5 Great Vacation Deals for Military Families

Your service can save you money on travel

My little soldier
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To show their support and appreciation, many vacation clubs, resorts, and travel agencies offer exclusive deals to military families. Some of these resorts are exclusive to the armed forces while others offer special discounts. From Alaskan adventures to tropical vacations, there's something for any vacation you might want to take.

If you're planning a family vacation, don't be limited by the resources we've listed here. If you spend a little time online, you'll discover a number of tour operators, destination resorts, and other vacation-related companies that offer significant discounts to military personnel. In some cases, discounts are open to active duty service members and families only. In others, serving in the Reserve or National Guard, or being an honorably discharged veteran will qualify you.

Keep in mind that your savings don't end with travel and lodging. Don't be shy about asking for military discounts at restaurants, car rental companies, museums, amusement parks, equipment rental companies, or clothing stores. Just about any type of travel-related business might have offers that can save your family money.

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Armed Forces Vacation Club

Branson landing
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The Armed Forces Vacation Club (AFVC, for short) offers worldwide travel deals to military families. Destinations include resorts in the U.S. and 100 other countries. From Orlando to Branson and Australia to Argentina, there's a great destination for every vacation.

AFVC is primarily a "space available" (Space-A) travel resource, which can save a lot of money. The condominium stays they offer are the accommodations that are less likely to be booked. The off-season is the perfect time to travel through them, though you can still find deals during peak travel times. Also, if you're looking for a last-minute getaway, this is your go-to source.

The cost is the biggest perk. Membership is free (there is a premium option) and some week-long vacations cost as little as $349 for the entire unit (not per person). They also have some nice travel planning resources and advice.

To qualify, you must be an active duty or retired member of the military and that includes National Guard and Reserve personnel. Some people who work for the Department of Defense are eligible as well. Military veterans are not left out, either. AFVC runs a separate website just for you called Veterans Holidays

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Armed Forces Recreation Center Resorts

Scenic View Of Sea At Sunset
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The Armed Forces Recreation Center Resorts (AFRC) operates resorts in Florida, Hawaii, Germany, and Korea. Although AFRC resorts are operated by the Army's FMWR (Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation), they welcome service members in all branches and components of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The resorts are high-quality, affordable, family-friendly, and located in some of the most beautiful spots in the world. They're also exclusive to military members and their families. Retirees, veterans, surviving spouses, and civilian employees of certain governmental agencies also qualify.

The heart of military service is very apparent in every resort. For example, the Hale Koa Hotel on Waikiki offers a 50 percent discount for families who lost someone during active duty through the Survivors' Family Program. At the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, South Korea, you'll find special offers, including some catered directly to military retirees.

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Shades of Green

Disney performers and a street trolley on Main Street U.S.A.
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Shades of Green is one of the facilities operated by the AFRC. This one is located at Walt Disney World in Orlando, making it an ideal option for families.

The facility, exclusive to military families, serves active duty, Reserve, Guard, retirees, and families of fallen and disabled servicemembers in all branches of the Armed Forces. They also participate in the AFRC Survivors' Family Program.

Rates for the resort is based on your military rank at check-in. Shades of Green also offers discounted tickets to Orlando's theme parks and other attractions so your family can take in everything the area has to offer.

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Seward Military Resort

The Seward Boat Harbor
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Located in Seward, Alaska, Seward Military Resort is open year-round.  You have the option of staying in the motel, a townhouse, log cabin, or yurt. RV and tent camping sites are also available. It is a fantastic choice if you're looking for a real adventure. 

The resort offers a variety of activities at pretty good discounts as well. These include Alaskan favorites like hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, sight-seeing, and glacier tours. If you want to go on a sled dog tour or kayak excursion, or even try out "flightseeing" from a helicopter, this is the destination for you.

The resort caters to military families in all branches of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserve. Veterans with 100 percent service disability are also eligible. The eligibility list is long, so be sure to read through it before passing by this opportunity.

A valid military ID is required at check-in and the rates you pay depend on your rank, with E1-E5 paying the least. Also, you can find better deals by traveling in their "winter season," which is actually September through May.

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Royal Caribbean Cruise

Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Martinique
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If a cruise is more your speed, you'll be happy to know that the major cruise lines also offer military discounts. Royal Caribbean, for example, has exclusive rates for military personnel as well as police and EMTs. That means you can save a good amount of cash and set sail to destinations throughout the world.

For Royal Caribbean, be sure to locate the "exclusive rates" option while booking your cruise. The company does not offer a separate discounted rate section on their website.

Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruises also offer military discounts. If you have any questions about the rates, give the company's customer service a call before booking.