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5 Places to Stay During Air Force Graduation in San Antonio

This post was written by me on behalf of Hotels.com. All opinions are my own.

Do you have a loved one graduating from BMT at Lackland AFB? We’re sharing places to stay during Air Force Graduation in San Antonio, TX.

Photos from Air Force BMT graduation

Seven and a half weeks may not seem like a long time in the giant scope of things, but to a mom, dad, husband, wife, sister, brother, or significant other, watching your loved one board a plane for Basic Military Training can be gut-wrenching. 

A ceremony during Basic Military Training

New Air Force and Air Guard recruits attend BMT in San Antonio, Texas and many may continue on to complete tech school on that base as well.  

For the 7.5 weeks that they’re in BMT, your life kind of becomes a waiting game. Will they call today? What happens if I miss the call and don’t get to talk to them? Will I get a letter? Are they okay? I’ve felt all the emotions.

But as emotional as it may be for us, remember that for the recruit, BMT is a strict environment with rigorous exercise to prepare them for the role they will play in the military.

When it’s time for graduation from basic training, they want to see you at Lackland Air Force Base just as badly as you want to be there. You’ll want to take a couple of steps to plan ahead.

  1. You’ll have an idea of what week they will graduate and events leading up to graduation begin on Thursday with the Airman’s Run, Briefings, the Coin Cemetery and Base Liberty. You won’t want to miss it so put in for time off work as soon as possible.
  2. Book your flights (I suggest arriving the night before) or reserve your rental car and map out your route. While it is possible that your Airman would not graduate, the drop out rate for the Air Force is relatively low at 7-8% compared to other branches of the military. Even so, make sure you purchase refundable tickets and even travel insurance if it applies.
  3. Book your hotel room. This is where I made an error when my son graduated. I couldn’t decide where to stay, rooms filled up, rates doubled, and we got stuck with an undesirable hotel in a not-so-nice area near the base. Of course, it was worth it to see my son but if I had to do it over and couldn’t get base housing, there are a few properties I would look into.

So, learn from my mistake and book your room in advance.

Exploring a park in San Antonio

Where to Stay During Air Force Graduation in San Antonio

Before you book your hotel room, you should ask yourself a question.

  • Would you rather stay close to the base or closer to the activities?

You can count on your Airman having a Base Pass for Thursday, Town Pass for Friday and Saturday and Base Pass for Sunday unless they are awarded the Top Physically Fit Airman or a member of an Honor Flight.  Even with a Town Pass, your Airman must be back on base each evening. 

Find a place to stay near base to ensure easy commutes to and from the base, after all, San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S. (I say this, but I didn’t have any issues with traffic).

A property near activities, like the River Walk, ensures you have plenty to do. Just keep in mind that your Airman is NOT allowed to go outside the 1604 loop. 

Standing outside the Alamo for photos

Here are a few suggestions:    

  1. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Lackland AFB San Antonio

A one minute walk to Lackland AFB and ten miles from the River Walk, this property offers a free buffet breakfast, wi-fi, and free parking (yes, you do want to check for parking prices). Suites are available to allow for more seating. 

  1. Best Western Plus Lackland Hotel & Suites, San Antonio

Less than two miles from Lackland AFB and in good proximity to River Walk, the Alamo, and other entertainment, this property features large rooms, plenty of public areas to sit outside the room if desired, a gym, pool (though your Airman can’t use it), free breakfast, wi-fi, and parking. 

  1. Omni la Mansion Del Rio

This beautiful property is part of the Historic Hotels of America portfolio and has an intriguing past. The building served as various schools from 1853-1966 at which time it was sold and turned into a luxury hotel in time for Hemisfair, the World’s Fair held in San Antonio in 1968.

Omni purchased the property in 2006. History tours of the property can be arranged by speaking to the concierge.

This property is right on the River Walk.

  1. TownePlace Suites by Marriott San Antonio Downtown

This property is located .1 mile from the River Walk and can provide significant savings for those who prefer to prepare their own meals in their hotel room. As an extended stay property, you’ll find Studio rooms with kitchenettes.

And, if you’re traveling with the family dog, you’ll find he’s welcome as well.

  1. Home2 Suites by Hilton San Antonio Downtown – Riverwalk

This Hilton property features large, suites to allow plenty of space to spread out and is a short walk to the River Walk, the Alamo, and other popular tourist attractions.

Once again, the kitchenette allows you to save money on what you’d spend eating out and the hotel also offers a hot breakfast buffet each morning.

Are you a military family? Which property appeals most to you?

 

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