The Best Moving Companies for Military Members and Their Families

Atlas Van Lines offers comprehensive options tailored to meet the demands of military moving.

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Military personnel and their families are no strangers to the moving game, as packing your possessions several times within a span of a few years isn’t out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s entirely possible that you'll be an expert in all things moving by the time you wrap up your military service. That being said, you need and deserve extraordinary service from one of the best moving companies for military relocations—one that speaks your language. 

The best moving companies for military families and personnel provide comprehensive and timely service so you and yours can focus on your far more important duties. Military-friendly moving companies can talk the talk and deliver, whether your travel orders are permanent (PCS) or temporary (TDY, TDA), large or small, or domestic or international. To help make the search for a moving company easier, we researched several movers that will provide the best service possible for your military family.

Best Moving Companies for Military Families

Best Overall: Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long distance, and international
  • Military Discount: No

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Full-, partial-, and self-service options available

  • Easily get estimates and manage move from company app

  • Long- and short-term storage available

Cons
  • Lacks a live chat feature

Why It Made the List

A moving company can’t claim to be the best military mover by meeting practical means alone. The company must also provide support, understand the demands of your travel orders, and offer options that matter to military personnel and their families. Atlas Van Lines is our pick for the best overall military family moving company because it provides moving service options crucial to those serving our country. 

Atlas Van Lines’ long list of service options includes long- or short-term storage, full-service packing and moving, personally procured move (PPM) assistance and support, and more. This comprehensive service also has a useful app that you can easily get a quote estimate from. Additionally, this app allows you to manage and track your move, keeping everything all in one place.

Atlas offers military moving services in 50 states and 17 countries and vets all their employees. Although the company doesn’t offer special discounts for military families, Atlas Van Lines acknowledges PPM moves and will assist you with all of the paperwork involved in this process. While the service doesn’t offer a live chat function for quick inquiries, you’ll still be able to rapidly contact an agent via the company’s phone line.

Best for Vehicle Relocation: United Van Lines

United Van Lines

United Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long distance, and international
  • Military Discount: No

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Home and terminal vehicle pickup available

  • Storage options available for vehicles

  • Offers debris removal services

Cons
  • Vehicle shipping cost not included in moving price 

Why It Made the List 

Military service is a lifestyle. However, having the freedom to move around on your own is essential from time to time, and for that, you need wheels. United Van Lines is our pick for the best vehicle transport company for military moves. United Van Lines serves all 50 states and over 150 countries, offering excellent options for getting your privately owned vehicle (POV) to and from your domestic or international station. 

The service has numerous vehicle moving solutions regardless of the type of vehicle you and your family take with you. Although personal items aren’t allowed to travel with the automobile, and the shipping cost is separate from the rest of your moving estimate, you can choose from door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal service. United also offers vehicle storage if your car, truck, cycle, or boat needs to stay behind this time. 

United Van Lines provides an array of other moving services as well. If you’re traveling light, the service’s Snap Moves offering is specifically designed for small moves and could work well for your PPM. Debris removal is also available through United Van Lines, so you and your family can skip the cleanup and get to your next destination right away.

Best for Tracking: Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long distance, and international
  • Military Discount: No

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Offers 24/7 online tracking

  • 90-day storage option available 

  • Initial deposits aren’t required for service

Cons
  • Have to call for a quick estimate

Why It Made the List 

Keeping track of all your belongings in transit is likely one of the most stressful parts of any move. This is especially true in the case of military moves, which often occur on a frequent basis. Allied Van Lines understands this and offers 24/7 online tracking to give you peace of mind, letting you focus on just getting yourself to your new location. The company also serves all 50 states and at least 130 countries worldwide, and you’ll never need to put down a deposit to secure service. 

In addition to its readily available tracking services, Allied Van Lines offers a long list of domestic and international moving service options that cater to military personnel and their families. From full-service packing and loading to furniture assembly, you can select several add-ons to custom-order the move you and your family need. 

We also want to highlight the company’s portable container shipping and storage service. Allied Van Lines offers 90-day storage under the temporary storage banner should you need it. While all these services are plentiful, we want to note that rapid quotes aren’t offered. After you’re done filling out an online form, be ready to speak with an agent to get an accurate estimate for your move.

