By Julie Provost
In a perfect world, your service member would get two weeks leave in the summer and your family could visit home, go to Disney World, or explore part of the US you have never been to before. However, if your spouse is deployed (or otherwise separated from you) during the summer, if you want to travel, you’ll have to do it solo.
Here are tips for traveling this summer during your spouse’s deployment:
1. Don’t be afraid to do so
First of all, don’t be scared to travel without your spouse. Being able to travel without them will allow you to get out and have fun even when they are deployed. This can seem overwhelming, especially if you have never done it before. Doing so can mean a long trip home during the summer or the chance to make some memories with your kids and your friends.
2. Notify your FRG or command
Whenever you are not staying in your home, you have to inform the command and your FRG. They always need to know where you are in case something happen to your spouse. If the worst were to happen, they want to be able to notify you ASAP. If you are at your parent’s house in California and they go to your home in Kentucky, you will not find out in a timely manner. This is hard to think about, but so important to let people know where you are.
3. Bring things for the kids to do
If your children are older, electronics can save the day, even if you are not a big fan of using them regularly. For a cheap fix, go to a dollar store and buy toys you don’t care about. Give them to your kids one at a time. If they get lost, no big deal– you’ll keep your kids entertained along the way.
4. Bring snacks
Food is a must. Bring snacks and then more snacks. A bored toddler can be distracted with a bag of Cheerios. Bring enough to keep in the hotel room and don’t forget about yourself. If you are not flying, drinks. If you are, you will have to purchase that after you go through security or bring empty water bottles to fill up before you get on the plane.
5. Have a plan
Write out your plan with times, dates, and where you will be. If you have older children, let them know what is happening and when. If your kids have never been on a plane before, set up a fake one in your home to practice. This can be a good way to go over what is expected of them and how they are supposed to behave during the flight.
6. Don’t stress yourself out
If the idea of flying to Grandma’s house with a three-month-old, two-year-old, and a four-year-old makes you want to hide under the covers, stay home. Invite Grandma to stay with you. Travel is an excellent way to handle a summer deployment, but in some seasons of your life, staying home would be best.
7. Have fun
At the end of the day, you want your vacation to be a fun one. Plan activities that are right for you and your children. Set limits and remember that you can always take that bigger trip once your spouse gets home. Look for discounts and find ways to get out there and explore, wherever you decide to go.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at email@example.com.