A TDY to Ft. Meade offers wonderful opportunities, both in professional development and amenities. Located midway between Baltimore and Washington D.C., with missions from all five branches of the military, Ft. Meade is also home to more than 117 government and partner agencies and organizations – making it a fantastic networking opportunity.
Nearby, Washington D.C. beckons with national treasures, and Maryland’s delightful shores offer some of the best seafood the East Coast has to offer.
Make the most of your TDY – and eliminate stress – with the following insider secrets.
Ft. Meade’s on-base TDY lodging is serviced through IHG Army Hotels, Candlewood Suites. However, due to Ft. Meade’s sheer size and mission scope, it’s possible on-base lodging might be full, particularly during high-volume PCS seasons. Plus, why stay in a hotel if you can stay in a crashpad.
We’ve got you covered with our Big Pool Crashpad. It has 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and a two-car garage. You can study in the designated study room or in one of the two living rooms. With a fully-equipped kitchen, weekly chef service, and a grill out on the patio, you won’t feel the pressure to eat out daily. You’re only 10 minutes from Ft. Meade and your reservation comes with free Lyft credits.
Transportation & Car Insurance
Ft. Meade is big. With over 65 miles of paved roads, and approximately 1,300 buildings, and limited base transportation – a car is necessary.
If you drive your POV to the area – it’s a smart call to notify your insurance carrier beforehand, and advise them of the length of your TDY. Likewise, if you plan to rent a car, verify with your insurance company that you have sufficient coverage, both for the rental and operating within the metro area.
While you may have to shell out a few more bucks in premiums, it’s worth it, as the rumors regarding nasty traffic in the area are warranted. In its annual report of “America’s Best Drivers” Allstate Insurance rates 200 cities; a scale of #1 being the safest/best drivers, and #200 being the worst, or most likely city to get into an accident. Baltimore was the blue-ribbon loser, at #200. Just down the road, in the traffic corridor that spans Ft. Meade, Washington D.C. placed third-worst, at #198.
Make the insurance call – it’s worth it.
Realize Traffic is Measured in Time, not Miles
If driving in a large metro area is a new experience, it may come as a surprise that miles and minutes are not on equal footing. Depending on: the time of day, wrecks, weather, holidays, or congestion – it may take an hour to travel ten miles.
Stay punctual by meticulously planning your commute, ensuring you build in plenty of extra time to get to your duty location.
Fortunately, there are several lists, apps, and tools to assist.
The CommuterPage Master List is a one-stop option for:
- Traffic congestion reports, incident maps
- Lane closures, travel advisories, commuter info
- Estimated drive times, with directions optimized for current traffic conditions
Commute Considerations and your “Actual” TDY Location
As mentioned, Ft. Meade controls a significant operational scope, with numerous organizations. However, not all offices are geographically located on Ft. Meade – so your actual TDY location could be within the metro area, in an undisclosed and controlled location.
If possible, verify if your TDY will be on-base, or … elsewhere, with a sponsor from the unit. Knowing if there may be an alternate location, off-base, may dictate a better-positioned lodging choice for your driving commute.
Plan for “The Secret Commute” aka Parking
Dependent upon lot and location – parking on and around Ft. Meade may be plentiful or scarce. Some lots, notably the spaces outside of the NSA are packed by 7:30am, while others tend to consistently have ample space.
Due to the sprawling size of many of the lots and some buildings – it may actually take an additional 15 – 25 minutes to walk from your car, through any security and ID checks, to reach your office area, or classroom.
If possible, do a trial-drive the day before you report in or ask a sponsor what the parking situation is for your particular location. Factoring in additional time for parking and walking, can mean the difference between being on time, or late.
With these insider secrets under your belt, you’ll be ready to TDY to Ft. Meade like a Pro!
Written by: Kristi Adams