Make the Most of Your Vacation
June 19, 2014 by Mark Dye
While summer is a great time to take off and head on a family vacation, the big question always seems to be: “Where should we go?” The answer depends on a number of things, including how much you have to spend, how long you can take time off, and how you’ll get there. Thankfully, those who serve have several options not available to civilians, including special resorts and deals.
Paths Across America
The DoD has campgrounds and RV parks all across the nation, so if you’re okay with not having room service, then this could be a great option. Some places even offer cabins for those who don’t have an RV or find tents a bit too rustic. Prices vary, with some places offering free spaces and others only charging a few dollars, and each has different requirements of who can stay (e.g., some also allow government employees, while others are military-only). Website.
Walt Disney World has been a family-favorite destination for years, and the Shades of Green resort is a fantastic way for military families to enjoy the Magic Kingdom. Located in central Florida, it is the only stateside Armed Forces Recreation Center and finds itself just a few minutes from the amusement parks. Operated by the Army but open to all branches, it covers 28 acres and has special deals throughout the year—you can get all the details at the Shades of Green website. Note that Disneyworld itself also has some great deals for military families, from tickets to lodging. More information can be found on the Disney website.
Looking for a romantic getaway? Perhaps taking a honeymoon to the Caribbean? Like to vacation in style? If so, then Sandals resort is worth checking out. While it might be a bit pricey for the average E2, they do offer a 10% military discount all year round.
ARMED FORCES VACATION CLUB
The AFVC is a private company that offers special deals on “space available” lodging throughout the world. They offer several different booking options, from flat-rate deals in the off season (and at just $349 plus tax—for the entire week!) to peak-season discounts, to short stay options. Their FAQ section goes over the travel alternatives, who is eligible, and even how to get a refund in case of a military contingency (e.g., you get deployment orders).
When searching for a vacation destination, make sure to ask any travel or booking agent about special military deals, or check their FAQs if using a site such as Travelocity or Kayak. Almost everywhere has some sort of discount for those who have served, including the National Guard and reserves, so always make sure to check, as it might save you a few hundred dollars.
No matter where you spend your time off, make sure to get the most of out it by finding all the discounts you can. Doing so can help you make great memories at a great price.