Saving Money on Accommodations

Military families have many options when choosing accommodations. In high-cost areas, look for places to stay within the military lodging system (Navy Lodge, Navy Gateway Inns and Suites, Inns of the Corps, Army Lodging and Air Force Inns). You can save quite a bit of money by staying on post, especially if your room has a kitchenette.

You can also save money by renting military cottages and cabins. Cottages and cabins are larger than hotel rooms and have full kitchens. Some have barbecues, too. By cooking most of your meals in your cottage, you will lower your vacation costs. Sharing a cottage with another family can also help keep costs down, and your children will have friends to play with while you relax.

If you enjoy camping or RV travel, check military bases near your destination to see whether they offer RV hookups or tent campsites. Cheatham Annex in Williamsburg, Virginia, is just 10 minutes by car (in heavy traffic) from the Historic Area and offers cottages, RV hookups and tent campsites near the York River. Maryland's Fort George G. Meade has a large campground and is conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, D. C.

Some hotel chains offer military discounts. The discounts tend to be small, usually in the 10 percent range, but it's worth investigating all possibilities as you plan your trip. 

Alternative accommodations, such as youth hostels and B&Bs, may or may not be a good fit for your family. B&B owners in the U. S. tend to discourage families with young children from reserving rooms, but B&B owners in Europe will usually be far more accommodating. Youth hostels often rent out family rooms (like the one pictured here) that have space for two parents and two or three children, sometimes with a private bathroom attached, so don't overlook this money-saving option.

Finally, consider staying with family or friends during your trip. You'll save money and have time to reconnect with friends from a previous duty station or cousins you haven't seen in several years. Remember to thank your hosts with a small gift or take them out to dinner during your visit.