If you get the opportunity to meet your active duty counterpart somewhere new while they are training, I encourage you to make travel plans.
In my opinion, if you are able to break up the amount of days they are gone with a visit or port call, the deployment/separation will go a lot smoother.
I am thankful and grateful that my family (myself and two children) traveled to Florida with my spouse who was completing a month long safety course. We spent most days making our own plans and activities-but were flexible to cancel or change plans if my spouse’s duties for the day (or schedule) changed. This is the second opportunity I have had to accompany my spouse. The first was prior to children, which made things much easier!
Here are five things I wish someone would have told me, when it comes to having a great time accompanying your spouse on a detachment:
First, is it appropriate?
Will it be a hindrance to the work your spouse is doing? For example, my husband was taking a class, if he had been in a different type of training that required lots of after hours or erratic schedules it might not have been the best idea to go on this trip. Remember that your spouse needs to be able to do their job and complete the task they are assigned.
This is not a vacation for your spouse (who is on the detachment). You will need to be patient with schedules and expect less flexibility with planning.
It is likely you will share a vehicle and if you are not staying on location you will need to plan for ride sharing, pickups and drop offs.
Make a budget:
Your spouse will likely have a per diem, but make a budget before you go, so that you can plan to stay within the provided per diem or agree upon a new per day spending limit before you arrive.
Do your research:
Ask others who have traveled for recommendations. They can also help you gauge your spouse’s level of involvement and commitment times.
Join the local Facebook groups. NAS Pensacola has some wonderful resources and play groups available on Facebook. I even joined a Pensacola Buy Sell Trade page so we could pick up some beach toys for a good deal when we arrived.
Most importantly, enjoy the time spent together. Remember, this is a time you are able to spend together that you would otherwise be apart! This helped me on days where I was frustrated about my spouse’s long work hours and remembered that just the chance to have breakfast together was more than we would have had if we had not joined him on the trip.
Have you accompanied your spouse on a detachment? What was your experience? Please share your insights in the comments!
About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (3 years and 10 months), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
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