The Posting Road Trip
Hey, friends! My name is Kim from She is Fierce and, while Ariel journeys to her new home, I’m super excited to take over her space for a minute with some advice from our own posting adventures!
Because Dh is part of a Regiment, it means that we tend to get posted in and out of the same location. The Regiment, like the Mother Ship, sends him places for a few years and then brings him home. So far Dh has only been posted “Extra-Regimentally” once, meaning we moved from Edmonton to Kingston and then back again 3 years later. I’ll imagine we’ll make the same out and back to similar locations at least once more before our time is done, probably more. It’s a big move, Alberta to Ontario, and the logistics of the House Hunting Trip (HHT) and driving to destination can seem really daunting. One thing that we’ve found, however, is that we’ve loved the journey. Once the pressure of the house sale, purchase, pack and load are complete, we’ve taken our time to get from A to B and always choose to drive across the country and enjoy the experience.
Our kids aren’t babies, our first move our youngest was almost 5 and our oldest 10, so it made for a great time for a road trip! You’ve got to get there anyways, might as well take your time and see the sights! If you’re on the move with your family this APS, here’s what we’ve learned on our journeys.
1. Have a plan.
The IRP (Integrated Relocation Program) bases the time that you are given to drive to location on a maximum of 500km a day. That doesn’t mean you can only drive that far in 24 hours, it just means that they won’t expect you to. What you do need to do is keep moving and continue to head towards your destination. Where you stop on the way is up to you.
So for us, we took a long look at the map and found locations we wanted to go that could be considered ‘on the way.’ This meant spending some of our trip in the USA. Then, checking the Government white pages (your IRP agent can show you how to access those) we looked for our maximum hotel allotment and booked rooms. I made a list, with each date, the city and hotel we would be in that night and the expected cost of that hotel. I then took our itinerary to our agent and had her go over it, ensuring that our plan would be acceptable when it came time for reimbursement.
2. Take your time!
There’s no need for 12 hour driving days! Depending on where we wanted to go we drove between 4.5 and 6.5 hours a day, stopping halfway for lunch and arriving at each location mid-afternoon. That gave us lots of time to take in each location we stopped at, kept everybody just below cranky level and ensured the trip stayed enjoyable instead of overwhelming.
3. Book close to the sights!
There were several cities we wanted to see on our way and we booked hotels that were located in the center of them. I went online before we left and looked up sights we could visit and ensured they were walking distance. That way, since we only had the one evening to be there, we could start our sightseeing as soon as we were checked in without having to worry about driving anywhere else. When else might we have the chance to stay in downtown Chicago, Minneapolis, Rochester, or Nashville?
4. Know your entitlements and make time for you.
It’s so important to know what you’re entitled to for this trip. Depending on the number and ages of your children you could have 2 or more rooms available to you. Enjoy them! We booked hotels with adjoining rooms or suites that had separate bedrooms with doors. It took a little more time finding and making reservations for them, but saved our sanity by giving us a quiet room to ourselves at the end of each day. If your kids are old enough, finding hotels with a lounge or restaurant downstairs can also mean the chance to head down once they are in bed and enjoy a couple drinks and each other’s company. We spend enough time apart; I’m all for taking advantage of every opportunity for time as a couple!
Moves are stressful. You may have just sold and bought a house, or signed a lease. You’ve transferred kid’s schools, you’ve said goodbyes and you’ve trusted all your worldly belongings to a few movers and a truck. You still have the unpack and unload lying ahead of you. Part of military life is finding those silver linings, so enjoy the journey! That way, when you get to your new place and the truck is lost or your things went to storage by accident or your dishes were loaded under your sofa, you’ll have the mental energy to take it on.
Happy APS, friends. May the odds be ever in your favour.
Thanks Kim! As always, great advice. Make sure you’re following her on Facebook and keep your eyes peeled for her eventual book! I’ve been told it’s in the making and that it’s now at the editorial stage. Woohoo!
Don’t forget to check-out my unofficial guide to CF postings if you’re still not completely fed-up with the IRP process.
Be sure to follow along with my posting shenanigans on Snapchat and Instagram!