In addition to the official benefits available through the government for veterans, military families, and other military personnel, there are also a number of benefits and perks provided by individual companies. These benefits are provided by companies to honor vets for their military service. In many cases, the military discounts offer financial discounts and they can be significant. Veterans vacations are one of the best options for finding deals and discounts that are exclusive to vets.
At the very least, it’s a good idea to explore your options and see if there are any special ‘vacations for veterans.’ It’s a great way to travel to destinations you might not have visited otherwise, and an opportunity to plan an exciting, affordable vacation for your loved ones. In addition to discounts at your preferred destination, you might also be entitled to discounts for traveling to the spot and other things you need en route.
How Do You Know Benefits for Vacations for Veterans are Available?
Many opportunities for veterans to save are advertised. Companies want to share their goodwill and make sure vets know about the opportunities available so they use marketing campaigns to spread the word.
If you think there might be a vacation discount available or you’re hoping there is one for something you’d like to do, it never hurts to ask. If you’re planning a trip and you have your heart set on a destination, a specific hotel, or flying a certain airline, contact them and ask if they provide veterans’ discounts. Many do and even if they don’t have an official program, they might be willing to extend a discount to you. Just as companies often give 10 or 20% discounts for goodwill or because service was poor, they can extend that same courtesy to vets at their discretion.
It’s also a good idea to contact the local Department of Veterans’ Affairs in the nearest city to which you plan to visit to see if they have any information about discounts. The local travel bureaus might also be able to help you find information.
Most people know about AAA and AARP clubs that provide travel discounts for members. There are also clubs like this open to veterans. The Veterans Advantage Card offers a variety of travel discounts for an annual fee. The program is available on a yearly, bi-yearly, or trial basis, and allows you to get discounts for airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruise lines, and train travel. It also offers discounts at zoos and amusement parks.
Discounts on Airfare
If you aren’t able to find a satisfactory discount on airfare to your destination any other way, it might be possible to use a program known as Space-A travel. This allows you to fly on a military flight to your destination. Obviously, you’ll need to see if flights are available to your preferred destination, which means you’ll need to travel to a destination with a military base. But there are plenty of military bases in great destinations around the world.
Some flexibility is required if you want to take advantage of the Space-A discounts available. First, you’ll need to be sure there’s a base close to your preferred destination. It’s also important to be flexible with travel dates and be willing to deal with unforeseeable changes. For instance, if you have a non-refundable hotel booked and your flight is rescheduled, it can end up in an overall loss on travel, even if your flight was purchased at a deep discount.
Keep in mind, Space-A travel is only available to active duty service members with some exceptions. Not all veterans will be able to utilize all of the discounts available, but they are available to many who have served.
Lodging Discounts for Veterans
Another great way to save on travel when you’re a veteran is to stay at military lodging facilities. Some of these establishments are much the same as regular commercial hotels, but they are available at a deep discount.
Different branches of service offer different lodging options. Again, flexibility is needed. You’ll want to make reservations as far in advance as possible which, in some cases, is only 60 days. Everyone eligible for these discounts knows there’s just a short window of time to take advantage of the discounts so you need to act fast if you need to book a room for a specific date.
In addition to discounts through commercial hotels or military lodging options, you might also have the option of staying at an Armed Forces Recreation Center Resort. These establishments offer luxury accommodations in a variety of travel destinations around the world. There are resorts in Hawaii and Germany, but like many other military travel discount options, these establishments book up fast. They are also not available to all veterans, and in some cases only active duty military members are eligible, so you’ll need to make sure you qualify.
Working with a Travel Agent for Veterans
Though many traditional travel agencies have been replaced by online travel services, there are still offices out there that cater to travelers and help them plan their vacations. Often, these agencies focus on international travel, since it can be more challenging to plan, but most agencies can provide assistance with both domestic and international travel.
Some of these agencies cater specifically to veterans and an agency can be an excellent resource for a vet planning a vacation. Not only can the agency help you with planning your vacation in general, they will know about all of the discounts and various opportunities available for veterans. Anyone who plans travel for vets full-time is going to have access to information you might not even consider when planning your vacation on your own.
It’s also a good idea to work with an agency because they might be able to get discounts not available to individual vets even if they asked. An agency has more volume it can bring to a company, so if it’s booking travel for dozens of veterans simultaneously, a hotel or airline might be more willing to provide a discount because it means a lot more business for them.