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How to Deal When Temporary Lodging Becomes Long-Term

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Temporary lodging is supposed to be just that — a place to live temporarily while you look for a more permanent housing option. And it’s often part of how most PCS moves go. We muster enough patience to spend a few days somewhere foreign. But what if those few days drag into a week, and that week into a month…or even a couple of months? Suddenly, it starts to feel a little less temporary and whole lot more permanent.

How to Deal When Your Temporary Lodging Doesn’t Feel So Temporary

If this topic raises your blood pressure, then you’ve likely experienced a PCS move overseas. Overseas moves give temporary lodging a whole new meaning since the process of finding a home is a much bigger ordeal. Plus, you’re more likely to wait longer for on-base housing which means, you guessed it, a longer stay in “temporary” lodging.

While the CONUS TLE allows for 10 days of stay, the OCONUS TLA can stretch up to 60 days. That’s two months! And if you’ve lived out of your home for two months before, then you know that it doesn’t feel all that temporary.

So what do you do? How do you make it work? Is it possible to feel a semblance of settled or will that all too familiar feeling of displacement run the show?


Don’t live out of your suitcase. I repeat, do not live out of your suitcase. There’s nothing quite like rummaging through your luggage for clothes to initiate deep feelings of displacement. It’s frustrating to not have things where they belong, and if you’re digging your slacks out for your meeting with housing, a job interview, or home tour only to find them wrinkled, you’re one step closer to an impending meltdown.

Create a routine.

No, living in temporary lodging isn’t normal. But your routine can be. Provide consistency for the family by creating a new normal. With the active duty spouse reporting for duty, one thing is sure to look familiar. Aside from that, you can create a routine by setting meal and nap times for little ones.

Treat yourself (and the kids).

Life in a hotel can get pretty mundane fast. When you feel yourself or your kids getting stir crazy, head out for a fun activity.

In 7 Simple Tips for Coping with Long-Term Military Lodging, Jen McDonald shares,

We found that even if they were activities we’d done before, the newness of a different place somehow made it more special. Take drives to explore the local area on a regular basis. From finding the nearest Target in the U.S. to discovering a hidden castle in Germany, exploring the new area helps foster excitement.

Stay within budget.

The government provides allowances to help cover the cost of moving. It’s there for you to put toward temporary housing should you need it, but sometimes the allotment runs out before you move into your more permanent home.

If that’s the case, you’ll want to be in something very affordable with maybe even the opportunity to pocket a little extra money each month.

Look for something furnished.

Whether it’s an extended stay hotel or an apartment, cozying into a furnished place will allow you to feel more settled and keep your household goods with the movers for as long as possible. No sense in moving the same things twice if you don’t have to.

If the need for temporary housing leads you out of a hotel and in search of a short-term rental, you’ll want to consider the rules on breaking your lease. For example, many leases allow military service members to break a rental agreement should they get offered housing on base. If this is part of your plan, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re lease allows for early termination (without penalty).

Life in temporary lodging with your military family is far from easy. But with a positive attitude, a new area to explore, and a few helpful tips, your extended stay might just be the recipe for some incredible family memories!

Good luck to you and don’t be afraid to pour yourself that glass of wine.

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Thanks !

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