Information, Tickets and Travel: Your Key to Fun

Army Navy football game

Whether you want to take in a socially distanced ball game, spend a day at local attractions or plan a vacation, your local Information, Tickets and Travel office is your key to great deals on recreation and leisure travel. Keep in mind, with coronavirus disease 2019 safety guidelines in place around the world, your best bet is to check with your local ITT office for the updated safety measures you must follow, cancellations that could affect your event, or other important news before you purchase tickets or book a vacation.

What you can get through ITT

Your military ID provides access to the following discounts and savings through ITT:

  • Tickets for local attractions like sporting events, concerts, zoos, museums, historical sites and movies
  • Destination tickets, including theme parks and national parks
  • Day trips and tours to nearby cities
  • Vacation packages, including cruises and resorts
  • Leisure travel services

Why you should use ITT

  • Military discounts
  • Exclusive offers for service members
  • No service fees
  • Trip-planning assistance

Many Information, Tickets and Travel personnel are certified travel agents. They can save you time and money by figuring out the details for your trip. Whether you’re destined for Las Vegas or Walt Disney World® Resort, our staff can get you there at the best rate. And be sure to ask about these special programs:

  • Lodging on installations, through recreational facilities and at first-class resorts and nongovernment-owned hotels
  • America the Beautiful passes to get you into more than 84 million acres of national parks where you can hike, climb, ski, surf, stargaze or just relax
  • Blue Star Museums give you opportunities to soak up history, science or culture between Memorial Day and Labor Day across the country — for free

Who is eligible for ITT services

  • Active-duty, National Guard and reserve service members
  • Retired service members
  • Family of service members
  • Department of Defense civilians
  • Nonappropriated Fund personnel

Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation or just plain fun, contact your Information, Tickets and Travel office for deals that will turn your bucket list into next weekend’s to-do list.

Book online now through American Forces Travel

In addition to the Information, Tickets and Travel office on your installation, there is a virtual offering for military members to access discounts.

American Forces Travel expands ITT services through an ecommerce website, making them available 24/7. Service members and their families can book their leisure travel and vacations completely online, and at a discount, through the service provider, Priceline Group Inc. Military discounts on concerts, theater, sporting events and more are also available.

Through AFT, you can:

  • Plan your trip, whether you are traveling domestically or overseas.
  • Stay at hotels all over the world and book cruises and vacation packages, with deep discounts.
  • Secure tickets to major events, even if they are sold out, through the AFT Secondary Ticket Marketplace, with no extra fees tacked on.

By booking your next trip or event through AFT, you’ll save money and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will receive a commission. You’ll be funding the programs you enjoy on your installation by taking a vacation or enjoying a concert!

Note the changes due to COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 circumstances, travel product inventory has been reduced. Please refer to the following for the most current information on AFT products:

Staying Vigilant and Keeping Up With Current Guidance When Considering Travel During COVID-19

A service member and his daughter wear masksSource: https://www.dvidshub.net/image/6360257/mobilization-ceremony-bravo-company-with-422nd-expeditionary-signal-battalion

Current as of October 2, 2020

The infection rate of coronavirus-19 disease remains high in parts of the country and the world. If you are thinking about traveling, it’s vital to stay up to date about travel restrictions and regulations.

The Department of Defense and other governmental agencies regularly release current, reliable information about COVID-19. Follow their guidance to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. 

If you are considering travel within the U.S.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If that’s not possible, equip yourself with the right information to make smart decisions about traveling. 

  • Check whether travel restrictions have been lifted at your installation. The DOD has lifted travel restrictions where warranted by local conditions. See the DOD’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update for the latest information.
  • Find out about infection rates. You may want to reconsider travel if the number of COVID-19 cases is high at home or at your destination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps an updated list of United States COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by State.
  • Learn about travel restrictions. Some states require travelers from high-risk states to test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine after arrival. If you travel to a state where the infection rate is high, you may have to quarantine or test negative when you return home as well. Find out about the requirements by looking up the health departments of your destination and home state at the CDC’s health department website.

If you are considering travel outside of the U.S.

COVID-19 risk remains high in most countries and many have closed their borders to non-essential travelers. If you do travel abroad, you may have to quarantine when you return home. New directives at home or abroad may disrupt your travel plans as well.

  • Look up the COVID-19 risk level by country. You can find it on the CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination page.
  • Find out about travel restrictions in the country where you intend to travel. The Department of State offers information for each country on its COVID-19 Specific Information page.
  • Follow state guidance for your return. Your home state may require you to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 when you return.  

