Veterans Benefits For Dummies
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Qualifying veterans can relax at luxury vacation resorts known as Armed Forces Recreation Centers. For military members and veterans, Armed Forces Recreation Center resorts (AFRCs) offer affordable vacations at full service resorts.

AFRCs offer a full range of resort hotel opportunities for those who hold the magic military or dependent ID card. If you’re a military member (either active duty or reserve), retiree, veteran with a 100 percent service-connected disability, have won the Medal of Honor, or a dependent of one of these fine citizens, you’re eligible for this perk.

Although not as cheap as military lodging facilities, AFRC room rates are affordable. Rates are based on military rank (or the rank you held when you separated from the military), room size, and location. There’s no “space available” here. Everyone with an ID card is equally eligible, regardless of duty status. Reservations are required, often months in advance.

Veterans vacations at Shades of Green at Disney World

For many children, visiting Walt Disney World may be the Mecca of vacation spots. Taking pictures and getting autographs with Disney’s finest is one thing they may very well remember for their whole lives. What do the parents remember, though? Expensive resorts, high-priced meals, and out-of-this-world attraction prices.

However, for those eligible to stay at AFRCs, there’s an answer to these headaches: the Shades of Green Resort. Nestled between the Palm and Magnolia golf courses on Walt Disney World property, the Shades of Green boasts 586 guest rooms, 10 family and junior suites, two heated pools and a hot tub, state-of-the-art fitness center, and transportation to all of Orlando’s many attractions.

The resort also has an on-site ticket office, which provides discounted tickets to dozens of locations, including all Walt Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios, Sea World Orlando, and the Kennedy Space Center.

Exceptional dining options are available throughout the resort and include Mangino’s, the Garden Gallery Restaurant, Evergreens Sports Bar and Grill, and the Express Cafe.

Nightly room rates run from $79 to $275, depending on the season, type of room, and your military rank. For reservations available online or by calling 888-593-2242.

Veterans vacations at Hale Koa in Hawaii

If you take advantage of the Armed Forces Recreation Center Hale Koa, located on the famous Waikiki Beach, a Hawaiian vacation becomes an affordable option.

The Hale Koa’s two towers, Maile and Ilima, house 817 spacious guest rooms. Most rooms are furnished with one king, two queen, or two double beds. Activities include beach services that rent surf and snorkel equipment, swimming pools, a fitness center, spa services with massage, tennis courts, sand volleyball, outdoor racquetball courts, and world-class golfing opportunities near the hotel.

You can enjoy culinary delights at Koko’s Cafe, Bibas, or the Hale Koa Room restaurants, located on the property. Nightly entertainment features magic, songs and dances of Polynesia, and the best luau on Waikiki Beach.

For a luxury beach resort located directly on the most famous beach in the world, rates are extremely reasonable, ranging from $87 to $277 per night, depending on your rank, the season, and the type of room. For reservations, call 800-367-6027, or make online reservations at their website.

Veterans vacations at Edelweiss in Germany

If you tell people you just vacationed in the Bavarian Alps, they may look you over as if trying to find out where you're hiding all your money. But when coupled with a free space-A military aircraft hop and reservations at the AFRC Edelweiss Lodge, it's a sweet deal.

Edelweiss Lodge and Resort offers an array of guest amenities, entertainment, and recreation activities. You can enjoy a sightseeing tour of the area or spend a day on some of the best slopes ever. Afterward, perhaps a workout in the modern fitness club or a therapeutic massage is in order. For the water-inclined, there’s an indoor pool and an outdoor hot tub.

For your dining pleasure, the Edelweiss boasts four restaurants featuring foods from around the world, including regional cuisine and all-American favorites.

Depending on the season, type of room, and your military rank, a night at the Edelweiss will set you back about $84 to $239. Rustic cabins are available for $399 for seven nights, and deluxe cabins can be had for $1,113 for a week’s stay. Reservations can be made by calling 011-49-8821-9440 or online.

Veterans vacations at Dragon Hill in South Korea

For an exotic vacation, try a stay at the Dragon Hill Lodge, located in the heart of Seoul.

Seoul, Korea offers some of the best shopping opportunities in the world, and when you’re finished getting world-class deals, the lodge provides you with a respite where you can enjoy a state-of-the-art health club and pool, travel and tour services, a gift store, flower shop, and beauty salon.

Dining facilities include four full-service restaurants and a deli. There’s even a Subway and a Pizza Hut for that fast-food taste of home.

Each of the 394 guest rooms and suites features a queen-size bed and a sleeper sofa, private bath, color television with satellite channels, direct-dial telephone, ironing board, mini refrigerator, coffee maker, and fireproof safe. Each room has high-speed Internet access.

Rates run from $59 to $139 per night, depending on your rank and the type of room you select. You can reserve a room at the Dragon Hill Lodge by calling 011-82-2-7918-222 or going to their website.

About This Article

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Rod Powers is a recognized expert in all U.S. military matters. A military author, his articles have appeared in numerous military and civilian publications. Powers is the co-author of the successful ASVAB For Dummies, 2nd Edition, and serves as a military guide for

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