Traveling is kick-ass, especially when it’s a getaway to someplace new AND on your own terms.
Before I met my husband, I made an effort to take at least a week off from work to go someplace different every year. I didn’t let marrying a service member stop me in my effort to vacation. In fact, my husband shares my desire to travel.
We all deserve to let loose and truly feel like we’re on a vacation.
Military life brings a lot of craziness and anxiety, so if we don’t step away for a bit every once in awhile, I believe it’s a disservice to ourselves (aka we will go nuts).
As military spouses, we endure separations, deployments, surprise PCSes and anything and everything in between. It causes ups and downs with our emotions and sometimes we’re unsure of what to do when things come our way. It’s stressful!
And that is the reason why we need to take a legit vacay when we can. It’s the perfect opportunity to throw stress out the window. It’s a time in our lives we can think, say, AND do exactly what we want.
One misconception people have is that you need a lot of moola to vacation big.
That isn’t the case. You and your family can take an unforgetable getaway on a reasonable budget if you stay smart and plan ahead (yes, it is possible!).
Do it and do it now!
Plan your next vacation with your family and do it like a boss! #bosslife
Here are my 3 commandments of vacation planning that have helped my husband and I take awesome trips at least once a year. Hope it can help you get your vacay on!
1. All-Inclusive Resorts for the WIN
The last thing I want to worry about is dealing with a lengthy bill while I’m letting loose. An all-inclusive resort is the best solution to keep your whole vacation in check as you have the time of your life.
The Caribbean is a wonderful place that is affordable and beautiful to experience. You don’t have to be Jay-Z or Beyonce to be luxurious! Typically, anything and everything the resort offers is a part of the package deal.
You can get great deals during the winter months for all-inclusive resorts and honestly, that’s the time to go someplace tropical. (I don’t know about you, but getting away from the cold is always welcomed in my book, unless you’re stationed someplace warm!) My husband and I went Belize in December 2014 right before Christmas.
If there is one island that is calling to you, take a look at the all-inclusive resorts in the area and don’t forget to check if they have a military discount.
A wonderful website that aggregates some unbelievable deals is AFVClub.com. Lots of military families I know loved using deals on there.
More resources that friends of mine have utilized are Groupon Getaways. Groupon lists some all-inclusive options that have airfare included. I have a friend that used a Hawaii vacay from there and had a blast!
2. Cruisin’ on the Deep Blue
My husband and I are hooked! Most cruise lines model all-inclusive resorts. The hotel, food and entertainment are all included in the price. The extra component (which I think sold my husband) is that we get the chance to explore other countries/locations in one trip.
One thing families need to consider is that it’s an added cost to drink alcohol and some other “premium” drinks (sodas, etc.). Also, if you want to plan excursions, that’s an added expense in addition to the overall price.
Our first cruise was extra convenient because it left out of New York City and we didn’t need to worry about flying anywhere. That cruise only went to one location, Bermuda, but we had enough to do on our stay. We did add a couple of excursions to our ticket. But, most of the time we spent exploring the island on our own.
Since that trip, we’ve taken three more cruises, which adds up to 10 additional countries visited.
We’ve seen crystal blue waters, gigantic glaciers, soft black sandy beaches and much, much more!
Guess what’s even better, our cruise ship line had a military discount and almost all others have one too!
A great way to rope in a stellar deal is book early as well as using your military discount. Our Alaska trip was booked a year in advance with a “BOGO” deal.
Don’t be afraid to make the commitment because they do offer travel insurance. We never book without it.
As a matter of fact, in the middle of the year while waiting for our Alaska cruise, my husband got a field assignment he couldn’t miss. The deal we acquired at the time of booking was so great that the travel insurance plan was well worth it and it was a cinch to change our date.
3. Make the Most Out of Those TDYs
I dread separation. It sucks when your loved one is away for any extended amount of time, but if duty calls them someplace that would be workable for day or weekend trips off base, it’s worth a shot.
My husband had a four-month assignment in Arizona a couple years ago. As soon as he received his orders, I booked my ticket to fly to Phoenix for our Thanksgiving trip.
I have to admit it took a little bit of ingenuity and guts because we assumed he would have the break. I had to jump on it because Thanksgiving travel is mega expensive, if you wait too long. When searching for flight plans, be sure you consider all the ideal times to research and buy.
The plan was for my husband to get a pass and drive up to the Phoenix area, pick me up and go to the Grand Canyon. Neither of us have been there, so we were game to test our luck, especially when duty took him close enough for us to try!
We lucked out.
That trip was free admission for military families. We were also able to take a train ride through the red rocks and walk through the lovely town of Flagstaff.
The worst thing that could have happened is that we would have spent the holiday on base together, which wouldn’t have been so bad.
In another not as exciting, but thankful trip, I went to Richmond, Virginia, to experience everything the city had to offer when my husband was there for work.
Who knows when you’ll have the chance to explore?!