“Should we live on base or off base?”
“Can anyone tell me about the on post housing options at Fort Campbell?”
“Do you like living on base? We are thinking about doing so but not too sure about housing in San Diego.”
These are all phrases you can read in any Facebook group about a duty station. Military families need to make the choice of whether they live on or off base/post every time they PCS.
Some people take it by duty station, based on what’s available and what makes sense at the time. Others feel strongly about one or the other, enjoying off base life, or only wanting to live on.
The choice comes down to so many different factors from location, to family size, to the type of home you can get.
While there are pros and cons to either choice, I wanted to talk about the benefits of living on base or post, and why that might be a good option for you.
Close to work
One big benefit to living on base/post is so that your service member will be close to work. We have lived on post once and my husband was easily able to come home for lunch each day, and sometimes after PT. Being able to see him so much was a nice perk to living on post.
Here at Fort Campbell, on post has so many playgrounds! It’s a three-year-old’s dream. Off post isn’t quite the same. If you have little kids, that could be a big draw for living on your military installation.
Schools can be quite different depending on where you live but can be a big reason why people want to live on base. Your best bet is to join Facebook groups based on your new duty station and research what people are saying about schools both on and off the installation. Keep in mind that sometimes you can get very different opinions about the same school.
If you live on your military installation, you will be closer to the military community. Your neighbors will all be military families, your kids will go to school with all military children, and you will be right in the middle of all military activities.
I am thankful we lived on post for my first duty station experience because of this. I was able to get to know military life and made so many military spouse friends. It was a great way to get to know this life in a way that would have been harder if we were living off post.
Close to the Commissary
Yes, if you live on post or base, you will be closer to the Commissary. You might even be able to walk there depending on where you live. This might not be that important to some, but for others, living so close makes life a lot easier.
Whatever your family chooses to do, know there are pros and cons to each. You might love living on base or you might find living on base the place to be. You might even change your minds based on where you are stationed.
You can get some insight into off base living with Sybil’s post about why she loved living off base at her duty station.