4 Ways to Make the Most of Your OCONUS PCS to Europe

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Thanks to LeAnna Brown of the Economical Excursionists for guest posting on travel abroad today!

Holding hands under the Eiffel tower…

Being serenaded by a gondolier down a Venice canal…

Walking along the Berlin Wall…

Skiing down the Swiss Alps…

Most people only dream about these activities in some far-off, never to happen vacation fantasy.  But, for a few lucky military members, this is real life. Every weekend being able to throw a dart at a map and say, “Let’s Go!” because Europe is quite literally your backyard is not some college backpacking dream anymore- it’s reality!

However, as magical as it all might seem, the beauty of a getaway is that you spend a small amount of time away from the stresses of work, home and anything else on your mind but you always come back to the comforts of your safety zone.  When you are stationed abroad, that zone can seem ever- impeding on your sanity.

  • I can’t speak the foreign language!
  • The locals are rude.
  • There are terrorism threats around every corner.
  • I can’t afford to travel to all the places I want to!

If you are facing an upcoming PCS to Europe, you may be feeling a whole slew of emotions.  And that’s ok!  Moving anywhere new can be stressful but moving to a new continent can be overwhelming!  There are plenty of PCS checklists that you can find, but what about for a move abroad?  What do you do when you actually GET there!?

  • How do you learn to shop at a local grocery store?
  • What do you do first when trying to plan a vacation?
  • Can you really budget your spending each month to save for trips?
  • What kind of driver’s license do you need?

Living abroad with the military can be a dream come true... so how do you prepare? What should you do to make the most of your time? Use these insider tips from someone who has been there, lived that. #europe #pcs #military #milspouse #milfam #moving #movingtips #travel #traveltips #wanderer

It is like there is a never-ending list of questions hovering around an OCONUS move, but it seems as though my e-book, “So You Got Stationed Overseas: Why you NEED to make TRAVEL a part of your short PCS abroad” has just about everything from getting comfortable in your new country to debunking all those myths about travel all the way to HOW to plan a trip, including specific resources for military members.  With actionable tips to get you out of the house and into the world, it is clear that travel can be the key to success while living abroad.  It is obvious after reading the e-book that by taking advantage of the opportunity of living in Europe and expanding your comfort zone, that you’ll be creating new memories for you and your family; no matter how you felt about the PCS before moving.

Still not sure about your OCONUS PCS?  Here are just a few tips to remember and to take into consideration as you head over the pond:

1. Be Grateful

Even if you did not choose or don’t want to go, there are people every day trying to figure out how to make their own European Dream Vacation a reality and yet you get to live it! Remember that while of course there may be tough times figuring out a foreign land that you are so fortunate for this opportunity.  Most people don’t ever even get to consider a weekend jaunt over to France or a cruise to the Greek Isles, yet that is a very real possibility for you!

2. Take Advantage of Technology

Nobody will argue that it is hard being so far from family and friends.  But, technology can be a beautiful thing when used correctly! Use tech apps such as WhatsApp to stay in contact with your whole family or a close group of friends. Stay connected through Facebook.  Just because you can’t be at Mom and Dad’s for Sunday dinner doesn’t mean you can’t see them every week.  Make it a priority to Skype or Facetime the important people in your life to stay close, even when you are physically far away.

3. Amazon

Many people complain about not being able to get their usual amenities because they are stationed overseas. However, with just a wee-bit of planning, you can have almost all of the comforts of your American life.  Between being able to eat those delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the Commissary and the ability to order just about anything you need from Amazon or other online stores (and have it shipped to your CMR, often for free), you can still live the American materialistic dream!


Whether it is just small day and short weekend trips or big vacations, travel can be the secret to loving your time abroad.  If you are facing an upcoming PCS to Europe, or know someone who is, you can learn how to be prepared as well as how to get into the right mindset to making this your best duty station yet.

Order “So You Got Stationed Overseas”  to help you make the most of your time abroad and also have 5% of the proceeds donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.


LeAnna Brown currently helps fellow travelers learn how to travel on a tight budget and Travel Hack through her blog  After almost 40 countries down in four years and only a few thousand dollars spent a year on travel, they have learned to penny pinch their way to a bare minimalist lifestyle to help them see and appreciate the world. You can get daily dosages of travel tips and motivation by “Liking” Economical Excrusionists on Facebook or follow her on twitter @EconExcursion.

One Response

  1. Being stationed in Europe is absolutely amazing! I wish I’d had access to an e-book about the move before we left the US. Great idea!

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