Space-A Travel

Photo credit: Meagan Shamy / Military TravelingMom

When is the last time you decided to get in the car and just go — and then drove until you found somewhere to stop? This Christmas, our military family took idea of just going wherever to a whole new level;  we call it “vacation roulette.” Vacation roulette is when we make no set plans, but take a long period of time off and go catch a hop.

Specifically, it is my husband who needs time off approved so we are eligible to hop, also known as space-a travel. A hop is what it is called when you take a military aircraft from one location to another location. Instead of jumping in our car and see where we will end up, we sign up for a military flight and see where we end up.

For example, as I write this, I am aboard a KC 135, which is a military air refueling plane. We boarded the plane earlier today at McChord AFB, where they have an active air passenger terminal. This morning, we drove two hours from Portland, Oregon to Tacoma and checked in for whatever flights they had — and that is how we ended up in Kansas; not exactly what we had in mind. I was hoping for Spain, Germany, or Hawaii, but there was only one flight and it was going to Kansas.

Now, what are we going to do in Kansas? Rent a car and drive to West Texas to spend Christmas with our families. The flight is free and the car rental is about $150. So, although the whole thing is crazy we will cover slightly over 2,000 miles with three kids for less than $250. This is way cheaper than any other option and military travel at its best.