If you’re planning a getaway for your military family, you may be dreaming of somewhere fun and exotic. You’re likely also dreaming of a way to stretch your dollars so your family can have a great time without draining the bank account. There are many ways military families can save money on vacations, especially if you start researching early. It’s important to know your options and choose the discounts or packages that make the most sense for your family. Check out all these great ways to find a deal on your next vacation.
- American Forces Travel: This new website was created for active military, retired military and eligible family members to give service members the best vacation discounts. They teamed up with Priceline to offer the best deals on hotels, flights, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Service members can see 60 percent savings on hotel reservations. Best of all, flights can be cancelled within 24 hours, which is great if your orders change or leave doesn’t get approved.
- Expedia Gold: If you’re planning a hotel stay or airline travel, this could be a huge savings. The member benefits from Expedia Gold include 10 percent discounts at hotels, complimentary upgrades when available, extra bonus points for every booking, and exclusive travel offers. Expedia now offers this benefit for free to service members who confirm their active-duty status.
- Information, Tickets and Travel: Your military base should have an office called ITT. Here, active-duty service members, retired service members and family members can find a variety of military programs and discounts. You can get discounted tickets for parks and attractions in your area and across the country. Start your vacation planning in the ITT office, where you can learn about the military discount on everything from Disney tickets to wine-tasting tours.
- Military Campgrounds and Lodging: A destination vacation becomes a lot more affordable if you stay at military base lodges, campgrounds, cabins or beaches. Although your military base may be dry and boring, there are other bases with beautiful outdoor facilities, where you can find affordable camping, boat rentals, beach stays and more. Check out our “Best Kept Secrets” guide for an extensive list of joint forces campgrounds and facilities across the country that are only available for rent to military families.
- Waves of Honor: Once a year, military families can get free admission to Sea World, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place through this program. Request your tickets through their website before your visit, because you must confirm your military affiliation. You can use your tickets any time, then just wait 12 months before requesting them again.
- GovX Tickets: If your vacation plans include going to a sports game, a music concert, a theme park or a show, then check out this site. GovX offers discounted tickets to service members, who must confirm their eligibility through the site. You can find exclusive discounts on everything from movie tickets to ski lift passes.
- Military discounts from individual companies: Some vacation destinations offer their military discounts directly to you. Just ask for it when booking! Service members get 10 percent off at Sandals Resorts, discounts on Carnival Cruise Lines, plus special rates at many hotel chains and rental car locations across the U.S. It never hurts to ask if a company offers a military discount.
No matter what type of vacation you plan − an exotic beach getaway, a cruise, a family amusement park or a staycation − these discounts will help you make the most memories and get the best deals. Use these military discounts today and start planning your next adventure.