By Emily Brainard, Army Flier StaffMarch 5, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Those daydreaming of breaks away from everyday life can explore affordable vacation opportunities during the 22nd annual Travel Extravaganza March 10 at The Landing.
Attendees can peruse more than 40 vendors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day, according to Tammie Smith, Leisure Travel Services travel clerk and administrative assistant. Business representatives visiting from Alabama and neighboring states showcase various hotels, theme parks, cruise lines, state visitors' centers and chambers of commerce.
Smith anticipates this year's extravaganza to be more successful than previous years with more companies attending than at the 2009 event, and a plethora of door prizes, including free tickets and vacation opportunities.
Many businesses offer military members discounted rates, usually saving patrons 30 to 50 percent off regular vacation prices, Smith said.
She encourages Soldiers and their Families to stop by next week's event to find their dream destinations for this year.
"It shows you all the different options and places to take your Family," she said.
Creating quality Family time is especially important for those serving in the military, said Kristen Hartwell, Leisure Travel Services business manager. Some Soldiers stationed here are in training, and especially those in flight school are sometimes offered breaks from busy operational tempos. The extravaganza allows them opportunities to see what special travel options are out there, she said.
"Family time is so important, especially with the world situation we're in right now. A lot of these Soldiers who come out of here go into a war situation. If they have this opportunity to be in a school environment, it's a good (time to take a vacation)," Hartwell said. "(The Travel Extravaganza) is a great event every year with new and upcoming things throughout the travel industry."
Just one of many Family deals offered this year is Disney's Armed Forces Salute, Smith said. Servicemembers or spouses can purchase four-day Walt Disney World Resort tickets for $99 each for themselves and up to five Family members or friends. Park hopper options can be added for $26 per ticket. Tickets must be purchased at Leisure Travel Services at Bldg. 5700 by July 31 and activated at theme park windows by Sept. 26. Valid military IDs are required. Eligible patrons consist of active-duty Soldiers, including active National Guard and Reserve members, and retirees.
Those desiring less costly or closer-to-home vacations can also find options at the Travel Extravaganza, Hartwell said.
"There are tons of discounts out there. This is a way they can meet vendors face to faace."
For more event or ticket information, call Leisure Travel Services staff at 255-9517 or visit www.ftruckermwr.com/LeisureTravel/index.htm.