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Military Camping:
Save Money, and Stay On Familiar Turf!

by Ann Crawford

Military families can stay with "family" as they travel around the United States and its territories. No matter where you go, there is probably a military installation en route! Our family always got that "back-home feeling" the minute they entered the front gate of a military installation.

Military installations not only offer temporary military lodging to those military ID card holders on the road again, all kinds of facilities are available to help cut your cost on the way. Many RVers, whether current or ex-military, hole up on military campgrounds.


Staying on a military base has many advantages, including being able to pick up provisions at the commissary to make many of your meals while on the road. The savings are great — just like back home at your military post, base, or station. Stop at a military fast-food outlet, a military club, or at the golf course for a bite to eat and take a break. It's not good to keep moving without stopping, and the kids need a rest, too.

Stop at military exchange gas stations and save. Should you run into auto trouble, check and see if there is a military auto repair shop close-by — these facilities are part of the military support facilities. You will know who you are dealing with and have someone to talk to if you are not satisfied!

Pick up needed supplies at your military exchange. Cash checks. Use restrooms! Whatever was available to you at your home installation is almost always available to you when traveling.

Take a swim in a military pool or play a round of golf. You are not limited to using morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities or services at your home base. Show the kids or grandkids how the other services live!

By saving on much of your travel, you may be able to make a special memory by stopping at amusement parks and other attractions. Their tickets are available at real savings at military ticket and tour offices. In addition, you may want to stay at civilian lodging sometimes, but don't forget to show your ID and ask for their military rates!

Play it safer and stop sooner in the afternoon to stay at a military lodging facility. All the military armed services offer lodging at reasonable rates. Here are two toll-free phone numbers to keep in mind for your next trip; 1-800-GO-ARMY-1 (1-800-46-2769-1) and 1-800-NAVY INN (1-800-628-9466).

The Army Central Reservations Line offers reservations at many Army lodging facilities, and the Navy operates a fine Navy Lodge system as well.

The Air Force, at our press time, had not made a toll-free reservations number available as yet, but there is good news for travelers! In a change in regulation, you can now make reservations at an Air Force lodging facility within 24 hours of your arrival and for up to three days. The big news in savings is for Guard and Reserve families. They can now use temporary military lodging and military RV, camping and recreation areas on the same basis as active duty personnel and their families.

Most military outdoor recreation offices offer camping gear from tents to small mobile units for rent. You will be surprised at how many military installations have on base or nearby military RV, camping and rec areas.

An excellent guide to travel opportunities on military bases is Military Living's "U.S. Forces Travel Guide to U.S. Military Installations" available at military exchanges. Or it can be ordered direct from Military Living Publications, P.O. Box 2347, Falls Church, VA 22042-0347 Phone: 703-237-0203

Learn more about military campgrounds.


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