By Connor Wolanski, Army Flier Contributing WriterJune 13, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 14, 2012) -- As the traditional vacation months of summer arrive, Fort Rucker's Families have their own travel agents available and ready to help design every step of their vacations -- at a discount.
"[We're here] to provide members of the military community with information, and to provide access to a diverse range of leisure travel, on post and off," said Kristen Hartwell, program manager for leisure travel. "Leisure travel always has the best information for the military as far as special deals, discounted rates and travel rates go."
Leisure travel (formerly known as the information, ticketing and registration office) provides a much wider variety of services than just tickets to the most popular amusement parks in the southeast. The office regularly connects Fort Rucker's Families with sporting events, cruise lines, recreational areas such as parks and camps, hotels and city attractions like Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium or the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum in Orlando, Fla., according to information provided by Heather Linnell, travel clerk.
They also host a travel show every March, with different themes highlighting the various destinations and opportunities available to customers.
Leisure travel works with both active and retired military, Department of Defense employees, Army Reserve and National Guard personnel, contractors and Family members. The office can connect customers with events and attractions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi.
"I think that's one thing a lot of people do not realize -- we can help [Department of Defense employees]," said Hartwell, emphasizing that anyone who works for the military is eligible for nearly all of the benefits made available by leisure travel.
"[Department of Defense employees] can purchase all tickets except for the military-only ones offered by Walt Disney World and Sea World," she said. "They're actually at a contracted rate that is cheaper than anything they'll find off-post."
Hartwell shared that as the vacationing season kicks off, Disney, Sea World and Medieval Times are all getting an early start on marketing to Soldiers and their Families, offering specials and upgrades that, in the case of Medieval Times, extend to Department of Defense employees as well.
"I've always been in travel," she said, adding that she has worked with leisure travel for five years. "I love my job. During [the Soldiers'] time that they're on leave -- it's very precious to them. We try to accommodate them any way we can; to send them on trips and to make memories for them.
"We also deal with Soldiers who have [been reassigned] to different bases and who will come back to us because of a certain agent who has fulfilled their dreams before. It's a trust issue. It's very rewarding for us. That's what we're doing -- making people's dreams come true," Hartwell said.
To contact leisure travel in Bldg. 5700 Rm. 130, call (334) 255-2997 or (334) 255-9517. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The office also maintains a Facebook page with further details on vacation opportunities as well as a comprehensive price list.