4 Do's & 1 Don't When Traveling as a Military Spouse

Oh, the military life. My husband has been in the Army for nearly 13 years and I have been a part of the last 9 so I thought I would share a little wisdom on how to travel as a military spouse. From finding deals to spending your money wisely and actually taking a vacation.

The life has its ups and downs, as anything does, of course. Sometimes the downs really suck. There is no nice way of saying that. One of those things is: getting time off.

Having married into the military life, I remember having the freedom to plan trips on my own timeline. It didn't matter the location or the time of year. I could plan a trip when and where I wanted.

Now, don't get me wrong, even in the civilian world, I couldn't just pick up and leave for 2 weeks whenever I wanted. I still had to get approval from my employer but I wasn't restricted to certain time times of the year (block leave, if you will).

If I wanted to take a summer vacation, I could. Or long weekends, I could.

In the Army, it is cut and dry. You have 2 blocks of time during the year in which you can take your vacation — Summer and Winter.

And honestly, Summer hasn't ever been an option for us as that's training season.

Alright, so Christmas time it is. And that isn't HORRIBLE. We love Christmas. We took a trip to Scotland over Christmas last year and had a fantastic time.

But for the girl with the wanderlust spirit, it kills me sometimes that we can't just go!!

It is also hard to plan a trip with anyone. We are limited to Christmastime every year.

All of this to say that, in addition to the small window of travel opportunity, there are some do's and don'ts that you should be aware of when air traveling as a military spouse.

#1 DO When Traveling as Mil Spouse | Plane Tickets

Purchase your plane tickets at the right time.

Cardinal rule: do not purchase your tickets before your spouse's leave is approved.

We often don't even know our window of leave until a week before. Patience is a virtue, right? Once we know our block leave dates, we then have to get our leave approved.

So when I plan a trip, the destination, activities, and accommodations are all very vague until I know it's a go.

I like to set up alert emails with Google Flights or Hopper to alert me of the cheapest flights. Currently, you can only use Hopper on your smart phone through an app. I like the insight Hopper gives you on when to buy flights for the best deal.

Sites like these are great resources. They take the burden to check prices everyday off of you. They will send you an email if there's any shift in prices.

#2 DO When Traveling as Mil Spouse | Luggage

Use luggage you trust.

One of the worst things that can happen when traveling is picking up your suitcase from baggage claim and it falling apart. Clothes are everywhere. Yard sale...

For big ticket items like luggage, I research like crazy to make sure I’m getting the best for my money. I watch videos, read reviews and price shop.

For our recent international trip, I chose to buy Eagle Creek luggage and haven’t thought twice about it. I couldn’t ask for better.

It is so light which is great when you're stuffing it full of newly bought clothes and souvenirs. You'll still make the weight limit!

#3 DO When Traveling as Mil Spouse | Airport Parking

Before you get to the airport, search online for an off-site parking lot. I've done this a couple of times now and paid a fraction of the cost!