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There’s a good chance your military family was used to the hustle-and-bustle travel lifestyle before the pandemic set in, so the travel restrictions were extra brutal on morale. By now, wanderlust probably has taken over your home, and everyone’s bursting with pent-up travel energy. You’re not alone; it seems almost everyone has at least one trip scheduled in the upcoming months.
One of the perks of military life is the abundance of discounted military travel options, from discounts on hotel stays and RV rentals to slashed prices on airfare and event tickets. There are definitely more than a few ways to save some money during vacation or even PCS travel. Sometimes, the problem is just remembering them. Tuck this guide to military travel discounts away so you won’t forget them for your next trip.
Go-To Travel Resources for Military Families
Let’s start with the tried-and-true discounts you’ve probably heard of or used multiple times. Although you probably know about these, it’s a good idea to check out how their prices, amenities and restrictions have changed.
Armed Forces Recreation Centers
Yes, by now, you’ve tried Shades of Green (probably multiple times) and sought refuge at the Dragon Hill Lodge, but have you thought of planning a German adventure in the Alps at the Edelweiss Lodge in Garmisch? Or, are the Hawaiian Islands on your bucket list? Now’s the time to take advantage of the rank and eligibility booking system to maximize your discounts.
- Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu
- Shades of Green in Orlando
- Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany
- Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, South Korea
Or, if you’re stationed in or near Japan, you might want to pop over to Tokyo and check-in at The New Sanno. It’s not part of the AFRC, but it offers resort-style stays with military family-friendly prices.
You know you’ve heard about this club but haven’t sat down to investigate, because you’re wondering if you really can rent a room or condo at a resort for $379 for seven days. Yes, you can. Head to U.S. travel hot spots like Orlando and Las Vegas (and everywhere in between), but you can also travel OCONUS to see whether the Dominican Republic or Mexico are viable options on the retirement destination shortlist.
New and Updated Military Travel Resources
Now, let’s introduce you to a few military travel resources you probably haven’t heard about. They might just become your next go-to resource for a family vacation or during a PCS trip.
New in 2021, all military branches are invited to check out the new program MWR and Priceline created to extend military discounts for all forms of travel, including hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, flights, cruises and event tickets. The website is open to all five military branches, but you must confirm your active-duty status through a DEERS portal on the login page.
RV and Camping Destinations
More than ever, military families embrace RV and camping life, not just for vacations, but unfortunately to fill housing gaps during PCS transitions. Extended time living on campsites can be stressful, so it’s a good idea to research your options for amenities and availability before pulling in.
Don’t forget, if you rent an RV or camper for a road trip, ask for a military discount. Companies such as Bates International, American Dream Vacations and Roadrunner RV Rental offer discounts to active-duty military and veterans.
Military Base Camping and Rentals
Check your nearest military base’s MWR or Outdoor Recreation Centers. More and more bases offer camper and RV rentals for daily and weekly rentals. Take a look at these options.
- Fort Belvoir, Virginia, (near Washington, D.C.) has name-brand travel campers starting at $104 a night.
- NAS Corpus Christi RV Park, Texas, has sites available for $20.
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Outdoor Recreation Center rents campers for $107 per day, in addition to travel trailer and boat rentals.
If you weren’t ready to hit the road, you should be now! Across the country, you’ll find plenty of affordable opportunities for travel. You just have to be in the know and plan ahead, because you won’t be alone. Military and civilians alike are clamoring to get away, so make your reservations early!
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