Best for Deployments: JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long distance, and international
  • Military Discount: No

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Short- and long-term storage options available

  • Government-cleared moves are geared toward military families

  • Will allow you to finance your move

Cons
  • Initial deposit required for services

  • Non-binding price quotes can cause potential budgeting issues

Why It Made the List 

JK Moving Services is our pick for deployments because of its commitment to taking care of your possessions when you’re away. JK Moving provides solutions for storing your family’s possessions, including long- and short-term answers in a climate-controlled, 24-hour monitored and recorded, fire-resistant, modern storage facility. With all of your things safely stowed away, you can focus on your duty without worrying about your belongings. 

Government-cleared moving crews are available for sensitive government and military moves. The company does business in all 50 states and international destinations, along with local moving services in and around the Washington, D.C., area. JK Moving Services is a strong supporter of the National Guard and our Reserve forces and proves it by reaching out with employment opportunities for members, reservists, and veterans. 

Although the company requires a deposit to secure your moving date, its website does provide instant online prices so you can easily manage your moving budget. We’d like to note that these quotes are non-binding, meaning the price estimate you receive could end up being more or less than the quote. However, the company offers financing through a third-party lender in case budget is an issue.

Best for Self-Service Moves: PODS

Pods Moving logo

Pods Moving

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 44 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long distance, and international
  • Military Discount: Yes

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Offers discounts for military personnel

  • No time limits on container possession

  • Deposits aren’t required for rentals 

Cons
  • Full-service moving isn’t an option

  • Limited international availability

Why It Made the List 

For all self-service storage needs for your PPM, we can’t recommend PODS enough. Although some traditional moving companies offer storage container shipping, PODS specializes in the method. The company will deliver your choice of three moving and storage container sizes to your location and allow you to take all the time you need to fill it. After you’re done packing, the service will pick it up and ship it to the next place you and your military family call home. 

Though PODS doesn’t offer full-service packing or vehicle shipping, it does provide third-party referrals for these services, along with moving supplies and dolly rental. No deposit is required to secure the container delivery date, and you can cancel until the day before service without owing any fees. Active and inactive military personnel receive a 10% moving discount, and the company can supply PPM weight tickets on request.

Despite not having locations in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Vermont, and Wyoming, PODS is present in 44 other states, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. PODS containers come in eight-,12-, and 16-foot-long sizes, and the company’s website provides information and tools to help you decide which container works best for your military move. 

Best for International Moves: Mayflower

Mayflower logo

Mayflower

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 46 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long distance, and international
  • Military Discount: No

Pros & Cons 

Pros
  • Services available in over 100 countries

  • Offers customs clearance support

  • Assigns a move consultant to ease any burdens

Cons
  • Limited DIY options available

Why It Made the List 

As a worldwide full-service moving specialist, Mayflower is our top pick for the best international moving company. The company offers all the services you’d expect from a domestic and international mover, including full-service packing and unloading, vehicle transport, fragile and valuable item shipping, short- and long-term storage solutions, and moving supplies. 

Additionally, Mayflower provides its customers with support from dedicated moving consultants who can help you plan and organize your move. If your next orders are in an international destination, Mayflower can offer assistance when clearing customs. Each price estimate Mayflower provides includes the cost of full-service handling of your possessions. However, you’ll need to request specific pricing if you plan on doing some of the work on your own. 

While its DIY options aren’t as comprehensive as those of some other competitors on our list, Mayflower does have a small move offering. Since this brand is also owned by the same parent company as United Van Lines, Snapmoves is also available if you’re moving from a studio or one-bedroom. Lastly, Mayflower operates in over 150 countries worldwide, allowing you plenty of options if your orders require you to move overseas.

Best for Veterans: North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines logo

North American Van Lines

Key Specs

  • Nationwide Availability: 50 states
  • Moving Options: Local, long distance, and international
  • Military Discount: Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Offers discounts for veterans

  • No initial deposit required

  • Operates in over 130 countries

Cons
  • Restrictive insurance claim window

Why It Made the List 

North American Van Lines is our moving company for veterans who are making any major relocation. Through the company’s agents and connections, North American Van Lines stands out as a leader in military support efforts by offering generous discounts to active military personnel and veterans alike. Members of the American Legion can enjoy even more discounts and perks through the company and its affiliates. 

