Tis the season for PCSing – fa la la la la la la nope.
Ah, okay, so it is the season for PCSing, but it isn’t especially exciting or festive. PCSing often comes with a drive to the next location. When the time to move comes along, it can mean it’s time for a fun road trip. Don’t just take routes A to B, make it an adventure and make it a PCS Vacation Road Trip.
The first step is to ask off for leave in conjunction with the PCS. Each PCS move comes with a certain number of days off. Depending on the distance, anywhere from 7-9 days are allotted. Add in 10 days of leave and you have a good chunk of time off to see the country.
Take Your Time
The hard part about PCS is the stress. Sometimes you just want to get from point A to B to get it done. But taking time off in conjunction means you can take it slow. Drive only two hours and then stop at a park and play for several hours. Check out the list of museums offering free admission in the summer as part of the Blue Star Museums program. This program is a collaboration between the Blue Star Families program and the National Endowment for the Arts. Museums that participate offer free admission to the military members and their families from Armed Forces Day in May to Labor Day in September. Check out National Parks along the way while utilizing the National Park Military Pass. The National Parks offers a free annual pass to military members and their dependents, and it can be renewed as long as valid ID can be shown at renewal. An epic road trip to be had! All those Pinterest boards and travel Instagram accounts you have followed may be inspiration, but you can live it.
Stop Along the Way
Perhaps you have taken the time off and planned your route but really only see three or four cities you want to explore, make the most of it. Drive those long hours and miles to get to the destination (safely) and then stay for a few days. Check out extended stay hotels with kitchens to make the most of the stay. Having longer stays means you can actually jump into the pool instead of just walking by it on the way in and out the door on your long legs. You can enjoy the local scenery and check out local cuisine.
Across the country, the I-40 stretches and plays host in some areas to Route 66. Corduroy Road goes through the Carolinas on the east coast. Maybe you grew up on the Oregon Trail, well you can drive along with parts of the route from Illinois to Oregon. Want to take on the first road for cars? That’s the Lincoln Highway for you. There are so many amazing road trips to be had – just need the time to make it happen, and PCS time can be that opportunity.
Make It A Vacation
If you are like the many Americans, you have vacation days left to burn. According to Forbes, in 2019 there were 768 million unused vacation days. And in 2020, 55% of US workers did not use all of their paid time off. Do not be a statistic. Take the time. If the operation tempo at work led to the inability to take time off, this is your chance. Make the most of the PCS and take the vacation.
PCS time is a stressful time period- make the most of the known ability to take time off and make it a vacation to lessen the stress.