Ways to stay healthy if you travel

The CDC recommends travelers take the following precautions:

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Staying Vigilant and Keeping Up With Current Guidance When Considering Travel During COVID-19

The infection rate of coronavirus-19 disease remains high in parts of the country and the world. If you are thinking about traveling, it’s vital to stay up to date about travel restrictions and regulations.

Get Military Discounts on Local Entertainment With American Forces Travel

a music concert

Members of the military community already use American Forces Travel to save money when booking leisure travel. But now you can also use the website to score discounts on great entertainment right in your own community.

Due to COVID-19:

Many events have been canceled or postponed. Please continue to check the Events page to learn the most up-to-date information on events of interest until further notice.

Concerts, theater, sporting events and more – the American Forces Travel Secondary Ticket Marketplace offers military discounts on more than 200,000 bookable events across the country. These resale tickets are provided through reputable and established companies, so you can buy with confidence. You also get these perks:

  • No membership fees
  • No service charges
  • No shipping fees
  • Moneyback guarantee (restrictions apply)
  • Post-purchase support through the American Forces Travel call center, open 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., EST

Plus, morale, welfare and recreation programs around the world receive a commission on everything you book through American Forces Travel. That funding helps pay for services you use, like outdoor recreation, pools, parks and workshops on your installation.

To use the Secondary Ticket Marketplace, click the “Event Tickets” tab on the American Forces Travel website. First-time users will be asked to verify their eligibility with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Report System database.

Anyone who can use MWR programs and services can also use American Forces Travel. For a full list of eligible patrons, click “Who Is Eligible” on the American Forces Travel webpage.

Military discounts on travel, hotels, rental cars, flights and more

In addition to event tickets, American Forces Travel lets service members and their families book their leisure travel and vacations online, and at a discount:

  • Flights inside and outside the U.S.
  • Hotels all around the world
  • Rental cars
  • Cruises and vacation packages

Military travelers booking through American Forces Travel enjoy lower booking fees, have a best price guarantee, and get deals on prepaid car rental rates. American Forces Travel is a joint service initiative, and provides leisure travel discounts through its service provider, Priceline Group Inc.

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 as Travel Restrictions Loosen

Service members sitting in a plane

 Current as of June 3, 2020

Testing and Surveillance for COVID-19

Learn about the DOD’s expanded testing for coronavirus disease 2019 and other measures to detect the disease early and stop its spread.

Conditions are beginning to improve with regard to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. In response, the Department of Defense is changing its approach to personnel movement and travel.

Officials signed a memo May 26 to transition to a conditions-based phased approach to the restrictions. Until further notice, the DOD will base decisions on conditions in specific areas. This replaces the broad travel restrictions in place before.

The memo cancels previous travel restrictions and reissues guidance that will remain in effect until further notice.

With restrictions gradually easing, it’s even more important to take every precaution to protect yourself and others when you do travel. And the DOD will continue to work with you to keep you and our community healthy and safe.

Wearing cloth face coverings

Military personnel, families and supporting civilian members serve as role models during extremely challenging times. One way you can do this now is to take steps to protect yourself and others whenever you need to go out. This includes following Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing may be hard to maintain. This can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may unknowingly have it from transmitting it to others.

  • Create your own cloth face coverings using common household items such as T-shirts, scarves and bandanas. Making and using these coverings helps protect public health while reserving critical supplies such as surgical masks and N-95 respirators for medical first responders, as current CDC guidance recommends.
  • Do not place cloth face coverings on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your face covering. Wash your hands as soon as you finish.
  • Wear your face covering whenever you are on Department of Defense property, installations (except personal residences) and facilities when 6 feet of social distance isn’t possible in public areas or work centers.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 during travel

The Department of Defense is taking steps to protect travelers and others from COVID-19 by:

  • Prescreening service members before travel: Only those who are healthy and least at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will be allowed to travel
  • Using military and contracted planes for travel to or from overseas locations, when possible
  • Screening all passengers on military flights for signs of illness before they board the plane
  • Screening all service members, family and civilian military employees when they arrive at their duty station after traveling commercially

The screening includes a questionnaire to help determine whether you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Someone will take your temperature and visually check you for signs of illness. There may be additional screenings depending on where you traveled and other risk factors.

Overseas travel

Travelers returning from any overseas location will be quarantined for 14 days. If you live in open quarters or have a shared kitchen or bathroom, you will be moved to separate lodging for quarantine.

