Experiencing a deployment during the summer months can have its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include the freedom to travel with school aged children to visit family and friends. A big disadvantage is realizing although this is the perfect time for a vacation, does it really make sense to take a vacation when your loved one is deployed?!


When my spouse was deployed during the summer months this was always a tough decision, “do we plan a trip or wait till dad is home?” Some years we planned trips to see family and some years we didn’t. It really all depended on if family was coming to visit us, if I was able to take time off work and what our family budget could support. Besides taking a vacation, there are other things you can do to help make the time go by faster and try a few things you’ve always wanted accomplish.

Creating a Bucket List during a deployment can also be a huge source of stress relief! Doing things you enjoy, spending time in the outdoors, achieving a goal, spending time building relationships, exercising, are all activities that can help relieve stress.

Here are seven ideas to get you motivated to create your own Deployment Bucket list.

1. Read for fun – Make a list of the books you have been meaning read and get started! Ask your friends for recommendations. If you are non-fiction reader, as I tend to be, consider adding a few fiction books to the list. Each of the service branches also have a leadership reading list that you can check out for additional ideas.


2. Sign up for a Fun Run – The summer months are filled with road races of all types. The website lists many races by location. Check out the Couch to 5K program for running tips for beginners.


3. Try new recipes – Summer can be the perfect time to try some new recipes and change up your cooking routine. If you are an avid pinner on Pinterest, but rarely make anything (like me) make it a point to try a new recipe each week.


4. Entertain friends – Take a look at the calendar and pick a couple of Saturdays to host a game night with friends whose loved ones are deployed like yours. Try a mix of card games and interactive board games. Ask your friends to bring their favorite games.


5. Organize something you’ve been putting off – This next item isn’t as exciting or fun as taking a day trip to a top local attraction. However, if you carve out a few days a month to clean out those spaces of clutter in your home while you have extra time on your hands, you’ll be rewarded with the peace of mind knowing those tough chores are complete!


6. Take a class that sparks creativity – Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to paint, or use all the extra features of DSLR camera, sign up for a class and invite a friend!


7. Create a family photo book – Release the photos from your camera and create a hard cover book featuring your loved ones and favorite memories. Websites like Snapfish and Shutterfly make it easy to upload your photos into a pre-designed layout. You then add simple text headlines and descriptions; they professionally print the book and have it shipped directly to your home.


While traditional bucket list items might include “once in a lifetime” experiences like jumping out of an airplane or travel to an exotic location, a deployment bucket list can still be just as important. You might find while completing your Deployment Bucket List you are feeling more focused, positive and energized. 

What are you adding to your Deployment Bucket List?


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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Occasional Contributor


I don't mean to sound like a smart alec but am I the only one wondering how the stay at home parent has any "extra time" because the spouse is deployed? When I deployed and my husband had to do 100% of everything instead of 50% of everything, he didn't have any extra time to try new recipes, clean clutter, run fun runs or read extra books! Some of those idea would have been great but he was so busy trying to do everything - and we only had one kid at home!


When I saw the title I thought it was stuff the service member was supposed to try to do during their deployment if they had any downtime - lol :)

New Member

Well, not every spouse left on the homefront has children.
So this list could maybe be more for them, since they will have extra time on their hands.