One thing is for sure, military members and their families become savvy travelers after miles of PCS (Permanent Change of Station) assignments, deployments, and family trips. While these costs can add up, especially for military families with children, there are still ways to cut back and save for the memories that count!
Many vendors and companies provide military discounts as an appreciation for their service. There are tips and tricks to becoming the ultimate military traveler—whichever mode of travel you choose, be sure to check out if there is a military discount available and have your military ID handy.
Modes of Transportation
Space-A or Space Available
Space-A is a flight option for active-duty, retired service members and accompanying dependents aboard DOD (Department of Defense) aircraft flights. Availability is subject to change and works as a stand-by flight for those interested, but patience is rewarded with essentially free flight tickets with exception to minimal service fees.
Flights are given by priority status and restrictions do apply. Be sure to have all paperwork needed to fly. Air Mobility Command (AMC) is a useful tool with updated information for Space-A travelers.
Other Flight Tips
Commercial airlines extend their appreciation to the military service by offering special discounts on airfare or baggage. You’ll want to call directly into the airline carrier to receive current military promotions.
Some airlines worth noting include Southwest, United, American Airlines, Delta, and Jet Blue.
Don’t let long flights bog you down. USO airport lounges around the U.S. and in Europe provide a space to relax, unwind, and recharge on refreshments while you wait. Check out the USO website to find if a USO location is within your itinerary.
TSA expedites pre-screening for military members and dependents under the age of 12. Military members do not need to be in uniform and can opt to use this service during personal or business travel. You can sign up for TSA precheck here.
RV & MWR Campgrounds
Recreational vehicles are a fun way to take the family on a cross-country trip or for a glamping getaway. Local RV rentals are known to provide military discounts. Get more for your money by asking RV rental companies how you can enjoy a fun weekend getaway at a low price. Below are a few worth checking out!
Roadrunner RV Rental is a veteran-owned business that is a common favorite for military families.
Bates International has special military discounts for renting RVs across America and Canada.
Campgrounds are available nationwide to military families at a reduced price as well. Always book early as these spots tend to fill up quickly, especially during the holiday weekends. Check the MWR website for state campgrounds and RV parks.
Birch Lake Recreation Area in Alaska as beautiful views. If that’s too far for you, the Army’s MWR has a collection of campgrounds around the country that you can view based on your location. Other recreational activities you can enjoy while out and about on your next RV road trip include warrior adventure quest, hiking and horseback riding.
At Encore and Thousand Trails you can score a 20% discount at various RV sites around the country if you’re looking for non-military campground to explore. Don’t forget about the classic Jellystone Park! With over 80 Jellystone Parks across the country you’ll also find that you have access to various amenities such as electric and sewer hook-ups, water and even a place to sit down and eat (picnic table style).
Sometimes a 10%-20% military discount isn’t enough to get the whole family together for an RV trip. In this case Tents for Troops offers a two night stay at specific RV sites for free. While you’re hunting for the perfect RV spot make sure to ask if they have a Tents for Troops option to help your dollar go a little further.
Military families may use reduced-fee military lodging to transition between PCS moves or for basic hotel lodging. Amenities vary by location but can include kitchens or kitchenettes, laundry service, pools, playgrounds, and pet accommodations.
You can review installation locations and amenities online and book by phone for convenience. Be sure to verify your eligibility before making your reservation:
Other Military Travel Resources
United States Automobile Association USAA Travel Deals
Members can take advantage of USAA travel privileges. Save up to 25% on car rentals and hotels. More savings on hotel, cruise and resort packages. Bonus rewards include reservation fee waivers and reduced travel insurance options.
USAA is a premium banking service for active-duty, retired, and honorably discharged or enlisted military personnel. You’ll need to create an account with USAA to receive access to travel privileges.
Veterans Guide To Travel Savings
Not all discounts are made the same, but veterans are included in most military perks. It’s always a good idea to ask the vendor or organization if they offer current military discounts for veterans. As always, have your appropriate DoD issued ID card.
Veterans Advantage is a Veteran Rewards membership program serving all branches, current and former, Guard, reservists, and their dependents.
Registering with Veterans Advantage can unlock additional savings on car rentals, hotels, resorts, amusement parks and other travel expenses.
Veteran Holidays is part of the hospitality company, Wyndham Worldwide, specializing in lodging timeshares across the country. Veteran Holidays gives all veterans exclusive access to over 4000 available resorts in over 100 countries at reduced prices.
Timeshares typically offer amenities such as pools, fitness and recreational facilities, and full-sized apartments or condominiums.
Military Discount Categories
Cristina Van Orden is a literary writer and active military spouse. She holds an MFA from Antioch University and taught K-12 English before working in editorial. Cristina currently resides on base with her husband and children.