During those 14 days:

  • Take your temperature twice a day.
  • Keep at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Call your doctor if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19.

What you can do

Everyone has a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. When you are traveling, keep your command updated on your itinerary. If you feel sick, stay home. Notify your leadership and call your doctor.

Even if you haven’t traveled and you feel fine, practice social distancing and wear your cloth face covering. Keep at least 6 feet away from others. Avoid crowds and wash your hands often.

Understanding of COVID-19 continues to change, so continue to check our Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page for updates.

Want to find the phone number for your installation’s housing office or Military and Family Support Center? Find those and more on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, an online information directory for military installations worldwide.

For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms. For Department of Defense updates for the military community:

When You Have to Travel: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

How can you protect yourself and others when you have to travel during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak? Learn what you can do – and what is being done – to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Military Discounts on Recreation and Entertainment

Two men leave the water after a surfing lesson

If you’re looking for discounted travel, entertainment and recreation opportunities, consider taking advantage of your military discounts. Your military ID is your ticket to military resorts, discount flights, vacation packages, and more opportunities for fun and relaxation.

Access fun with Information, Tickets and Travel

Your installation’s Information, Tickets and Travel office, sometimes referred to as Morale, Welfare and Recreation, is where you’ll find discounted recreation for you and your family.

To take advantage of recreation and leisure travel, you’ll need to provide proof of Department of Defense affiliation—a military ID or a leave and earning statements. Once you’ve provided proof, you and your family can begin to receive military discounts on the following:

  • Local attraction tickets
  • Destination attraction tickets
  • Concerts and sporting events
  • Day trips and tours
  • Cruises
  • Rental cars
  • Flights
  • Lodging
  • Leisure travel services

You can also take advantage of exclusive offers available only to service members and avoid extra fees like tax or facility fees. Your installation’s website may also feature a price list that allows you to browse available attractions, events and destinations and compare prices.

Find military lodging and resorts around the world

Military families are eligible to use military lodging around the world, ranging from cottages on the beach to world-class resorts. These facilities provide a selection of affordable, safe and fun places to vacation, but keep in mind your status will usually determine when and how your reservation can be made. The type of facilities available are:

  • Installation lodging: Located mostly on military installations, these facilities are generally designed for service members traveling on official business or families with permanent change of station orders.
  • Recreation facilities: For families interested in short or long getaways, these facilities offer lodging, rental equipment, tours and other activities at an economical rate.
  • Resorts: Military resorts are located in popular vacation destinations such as Disney World® and Hawaii, and in areas with a large military presence, such as Japan, Korea and Germany.
    • You can usually make reservations, but you should plan ahead for travel during peak periods.
    • Rates will be based on rank and duty status, but are generally lower than comparable civilian lodging.
  • Nongovernment-owned hotels: Managed by private nonprofit organizations, hotels such as Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco or Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club in New York serve active-duty and former service members.

Planning your getaway

You should research military lodging in the area you want to visit, as well as the amenities and reservation policies. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Find the best time to go: If you plan on visiting a resort during peak vacation period, such as summer time, be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible. Keep in mind that some lodging facilities prioritize reservations by branch of service, duty station or status.
  • Use military lodging and service branch websites:
  • Take advantage of leisure services: Many facilities offer services such as restaurants, boat rentals, ski equipment rental, area tours and discount tickets to area attractions. Before making your reservations, be sure to inquire about available services and if they require advance reservations.

If you need travel inspiration or help finding military discounts, you can call Military OneSource and speak with one of our consultants at 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

7 Space-A Tips and Tricks for Experienced Military Travelers

A group of National Guard soldiers board a military cargo plan after an exercise.

Note: Effective March 21, 2020, Air Mobility Command temporarily suspended most Space-A travel due to COVID-19.

The space available travel program, or Space-A, is a great transportation option for service members and immediate family that allows them to fly free or at a reduced cost across the country or world. Even if you’ve taken advantage of this benefit before, here are seven tips – gleaned from the experiences of other military travelers – to help you make the most of the Space-A travel program.

A quick review of the basic Space-A travel process

Before diving into specific tips, here’s a quick recap of the Space-A process, formally known as Military Airlift Command or MAC. If it’s been more than a few months since you last flew Space-A, the basics can help you plan for future trips.

Ready to Book Your Space-A flight?

Now that you have learned all the tips and tricks, it’s time to start planning.

