be a practical and cost-effective alternative in lieu of a government move. In this blog post, we will explore different ways to successfully execute a DIY move, ensuring a smooth transition to your new abode. Plan Ahead: A DIY move requires meticulous planning to avoid last-minute chaos. Start by creating a comprehensive moving checklist that includes tasks such as packing, organizing supplies, renting a moving truck, and enlisting help from friends or family. A well-structured plan will help you stay organized and alleviate unnecessary stress during the moving process. Purge and Declutter: Before packing, take the opportunity to declutter your belongings. Sort your items into categories such as keep, donate, or […]

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Military Travel Discounts

A growing number of businesses in the travel industry honor U.S. service women and men by providing them with some pretty outstanding military travel discounts. What is presented here is only a sampling of what currently is available from some of the major players in the travel industry when it comes to discounters for military service personnel. Keep in mind that oftentimes these companies not only have discounts for military service women and men currently on active duty but they also have programs for vets as well. *This post may contain affiliate links – if you purchase something from this post, I receive a small commission with NO extra cost to you. To see my full disclosure click here. Thanks for supporting us! Sandals Sandals is a travel industry leader when it comes to all-inclusive travel packages. Sandals resorts are located at luxurious tropical destinations. At this time, Sandals is […]

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The Best Hotels for Military Families with Pets

We just completed our 9 day (turned 10 day) cross country move from Georgia to Washington.  There was a lot of prep work and a lot of lessons learned along the way. For the most part, our hotels were great and one was, well…not the best! However, everywhere we stayed accommodated dogs for a reasonable price with some preparation beforehand. *This post may contain affiliate links – if you purchase something from this post, I receive a small commission with NO extra cost to you. To see my full disclosure click here. Thanks for supporting us! Making Cross Country Travel Plans If you read any of my social media posts about our crazy cross country trip, you will know that we had quite the adventure. On day 3 of our adventure, we had to spend an extra night in Texas, and I spent 2 hours calling 6 hotels and rescheduling […]

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Changes to Your New Home

I have moved over 15 times and about 1/2 of those were in my adult life.  Moving is what we do in the military.  Change is inevitable. Moving can be a fun, yet exhausting adventure.  When you move in to your new place, you either want to start packing immediately or crash because of all of the packing, the move itself, and the unloading. However, how often do you think of the little things you need to change? Here are 5 changes you need to do when you buy your new house. *This post may contain affiliate links – if you purchase something from this post, I receive a small commission with NO extra cost to you. To see my full disclosure click here. Thanks for supporting us! Change the Locks You never know if the last owner/tenant still have keys to YOUR new house. This is the most important […]

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The Complete Moving Guide

I have made several military moves in my lifetime.  From California to South Carolina, Maryland to Georgia, I have learned a few tricks along the way to create a quick and easy complete DIY guide.  Moving can be one of the most stressful experiences for any person.  Whether you are doing it yourself or having help, there are countless things that are bound to…well drive you a little nuts.  Even government moves can be stressful.  It really depends on what type of person you are and what you prefer. *This post contains affiliate links – if you purchase something from this post, I receive a small commission with NO extra cost to you. To see my full disclosure click here. Thanks for supporting us! Getting Prepared I love having a plan.  It helps me lower my stress and know just what I intend to do.  I have created a moving […]

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Making Sure You are Prepared For An Emergency

How Do I Know I was 3 when Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina, living in Myrtle Beach, we had to evacuate.  Hurricane Matthew last year forced us to evacuate when it was projected to be a direct hit as a Category 4.  Luckily, we did not see the devastation as it downgraded and skirted more north. However, I did stay through Hurricane Bertha, Hurricane Gaston, Hurricane Ida, Hurricane Fran, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Sandy (which hit us on the southern end in Maryland). I learned several key things through going through those storms that I want to share. Search and Rescue My husband conducted search and rescue for 8 years prior to us coming to a security unit.  I know how hard that was on him after back to back missions, so I cannot imagine how days of continuous rescues would be after watching the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. […]

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Travel Essentials

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do.  I love exploring new cities and what they have to offer.  Packing, on the other hand, is one of those tasks that I always wait until the last minute to do.  I have to pack my husband, myself, and my daughter (not how I envision a fun afternoon – laundry and mental checklists).  You would think I would have a system by now for packing – perhaps, I will create a visual checklist. Any who, as a daughter of an airline pilot, I have been fortunate enough to visit multiple cities (not only as a moving spouse – but actually enjoy visiting).  I have learned the ins and outs of airline travel and want to bring some of my best tips that I use for my family to yours. *This post may contain affiliate links – if you purchase something from […]

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How Can I Transport My Car During a Move?

When you are about to undergo a cross-country or OCONUS move, one of the many things to consider is – how do I get my car to my destination? Maybe you have more than one and you cannot drive both. Transporting your car during a move can be done through various methods, and the choice often depends on your budget, timeline, and personal preferences. Here are some common ways to transport your car: Driving the Car Yourself: If the distance is reasonable and you have the time, consider driving your car to the new location. This option allows you to have control over your vehicle and belongings. Hiring Professional Auto Transport Services: Auto transport companies specialize in moving vehicles such as 4 Corners Transport Services, Montway, or Nexus. They broker out services with other carriers.They offer two main options: Open-Air Transport: Your car is loaded onto an open trailer. This […]

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