The Pros and Cons of Base Lodging, Hotels, B&Bs, AirBnBs and More

Whether it’s a much-needed vacation or a PCS, where your family spends the night can make or break travel plans. Outside of transportation costs, lodging is the largest expenditure within a travel budget. From hotels to base lodging, bed and breakfasts or a unique AirBNB – the options are endless.

While there is no “one size fits all” solution, there are several pros and cons to consider when it comes to finding the best accommodations to fit both your family, and budget. 

Base Lodging and Military Properties

Most military installations offer temporary lodging facilities (TLF), or other on-base options. While these accommodations may be the “go to” choice for a PCS, they can also be booked on a Space Available basis, yielding big vacation savings. Additionally, there are a variety of lodging facilities and resorts for military families and DoD card-holders, through Armed Forces Recreation Centers and the Armed Forces Vacation Club.

Pros

  • On-base lodging offers unrivaled proximity to base services.
  • Military lodging and resorts offer an affordable option to stretch vacation dollars.
  • Unmatched safety and security, as properties utilize controlled entry points.

Cons

  • Lodging and resorts fill quickly, especially pet-friendly units on-base – so timing in booking is critical.
  • Traveling with extended family, or non-military affiliated members can present logistical challenges getting on/off installation if visitor passes are needed.
  • Base lodging might not be centrally located to services or restaurants, necessitating transportation. 

Hotels & Motels

Hotels and motels have long been considered the typical mainstay for vacation planning. Sometimes, these properties are also the perfect fit for a PCS, particularly if base lodging is fully booked, or non-available due to pets.

Pros

  • Properties are often well-located near popular tourist attractions, making sightseeing a breeze.
  • Depending on budget, a wealth of services and amenities are available. From wellness centers to business centers, dry-cleaning, room service, and more, hotels excel at pampering guests.
  • A consistently staffed front desk offers significant flexibility when it comes to checking in, in addition to an immediate point of contact for complaint resolution.
  • For frequent travelers, loyalty program perks can quickly add up.

Cons

  • With strict room occupancy limits, booking may require multiple rooms and can be prohibitively expensive, especially for larger families.
  • A plethora of amenities and a prized location will drive up costs. Resort fees and parking can add hundreds to a room stay.
  • The possibility of construction and noise. Some hotels employ excellent noise mitigation devices – but even the best noise control is no match for a jackhammer reverberating outside.

Many chains also offer extended stay options and discounts to military families, which might provide the perfect short-term solution to fit your travel needs.