Moving across the country can feel like a leap into the unknown. As you say goodbye to what’s familiar and prepare for new experiences, don’t overlook one of the most exciting stages of the process: the move itself. After undertaking three cross-country moves for the Army, Tiffany and Brandon Williams have come to appreciate the opportunity to make memories while en route from one home to the next — especially when they get to do it with a yellow Penske Truck Rental.
“My favorite part of moving is when we’re fortunate enough to be stopping for the night in my hometown,” says Tiffany. “It allows for a nice relaxing stop and an opportunity to see family, but most importantly my nephew gets to see our moving truck. Now, every time his mom tells him we’re coming to visit he asks if we’re bringing our big yellow truck!”
Throughout their multiple “do it yourself” moves, the Williams family has fine-tuned the process while creating some fun traditions. Here is why Tiffany says a DIY move with Penske is the way to go:
It Helps To Close One Chapter
As soon as Brandon receives Permanent Change of Station orders from the Army, the couple begins what military families call the “PCSing process” of preparing to move from one duty station to another. They start by packing up their house beginning with seasonal decor, out-of-season clothes and miscellaneous items they wouldn’t miss for a few months. Beyond being a good way to jump-start the move, Tiffany says the packing process helps her emotionally prepare for the transition.
“By the time we’re a month out, we’ve taken down the house decor and painted the walls back to white,” she says. “With losing that personal touch over time, your home slowly starts to become ‘just another house,’ and a house is a lot easier to say goodbye to than a home.”
At the same time, they start to turn their attention to what’s ahead by researching restaurants they are eager to try in their new hometown and travel opportunities in the area. During their most recent move from Alabama to Kansas, they had even more reason to get excited: They decided to purchase their first home after comparing the costs of renting versus buying.
“Once we figured that out, I was excited to start our new adventure in Kansas,” says Tiffany, adding she’s glad to be near her family in Missouri for the first time in many years.
There Is More Peace of Mind
Although the military has hands-free moving services available, Tiffany heard some cautionary tales from other families about household goods getting damaged while in transit. By packing and moving her own goods, she said she doesn’t have to stress about the condition she’ll find things in upon arrival.
“We tend to take extra safety measures when packing those precious, sentimental items,” she says. “After all, no one will care about your belongings more than you.”
Tiffany says they also appreciate being in control of their moving timeline. Because their Penske truck rental has flexible reservations and there’s no pressure to meet movers at the new destination, they are able to incorporate stops to see family.
It’s a Great Way To Get the Most for Your Dollar
There’s no question about it: Moving can be expensive. By turning down military moving options and choosing the DIY route instead, the Williamses have actually earned money they can apply to setting up their new home. They increased their earnings even more by doing a price comparison of truck rental services and learned that Penske offers free unlimited miles on one-way moves and 10% discounts for military families. As a welcome bonus, the cab of the truck was comfortable, spacious and had great acoustics for listening to their favorite Broadway soundtracks as the miles stretched on.
There Are Ample Opportunities To Create Traditions
When they were leaving Alabama, Tiffany and Brandon were able to make their bittersweet emotions just a bit sweeter with one final “hurrah” at the local doughnut shop to pick up one dozen maple bacon doughnuts for the road. Once in transit, they also enjoyed documenting their moving adventure on social media—complete with pictures of their pets along for the ride in the cab of the moving truck. Tiffany jokes their cat, Cinder, seems to be the only family member who doesn’t like the drive. Thankfully, the spacious Penske cab offers plenty of space for Cinder’s carrier on the seat, so she can be part of the action.
After doing some internet research in advance, Tiffany and Brandon also look forward to ordering takeout food from a new-to-them restaurant when they arrive at their destination.
“There’s nothing quite like getting great food after a long day of driving and eating it on the floor of your empty living room,” Tiffany says.
‘Doing it Yourself’ Is a Great Way To Meet New Friends
By going the DIY route, Tiffany says they’ve found people are more than willing to help.
“Showing up to your new neighborhood with a giant yellow moving truck typically brings the neighbors out to introduce themselves,” she says. “We’ve always been fortunate to have people offering to help my husband with the heavy stuff!”
Because moves are so common in the military, talking with new neighbors about where they were previously stationed is a great icebreaker.
“Being in the military community, there is some comfort in knowing that everyone around you understands the stress, excitement, and sometimes heartbreak of moving to a new place.”
Just a few months into their new life in Kansas, the couple is enjoying settling into the house as first-time homeowners.
“We’ve really taken the opportunity to customize and create an environment we love,” Tiffany says. “We painted most of the walls, and my husband built a beautiful electric fireplace area in our living room.”
Still, as a military family, they know another transfer likely will be on the horizon in a few years. When that time comes, they won’t hesitate to do a DIY move again.