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Best Vacation Deals for Military Families & Others (Including FREE admissions)!
The hidden deals you never knew were there!
Vacations are expensive and in this economy where jobs and finances are tight, we need all the help we can get. This is especially true for our men and woman who are fighting for our country. Lets face it, the military doesn't get paid as much as the private sector, BUT the benefits available can outweigh that.
Whether is planning a normal family vacation every year to planning that fabulous homecoming vacation for your military guy or gal, getting the best deal is what counts. Here are some of the BEST deals I have found for military families planning vacations!
1. Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL
Everyone knows that the ultimate family vacation is a Disney Vacation. But they can be pricey. Thankfully Walt Disney World offers a wonderful deal for our military and their families. Now through September 30, 2012, Disney is offering up to 40% off on their resort hotels and 4-day Promotional Passes for military and their families for as little as $138 (Park Hopper and Water Parks and more options are an extra charge)! This is a large difference when you see that a regular 4 day ticket for an adult without a resort stay is $256 (Yes, folks that is a 47% savings!). We have taken advantage of this deal 3 years in a row now and have saved considerably! *Tip - Book directly through Disney to make sure everything is correct by calling 1-407-W-DISNEY.*.
In addition the La Nouba Cirque du Soleil show, which is at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney area, offers 25% off tickets for military.
Did you know that Disney has its own military resort? Shades of Green is operated as an Armed Forces Recreation Center by the U.S. Army to support all branches and their families. In addition to a gorgeous resort and golf course, they make it easy for those who weren't able to get to their ticket offices on base to pick up their discounted military tickets for the Orlando area.
2. Orlando, FL Area
Disney isn't the only thing available to do in FL! Here are some additional places that offer great deals and discounts for military and their families.
- Pirate Adventure Dinner Theatre - Offers tickets through your local base at $38 and for a military member with an ID they offer tickets at the window for $12!
- Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks - Harry Potter World! Universal offers tickets through your local base for as little as $91 for an 1 day pass for an adult.
- Gatorland - Offers tickets for military and their families for $19.25 for an adult vs $24.99 at the gate.
- Medieval Times - Who doesn't love sword fights, gorgeous horses and damsels in distress! Medieval Times offers deals for our military that vary by location. They have locations all over the US and Canada.
3. Anheuser - Busch Parks
Busch Gardens, Seaworld, Water Country USA, and Sesame Place are all part of this deal. These parks, which were bought out by InBev, offer FREE admission for military members and up to 3 direct dependents (DEERS verification needed) through their Here's To The Heroes or Hero Salute program. This is a fabulous deal! You can either go to the Hero Salute website and print off your verification or wait until you get to the parks and go to the special windows. All parks associated with this label around the country are eligible for this program!
4. Armed Forces Vacation Club
A little kept secret for military is Armed Forces Vacation Club. This club is open strictly to military, DOD and their families and gives Space-A travel accommodation for as little as $369 for a week all over the world. Yes, that is right, I said WORLD. They also offer great deals on All-Inclusive vacations. Currently they offer a $20 off deal if you book online for Space-A travel. Plus they offer great deals on short stays as well! And I'm not just talking about hotel rooms folks. You can get condos all over the world for this rate. Some of the higher demand areas are higher priced and do not have Space-A available but are still reasonably lower then what you would pay if you booked directly or through a travel agent. Enjoy timeshare condos without having to deal with the presentations and hounding to purchase!
5. Washington D.C.
Our nation's capital has tons of discounts and free admission for our guys and gals in uniform. Enjoy the history and wonder of seeing all that our country has constructed and gained since we began.
Blue Star Museums is a program through the National Endowment of the Arts that has created a program that overs free admission for military and their families in up to 1,800 museums in the country! Its available for the military member and up to 5 family members, which means as long as you are related you are considered family! In addition spouses are also eligible for this if their military member isn't present.
6. Sandals Resorts
Currently Sandals is offering an additional 10% off for all US and Canadian military members for their all-inclusive resort packages. This deal is allowed in addition even if you already received a deal on a package! What a great way to celebrate a homecoming or honeymoon or just have a quiet romantic getaway.
Comfort Inn, Econo Lodge, Motor Lodge, Cambria Suites, and Suburban are just some of the hotels associated with this site that offers specialized deals for military only. Not many hotels out there advertise military deals, let alone let you search specifically for that pricing on their website. Just like with any travel site put in your location and dates and use the drop down to choose the Government/Military Rate. We have stayed in several of these and the deals are always worth it!
The sea air, the water and the sun. What is better then a cruise? There are so many cruise lines out there how do you know which ones give you the best deal for being military? Here is a list of some of the major cruise lines and what military deals they offer!
- Carnival - Carnival offers military discounts to anyone who has ever served! All they need is their current military ID or their DD-214 papers.
- Disney Cruises - They are currently offering specials on cruises booked through December 2012. Simply enter the special code "MTO" when booking, or call to talk with one of their agents today!
- Royal Caribbean - They offer discounts on all staterooms that the military member is staying. Note: they do not offer discounts on any stateroom where the eligible military member is not staying even if you are the spouse or dependent.
- Celebrity Cruises - They offer discounts not only for military but firefighters and police as well! Just go through your search of where you would like to cruise and check off the correct box and the pricing will come up.
9. Williamsburg, VA
What better place to take a family of history buffs! Williamsburg is park of the Historic Triangle including Jamestown and Yorktown. In addition there is also Busch Gardens and Water Country USA close and they offer free admission for military and their dependents. Colonial Williamsburg is the world's largest living-history museum. It is fascinating for the kids to go and see what life was like back in the Colonial time and see reenactments of battles and historic events that happened. To walk along where history happened and see buildings and speak with actors portraying important people of the past is a great way to get education and vacation all in one place!
10. Airline Fares
We all know that the most expensive part of a vacation is the cost of travel. While we have chosen to keep our travel limited to where we can drive, many of us do not have that luxury. One of the greatest websites I have found for military airfare deals is www.militaryfares.com. While I will admit that there are some websites out there that may offer better deals at times, this one has always been a sure bet to find great prices at great military rates.
Some airlines offer special deals for military on an excused absence or leave and their dependents. U.S. Airways offers special Military Leave Fares only for military and their dependents traveling on an offically excused absence. Please check with their website or call to find out the restrictions.
Whether you are getting away for a long or short vacation with your family, remember that serving your country allows you access to discounts and deals from companies that are proud to serve those who serve us all.