Note: none of us are traveling right now, due to a DOD-wide travel ban for military families and service members, but the day will come, once again, where travel is allowed. Book this away for your cabin fever relief in months in advance!
Do you travel around your military member’s work schedule?
OF COURSE you do. This is standard in being part of a military family. Based on training schedules, school dates, etc., you can plan your own family travels. This is true of vacations, visiting family, and more. After a few years in the service, this fact comes as nothing new. It’s just a part of military life. First, you get dates approved, then you start planning the trip itself. And, in unfortunate circumstances, you might have already done the planning when suddenly, your member can’t leave.
However, assuming all goes as it should, you can opt for a fun, planned family trip … all around your service member’s work schedule. In order to keep it all straight, and to avoid any headaches along the way, follow these helpful tips.
Look at Unit Best Practices
Ideally, you’ll have someone you can speak to about how to best plan time away in your current unit. Consider an FRG or company handbook that outlines when and for how long a member can leave. Oftentimes training units will also give out regular calendars so that you can best plan.
Next, talk to your spouse or military member to see if they have additional insight. Is there a protocol for taking off? Are there “turns” or better times of the year? Compiling all this info will help you create the best-prepped trip, without having to backtrack later on. It will also help you narrow down a “right” time to travel on the military’s schedule, allowing you to adapt your own.
When it’s Not Convenient
Fitting dates into tight schedules is almost never convenient. But as a military spouse, you’ve learned to work with what you’re given. If that means quality time, even when it’s not ideal, you take it. Take time off work; trade days or ask coworkers for favors, which you absolutely repay. Find neighbors to help with pets or keeping an eye on your home. Enlist the help of others so you can take that much-needed time away. Military families will understand the need and are often more willing to step in in a pinch.
If there are events or activities your kids will miss out on, that might just mean tough luck. Remember that the stars will never completely align. Take when you’re given and make the best of it!
Remaining Adaptable at All Times
Chances are, after years as a military spouse, there’s not much that catches you off guard. Even last-minute vacations. (Yes, sometimes it swings in your favor!) Use that same spirit when looking toward family trips. Know that your dates are based off the military, as is your travel radius. Finding a way to bring them all together is key for a successful time away.
The best part of a family vacation, after all, is getting away together. Look at activities that everyone loves and take in new foods, scenes, and more. Rather than focusing on any inconvenient factor of trying to get away while tied to the military, put your focus toward quality family time. While those days might seem few and far between, they can be taken advantage of for some much-needed bonding and relaxation.