Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

Spring Break is fast approaching. Our Spring Break falls in April, right around Easter. If you haven't already planned your week, here are some ideas to help your Spring Break experience be more enjoyable especially if your loved one is far from home.


  1. Do Make a Budget - If a week long vacation to Disney World was not already in your budget, then it's probably not a good idea to plan that last minute. However, knowing exactly how much you have to spend is important. It will determine just what you'll be able to do and experience. Whether you visit family, hunt for a place to live at your next duty station, or explore your local surroundings, knowing exactly what your budget is will help you from overspending. When possible, take extra money to prepare for the unexpected.
  2. Do plan your schedule, but leave room for detours - Once you decide where you are going, make a list detailing your "must do" things. This ensures you see / do what is high on your priority list. Then list the "nice to do" things. This will allow your schedule to be flexible. For example, when visiting Washington, DC seeing the White House was on my "must do" list, but the streets were blocked off. Instead of letting that ruin my trip, I moved on to one of the other things on my list.
  3. Do consider a couple of individual day trips - If taking a week vacation just isn't possible, explore your local area (parks, beaches, museums, land marks, historical districts...). Be a tourist in your own backyard!
  4. Do pack light and bring twice the money - Since you are on your own, you'll have to carry and manage your entire luggage. Keep things simple and pack clothing that requires minimal ironing. I recommend packing, and then taking half of what you originally packed, oh...and I did I mention twice the money?
  5. Do manage your expectations - Traveling can be fun, it can be exciting, it can also be exhausting. Keep an open mind and a flexible schedule.
  6. Do consider traveling with a girlfriend - This one can be tricky, but it can also be fun. Traveling with a friend or even your mom can be something great to look forward to and provide a wonderful distraction to a long deployment.
  7. Do Embrace Your Independence - It's okay to explore on your own! Consider Spring Break your RR / Port Call!


Getting through a deployment is tough. It is stressful and challenging. It can also be a time you rise up and embrace the challenge. You don't have to "survive" the experience, it is okay to make the most of the time and that includes getting out and exploring your area. Maybe this means traveling to place you have never been to before. You don't have to wait till your spouse comes home to travel. Do talk over what your plans are and get his / her input. Share the pictures and videos with them and in the end just know if you take the time to take of yourself and give yourself a much needed break, you'll be better able to care for your family. As the flight attendant tells us on the plane when the oxygen masks drop, "please place the oxygen mask over yourself first and then your young child."


Happy Traveling. Share your Spring Break travel stories; we want to hear from you!


Coming up next: Capturing the essence of spring break for your deployed spouse (pictures, video, etc).