When is the best time to travel?

  • As a general rule, anytime school is out (including the DoDDS Schools overseas) is a BAD time to travel - more so overseas than within CONUS. Why? Because you'll compete with Cat-IIIs taking trips with 3-4 dependents in tow sucking up all the seats. That's not saying a Cat-VI can't get out of places like Dover in the heat of the summer. Timing is everything so it can happen. If you're Cat-V or Cat-VI it's going to be harder for you to get seats during DoD school breaks and even a few weeks prior and after the scheduled breaks.
  • If you need some proof then take a look at Ramstein's passenger movement for 2012. Notice the spikes in traffic that correlate with Summer and Winter school breaks? If you're Cat-III then you've got as good a chance as everyone else. If you're not tied to school breaks then it would be best to travel "off peak" to maximize "your chances." Finally, don't forget about lodging availability.
  • Some bases have an active Guard/Reserve unit and therefore you should try to avoid "drill weekends." When the Guard/Reserve personnel come on base to train, accommodations are often completely booked! A simple call to the base lodging reservation desk would help you identify the best timing for lodging availability. For current and future DoDDS calendars see the DoDEA School Calendar link listed in the "Newbie" section at the start of the FAQ. Keep in mind that many families may take their kids out of school earlier than the last day of school and return after the first day of school so take the calendar dates with a grain of salt.