This year’s PCS season looks a little bit different than years past with the COVID-19 pandemic creating delays. Though military families are accustomed to a change of plans, the uncertainties caused by current times can add to the stress of moving. Two seasoned spouses share tips for creating comfort during the transition from duty station to duty station.
Brittany Boccher, an Air Force spouse, has moved nine times in 14 years. Her family has stayed in hotels for up to 60 days in between duty stations. When she travels, she says she always looks for hotels that “are pet friendly and kid friendly. Lodging with breakfast makes it easier to get up and get on the road. A hotel with easy highway access means we aren’t driving into a city and going out of the way.”
Army spouse Liz Lee, a program manager at the USO, agrees that choosing the right hotel can make a big difference for PCS travel. After seven moves in 11 years of marriage, she has learned that routines are important for the whole family.
“We always look for something with a kitchenette and an in-room eating area so we can prepare food and eat it around a table. My husband and I need a work space. Outdoor space is important for walking the dogs. I always pack a bag for the kids with coloring books or activities that are not watching TV,” Lee said.
There are many ways to find a hotel that will best fit your family’s needs. Boccher recommends planning out your PCS travel in advance by calling early to make reservations.
“If you make a reservation in advance, you can request a suite or ask for a setup that provides some separation. It’s so important to have a separate sleeping and living space for the kids, so we can close the door and stay up later than them,” she said.
Lee suggests researching amenities not only on the hotel’s website, but also on travel sites.
“We look for hotels with a play area nearby. Check reviews to crowdsource other people’s feedback. Reviews often mention things for kids to do nearby,” she explained.
And they both agree free Wi-Fi is essential for any family stay.
Radisson Hotels properties are great options for on-the-go military families. Its Military 1st program — a partnership with the USO — provides exclusive discounts to honor active-duty service members, veterans and military spouses. In addition to the military-friendly offer, guests can receive an upgrade to the best available room at time of check-in.
The program recently expanded to include its entire portfolio of hotel brands in the U.S. (and Canada), including Radisson, Radisson Blu, Radisson RED, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson. This expansion gives military families more options when it comes to setting up a temporary “home-base” while they await making their move. And as an added bonus, many hotels within its brands are also pet-friendly, an ideal feature for families moving with their four-legged members.
Catherine Higgins Whiteside, vice president of marketing for Radisson Hotels, understands that a PCS move is a period of instability. The hotel group, which includes brands like Country Inn and Suites by Radisson, has “a long-standing relationship with showing support for military families. From the moment the family steps into one of our hotels, we want them to feel pampered. Some of our guests’ most memorable moments come from the small things the team members do.”
After the stress of PCS’ing during a pandemic, Radisson Hotels wants military families to have a relaxing stay where they don’t have to focus on cooking or cleaning.
“We show our heartfelt appreciation to our military members with the best room in the house when available. They can zen out and enjoy their time here,” Higgins Whiteside said.
With 541 locations from coast to coast, Radisson Hotels are ready to welcome you during your next PCS move. Most are conveniently placed near major highways, but with access to outdoor amenities like walking trails and local parks. This summer, enjoy a short or extended hotel stay that will be comfortable for your whole family.Read comments