In line with May being National Military Appreciation Month, we thought we would make a quick list of a few jewels that military families can take advantage of to ease the financial burden while still getting out and exploring where the military sends you.
ITT and MWR
Information Ticket and Travel (ITT) and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) have been mentioned before. At most bases across the United States and world, there is one or both of these offices. At these locations, tickets for local and nationwide attractions can be purchased. For instance, at Camp Pendleton, discounted tickets for Dana Wharf Whale Watching and Sports Fishing, La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium and Seal tours can be purchased along with the big names like Disneyland, Legoland and The San Diego Zoo. This discount allows families to get out and explore more locations as the money can stretch a little more.
Since the inception of the United Service Organization (USO) in 1941, the USO has helped military families all over the world. The USO airport lounges are often utilized by military members and their families all over the US for a place of respite, quiet and food while traveling for a move, holidays or vacation. The San Diego USO offers services like food pantries or food pick-up, concerts, holiday get-togethers and tickets to special events. The USO is not located at every base, and often has a region that it sticks to, so ask your neighbors on your base where the nearest USO is, and if they have a Facebook page. This MilMom was able to see a Taylor Swift concert courtesy of the USO in the National Capital Region – something we wouldn’t have done due to financial concerns at the time, and it was a wonderful time to enjoy relaxation building resilience with my spouse.
I have had several friends who have utilized http://vettix.org/. The Veteran Tickets Foundation, or VetTix, provides tickets to events to active duty military, veterans and Gold Star families. To utilize Vet Tix, you have to create an account it will verify that you or your family member is one of those categories through Troop ID (the same website utilized by entities like Sea World or Busch Gardens to verify identity for Waves of Honor Tickets). You can then search by your area for open events and apply to request tickets.
Blue Star Museums
Blue Star Families has started an amazing program every summer called Blue Star Museums allowing military families to check out museums across the nation with complimentary admission during the summer months. Make the most out of the permanent change of station while checking out a museum along the way or explore your new location fee-free and decide which museums you want to buy annual admission to!
Budgeting through Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS)
Now this one is only available at bases where there are Navy or Marines are stationed, but any service member working on these bases can utilize their services. The NMCRS has classes specifically for Budgeting for Baby in addition to budgeting gurus to help you plan an appropriate budget for your family’s income and size. This takes all the guesswork out of budgeting and lets someone else do it for you, while you assist, for free. Having a budget means you can plan for your adventures in advance – and do more with the above options!
Have you utilized one of these organizations? What was your experience? We want to hear!