To show their support and appreciation, many vacation clubs, resorts and travel agencies offer exclusive deals to military families.
Armed Forces Vacation Club
Offers world-wide travel deals to military families. Destinations include resorts in the U.S. and 79 other countries. Membership is free and some week-long vacations cost as little as $349 (on a Space-A basis, of course). They also have some nice travel-planning resources and advice.
Armed Forces Recreation Center Resorts
AFRC operates resorts in Virginia, Florida, Hawaii, Germany, and Korea. Although AFRC resorts are operated by the Army's FMWRC, they welcome servicemembers in all branches and components of the U.S. Armed Forces. They're high-quality, affordable, family-friendly, and located in some of the most beautiful spots in the world.
Shades of Green
Shades of Green is one of the facilities operated by the Armed Forces Recreation Center Resorts. This one is located at Walt Disney World in Orlando. 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. Rates based on military rank at check-in.
Seward Military Resort
Located in Seward, Alaska, this resort caters to military families in all branches of the Armed Forces, including Guard and Reserve.
Veterans with 100% service disability are also eligible. Open year-round, they offer a variety of activities (usually at pretty good discounts) such as hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, sight-seeing, glacier tours, and much more. A valid military ID is required upon check-in and the rates you pay depend on your rank, with E1-E5 paying the least (which is as it should be).
Gives the lowest direct-buy rates on cruises for U.S. servicemembers and veterans who have been honorably discharged. Choose from numerous destinations and cruise lines. You'll need to provide a copy of your military ID or DD214 within 48 hours of making your reservation.
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 servicemembers and families only. In others, serving in the Reserve or 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 about military discounts military discounts at restaurants, car rental companies, museums, amusement parks, equipment rental companies, clothing stores, and just about any other type of travel-related business you can think of.
Edited and updated by Armin Brott, September 2016