Being a military family is an awesome experience. With frequent moves to different cities, states, and countries you’re probably going to fall under the spell of Wanderlust. You’ll want to spend every available chance to take leave and explore new places, gain new experiences, and interact with different cultures. However, this traveling lifestyle can quickly become EXPENSIVE. Especially, if you have multiple children. Here are some big money mistakes military families make, that you don’t have to.
Not Using MWR
For Military families, your local MWR can be an excellent starting resource to plan your family travel. By saving money on the small (weekend) trips, you’re more likely to have a bigger budget to plan those big family vacations. MWR has resources for trips both big and small with discount tickets to places like Disney World, local amusement parks, and even sporting events. You’re cheating yourself if you don’t take a quick visit to the MWR office to see what they can offer.
Not Using Your Discounts
Just like MWR offers specially discounted tickets for military members and their families, other places do as well. Most businesses in the food, tourism, and hospitality industries take pride in the discounts they offer to military members and their families. You’ll frequently find discounts from 10% and up. When booking your trip, be sure to inquire about any discounts and offers especially for the military. Also, be sure to use this method when eating out! A large chunk of all travel costs can be attributed to food.
Not Searching for Alternative Accommodations
Unexpected military related trips come and go all the time. TDYs and PCSs are always lurking, and when they strike you’ll want to know your budget-friendly options to bring your family along. While installation lodging and hotels used to be the only viable options now, with a little research, you can find nicer, comfortable and more affordable options. Military Crashpads offer top quality lodging experiences, for the military by the military, making your stay more affordable and family friendly. It’s like a slice of home on the road with you!
Not Planning to Save
Having a family fun vacation is fun, but the cost is NOT. Military families are not made of money (contrary to popular belief), so we have- to cut corners in any way we can. One of the best ways to do this is planning for avoidable costs. Baggage is a great example. Flights are already expensive so saving money on luggage is a great way to cut costs. Most airlines offer two free bags for service members (check beforehand with your airline). When traveling, pack light in two suitcases or less to avoid baggage costs. If this is unavoidable, pack the rest of the items in no more than one carry on or book bag per person. You don’t have to give up your fancy vacation outfits.
Traveling During Major Holidays
Not every service member has the luxury of taking leave multiple times a year. However, when you do, make it count! Taking leave during major holidays can be the worst time to travel. You’re off work, and so is everyone else. Try choosing alternative dates. Often, leaving seven days before or returning seven days after will cut down on costs and frustration.