Monday, April 14, 2014

What do I pack in my Unaccompanied Baggage?

When you are moving overseas, or back to the USA after being overseas, you have to ship your whole house to another country. Your stuff can go in one of four ways:
  1. Household Goods (HHG): This is the majority of your stuff. You'll have a weight limit but most people don't come close to breaking that. Our's was 17,000 pounds (based on JB's rank) and we had about 12,000 pounds. Almost everything you send goes in this. There are very few limitations of things you can't send but things like liquids, candles, batteries, etc. 
  2. Unaccompanied Baggage (UB): This is the section I am writing this post for. UB is a fast shipment. It is supposed to beat your HHG by about a month. This depends, of course, on where you are being stationed. This is a small amount of stuff -- under 1,000 pounds. In addition, it does not include any large items. You are not allowed any furniture (other than a crib). 
  3. Mail: You can mail yourself stuff, and if you are underweight, this is usually reimbursable. 
  4. Luggage: You get at least two bags per person and your weight requirements, even if flying commercial, are amendable, because you are flying on orders. We will end up taking 12 bags back for our family many of which will break the normal weight requirements.
When we flew from the USA to Turkey, when we flew from Turkey to the Azores, and when we fly from the Azores to the USA, we get a UB shipment. The question is, WHAT do you put in this shipment? What types of things do you want to get fast to make your life easier while you wait for your big shipment? When flying TO Turkey and TO Portugal, we had loaner furniture and kitchen-loaner boxes available to help us out at our arrival bases. But when you fly back to the USA, there is nothing there to help you out.

I posted this on Facebook and asked people for the five things they MOST wanted quickly. Firstly I should note that a few people responded that they don't mess with UB. I don't blame them. It requires you to separate your things into different piles and section off a room or part of a room for things that should not be packed. A few others noted that their HHG actually made it before their UB. (This happened to us when we went to Turkey.) Talk about making you feel like you wasted your time. Still others said that they mail themselves the really important things. (We do UB and we mail ourselves things as well.)

But for those people who have done UB, here were the things they wanted. Keep in mind that the UB is supposed to help you get through camping in your own home for up to three months:
  • bedding (pillows, sheets, blankets)
  • towels
  • pet items (doggie bowls, kitty litter box, pooper scooper, etc.)
  • spices
  • kitchen basics (limited number of cups, plates, bowls, silverware, measuring spoons, pots and pans, etc.)
  • bicycle / helmet
  • vacuum
  • broom
  • extra clothes (especially weather-approrpiate clothes)
  • laundry basket
  • trash can
  • tv trays
  • plastic shelving units (or other organizing essentials)
  • grill
  • folding chairs / table
  • air mattresses
  • basic kids toys
  • hangers
  • fans (if needed)
  • ironing board and iron
  • rugs
  • phone
  • small television / portable DVD player
  • coffee pot
  • computer and computer "stuff"
  • tool box (with tool essentials for needs in your new home)
  • child safety items
  • shower curtain/rod/hooks
  • If you have a baby: crib, high chair, gates or other necessary items
The National Military Family Association also has a page on their website dedicated to a list of things for a UB move that you may find helpful.

Have something you think I forgot, please leave a comment!


Joy Z said...

How many days of TQSE are they giving you once you get back to the states? They've given us 30, so I'm packing out this week, but not shipping my UB until the day before we leave. Hoping the 3 weeks we have now, plus the 30 days will get our stuff there before before our TQSE runs out. Here's to hoping! =)

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

30! No way. Only ten here!