What makes a hotel worth the stay when vacationing or PCSing? There are certain qualities a hotel must have to make it worth the stay when vacationing or PCSing as a military family. It must match the budget, allow for relaxation and restoration as a family, and be comfortable enough to provide the necessary space. During PCS, you get a flat rate while you travel cross-country so that means planning to prevent overspending. While on vacation, the hotel can often consume a large portion of the budget which can be challenging if the hotel is not the actual destination nor part of the experience.
RELATED: 5 Easy Meal Ideas for PCS Season
We recently visited family in Orlando, Florida—a common vacation destination. We weren’t going to the local theme parks. Nope, not even Disney. Utilizing the three characteristics of budget, relaxation, and comfort we found the Homewood Suites to be family-friendly as ideal for vacation as it would be for PCS.
3 Must-Haves for a Family Friendly Hotel During a PCS
There are numerous websites based on getting a hotel for a fabulous price. In fact, there was a recent commercial where a spokesperson for a website is talking with other guests at a hotel breakfast and they share that they all got the “last room” at the “best price.” Who doesn’t want to have the best deal? Budget is most definitely a pillar when deciding on a hotel. A budget hotel is one that fits the budget bill, while also meeting the other characteristics.
What is the best hotel you can get for the best price, all while being able to trust sleeping with your socks off (you know what I mean!)?
Relaxation and Restoration
A pool is always on our search list requirements for a hotel. A place where you can cool off in the heat, splash and have fun, and relax. When PCSing, you need a break in the chaos and the stress. Military families often are vacationing to see family, who are spread all over the world. So while on vacation, we all want to just take a break.
While road-trip PCSing, even when eating out of a cooler versus fast food or restaurants, fitness is often times the last thing on our mind. While on vacation, who is thinking about working out? Fitness is important to the maintenance of health. Whether we are just PCSing or on vacation, the hotel needs to have a gym. Even if it is 20 minutes of weight training or bike ride, this allows for a continuity of what is done on a regular day at home. Military members must remain physically fit in order to continue their job and training, so doing it together as a family is significant too.
RELATED: Cross-Country PCS Tips
Going to be completely honest and say that finding a hotel with an included breakfast is a must. While hard-boiled eggs are a favorite food for road-tripping and vacation, it is enjoyable to have a varied choice for breakfast.
A bonus of the Homewood Suites line is that Monday through Thursday evening at the hotel, a hot meal is offered in addition to some “community time.” This could be utilized as dinner during a PCS to negate an extra stop and cost. During vacation, it is a built-in break for the budget and downtime. The offering of adult beverages for those old enough to partake aligns with the vacation mode.
This is a big one. Aging means sleeping on the floor or a rock-hard bed isn’t adventurous – it is plain painful. Plus, we need those kiddos to sleep well, which means they need to be comfortable as well.
Military families do not want to be crammed in a tiny hotel room ever, but certainly not for days on end. Beyond a great and comfortable bed, we need space. A large room with a pullout couch is a must. This prevents us from needing to spend more (sticking to that budget) on a suite and we can each have our own space for sleep and rest.
This one goes in both comfort and budget. A kitchen space means a full-sized fridge and freezer. None of that college fridge stuff. That will not hold all the things needed for a week-long vacation for a family. Space for the yogurt, salad and wine box is necessary to make it through a vacation with enjoyment, and without busting the budget. While some hotels offer meals during the week, quite honestly the food isn’t the healthiest and isn’t always up to the snuff of the toddler’s approval. The ability to store a normal amount of food and cook it when it is convenient for us and nap schedule is key.
Budget, relaxation, and comfort are all needed when looking for a hotel as a military family. Whether PCSing or vacationing, meeting these criteria fosters family growth with minimal stress. Which hotels match these criteria for you and your family?
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out The Best Kept Travel Secret for Military: Armed Forces Vacation Club