Vacations are a great way to spend time together as a family. This is even more true when you are talking about a military family who has to be separated sometimes. The post-deployment vacation has always been my favorite type of vacation. Not only do you get to spend time together and make new memories but you are still in the glow that the long deployment is over! It’s a great way to celebrate what you have been able to get through as a family.
During our time as an Active Duty family we went on two big post-deployment vacations. One was to visit our family in California for Christmas and the other was on a 12-day Mediterranean Cruise. Both trips took a lot of planning and some of that was really stressful. However, both of those trips were really amazing and I am glad we were able to go on them. In one we visited with friends and family and the other we explored new parts of the world together.
If you want to plan a post-deployment vacation around Christmas, go for it. The trip will be worth it and your family can bond back together after the time apart. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are planning your trip.
- Where to go- Plan a trip that is going to be best for you and your little family. For some this means going back home and seeing the rest of the family and friends. Others won’t like this as seeing extended family right after a deployment can feel overwhelming. Think about what your family would like to do during that time.
- Plan the dates- This is going to be the hardest part of planning the trip. We all know dates for the end of deployment are not set in stone until they fly back home. It can be hard to plan in those cases. If you know the leave dates ahead of time and they are very close to the day they should be home it might be best to go on your trip later into their leave. That way you won’t be stressing if their flight home gets delayed by a few days. Add onto this, holiday travel and prices, finding an airline that will allow you to change your dates for free or for a very low fee would be your best bet. That way if something changes you won’t have to spend too much to change your tickets.
- Plan for downtime- Whether you go visit family or go to Disneyworld, make sure to plan for some downtime. Days where you can relax, read a book and don’t have to worry about running all over a city or amusement park are important. This was one reason the cruise worked well for us because almost every other day was a sea day where we truly just got to relax as a family.
- Decide on the holidays- Think about if you want to be gone on vacation on the actual holiday you are celebrating. Some people will just want to be in their own home for Christmas day and others would rather be somewhere else. If you want to be home, you can plan your trip around the holidays and just make sure you are home in time for Christmas day.
Will you be planning a post-deployment family vacation this year? Where will you go and what you do while you are there?
Julie is a mom of three boys, wife of 12 years, blogger, photographer & coffee drinking book lover! Californian living in Tennessee :). Julie loves to write and can do so about my life as an Army wife, motherhood, special needs children, blogging, photography and many other topics. She can be found at Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life.