One of the hardest parts of completing a PCS is the time in between pack out and when your HHG shipment arrives at your new duty station. Where do you spend the time in between? Some opt to stay with friends and family, others opt to embark on cross -country road trips and then there are those who hole up in the Navy Lodge.
Whatever you end up deciding to do on your PCS journey, odds are that at some point you will end up in one, and this is your official survival guide!
What is a Navy Lodge?
For those unfamiliar with the Navy Lodge, it’s essentially the Navy’s version of an extended stay hotel. It is prioritized for families PCSing but is also available to service members and their families for leisure or business. After staying in quite a few Navy Lodge locations for extended amounts of time, here are my top tips:
- Request a room upgrade if you have a larger family. Most Lodges have four different room types: Standard, Business Class, Family Suite and Accessible. If you have a larger family, a Family Suite is ideal. They feature a separate room for sleeping and oftentimes a couch bed, a larger kitchen, two televisions and more. These room types are very popular and usually have to be booked out far in advance.
- Unpack and organize your space if you’ll be staying a while. When I know we’re going to be in a Lodge for a while, I make it a point to try and make it feel a little bit like home. Part of that for me is putting away our clothes and other items.
- Take advantage of the many amenities. The great thing about the Navy Lodge is that it is very family-oriented and designed to make sure you have everything you need to feel as ‘at home’ as possible. One of the amenities I find to be the most useful are the fully-equipped kitchens. They have most everything you could need: pots and pans, plates, utensils, measuring cups, tupperware, a stove top, microwave oven, refrigerator, can opener, and most importantly a coffee maker and wine bottle opener! The NEX and Commissary are never too far away from a Lodge either so you can stock up on whatever groceries or other essentials you need. Other amenities include complimentary breakfast, free WiFi, playgrounds, pools, snack machines, coin operated laundry machines and more!
- Bring laundry supplies if you plan on doing laundry. If you are on your way out of a duty station, bring laundry soap to the Lodge rather than getting rid of it. If you have change (specifically quarters!) bring that as well. If not, make sure you have cash on hand for the change machine so that you can use the washers and dryers. The Lodge provides a small laundry basket to transport your clothes to and from the laundry room, but I have found that an Ikea bag is easy to pack and is perfect for getting laundry back and forth from your room.
- Pack shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Speaking of going back and forth from your hotel room, I have found that it’s nice to have shoes that are easy to slip on and off given how frequently I am in and out of the door.
- Bring a preferred portable streaming device or gaming system. The lodge has satellite TV, but I have found that I prefer to bring my AppleTV to watch all of my favorite shows. Don’t forget your HDMI cable!
- Make plans to spend time OUTSIDE of your hotel room. Whether you are saying goodbye to an old duty station, or hello to a new one, the easiest way to pass time is to explore the area. Living in close quarters for an extended amount of time can also take its toll, so fresh air is essential! For ideas on things to do, check out our duty station menu.
If you are also a Navy Lodge Survivalist and have any other tips to add, be sure to leave a comment below! For more resources on PCSing, click here.