Thursday, 10 March 2011

Currancy Converter

Here's a cool site I found which not only converts currancy for you, but also gives you little pocket guides to print out and take with you on travel.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Thoughts on house hunting while PCSing to Stuttgart, Germany

Below are some "lessons learned" when looking for a house overseas while going through a PCS as a government civilian....this post will be edited as I think of more stuff to put into it.  Hopefully other people can make use of some of it....if anything, it will help my Wife and I in the future.

Go see the housing office and get the information they have:

Houses available through the housing office:

Things to consider:

Going through housing will mean you won't have to pay a realtor fee which can be between 1.5 and 2.5 month's rent, which can add up to quite a bit...for example, a house that's €2,500 a month, will mean you will owe between €3,750 to €6,250 (or $5,260 to $8,767) at closing just for a realor fee, which you won't get back.  That is a lot of money...make sure the house is worth it...also remember what you could do with that money (trips back to the US, trips in the area where you live, emergency fund, buy a used car, charity, etc.).

Also be sure you can cover the security deposit required on any house.  You will get this money back at the termination of your contract provided that you don't damage the house, but it is still money that you'll need to have on hand and be able to be without for the duration of your stay.  These usually seem to be around 2 months rent.

Try and make the determination if you want to purchase a house or not before you PCS over.  That way you will have more time to plan.

Here is a helpfu link:

Apartment hunting via - Germany:

** It is also very, very helpful to use Google Chrome to browse these sites as it has the Google translate function built directly into it, which can save you a lot of time. **

** Another note is if you choose to email realtors from the website, make certain that you check you spam email box on a daily basis, because many times a reply from one of the realtors will get filtered into this box. **

I have a list of a few realtors that I used who seemed pretty good: - -
Stuttgart Realtors -
Stuttgart Yard Sales - -
<get michael link>
<get colett link>

Helpful information to determine your location relative to bases and trains:

GPS addresses to help you locate a base:
Panzer - Panzer Str, 71032 Boeblingen
Kelley - Plieninger Str, 70567 Stuttgart-Moehringen
Patch - Kurmaecker Str, 70569 Stuttgart-Vaihingen
Robinson - Heidloch Str, 70376 Stuttgart-Burgholzhof

Helpful information on how to call various phone numbers:

Exchange rate calculator:

A good "ice breaker" when on the phone with the realtors is:
Guten Tag, sprechen Sie Englisch? (Good day, do you speak English?)

Numbers in Germany:
It is also helpful to know how to say numbers so that when you call and leave a message, you can leave your telephone number in English and German.

Thanks all for now...


Things I would pack in my unaccompanied baggage while going through PCS

This is the first thought I've had in months.

If I had to do it over again, here are some things I would pack next time.  Most of this I probably could have shipped, since we only shipped 350lbs worth of stuff and we were authorized 700lbs.
  1. real matress
  2. kitchen towels
  3. cleaning supplies
  4. vaccum
  5. mop
  6. clothes
  7. shoes
  8. bookshelf
  9. furnature (end tables)
  10. pictures
  11. posters
  12. hanging supplies
  13. something to hand clothes on
  14. tools
  15. Big mug
  16. Coffee mug
  17. monitor
  18. computer
  19. computer supplies
  20. bike
  21. bike pump
More to be added later...this is more just for my records for when I have to do this again....and for anyone else out there who is going through a PCS.