This isn't exactly real news, but it is important if you don't already know it. The rates for very similar military accommodations can vary greatly depending on which branch of the military is running the operation. Military servicemembers and their families are often eligible to stay in Department of Defense lodging on a space available basis. My family has taken advantage of this numerous times, to visit family, go to swim meets, or just travel for the sake of traveling.
What is amazing to me is how different prices are between the services. In my experience, Army lodging is super-expensive, Navy lodging varies, and Air Force lodging is always really cheap. Just this week, I've stayed in an Army Lodge and an Air Force Inn. I paid $135 per night, plus $7.50 for each additional person, for a one bedroom apartment at the Army Lodge. A few hours away, I paid $39 for a single room, but a four bedroom apartment there is just $52.00 per night! I just fail to understand how prices can be so different, even within the same market.
This is important to you because sometimes it is easy to choose a cheaper facility. They are usually the Air Force Inns. If you are driving through an area, check a little distance out to see if you can save some money. For example, if you are going to the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area, you have several choices. You could stay at the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for $66.00 for a small suite, or you could stay at the Langley Inn at Langley Air Force Base for $41.50 for a bay view suite. Thinking of hopping an AMC flight to Hawaii? You might choose between a room with two queen beds at the K-bay Lodge for $132.00 per night, or a remarkably similar room at the Pearl Harbor Navy Lodge for $99.00 per night.Taking the family to see the sights of Venice, Italy? You could choose to stay at the Army Lodge in Vicenza, where can get a one bedroom suite for four people for $90.50, or you could go down the road to Aviano, where the Air Force's Mountain View Lodge will cost you just $41.50 for a two bedroom apartment.
Crazy, isn't it?
I'd love to hear some sort of reasonably justification for the variety of prices between the services. I'd also like to know if you have any secret military lodging tips that help you to keep expenses down and family fun up.