North American Van Lines works with a network of over 500 agents in the U.S. and over 130 countries. The company offers full-service moves and numerous options for partial-service moving as well. Each move includes the option to have a personal consultant assigned to your move to answer questions, assist with planning, and handle the logistics.

Though no deposit is necessary to secure your moving date, once your move is complete, North American limits your time to file a damage claim, if necessary, to 30 days. Due to this reason, it’s encouraged that you unpack and sort through all your belongings ASAP after moving. However, this strict time frame may deter veterans and military personnel who want to take their time unpacking after a big move.

Final Verdict

By offering moving services that are important for military families, such as PPM paperwork assistance, Atlas Van Lines steps up its game several notches compared to other competitors on our list. Thanks to its fully vetted team of movers, you can also rest knowing that your belongings are in safe hands and instead focus on tying up any loose ends regarding your military move. Lastly, Atlas offers full-, partial-, and self-service options, allowing for flexible moving options for DIY-ers and those who want a dedicated team to take care of everything. 

Compare the Best Moving Companies for Military Families

Company Nationwide Availability  Moving Options  Military Discount  Packing & Loading Options  Vehicle Relocation? 
Atlas Van Lines 50 states Local, long distance, and international  No Full service, partial service, and self-service Yes
United Van Lines  50 states  Local, long distance, and international  No  Full service, partial service, and self-service  Yes 
Allied Van Lines  50 states  Local, long distance, and international  No  Full service, partial service, and self-service  Yes 
JK Moving Services  50 states  Local, long distance, and international  No  Full service, partial service, and self-service  Yes 
PODS  44 states  Local, long distance, and international  Yes Partial service and self-service  Yes 
Mayflower  46 states  Local, long distance, and international  No  Full service or partial service  Yes 
North American Van Lines  50 states  Local, long distance, and international  Yes  Full service, partial service, and self-service  Yes 

Factors for Military Members to Consider When Choosing a Moving Company

There are a variety of factors to consider when planning a military move. Whether it's your first change of station or just another one of many, knowing what to look for in a military moving company ensures that you’ll hire a service that’s right for you. The following are some of the major criteria to consider when deciding between military moving companies:

Discounts

Getting a good deal on services isn’t limited to civilian life. Several moving companies offer discounted pricing to active personnel and veterans of any military branch. Discounts can provide substantial savings, but more often than not, they aren’t well advertised. Ask your potential moving company if it stands behind the military by offering a price break. Even if the moving company you choose doesn’t offer military discounts, movers may offer other select services for military personnel or veterans. 

Additional Services

Although most moving companies can transport your belongings to your new station, the ones that do it best are the companies that can provide the services that your specific move needs. Whether you’re looking for a PPM solution or would like to take a more hands-off approach, it’s best to choose a mover who can meet all of your needs. This is especially the case if you require more than basic moving services. Additional services moving companies often provide include short- and long-term storage, vehicle transporting, fragile or valuable item handling, full-service loading, loading and unloading, and more. 

Flexibility

Military movers must be able to offer flexible schedules, whether that means last-minute changes, or even cancellations if the unexpected occurs. To determine the right military moving company for your move, ensure that it can provide the flexibility you need to accommodate the potentially extraordinary demands. To verify this, it’s always best to speak with a customer service representative from whatever moving company you choose.

Preparing for a Military Move

Regardless of where you and your family are being sent next, there are several vital preparation steps you should complete to ensure everything goes smoothly. 

  • Start Immediately

As soon as you receive your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or Temporary Duty Assignment (TDY), start planning for your move. Whether you’re headed overseas, staying nearby, or moving across the country, you’ll need to start making decisions regarding how you’ll execute your move. 

  • Make a Checklist

It’s likely that you still have plenty of tasks to complete before you make your move. To keep track of everything, it’s best to create a checklist. Make lists of items you need to pack, people you need to contact, and anything else that’s important to your move. 

  • Take Inventory

Before you pack, document all of your possessions. This is important because your moving company may ask for a list of the items to come up with an accurate quote. Additionally, keeping a list of all your belongings will help you stay organized and make sure that you aren’t accidentally leaving anything important behind.

