Armed Forces Vacation Club: Great Last-Minute Deals for Military Travelers

Lisa Fritscher November 5, 2014 No Comments

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Most condos have similar features.

If you or someone in your family is an active duty or retired member of the Armed Forces or a civilian Department of Defense employee or retiree, the Armed Forces Vacation Club offers fantastic savings on condos and other accommodations around the world. The inventory is managed by a time share company that releases unused weeks to military travelers at significant discounts. Only one member of your group must be eligible, and you may travel with as many people as fit into the accommodations—listed on the individual condo page, and often as high as 6 or even 8 people.

Costs
AFVC accommodations are divided into different categories and price points. High Demand listings typically include larger units, more popular destinations, and/or more popular times of the year. They represent a savings over what you could get through most booking sites, but are often in the neighborhood of $1000 or so per week, depending on the size, location, and dates. All-inclusive resorts are a more expensive option, but are readily available in several countries. Short Stay bookings are for those who cannot stay for a full week. Again, they generally represent a reasonable savings, often providing a rate of $75 to $125 per night, depending on the size, location, and dates.

If you are flexible with your travel plans, however, the true magic of AFVC becomes apparent with what is known as “Space-A,” or Space Available. As of 2014, Space-A condo weeks cost just $369, or $349 when booked online. Availability varies dramatically from day to day as inventory is released into the system or booked by another traveler, so it is best to book as soon as you find something you like. Space-A inventory becomes available 90 days in advance, with additional weeks sometimes released until a day or two in advance.

Properties
The properties are drawn from a range of time share companies and vary dramatically in size, location, and amenities. In general, however, they are clean and comfortable condos in major tourist areas, and often have dozens of onsite activities. Always check traveler reviews for the specific property you are considering.

AFVC is not actually limited solely to condos. Although we could not take advantage of it, Dad and I once found a week-long houseboat rental in England! Beyond the weekly rental fee, we would have been responsible for purchasing gas and paying the fees at whatever docks we used. It was written into the contract that we would need to turn on the engines at least once per day.

The Fine Print
Some time share resorts charge extra fees, which might be labeled as “resort charges,” “entertainment fees,” or something similar. These are charged to everyone who stays there, not just AFVC members, and the club strives to point them out at the time of booking. Make sure you understand your total charges before you accept the booking.

In general, cancellations made more than 60 days in advance are eligible for a full refund, and then refunds follow a stair step policy that ends with no refunds at all 14 days or less before your trip. However, an exception exists for documented military contingencies up until 3 days before check-in. Check with your trip insurance company to find out if you are eligible for a refund through them if you need to cancel for a non-military reason.

As the properties are time share resorts, you might be invited to attend a presentation in exchange for show tickets, cash, dining credits or some other incentive. You are welcome to attend if you like, but attendance is not required for those staying through AFVC.

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avatarAbout the Author:

Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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