In the last four years (including this one), my husband and I have looped in a vacation during the holiday season. The first one, we counted as our honeymoon as well. It happened during our PCS from one location to the next.
It worked out so well the first time, we decided to give it a try for our first holiday season at our new duty station. We already planned on going to Texas, where I’m originally from, and realized we could easily take a cruise out of there for a week to piggyback on leave time. Doing it this way saved us from additional time off work and costs too.
Not to mention that while people are wearing coats in the Northeast, we’ll be wearing shorts in the Caribbean. There are typically lots of deals for vacation travel during the holidays, so it’s a great opportunity to utilize them when you can.
I think it works out well, particularly for military families, considering the challenge it is to take leave during the year. We had to push the dates of our Alaska vacation from May to June one year because of training schedules. Thank goodness for travel insurance! A military family’s best friend!
We have yet to shift around holiday travel, so that’s a good sign. The third trip was from Texas to Vegas with my parents. My husband hasn’t been yet and I haven’t been since I was a kid. After the New Year, we found some amazing deals on flights from Texas to Vegas and then just flew back from Vegas to the DC area.
In January, Vegas has wonderful deals, so the four days we were able to stay true to our budget. They also have deals on shows ongoing, if you’re flexible with your time. Taking away a flight from one direction saved us again on overall costs.
With that said, there are lots of other destinations that have great deals in the coming months. You’re probably wondering, how do you still do it with deals during the holiday season?
Well, my husband and I vacation in lieu of presents to each other. We have some DIY gifts or perhaps loop in some experience gifts while we’re on our trip, but that’s it. Our trip this year is the biggest in our history together and we have been budgeting since last Christmas.
Our trips are a celebration of the successes we had during the year as well as celebrating the holidays. It doesn’t hurt that our anniversaries, both of them, our courthouse date and church date are in December and January!
Our lifestyle makes it a challenge to take the time off work, so using opportunities when you can are great! Also, who knows how our next station will be? That’s why I encourage you to give holiday vacationing a try, if you can swing it.
Your trip doesn’t have to take you to faraway places either. If you plan a road trip during off-peak holiday times, the roads could be smooth sailing!
To sum it up, here are the topline tips that help me with holiday vacation travel.
- Research holiday deals and military discounts! We’re making a killing with our trip this year because of a cruise military discount. Buy one trip get the next one half off with Royal Caribbean.
- Last-minute deals are an option too! That’s how we looped in Vegas in the mix last year in January.
- Have your spouse check in to see if the tempo at work will be slow during the holiday season and if they have block leave too. That’s the time you would plan a little getaway.
- You don’t have to overdo it and just concentrate on relaxing or experiences! My husband and I do enjoy the activity part of vacationing, but also keep in mind that this is our time to RELAX! Don’t forget to have time vegetating.
- If you don’t have the time now, think about next year. The trip we are going on this year into the next has been on the calendar since last year, at least the idea of it. Open dialogue with your colleagues (for you and your spouse) will make the long-term planning a reality. We saw the deal last year and couldn’t miss out. Our savings completely paid for the travel insurance we include for EVERY vacation.
Have you vacationed during the holiday season?
About the Author:
Rachel Tringali Marston is an Army spouse and daughter to an Air Force retiree. Rachel’s family settled in Texas and that’s where she calls home. Before getting married, she lived in New York City for almost 10 years and considers that her second home. Rachel enjoys learning and exploring the area around her husband’s duty station and is embracing life in the military. In her spare time, she shares her adventures on her personal blog called The Professional Army Wife.