The movers arrived last week and with precise movements began packing and loading all of our personal belongings. These guys were great! It only took them about 10 hours over a two day period to pack and load all of stuff. Wow! In the past, the only way that we have ever moved is by doing it ourselves. I'm telling you, this is the way to go for sure! Of course, with Vic's work paying for it, it does make it feel much better. I don't think I'd be quite so happy if I was footing the bill myself.
When moving overseas, two separate shipments are allowed. The first, called unaccompanied baggage or UB for short, is a small shipment of necessary household items designed to make the arrival in the new home as easy as possible. I included things like sheets, towels, kitchen items, the kids' bikes, beach gear, etc... We were allowed 1000 lbs. This shipment generally is expedited and therefore is *in theory* supposed to arrive around the same time as you do. Our dates ended up getting mixed up a bit, so our UB shipment actually left the states on July 5th and so therefore had plenty of time to arrive before we did. Vic already received our shipment and has it all moved in to our new house in gtmo.
The second shipment, called household goods or HHG for short, is everything else. We were able to take 18,000 lbs. which was more than enough to pack our entire house. My understanding is that the weight allotment will vary depending on rank. This shipment takes longer to arrive. We have been told anywhere from 4-8 weeks is the norm for gtmo. I will let readers know when ours arrives.
As I mentioned, this was our first move that we didn't do ourselves, so the process was a bit different than what I had been used to. I'll share a few things that I learned. I'm no expert on this subject so if you find yourself getting ready for a move overseas, I'd suggest googling the subject and learn from the seasoned military men and women. That's what I did and I feel like I was very prepared. Additionally, I also was blessed by several friends and neighbors who had done this process before and peppered me with many tips.
1. It is quite helpful to schedule your UB and HHG shipments on different days. There is simply too much potential to get things mixed up otherwise.
2. If you have time, go through everything that you possibly can and purge, purge, purge. The movers will pack any and everything that they find, including trash!
3. Make plans to stay elsewhere once the movers start packing the house. They can work much more efficiently if they don't have to worry about leaving anything in the house.
4. Empty your trashcans. Seriously. All of them. I have heard from more than one person the horrors of unpacking a trashcan months later that still had trash in it.
5. Label things with clear signs if it is a "do not pack" item. I tried to do this, but unfortunately, I missed labeling my cell phone charger and so it is packed somewhere with my kitchen items.
6. Movers are considered to be part of the "service" industry, so tipping them, while not required or expected, it certainly a nice gesture. At the very least, providing cold drinks in the fridge and offering to buy lunch in much appreciated.
So far, our moving experience has been fantastic! I was thoroughly impressed with the hard-working, professional employees who packed all of our items with care. No doubt, we will be equally pleased on the other side, during the unloading process.