Budget cuts. Paycheck squabbles. Downsizing. Unpredictable deployment schedule. ... Summer vacation?
With school on the verge of getting out for the year (or already out in some places) many military families are counting down the days to that magical time that they spend away from their duty station -- block leave. But according to one finance tracker, some military families are planning to spend less on vacation this year than they have in the past.
On the one hand, that surprises me. Since everyone says we are in a draw-down, deployments are becoming less frequent (they say) and garrison or shore time is increasing, it seems like the perfect time for military families to take that often put-off vacation to somewhere amazing. When was the last time you had time like this on your hands?
On the other hand, it doesn't surprise me at all. A black cloud of funding question marks and job security is still hanging over the military community. Congress and the President have really broken our financial spirits with all of this cuts stuff. Who knows if some of us will even be in the military this time next year?
The impulse to save our cash against hard times ahead doesn't seem like a bad one. And we can always have fun near home for a lot less than we can if we travel far away. In this house, for example, we spent $60 last fall for a year-long camping permit at a nearby recreation area. Other than the gas we use for the hour-long drive, our frequent weekend trips now cost us nothing.
Forty-seven percent of the service members First Command surveyed said they expect to spend less on vacation this year than they have in the past. And 29 percent said they'd be taking shorter vacations, while 21 percent said they'd be doing a "staycation." The survey questioned 202 service members E-6 and above, First Command officials said.
You tell us -- are you planning to spend less this year, too? Take our poll and then check out what other people said.
Photo courtesy U.S. Army.