Even though my family and I live in Hawaii, a place most would call “paradise,” trust me when I say that there is a need to get off this rock from time to time. That being said, it has been 2 full years since the Army moved us to the great state of Hawaii. Likewise, it has been 2 full years since I have touched land that is not completely surrounded by water. So, because my children play travel sports and because we are stationed on the most remote place in the world, travel means travel.



We are a family of 7 and traveling to and from Hawaii is not cheap, ever. So, we decided to give Space A travel a try in order to get to California for a soccer tournament. We have not left the island as of yet but let me tell you that trying to do so has been no easy feat. The process has been very confusing and the uncertainty alone is about to kill me. However, we are sticking it out for the next few days, hoping to utilize one of the great benefits the military affords those living OCONUS.

So far, we have tried to compete for seats on numerous flights going to any of the many locations in California that allow for Space A travel. Keeping up with the flights leaving from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam has been more like playing a game of checkers than your average air travel experience. See, AMC Hickam keeps travelers updated on 72 hour flight status through their Facebook page . As such, when it comes time to travel, you turn into a social media junkie who checks their FB page every 5 minutes to see if something has changed or been added. Your every breath revolves around getting on a flight. In the past 3 days flights have disappeared, shown up and changed more times than I can count.

There are many facets to this Space A travel thing and I am learning them one by one. I would love to share the rest of my experience with you once we actually get on a flight but know this, you need to be very flexible, have a ton of leave time saved up to allow for travel going both ways (some people recommend 3 days, I would say 5 days on each end during peak travel time), and realize that with Space A things fluctuate, a lot. Traveling with a large family is never easy but hopefully we can alleviate some of the financial stress by flying for free. I can’t wait to find out whether or not this experience has been worth it. I’ll be sure to let you know.

Christine Shepard has been an Army wife for almost 20 years. She is an attorney turned stay at home mom and the self proclaimed Mayor of Crazy town.



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