While the moving company can take care of most things, there are a number of items we recommend military families keep close at hand while PCSing.

Those who’ve experienced a PCS move know that while moving companies can accomplish a great deal, they do operate off the instructions of the military family. If there are particular items or boxes you don’t want on the truck, be sure to let the movers know upon their arrival.

Bearing all this in mind, what belongs in the car and under your care during the trip to the new duty station?

Family in Their SUV

Important Documents

Invest in both an accordion file and a lock box. Essential documents, both civilian and military, should be kept in the car and under your supervision at all times. Social Security Cards, birth certificates, financial records, Divorce Decrees, Marriage Licenses, deeds and certificates of ownership, copies of car registrations and proof of insurance, adoption records and any documents that may be specific to the individual circumstances of your family.

Military Uniforms and Civilian Clothes

As an active duty service member, ensure one serviceable uniform of each type required within the first month at the new duty station is kept easily available. While many PCS moves go smoothly, it’s always a possibility that the household goods following a military family may be delayed or lost. Most cars have ample room to transport clothing. Ensure the necessary uniforms ride in the vehicle along with enough civilian clothing for at lease one week. Housing isn’t always ready when families arrive and military families are no strangers to hotel rooms.

Managing Medications During PCS

Realizing a specific medication has run out during the PCS process could end up involving last-second phone calls to your doctor or pharmacy. Sometimes unusual or high demand medications aren’t immediately available. Make sure you have enough of your medications to cover the PCS period. The National Military Family Association notes that TRICARE recently enacted a new prescription transfer policy. This can help you transfer your prescription from one military pharmacy to another.

Sentimental Items

Any and all items with strong sentimental value should ride along in the car. Photographs, personal mementos, and heirlooms are irreplaceable. Either place them in a lock box along with the essential documents or in their own traveling container. The number of sentimental items you have may be surprising. Ensure their travel boxes or containers are portable so they don’t have to be left in the car during overnight stays.

Transporting Pets

In the case of an overseas PCS the Department of Defense allows up to two pets per family to travel on Air Mobility Command flights. During a CONUS PCS and when traveling by car or air, pet transport falls on you. All pet documentation including health and rabies certifications should travel with your essential documents.

For the safety of your pet it’s always a good idea to have them wear an ID collar. We also recommend microchipping your pets just in case they ever slip out unnoticed. Also, if you have to stay in a hotel for a few weeks, it pays to investigate which hotels accept pets to avoid last-minute hassles.

Ready to get started looking for housing in San Diego? Our Relobase Realtors are happy to assist you!

(Article originally appeared on Relobase.com)