  • Sign up: Air Mobility Command maintains a list of terminal contact information you can use for Space-A travel planning. Sign up for Space-A flights at all potential terminals – arrival and departure – as soon as 60 days out from your expected date of travel. Most retirees and dependents try to sign up 50-55 days before their planned travel date, as those who are on the list for longer will board before others in the same category.
  • Double check: Closer to the date of travel, call the terminal to double check your status on the list. Give them the day and time you signed up, while taking notes of your conversation to create a paper trail to avoid potential miscommunication later.
  • Mark yourself present: On your intended departure date, check in at the terminal – luggage in hand, paperwork signed, car parked and all dependents corralled – at least an hour before your desired flight’s roll call for passengers. Check your terminal’s online schedule frequently, as flight schedules and roll call can change without notice.
  • Wait: Space-A passengers will board according to their travel category, not rank. If there’s still space on your requested Space-A flight, terminal staff will help you board and prepare for takeoff. If you’re bumped from this flight, you’ll still have “sign-up” time seniority – though your category remains the same – for future Space-A flights. Ask the terminal attendant to be considered for all flights going to your desired destination.

Space-A travel tips

Once you have signed up, you can take advantage of these in-depth tips and tricks used by other military travelers to fully leverage the Space-A travel program.

  1. Plan to trade your time for the discounted ticket. The lower your category, the more likely it is that others in higher categories will take available seats on popular flights. Give yourself three-day buffers on each end of your travel plans to catch flights – and remember that more Space-A flights tend to be scheduled on weekdays, Mondays through Fridays.
  2. Avoid drill weekends and school breaks. Drill tends to fill military Space-A flights, and many families schedule vacations around school breaks. To avoid these, call the terminal’s base to ask if the local Guard or reserve unit will be drilling the weekend you intend to leave. Then, check the Department of Defense Education Activity, or DoDEA, school calendar for seasonal school breaks.
  3. Be willing to take Space-A flights that get you close – but not directly to – your final destination. If you’re traveling from the U.S. to a European destination, for example, consider grabbing a more open flight from a convenient local base to a country close to your destination, then take local civilian transportation.
  4. Plan for every climate. You might be on a flight initially scheduled to go to Hawaii, but have an emergency reroute to Alaska to fulfill the military Space-A flight’s primary mission. Don’t be caught with just flip-flops in your luggage.
  5. Be flexible. Make the delays and alternate routes an adventure, rather than an inconvenience. You may not have expected to go to Germany instead of France, but it’s an opportunity for spontaneous sightseeing.
  6. Don’t expect a traditional civilian flight unless it’s Patriot Express. Sometimes, the military contracts with a civilian airline for troop movement, making a Patriot Express flight available for Space-A. Other Space-A flights will be on large – and loud – military cargo planes, complete with five-point harnesses for passengers during lift-off and landing. Patriot Express flights also charge a $20-35 fee per passenger, so plan accordingly.
  7. Bring supplies for a comfortable flight. Consider taking a small sleeping bag, pillow, blankets and even a yoga mat if you think you’ll want to sleep during Space-A flights on large military planes. While some crews provide military-issue earplugs for the noise, you may want to bring your own or some noise-canceling headphones. Winter hats and gloves might help, too – some planes get very cold.

If you’re ever unsure of the Space-A travel program’s current processes or information, Air Mobility Command will have all the latest updates to make your next Space-A trip successful.

Plan Your Trip With Space-A Travel

Plane taking off on runway

Note: Effective March 21, 2020, Air Mobility Command temporarily suspended most Space-A travel due to COVID-19.

Service members and their families can use Space-Available flights – formally known as Military Airlift Command or MAC flights – to travel around the country and world at little to no cost. Though sometimes unpredictable, military flights are perfect for families with flexible plans and limited travel budgets. With the right planning and documentation, Space-A travel can be the best way to take a trip with your family.

Space-A Tips and Tricks

Learn how to take Space-A flights like a seasoned pro with these seven tips.

Space-A travel basics

These flights are not commercial, but rather military flights with a mission. That means there are certain restrictions to travel, including:

  • Only service members, retirees and their families are eligible. Only with certain qualifications are reservists, National Guardsmen and family members without an accompanying active-duty sponsor permitted.
  • Flights are typically free of charge, but you should contact your closest Air Mobility Command, or AMC, passenger terminal or the terminal at the location you intend to depart from for specific information.
  • Most terminals have a Facebook page where they post flight information, including their 72-hour flight schedule.

