One of the perks of being connected to the military are all the amazing bases. There are too many good locations for one person to be stationed at, even with a 20 or 30-year career. And that’s just in the lower 48 states!
When you consider the cool places outside the continental US, your travel options are world class.
Get ready to hop a Space-A flight and jet to your next vacation destination.
7 Fun OCONUS Trips for Military Families to Take ASAP
Remember, that Space-A travel is notoriously touch-and-go, with priority being given to active duty military on official orders. Make sure you have a backup plan for travel or lodging is you get stuck somewhere longer than expected.
However, if you can work the system and follow their rules, you’ll be able to get to amazing destinations for incredibly cheap.
1. Hawaii: Oahu
- Get There: Fly into Hickam Air Force Base with most Space-A flights to this location originating on the west coast of the US or elsewhere in Asia.
- Where to Stay: DoD lodging is available on Hickam AFB, MCB Kaneohe Bay and Naval Base Pearl Harbor on Oahu. You might also consider hopping over to Kauai to stay at the Navy’s Gateway Inn on that base.
- Things to Do: Hit the beach at Waikiki for a day of fun in the sun or to catch a few waves. Visit Pearl Harbor to pay your respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the December 7, 1941 attack. Hike to the top of Diamond Head for a gorgeous view of Waikiki. Definitely save room to enjoy a traditional luau, complete with hula and a pig roast.
2. Alaska: Anchorage
- Get There: Hop a Space-A flight from the west coast to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
- Where to Stay: Bunk at the Air Force Inn located on the base.
- Things to Do: JB Elmendorf-Richardson is located fairly close to Anchorage, with museums and sightseeing galore. Check out the Anchorage Museum for hands-on science or learn about Alaskan heritage at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Check out the great outdoors on a hike or snowshoe trek. You could also check out the Portage Glacier or go berry picking in season.
3. UK: London
- Get There: Mildenhall, a Royal Air Force base, is a Space-A gateway terminal. Fly there from other European locations or the US’s east coast.
- Where to Stay: You could stay at RAF Mildenhall’s Air Force Inn. Or take the train about 80 miles to London. Consider staying the Victory Services Club, a joint-services facility that offers reciprocal benefits to members of the Marines’ Memorial Club. US military personnel of any rank are also eligible for membership. Another joint service lodging option is the Union Jack Club. Active duty personnel from the US are eligible to stay at Temporary Honorary Members.
- Things to Do: You are going to be steeped in history! In London, go the Buckingham Palace and see the changing of the guard. Visit London Tower and peep at the Crown Jewels or learn about the castle’s bloody history. Shakespeare fans can visit s reconstructed Globe Theater. Before you go, grab some classic fish and chips at a chip shop!
4. Germany: Edelweiss Lodge
- Get There: You can Space-A to either AFB Ramstein or AFB Spangdahlem. However, both terminals are equidistant from Munich, which is the closest major city to Edelweiss Lodge. You could either hop another flight to Munich or drive from the Space-A terminal to the resort.
- Where to Stay: Edelweiss is a US military resort in the heart of Bavaria!
- Things to Do: The resort has many amenities and tours available for guests. You can enjoy activities from mountain hiking to brewery tours to sightseeing at picturesque castles. For parents looking for a child-free afternoon, advance childcare reservations can be made at the nearby CDC.
5. Italy: Naples
- Get There: Fly into the Space-A passenger terminal in Naples!
- Where to Stay: Make reservations at the Navy Gateway Inn or enjoy a more rustic experience at Carney Park.
- Things to Do: Climb Mount Vesuvius and visit the ruined city of Pompeii. Indulge in local cuisine. Go to a castle, or castell in Italian. Take a boat to Capri.
7. Japan: Tokyo
- Get There: Fly into Yokota AFB, located near Tokyo, and hop the shuttle to Narita Airport.
- Where to Stay: Make reservations at the New Sanno Lodge in the heart of Tokyo. For a slightly cheaper price, but a longer trip into the city, check out the Hardy Barracks.
- Things to Do: Check out Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea for a uniquely Japanese twist on an American classic. Eat ramen and sushi. Climb Mount Fuji. Visit a Buddhist shrine. Go to a themed cafe, like a cat cafe or the robot cafe. Enjoy a classic tea ceremony. Wander under springtime cherry blossoms.
8. Korea: Seoul
- Get There: Space-A to Osan AFB. From there, you can take the train to Seoul or get on the military bus to the Dragon Hill Lodge.
- Where to Stay: Kick your feet back at the Dragon Hill Lodge in Yongsan, a neighborhood in Seoul.
- Things to Do: Dress in traditional Korean formal wear and stroll around a historic palace. Shop until you drop at almost endless markets and malls. Take in the view at Seoul Tower. Visit the DMZ and put one foot into North Korea. Get a spa treatment. Eat kimchi and barbeque until you can’t fit another bite.
Which OCONUS vacation did you add to your travel bucket list? If you’ve been to one of these unique destinations, tell us all your best tips in the comments!
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