Military families don’t always get to plan their vacation around school breaks or their work schedule. Sometimes, vacations must be squeezed in before deployment, after deployment, or during a PCS move.
But that doesn’t mean your vacation options are limited!
5 Best Ways to Discover Military Vacation Deals
Military families can find affordable destinations all over the world, thanks to a variety of military travel discounts. Use these ideas to get inspiration for your next trip.
Military vacation deals for an international trip.
If you dream of an overseas adventure, and have some flexibility in your travel plans, then a Space A flight might be an affordable way for you to get a memorable vacation!
Space A stands for “Space Available” on military flights from military base airports. These don’t operate like civilian airlines. You cannot purchase tickets in advance. Instead, extra seats are announced on the day of a flight, and they are available in a priority order that goes first to service members traveling on orders, and last to dependents traveling on vacation.
That means you may not get the flight you want on your first try, so it’s important to do your research and know several possibilities before trying to fly Space A. But when it works, it is essentially a free flight to any U.S. military base in the world!
Choosing from locations like Germany, Italy, Japan, Guam, and Hawaii means you have many exotic possibilities.
Military vacation deals for a local staycation.
The beauty of moving so often is that military families almost always have more to explore in their new hometown. Even if you have been stationed there a few years, have you allowed yourself a week to play tourist and enjoy local attractions?
A staycation is great for young families who want to sleep in their own beds and plan activities around nap time. You’ll save a ton of money too!
Check out your base ITT (Information, Tickets, and Travel) office for ideas on local activities and exclusive military discounts not advertised online.
The best military hotel deals.
Did you know the Department of Defense operates five luxury resorts that are only open to military families?
These locations around the world have all the amenities and dining options you would expect at a quality resort, but the rates are based on the service member’s rank.
The locations in the States are Fields of Green Resort in Orlando Florida (at Disney World) or Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Overseas, you can stay at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany, The New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, or the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, Korea.
These rooms fill quickly, so make reservations far in advance.
Affordable luxury vacations for military families.
If you’re planning a cruise or vacation to a traditional tourist destination, consider searching the deals on the Armed Forces Vacation Club. They offer a free membership to service members. Once activated, membership offers you special discounts on hotels, cruises, and vacation rentals around the country and the world.
Their signature deal is $350 total for a 7-night stay, based on dates and room availability. You can also check with your base ITT office for military discounts on cruises and vacation packages.
Remember that some military bases are located in luxury locations, so you can always reserve a room at the Navy or Marine Corps Lodge for much cheaper than a civilian hotel in town.
On-base inns in Monterrey or Coronado, California, as well as Hawaii (several different bases) are great choices for beautiful and affordable accommodations.
Military vacation deals for visiting relatives.
I know, I know, visiting your family may not be high on your list of luxury vacation destinations. But let’s be honest—many military families use their “vacation time” to visit relatives when they are stationed far away.
It can be a wise choice, since you never know when the military will station you even farther away and make it even more difficult (and expensive) to get back home.
If you’re driving, consider turning it into a road trip by visiting the Blue Star Museums that are free to military families all summer long. You can also get free admission to Sea World or Busch Gardens once per year through the Waves of Honor program.
If you are flying, check out the airline discounts on the brand new travel website for military families: American Forces Travel.
They have teamed up with Priceline to offer discounts on airfare, rental cars, cruises, and vacation packages. These discounts are available to active duty, retired military, and dependent family members. That can add a lot of savings—and a lot more fun—into your trip to visit family.
No matter how or when you plan to take a vacation, military families can always find great deals. Use these ideas as inspiration to plan something fun and affordable for your family this year!
Want more on military life?
- 3 Truths About Getting Stationed in Okinawa
- The Real Reason Being a Military Wife Is So Hard
- 25+ Military Discounts That Can Save You Thousands
- 9 Hidden Ways to Save Money Shopping at The Commissary or Exchange