Space-Available travel eligibility

Once you sign up for a Space-A journey, you’ll be put into a category that determines your priority for a flight. A complete listing of eligible passengers by category is contained in DoD Instruction 4515.13. For the most recent instruction, search the DoD Directives Division website for “Air Transportation Eligibility.” Categories include:

  • Category I: Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel.
  • Category II: Accompanied Environmental and Morale Leave, or EML.
  • Category III: Ordinary Leave, Relatives, House Hunting Permissive Temporary Duty, Medal of Honor Holders and Foreign Military.
  • Category IV: Unaccompanied EML.
  • Category V: Permissive Temporary Duty (Non-House Hunting), Students, Dependents, Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence and Others.
  • Category VI: Retired, Dependents, Reserve, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program and Civil Engineer Corps members.

Prepare for your Space-A flight

AMC has a travel page that includes the following important information about Space-A travel. You should review this travel page for up-to-date information, including what type of identification is required for you and your family, baggage allowance for checked and hand carried baggage, and prohibited items.

  • Travel instructions: travel eligibility; locations; required travel documents; registration, flight schedule and checking-in information.
  • AMC Form 140, Space Available Travel Request (fill out a form online and email it to your desired AMC passenger terminal)
  • Listing of Facebook pages for stateside and overseas locations.
  • AMC passenger terminal contact information.
  • Various travel information links.
  • Legal information for Space-A travel.
  • Operations security for social media and travelers.

Fly commercial with TSA Precheck

If Space-A travel isn’t right for your plans, take advantage of TSA Precheck to expedite your time at the airport when flying commercial. Use your Department of Defense ID as your known traveler number.

You’ll bypass long security lines without removing your shoes or jacket or taking your laptop from your bag. Family members under the age of 12 can pass through expedited screening with you.

Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs and Eligibility

Hands stretch to toes during yoga class

From fitness and sports to tickets and travel, Morale, Welfare and Recreation has something for everyone. Programs vary by location and whether you’re stationed on an installation or off, you’ll always have a way to access these offerings to relax, have fun and connect with others.

  • Fitness, aquatics and sports programs: Hit the gym, try yoga, swim laps at the pool or join an organized sport. If you aren’t near an installation gym, work out at any of the more than 3,000 YMCAs and private fitness facilities that offer military memberships to those who are eligible.
  • Boating programs, bowling centers, golf courses, stables and special interest recreation programs: Now’s the time to try something new. Get a great deal on a boat rental, horseback riding or another special interest program, like scuba diving or flying. Get a group of friends together for a night of bowling or an affordable round of golf.
  • Individual skills development programs: Get in touch with your creative side with arts and crafts, check out a program at a performing arts center, or learn some handy automotive skills while working on your car.
  • Libraries: Check out a bestseller, read a magazine article or study for an upcoming test with library resources. Visit your installation library or log in to your Military OneSource account to access the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library from anywhere in the world. Download select titles to your smartphone or tablet or get an audiobook for your next road trip.
  • Information, Tickets and Travel: Get tickets to a movie or an amusement park at a reduced rate or ask an Information, Tickets and Travel employee for help planning your next vacation, from airfare to resort reservations. Use your discounts to see sporting events or go to a concert you’ve wanted to see.
  • Recreational lodging: Rent a beach cabana, find the perfect ski chalet or take your family members camping — all at significant savings.
  • Outdoor recreation programs: Whether it’s mountain biking, paintballing or hunting, your Morale, Welfare and Recreation program can help you get out there. Rent a tent and sleep under the stars, or rent a few coolers, tables and chairs and host a backyard BBQ (equipment rental varies by location). If there’s not an installation near you, consider checking out the no-cost annual pass offered by the National Park Service that provides you with access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.
  • Recreation centers: Get your video game fix with a tournament against your friends, watch the big game with good company or just take advantage of free Wi-Fi at your local rec center.
  • Single service member programs: Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs offer a variety of single service member programs that support singles ages 18 to 25 with sports, trips and tours, concerts, holiday and special event activities and much more.

For more information about your local Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.

 

Eligibility

Now that you’re ready to have some fun, here’s some information on how to make it happen:

Unlimited use: The following persons and their immediate families generally have unlimited access to all Morale, Welfare and Recreation services and programs.

