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Using Military Lodging Facilities for LeisureTravelOverviewWays to find and use temporary military lodging facilities for your next family vacation. • Types of facilities available • How to use military lodging • Military lodging around the world • Planning your getaway • ResourcesOne of the most unique benefits available to service members and their families is the use of temporarymilitary lodging facilities and resorts around the world. Most military members are familiar with theTemporary Lodging Facilities (TLF) they visit while on a temporary assignment. But military lodging can alsomean cottages on the beach, world-class resorts, or recreational facilities intended specifically for militaryfamilies who want to get away from it all. And most military lodging is priced well below the going rates in thelocal area. Learning how to find and take advantage of these facilities will help you save money and give youa great selection of safe and fun places to stay while you travel.Return to the TopTypes of facilities availableMilitary lodging facilities run the gamut from modern resorts to mountain cottages. There are limited-servicehotels built specifically for families arriving at a new duty station, as well as full-service recreational facilities.Here are the types of facilities you can expect to find: • Installation lodging. These facilities are generally designed for military service members traveling on official business or families with PCS orders. Most are on military installations, with easy access to installation facilities. And they can be located in an area where you want to spend your next vacation. Installation lodging facilities will usually take vacationers on a space-available basis, but you may find that you are unable to make advance reservations. • Recreational facilities. Built to serve military service members and their families for short -- or long -- getaways, these may range from a lodge on a mountain lake to an oceanfront cottage in Hawaii. Many recreational facilities offer rental equipment, fishing charters, tours, or other services specific to the area -- usually at a lower cost compared to similar services in the area. Eligible personnel will be able to make reservations, but the timing varies from facility to facility. • Resorts. With first-class amenities, these facilities offer a true resort experience. Military resorts are located in vacation destinations, such as Disney World® and Hawaii, and in areas with a large military presence, such as Japan, Korea, and Germany. Reservations can usually be made well in advance, but timing is critical. If you plan on traveling during the holidays or other peak periods, make your reservations as far in advance as possible. Rates are based on rank and duty status, but you will generally find the prices much less than comparable lodging. Added benefits can include excellent restaurants, tours, and discounted ticket sales to area attractions.
• Nongovernment-owned hotels. Managed by organizations serving the military community, hotels such as the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco serve active duty and former military members. The Marines Memorial Club, as well as the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmens Club in New York, are not military lodging facilities, but private nonprofit organizations. For more information on the Marines Memorial Club, visit www.marineclub.com or call 1-800-562-7463. Details on the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmens Club can be found at www.ssmaclub.org or by calling 1-800-678- 8443.Return to the TopHow to use military lodgingKnowing the ins and outs of using military lodging is key to saving money on your next vacation. Reservationwindows vary by facility and by duty status, so be sure to do your research well in advance. • Whos eligible? In most cases, military lodging is available to active duty military members and their family members, as well as retirees, Reserve and Guard members, and DoD civilians. However, the rules vary by branch of service and by individual lodging facility. Your duty status -- active duty on orders, active duty on leave, family member, retiree, Reservist, or DoD civilian -- will usually determine when and how your reservations can be made. • Saving money on your next family vacation. When planning your vacation, research the military lodging options available in the area you want to visit, check the facility to find out if rooms are available or when reservations can be made, and compare costs. Often you will save additional money by using the restaurants, rentals, tours, and other services available at the lodging facility. • Making reservations. In most cases, reservations for leisure travel should be made directly with the lodging facility, either by phone or through a Web site. Each facility and branch of service has regulations describing their reservation procedures. In many installation lodging facilities, active-duty military members on orders can reserve rooms well in advance, while leisure travelers may rent rooms on a space-available basis only. Recreational facilities generally let leisure travelers make reservations far enough ahead to adequately plan a vacation. Military resorts and Armed Forces Recreation Centers allow eligible guests to make reservations as much as a year in advance. See "Planning your getaway" below for contact information.Return to the TopMilitary lodging around the worldThe list of military lodging facilities is long and the types of facilities vary widely. Here is a small sample ofwhat you can find around the world: • East Coast. Shades of Green Resort, an Armed Forces Recreation Center located in Disney World® in Florida, offers reasonably priced rooms for military service members. Guests have easy access to the Disney theme parks, as well as all the perks that come with staying at a Disney resort. Discounted tickets to Disney theme parks are available -- even to eligible personnel not staying at the hotel. Visit www.shadesofgreen.org or call 1-888-593-2242 for more information.The Coast Guard maintains a cabin on Cape Cod and another one on Nantucket, which are available to allactive-duty service members and their families, as well as Reservists and retirees. For more information,visit their Web site at www.uscg.mil/mwr/lodging/Lodging.asp.
Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area, near Cape Fear, North Carolina, has beach cottages and a lodgeavailable. Active-duty Air Force members may make reservations 90 days in advance, while other active-duty service members may make reservations 85 days in advance. More information is available atwww.ftfishermilrec.com or by calling 1-910-458-6549. • West Coast. Seward Resort in Alaska is open year-round with recreational activities for military members and their families, including glacier tours in summer and snowmobile rentals in winter. For reservations and additional information, visit www.sewardresort.com or call 1-800-770-1858.The Marine Corps operates Big Bear Recreation Facility, with eight chalets near ski resorts in Big Bear,California. Summer activities include mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. Call 1-858-577-4126 or visitwww.mccsmiramar.com for more information. • Central states. In Missouri the Army manages Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area, with lakefront cabins and motel rooms, along with boat and Jet Ski rentals. More details are available at www.fortleonardwoodmwr.com/lake_ozarks.php or by calling 1-573-346-5640. • Hawaii. The Hale Koa Hotel, an Armed Forces Recreation Center on Waikiki Beach, is one of the militarys favorite resort destinations. Because of its popularity, the Hale Koa is often filled to capacity, but reservations may be made up to 365 days in advance. Availability and other details are available at www.halekoa.com or by calling 1-800-367-6027.By contrast, the Kilauea Military Camp, a Joint Services Recreation Center within Hawaii Volcanoes NationalPark, is one of the militarys best-kept secrets. Mountain cottages, along with local tours, are available. Moreinformation can be found at www.kmc-volcano.com or by calling 1-808-967-7315. • Europe. Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, an Armed Forces Recreation Center in Germany, serves military personnel with hotel rooms and cabins. The resort offers a wide range of activities, including skiing and mountain biking -- with special activities just for kids. For more details visit www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com or call 011-49-8821-9440 (from the U.S.). • Asia. On Okinawa, Okuma Joint Services Recreation Center serves several nearby military bases with log cabins, hotel rooms, and a campground. Two beautiful beaches, along with scuba diving, Jet Ski rentals, and kayak rentals are available. For more information visit www.kadenaforcesupport.com/okuma/.In Seoul, Korea, the Dragon Hill Lodge, another Armed Forces Recreation Center, is a world-class hotel withresort amenities and excellent shopping nearby. Reservations and additional information are available onthe Dragon Hill Lodges Web site at www.dragonhilllodge.com.Return to the TopPlanning your getawayWith a little research, you can find out about military lodging in the area you want to visit, including amenitiesand reservation policies. • Finding the right military lodging facility for your next vacation may require some research. Military Living publishes Temporary Military Lodging Around the World, a comprehensive listing of military lodging facilities, with contact information, directions, and local attractions. (It may be available at your installation exchange or, for more information, visit www.militaryliving.com or call 1-703-237-0203.) • Military lodging and service branch Web sites can also provide specific information on installation and recreational lodging. • Army MWR: www.armymwr.com • Navy Lodges: www.navy-lodge.com
• Marine Corps Community Services: www.usmc-mccs.org/lodging/ • Air Force Services: dodlodging.net (This site also include links to Army, Navy and Marine Corps lodging.) • The best time to go. Most of the popular recreational facilities and resorts book up months in advance. If you plan to visit during peak vacation periods, find out when reservations can be made and make them as soon as possible. Some lodging facilities prioritize their reservations by branch of service, by duty station, or by status. • While youre there, take advantage of the leisure services. Many recreation centers and resorts offer services -- such as restaurants, boat rentals, ski equipment rental, area tours, and discount tickets to area attractions. Familiarize yourself with what types of services are available and if reservations need to be made in advance. Taking advantage of these savings will help cut costs and help make your vacation an enjoyable experience for the whole family.Return to the TopResourcesYour military support servicesEach service branch sponsors information and support programs for service members and their families.You can call or visit any installation Army Community Service Center, Marine Corps Community Services,Fleet and Family Support Center, or Airman and Family Readiness Center regardless of your branchaffiliation.If you arent near an installation, National Guard Family Assistance Centers are available in every state. TheLocal Community Resource Finder on the National Guard Family Program at www.jointservicessupport.orgwill identify your closest center.Military OneSourceThis free 24-hour service is available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members (regardless ofactivation status) and their families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide range ofissues. Free face-to-face counseling sessions (and their equivalent by phone or online) are also available.Call 1-800-342-9647 or go to www.militaryonesource.mil to learn more.Return to the Top