5 Types of OCONUS PCS Shipments & What to Pack in Each

As we prepared for our German PCS, I had trouble finding recommendations on what to pack in hold baggage versus what to put into storage or household goods shipping. Now that we’ve landed in Germany, I hope that I can pass on to you, my friends, what I’ve learned so far about PCSing abroad.

Here’s a quick run-down of  the types of shipments you’ll be offered:

Household Goods (abbreviated as HHG): This is the *big* shipment that will include all of your furniture, rugs, kitchen items, and anything else you don’t want or need for your PCS travel. This shipment is bigger and slower than your other shipments, so don’t put anything in HHG that you want immediately after your arrival at your new duty station.

Hold Baggage: This is the smaller shipment of goods that are shipped to your new duty station expeditiously. In our case, our hold baggage arrived at about the same time we did (keep in mind that we shipped our hold baggage more than a month before we arrived in Germany).

Checked Bags: These are the bags that you’ll carry with you through your PCS. Be sure to look into size and weight allowances for whatever airline your flying, and be conscious that if you’re flying Patriot Express (the military chartered flight), your under seat storage might be a little less than you’re used to on commercial, civilian flights (this was the case on our flight).

Vehicle Shipment: My awesome husband managed all of the details related to the shipment of our vehicle, but I’ll share with you what I learned second-hand from him.

Long-Term Storage: The things that you put into long-term storage are the things that you won’t see again until you get back to the States. These things are placed into a long-term military storage facility (Lord knows where) and will be out of your reach until you request that the entire shipment (you can’t parcel it out) be delivered to you later on down the line.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my advice on how to pack hold baggage for your OCONUS PCS.

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