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PCSing to Alaska: Military Life in the Last Frontier

July 24th, 2015 - 2:09 PM

Your military move to Alaska

If you received orders to PCS to Alaska, and you have questions related to your move, we’re here to help. This PCS guide covers things like affordable ways to move your belongings to Alaska, how it all works, tips for getting yourself and your family there, and what you can expect life to be like once you arrive.

Download this free PC​S checklist

To start the process of PCSing to Alaska, we recommending printing out this helpful Military Moving Checklist. It includes a comprehensive list of things to do from the time you receive your orders to when you arrive at your new destination in Alaska.

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Click the image above to download the PCS Moving Checklist

How to PCS to Alas​ka

You’ll notice in the PCS checklist that once you receive orders, your first step is to meet with your base transportation office (TO) to discuss your move. In most cases, you’ll have the choice to do a government procured move (where the government moves you) or a PPM (where you move yourself – also known as a DITY move). It’s important to note that if you decide to go the PPM route, there’s potential to make money off your PCS. With this option, you’re reimbursed the difference in your move allowance and what your move actually costs. While a DITY move requires a little more effort, the payoff can be big!

If you decide a PPM/DITY move is right for you, the next step is to begin the paperwork for approval. Once you’re approved, you can start researching moving companies and ways to easily (and affordably) move your household goods to Alaska. If you go the government-procured move route, your TO will handle your move from there.

Options for a DITY move to Alaska

While truck rental is an option for a PPM/DITY move to Alaska, driving the ALCAN in a rental truck can be trying – especially if you’re traveling with a family. U-Pack® offers a solution that’s both convenient and affordable. Here’s how it works:

  • We’ll deliver a moving trailer, ReloCube, or ocean container to your home
  • You pack and load
  • It travels to Tacoma, WA to sail to Alaska (this typically takes 8-14 business days)
  • Once it arrives, we’ll deliver to your new home
  • You unload
  • We pick up the empty equipment

At your request, U-Pack can also provide full and empty weight tickets (typically required for PPM reimbursement). And, our in-house Military Specialists work diligently to ensure your move goes smoothly.  Military members find it’s an easy, low-hassle way to move to Alaska.

How much does it cost to PCS to Alaska with U-Pack?

Get a free moving quote online 24/7, or call a U-Pack Moving Specialist at 800-413-4799 for a detailed quote over the phone. And, don’t forget to mention you’re in the military for an added moving discount!

Getting reimbursed for your PPM move to Alaska

Following the guidelines for reimbursement is vital with a PPM. Your U-Pack Military Moving Specialist can help with ensuring your full and empty weight tickets meet all requirements for reimbursement. Once your DITY move to Alaska is complete, the following documentation is typically required to file your PPM claim:

  • Full and empty weight tickets
  • DD 1351-2 Travel Voucher
  • DD 2278 Application for DITY Move and Counseling Checklist
  • Copy of paid rental agreement (your Bill of Lading)
  • Copy of vehicle registration when utilizing POV and/or boat/trailer
  • Copy of PCS travel orders

Note: The documentation listed above may vary depending on your branch of service

Does U-Pack service my installation in Alaska?

U-Pack services these military bases in Alaska:

Plan to live off-base? Call a U-Pack moving consultant about direct service to your address. If we can’t come to your location, we also offer the option of shipping your items to our service center in Anchorage or Fairbanks, and unloading from there.

How military members travel to Alaska

If you PCS with U-Pack, we’ll take care of getting your household goods to Alaska, freeing you up to travel to Alaska however you like. Of course, your orders may outline your method of travel, but if they don’t, your options include travel by land, air, and sea.

Driving to Alaska: During the winter months, driving to Alaska can be a bit of a challenge. If you’re given PCS orders during this time, you may consider another method of travel. Otherwise, the drive up the Alaska Highway (ALCAN) is stunning in the spring and summer. Just be aware that you may have a limited proceed time so plan accordingly. Your drive will also take you through Canada (make sure your orders allow for this and you have a passport). To ensure a smooth trip, we recommend picking up The Milepost, a helpful turn-by-turn guide for driving the ALCAN, and using the Alaska 511 as your driving conditions guide once you enter the state.

Flying to Alaska: Airports located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau serve as the primary points of entry into the state. Alaska, American, Delta and United Airlines all offer personnel free checked bags to active duty U.S. military (number of free bags varies by airline). Also, the TSA offers expedited screening to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Sailing to Alaska: If you’re up for something different, consider traveling to Alaska via the Alaska Marine Highway. It’s part of the Alaska Department of Transportation and consists of many routes. Here’s how it works: You board the boat in Bellingham, WA, then sail to the port in Alaska closest to your base. The ferries are equipped with sleeping cabins, food, beverages, and activities.

What military members can (and can’t) take to Alaska

When completing a PCS, there are items the military does and doesn’t consider household goods. You can view these items in the “It’s Your Move” pamphlet. In addition, U-Pack has a list of items that are prohibited in the trailer, ocean container, and ReloCube (such as combustibles, perishables, compressed gases, flammables, and explosives). See the full Do Not Ship list for specific items.

How do I move my POV, boat, or motorcycle?

In most cases, military members assigned to Alaska are authorized to ship one vehicle, maximum of 800 cubic feet, at government expense. If you have another vehicle you’d like to move to Alaska, we refer customers to uShip. For your motorcycle, dirt bike, or ATV, you can load it with your household goods in your U-Pack shipment – just be sure to drain all the fluids first.

What about firearms and ammo?

Firearms aren’t allowed in U-Pack equipment, which means you’ll need to find an alternative way to ship them. If you plan to drive, be aware that guns and ammunition aren’t permitted to enter Canada from the U.S. If you’re planning to take your firearms on a flight or by boat, review the TSA firearms and ammunition policy and the Alaska Marine Highway Firearm policy ahead of time.

Storing your items during a PCS to Alaska

If you’re in a situation where you need to store your items before moving in, check with your TO about your options. For those completing a DITY move, U-Pack can store your shipment at the service center closest to your origin or at the service center in Tacoma, WA. When you’re ready for delivery, we’ll put your items in route to Alaska. Contact your U-Pack moving consultant if you think you may need storage with your PCS.

What is military life like in Alaska?

One great thing about Alaska is that it offers plenty of outdoor adventure. That means military families can enjoy skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, and hiking – no road trip needed! You’ll also find the amenities provided at the military installations in Alaska are much like those provided in the lower 48. Read more about moving to Alaska in this blog post. It includes info on weather, cost of living, vehicle registration, getting a driver’s license, and much more.

Tips for PCSing to Alaska

  • Active duty military can apply for the permanent fund dividend by establishing residency after moving to Alaska. Be sure to see if you qualify!
  • Visit the Military Youth on the Move website for tips and advice for kids, preteens, teenagers, and parents, too! It’s a great resource for preparing kids for the next move.
  • Read about housing options for military members and their families to learn about installation housing, living off the installation, and the pros and cons of renting vs. buying. It’ll help determine how you choose to live in Alaska.


If you have questions about moving with U-Pack, or want to get a free moving quote, call 800-413-4799 and a moving consultant will be happy to help. If you have questions about PCSing to Alaska, leave a comment below and we’ll point you in the right direction.