  • Service members on active duty
  • Members of the Reserve Components (Ready Reserve, National Guard and reservists in training)
  • Cadets of the service academies and Merchant Marine cadets
  • Retired service members and their family members
  • Honorably-discharged veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability
  • Medal of Honor recipients
  • Unmarried surviving spouses and orphans of personnel who died on active duty or in retired status, or who were married to the service member for 20 years while they were on active duty
  • Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilians stationed outside the United States

 

Limited use: The installation commander establishes limited use eligibility requirements that are subject to local demand and capacity. Here’s a list of the groups who may have limited access to Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs and services based on local installation policy:

  • Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilians and their families stationed inside the United States
  • Retired Department of Defense civilians and their families
  • Department of Defense contract personnel and technical representatives when working full time on the installation
  • Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets when participating in field training or practice cruises
  • Former prisoners of war or those missing in action, along with their family members
  • Military Housing Privatization Initiative employees and residents, and privatized Army lodging employees
  • Foreign national employees
  • Guests and members of the public (when established criteria have been met)

For more information on limited use eligibility, check with your installation Morale, Welfare and Recreation program.

Enjoying National Parks as a Military Family

Two women hiking in a park

There’s something for almost everyone in our national parks. Follow these travel tips to plan your next great national park adventure:

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a sit-and-watch-the-world-roll-by kind of person, there’s a national park vacation right for you.

Enjoy an outdoor adventure on a budget

It costs next to nothing to discover nature and spend quality time with your family, so pick a park, pack up your car and hit the road. Here are a few travel tips as you plan your next vacation to one of the country’s 417 national parks or areas:

  • Find a park: With fields and forests, canyons and coastline, America’s national parks have something for every kind of nature lover. You can search for parks by name, location, activity or topic at the National Park Service website.
  • Visit the park’s website: Once you’ve picked a park, you can download all you need to know about hours, directions, activities and fees. While most parks don’t charge a fee, military families — active, reserve and those medically discharged — qualify for a no-cost annual pass. Many parks issue passes onsite, or you can plan your visit to a park during one of the six fee-free entrance periods.
  • Pick your activities: National parks offer exciting activities for all ages. If you have children, check out the Junior Ranger events and programs. Remember, you can search for activities everyone in your family can enjoy. You can also find wheelchair-accessible activities and trails.
  • Contact the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program: Don’t forget to contact Morale, Welfare and Recreation on your installation for lodging discounts and options. Also see what equipment you can rent before you head out on your adventure. Whether you need a kayak, skis and snow boots, or you want to rent a boat, the program has a lot of gear available to rent. Your Information, Tickets and Travel office can also help you score majorly discounted tickets to nearby attractions and activities outside the parks too.
  • Play safely: Always follow the rules and warning signs at each park. Sturdy looking rocks may not be as solid as you think. If there is a sign warning you to stay off, be alert and follow the rules. You don’t want your trip to end in an emergency room.

With free passes, discounted outdoor gear and tons of activities, you can spend quality time with your family and explore the country’s national parks. Get free, year-round access to national parks and other federal recreation spots with the military pass.

Travel Planning – The Essentials

Plane taking off on runway

You joined the armed forces because you love an adventure, but getting from point A to point B doesn’t happen automatically. Military OneSource is here to point you to resources that can assist you with your travel planning and help you make the most of your excursions, whether you book a cruise in the Caribbean or venture a few miles outside of your neighborhood.

Get started with these ideas:

Consider Space-A travel.

Service members and their families can use Space-Available flights to travel. Though sometimes unpredictable, military flights are perfect for families with flexible plans and limited travel budgets. You can sign up for a Space-A flight through a military terminal up to 60 days in advance.

Note: Effective March 21, 2020, Air Mobility Command temporarily suspended most Space-A travel due to COVID-19.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource:

Take advantage of TSA Precheck®

Service members and their families can take advantage of TSA Precheck to expedite waiting time at the airport when flying commercial. Simply use your Department of Defense ID as your known traveler number. You’ll bypass long security lines without removing your shoes or jacket or having to take your laptop out of your bag.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource:

Get military discounts through American Forces Travel.

Eligible members of the military community can use American Forces Travel to book leisure travel online. The one-stop travel booking site is a joint service initiative that offers discounts on airfare, rental cars, flights, cruises and more. You can use the website to book your next trip, while helping to fund other current and future morale, welfare and recreation programs.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource:

Save money with a staycation.

A staycation is a vacation where you discover your local area while avoiding the time, hassle and expense of travel. Consider these benefits: sleeping in your own bed, not needing to pack and spending your money on fun activities in your own community. Your MWR program can help you find the best local activities.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resources:

Travel benefits for college students.

Military family members enrolled in colleges away from an active-duty parent’s OCONUS duty station are eligible for travel benefits. The government will pay for one round trip each fiscal year for college students if they meet certain requirements. This travel benefit must be authorized through the service member’s command and be completed through the military travel office.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource: