If you’ve been in the military for a while, you know there is this constant: you move a lot. Many branches of the military require personnel to complete varying tasks at diverse bases across the country, and even out of the country. The United States has had plenty of foreign entanglements in the last several decades, so those can’t be discounted.
For most in the military, buying a home in a single location isn’t always feasible. It’s sometimes better to rent as necessary and move when the time comes. Accordingly, many in the military scout out available rental opportunities in the area where they’ll be stationed or otherwise engaged. The thing is, you’ve got to be careful where you choose to live.
Sometimes there are discounts for rental properties for those either already part of the military or attending a military academy. Sometimes there are no such options. It’s important to consider living conditions carefully, and rent the right unit in the right place.
For example, if you’re attending the military academy in Oakland, California, these are some worthwhile apartments in Oakland which may serve your needs. Another option may be Hercules apartments, located little ways north of Oakland in a district called Hercules. You’re probably not going to want to live across the bay bridge in San Francisco; property costs and traffic will be a nightmare.
Mobile Living Considerations
Something many who are actively involved with the military opt to do is live trans-locationally. That is to say: in a mobile capacity. On many bases, it isn’t totally frowned upon to moor a small motorhome, provided you take good care of it and go through the right channels. Living this way can save you a lot of hassle when you’re deployed elsewhere — and it doesn’t have to “feel” mobile.
You just fire up the engine and go. If you’ve got an RV under 22 feet, you can use it almost like you would a car. There are pickup trucks that are 24 feet, so you can generally park in non-compact spots if you’re careful about it.
Another option might be a houseboat or yacht. You might be able to rent a room there more cheaply. Also, renting a room from those who aren’t traditional landlords but are looking to supplement income can save you money. Another option may be family located at or near your place of deployment.
As you’re able to expand life in the military, though, you’ll be able to get better and better-living arrangements. This means you’ll be able to be more choosy in terms of price and convenience going forward. The thrifty option will likely become much less necessary as you continue your military career; but starting out, going that route is recommended.
Amenities and Strategy
What you’ll need to do is sit down, figure out where you’re at, and what reasonable projection of your future progress can be expected. Line out a budget, and consider factors like travel time, living costs, and available assets. Don’t rule out benefits which come directly from the military, and collaterally through varying discounts, you may be eligible for.
Stephanie is the founder of Military Travel Mama; she is the wife of a military professional and mother to two children. Follow her blog for more about military life, military discounts, family trips, healthy eating, and parenthood.
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Check out our Living Like a Local Series to learn more about what it’s like to live on your next duty station