By John W Jackson Jr, USAF Ret.

Taking a vacation is an important part of living.  It’s taking a break from the everyday routine, or the PCS and getting away from it all for a while.  It’s good for your health to take a little break occasionally.  So when you do it, you want to have it planned as well as you can.

The Before & After of Military Space-A Travel

Here are some important things that you should consider doing before embarking on military space-a travel and things that you should consider doing immediately after arriving at a location.  Some are Space-A unique, but mostly these can be used for any type of travel.

Before Traveling Space-A

  • Be sure you are signed up to go where you want with Space-A. Get on the list as early as possible because it could determine whether you get out sooner versus later.
  • Determine the place/places that you want to go and let your financial organization know where you will be, and when, especially if it will be overseas.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date phone numbers of family and friends at your origin and your destination in case of emergencies. Your doctor’s phone number might also come in handy.
  • Before traveling Space-A, update all travel. For Space-A this includes ID card and passport (if necessary).  Passports should still have 6 months remaining after the completion of your trip.  Here are some pages to read up on about passports: Visa Central FAQs and Casa.
  • Get a DEERS/MilConnect printout from the ID card/DEERS office for proof of your dependents. This is now required for children under the age of 10 that do not have their ID cards yet. Social Security numbers are no longer valid proof of dependents.
  • Make a plan, but traveling Space-A, be prepared to alter or disregard the whole plan as the Space-A flights dictate. Research maps of your destination area.  Some experts recommend planning for the first and the last day of your trip so there will be less surprises.  Make sure to have adequate funds for the surprises.
  • Pack accordingly for those locations. Check the weather forecast for the area you are going to. Here are a couple of places where you can check:  Weather Forecast Finder and Intellicast.
  • Pack for both a cold and hot Space-A flight. Temperatures can vary depending on the cargo being carried.  You should pack as light as possible to have the best chance to get on any Space-A aircraft that comes along.  Pack only the most necessary items.
  • If you have any medications they should not be expiring while you are away. Renew them if you need to.  Make sure you bring enough to cover your trip and a few extra, just in case.  Some countries have limitations on how much medication you can bring in.  It would be nice to have a letter from your doctor to explain any unusual drug needs.  Here are a couple of articles about traveling with medications: Contented Traveler – Taking Prescription Medications and Medications When Traveling Internati, ifonally.
  • Before traveling Space-A, if you live close to a passenger terminal and you are not familiar with it, stop by and check it out so you won’t be lost and risk missing a flight.  This is especially important in the larger passenger terminals.  Look for and find out about their long-term parking, eating establishments there or close by and whatever other services they may provide.
  • Before you take off, you should set up any lodging and transportation needs, such as a rental car reservation.
  • Arrive at the passenger terminal at least 2 hours before the scheduled roll call and check in immediately upon arrival to declare yourself ready for travel. Roll call times have been known to change and people have missed flights by arriving too late.
  • Pay attention to all the flight announcements. One of them could be in your favor.
  • Learn to deal with last minute changes and frustration, because when traveling Space-A, you will encounter it. Hopefully not too often, but it is inevitable, it will happen.

AFTER Military Space-A Travel

  • Upon arrival in a foreign country, obtain some of the local currency as soon as possible. Some do not accept any other currency and you don’t want to have to scramble around at a critical moment.
  • Obtain the phone number and website of the passenger terminal (if they have one).
  • Contact your transportation connection and get all that squared away.
  • Check into your hotel and, if you planned your first day, try to follow your plan and only deviate if necessary.
  • If you have not done so already, research the area for activities, restaurants and shopping centers. I recommend UJ Space-A Info for this type of research, asking others at the terminal and asking at your lodging facility.
  • Although some people don’t like to think about it, knowing where the nearest doctor and dentist is a good idea in case of emergency. Consider having your doctor recommended a local doctor in the area.
  • Enjoy yourself.

If you completed all these steps, then you planned very well.  Have a good time and take that edge off.

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PCSgrades Author: John W Jackson Jr. retired from the Air Force in 1993. He’s been married to a Filipina for just over 38 years. They have a son and four grandsons. They’ve lived in the Philippines for the past eight years but frequently make visits back to Texas. When he is not involved with the Empire Builder series games or playing dominoes, he offers sage advice on how to travel using Space-A.