A Quick Guide to Travel for the Recently Separated Veteran

Some Things I’ve Learned About Travel After Separating from the Military

One of the primary reasons people decide to join the military is for the travel. This aspect highly appealed to me, and as soon as my recruiter picked up on it, he took it and ran with it. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciated him selling me on this. In the Air Force, travel is almost guaranteed, particularly for the AFSC I was in (Tactical Aircraft Maintenance,  or Aircraft Mechanic in layman’s terms). Not only did we have superb duty stations such RAF Lakenheath in England, Spangdahlem, Germany, and Kadena, Japan just to name a few, but we had the opportunity to TDY with our jets, giving us the option to basically travel anywhere there were U.S. training operations.

I Totally Choked Away My Travel Opportunities in the Military. . .

Needless to say, all the traveling I did in the military spoiled me. And the worse part of it was that I didn’t even take full advantage of my opportunities because I simply took them for granted. However, I quickly figured that travel opportunities do not end upon separation from the military. As a matter of fact, it’s arguably easier to travel when you’re out. Why? You’re not tied down to things like getting your leave approved or sudden unexpected deployments.

Since getting out of the Air Force, I got a job at Piedmont at American Airlines for about a year and a half. Working there, I quickly re-discovered my passion for traveling. I’d learned about the many different places in the country and around the world that I could travel for free or discounted. Through experience flying standby, I’d learned all the odds and ends of traveling wisely. This includes researching the weekends with good discounts on cars and hotels, such as Veterans Day weekends and other holidays. I’d also quickly learned how to travel lightly and the things I considered a necessity on my adventures.

You’ll Learn the “Life Hacks” As You Travel More

For example, after my first trip flying standby (just one of many benefits for working for an airline!), I learned that bringing things such as an extra pair of shoes was unnecessary, as they took up a large amount of space in my travel backpack. I also learned what not to forget, such as phone chargers (whoopsieee!!), my computer charger, and hygiene items such as my toothbrush and hairbrush. Now I know the latter really aren’t that big a deal, but when you arrive at your destination and realize you have no toothbrush to neutralize the dragon breath within, after hours of being on a flight, and you’re just ready to get the vacation weekend started, it can be quite inconvenient making a trip down the local CVS for these things. Although I also learned that many hotels actually have these items downstairs. It just depends on what time of the day you arrive and check in at the hotel.

A few key things to keep in mind as you explore your many different travel opportunities as a newly separated veteran:

  1. Travel lightly

    – This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly your travel bag starts to fill up with unnecessary items. Leave the extra pair of pants and shoes at home. I guarantee you’ll find a way to make it work if you arrive and feel you don’t have enough outfits.

  2. Travel cheaply

    – Try and base your adventures around certain deals and discount packages going on at the time. For example, I found excellent hotel and car rental deals for Labor Day weekend in Ogden, Utah. The deal was so sweet I couldn’t resist the offer. I’d never been to Utah before either, so this was just a win-win situation all around. And if you’ve never been to Utah before, I highly recommend it. My word what a beautiful state.

  3. Travel with the right company

    – Even if this means traveling alone. There’s nothing worse than traveling with a buzzkill who wants to do nothing but drink their night away, sleep all day, then wash, rinse and repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the nightlife, but when you’re hungover all day from drinking yourself into a stupor and unable to truly experience where you are, regret quickly consumes you. That regret is even worse when peer pressure is a large factor in that. The most important thing about traveling is experiencing new things, different cultures, and immersing yourself in different lifestyles you’re not accustomed to. Why not just save the heavy drinking for when you’re at home?

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With whom you travel with makes all the difference in the world. And you’re never too old for Disney.

Travel Wisely My Friends

These are just a few tips for traveling wisely. I’ve been to quite a few places on my journey to finding my passion and calling. I’ve also written a few pieces on the ins and outs of traveling. As an Integrative Health and Life Coach for Transitioning Veterans, part of my amazing job is to guide my clients towards their passion and freedom, which often includes travel and exploration. If you enjoyed this article or have any questions regarding the airline industry or cheap travel deals, please leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you. You can also email me at anthonyjrichard17@gmail.com for any questions about this as well as any inquiries about my 1-month health coaching program!

I do not own any photos in this blog post.

Copyright (c) 2017 Anthonyjrichard.com, All Rights Reserved

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