What to Buy Before Leaving the States

Should I make any big purchases?

In Italy things are expensive, options are limited, and you won’t find places like Walmart with their “always low prices”. It will be much cheaper and easier to make your big purchases while you are still in the states.  Don’t get me wrong there are still options in Italy, but they won’t have the same brands or prices you are used to. Examples of things to buy:

  • Bedroom Furniture
  • Living Room Furniture
  • Gym Equipment
  • Television
  • Patio Furniture

Is there plenty of storage space?

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Unaccompanied Baggage Packing List

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  • Unaccompanied baggage is a small shipment that will fly on a space available status and usually arrives within 4-6 weeks.
  • This is where you need to pack the “essentials” that will get you through the first few months before your household goods arrive.
    • Some people choose not to send unaccompanied baggage and send only household goods. Personally I would not want to put all of my eggs in one basket. Plus there are those few unlucky people that have to wait six months for their household goods to arrive.
  • You may not be given exact weight limit, however it is best to keep it under a few hundred pounds.
  • This shipment may also be your best opportunity to send liquids and food items. We were able to send our “sealed” toiletries and unopened food items. I placed all liquids in gallon Zip-loc bags and all food items in large plastic storage containers.
  • Keep in mind that many kitchen items (utensils, cookware, dishware) can be borrowed from the ACS lending closet on base.

What Should I Send?

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Checked and Carry On Luggage: PCS Overseas

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  • Most American airlines allow a certain number of bags to fly free when on military orders. Ask the airline about the number and weight limits of bags you are allowed to take.

  • Your orders may also state that you can be reimbursed for a certain number of bags if you exceed the airline’s amount of free bags. You would have to pay out of pocket for the excess luggage and get reimbursed by finance once you arrive.
  • Be sure to include a luggage tag or a piece of paper with your name, e-mail address, departure location, and destination.


As you begin sorting through your household goods, start adding items to your suitcases and carry on luggage.

Carry On Luggage

  • Important documents
  • Valuables such as electronics or jewelry
  • Prescription medications
  • Spare lithium batteries are allowed as carry-on only
  • Entertainment – books, Ipods, puzzle books
  • Snacks

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Documents to Carry with You: PCS Overseas

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Arrival in Italy – Documents to Hand Carry
What to Hand Carry When You Move


  • Make sure names are spelled correctly on all documents
  • Carry important documents in a zip up accordion folder
  • Store virtual documents on your computer
  • Back up important files on a flash drive, external hard drive or even print hard copies of select documents.

Important Documents

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Packing and Shipping: PCS Overseas

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Pick Up and Delivery: PCS Move Overseas

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Personal Property Counseling/Transportation Brief

  • A DOD requirement for moving personal property
  • It will help you understand your government entitlements and review your responsibilities.
  • Briefs are traditionally conducted at the Transportation Office on your installation; however most service members can complete this task online at http://www.move.mil/.
  • In some cases you will need to visit the Transportation Office in person— for example, your first move.
  • To find out if you can use the DPS website for personal property counseling, visit the Accessing DPS page or contact your installation’s Transportation Office.

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