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Military families love "military travel" all kinds of ways. Of course, the travel depends on the motivation, whether it’s a vacation, prepping for a PCS, or both. Take a look at some of the ways families travel now.


  • An impending PCS often means a pre-move recon trip to the new duty station to shop for a new house. 
  • You could also add vacation detours while en route for your PCS move.
  • Military travel also looks like weekends exploring your newest duty station.  
  • School breaks or planned summer vacations count too if families take advantage of generous military discounts. 

There are many reasons to love seeing new places, however you define military travel. What kind of military travel is in your future? 

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Your First Stop: American Forces Travel

Before we get into the specifics of the three big reasons to love military travel, if you’re thinking about reserving hotels, cars, or flights, be sure to check out the newest innovation from MWR and Priceline. 


American Forces Travel was developed to offer military families affordable travel options. The program aims to widen hotel choices significantly, but discounts are also available on 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. 


3 Big Reasons to Love Military Travel


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1) Discounted Transportation

Commercial Airlines


Most major airlines reserve a limited number of discounted military rates for each flight. These aren’t advertised, and you’ll have to talk with a service agent on the phone or chat, but the discounts could be helpful, especially for last-minute travel. A small discount is better than no discount, right? 


Airlines also offer various degrees of waived baggage fees for military. They’re so varied that you’ll have to review each company’s policies, perhaps with verbal confirmation from an agent. Typically, the active duty member’s luggage are the only bags that fly free, but every now and then, ticket agents waive all fees at the counter for military families. It’s worth the ask. 


Space-A Military Travel 


Space-A travel (space available on military aircraft) won’t satisfy a strict timeline, but if you have plenty of vacation days to use, Space-A travel takes military families far and wide for a fraction of commercial prices. If you have the flexibility and money in the bank to ensure at least the servicemember can fly home if Space-A leaves you stranded, it’s well worth taking a look at the routes offered—think Europe over summer break. 


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Train Travel with Amtrak


Amtrak extends a 10 percent savings for active duty military members and their dependents (and sometimes pets!) on the lowest price on most itineraries, but restrictions apply, such as trips partnered with VIA Rail Canada. Another useful perk Amtrak offers is discounted fares for the Auto Train. Transporting a car via rail makes a long-distance PCS a little easier. Amtrak also encourages military members to head straight to the front of the ticket line for faster check-in. 


RV Travel: Paths Across America

Paths Across America is an MWR outdoor recreation website guide with information about vehicle parks and campgrounds on military installations across the country. The website describes each location and distinguishes levels of amenities from the availability of water and electricity to cable television. Some recreation sites have access to MWR activities nearby, including admittance to base pools, gyms, and information for scheduled tours in the area.


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2) Accommodations


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Military Sponsored: Armed Forces Recreation Centers

If your family hasn’t taken advantage of one of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers (AFRC), you’ll want to give it a try! The military rates are unmatched in the non-military world and deliver the comforts of home when traveling abroad. Fees are calculated according to your pay grade and active duty status, but rest assured, the rates are far less than surrounding hotels and resorts in the same areas. You can travel to:


  • Seoul, Korea:  Dragon Hill Lodge
  • Garmisch, Germany: Edelweiss Lodge and Resort
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: Hale Koa Hotel
  • Orlando, Florida: Shades of Green

These resorts are amazing and affordable, but there are other cost-effective ways to travel thanks to the military. Read about Hotel Alternatives for Your Military Travel, then click the image below to explore more lodging possibilities!




Non-Military Sponsored


Armed Forces Vacation Club 


The Armed Forces Vacation Club (AFVC) is a collection of discounted properties across the globe starting at $409 for a seven-day booking. That’s a fantastic price for a big adventure. 


For AFVC planning, take some time and review your favorite resorts and hotels on a few other websites. The suggested destinations aren’t restricted to military members, and other tourists will post opinions and thoughts on websites such as TripAdvisor.


USAA Travel Planning


Perennial military member favorite USAA has a substantial travel planning resource for its members. They offer pre-vacation checklists, budget guides, and much more advice. They’ve also partnered with other companies to offer hefty discounts. 


Major Hospitality Brands


Don’t forget to check in with major hotel and resort chains about military rates. Some rates are more visible or substantial in reductions than others. For example, it is widely known that Sandals and Beaches Resorts gives a 10 percent discounted rate to military personnel. For smaller chains or properties, it’s worth a phone call directly to the hotel to inquire, as they may extend a consideration not advertised. 


3) Attractions


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Installation Leisure Travel Offices


It is easy to forget the military Leisure Travel Office, but check in every once in a while to see what discounts were released. They have reduced fees on many events, from movie tickets to Disney vacations. 


These offices tend to offer discounts on nearby excursions, amusement parks, dinner theatres, and sporting events, as well as have access to national attractions. Leisure Travel Offices on installations near popular destinations such as San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Tampa are stocked with discounts on expensive tourist activities. 


Waves of Honor


Anheuser-Busch continues its Waves of Honor program with free admission into its family of parks. Although most military families are familiar with these great opportunities, plan wisely because it's a one park per year access. The kids grow fast and may age out of some of the properties. For instance, Sesame Place in Pennsylvania is designed for kids 2-7. Don’t miss out on free admission because you weren’t aware of the park options.


When curious, just ask! You’ll find businesses can be very accommodating, even if there isn’t a set military discount policy. Travel is one of the best perks of military service. Don’t wait for someday; make the most of these helpful benefits and tour the world! 



Whether you're an experienced traveler or just starting, you may not be aware of all the travel benefits related to your military service. Get more information about Flying Space-A, military discounts, destinations, lodging, and more in our free resource below, Guide to Military Family Travel.





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