  • Plan the Actual Move

One of the most important decisions you’ll want to make is whether to complete some or all of the move yourself or allow a moving company to do it for you. Whatever you decide, knowing how you’ll proceed will prepare you for choosing the right moving company.

  • Contact a Qualified Moving Company

Investigate potential moving company candidates based on your moving plan and what services you feel you might need. It’s always great to contact more than one mover in order to compare price quotes and see what’s included in the estimates. 

  • Purge

Many military moves have weight restrictions, so you may need to leave some items behind or put your belongings in storage. If possible, donate or throw out any unwanted and unnecessary belongings.  

  • Pack and Move

Depending on whether or not you opted for full- or self-service, make sure you give yourself or movers plenty of time to complete packing duties. If you’re packing for your move, starting early can eliminate last-minute surprises. If your mover is packing for you, take some time to label items and boxes, and make space for the crew to place them in your home so they aren’t in the way for the big day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do moving companies need special access to enter military housing?

    The Department of Defense sets the basic rules regarding who is and isn’t welcome on military bases. Base commanders can follow those rules and add others as they see fit. Most moving companies that claim to be qualified for military moving will only send crews that pass a background check to conform with the rules of many military bases. However, some bases will still require anyone who wishes to enter the property to obtain a visitor pass or its equivalent. 

  • How much does a PCS move cost?

    Ideally, a PCS doesn’t cost the service member or their family any money. However, military moving costs are typically reimbursed to the service member, so providing the funds for your move upfront is often necessary. Additionally, any type of move, especially ones involving long distances or border crossings, can have associated costs that aren’t reimbursable, such as extensive storage requirements.  

  • What is a TDY move?

    A TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment) move is a travel order that requires you to move to a new location with the understanding that you’ll return to your PCS (Permanent Change of Station) at some point in the near future. TDY moving is temporary and can range from a few days to no more than six months under normal circumstances. 

  • Does the military pay for your first move?

    The military will cover the cost of your first move, your last move when you leave the service, and any moves in between. However, most military moving costs are handled on a reimbursement basis. Keeping and maintaining detailed plans, expense records, and receipts is necessary to get reimbursed.

  • Is there a military discount for U-Haul?

    Officially, U-Haul doesn’t offer or at least doesn’t advertise a military discount of any kind. However, you may be able to work out a deal or discount if you speak to a customer service representative.

  • What’s the cheapest moving option for military members?

    If you’re willing to put in some elbow grease to satisfy your PCS, organizing and moving on your own is the least expensive military moving method. The government sets aside enough money to reimburse you for the cost of your move. If you choose a PPM or what amounts to a do-it-yourself move (formerly DITY move), you’re entitled to receive 95% of the cost of what the government would expect to pay for a full-service relocation. That 95% is typically more than enough to cover the cost of moving yourself and your family. 

  • Do you tip movers for a military move?

    Tipping movers has been a hotly debated subject for a long time. In 2021, the Department of Defense issued new guidance stating that military personnel and their families are discouraged from tipping or feeding the moving company or its crew members. The statement goes on to say that tipping places unrealistic demands on personnel and that movers who request tips from military personnel should be reported. 

  • How often are military members expected to move?

    Most military members can expect to encounter a PCS at least once every two or three years. A PCS is a permanent change of station, which means you must pack up and move to a new location. However, depending on your military duty, training requirements, and ever-changing conditions, you may have to move several times throughout your service.  

Methodology

This list of the best moving companies for military families was compiled using more than 500 data points collected over a two-month span. Our research team reviewed nearly 20 companies, looking at services provided, customer support channels, quote processes, online tools, and more.

Weights were assigned to each piece of criteria evaluated, then used to calculate an overall score. In order to receive a high rating, companies had to perform well in a handful of categories, including but not limited to:

  • Types of services offered (10%)
  • Nationwide availability (10%)
  • Company reputation (6%)
  • Online quote system (5%)
  • Additional costs and fees, including military discounts (5%)

The information presented here was accurate at the time of publication and confirmed by at least two data collectors. Verification was completed through customer service calls and live chat or email exchanges.

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