One of the top benefits that comes with an OCONUS duty station is the opportunity to travel. Living in another part of the world gives you easy access to places that would require much more time and money to visit from the States. A fun way to visit new destinations is by flying Space-A.
Depending on where you're stationed, there are some easy "hops" you can take to explore yet another new part of the world. Here are three ideas to get you started for spring travel.
Space-A to Ramstein Air Base (Germany)
Ramstein is in southwestern Germany, and it's also the perfect "base" for a variety of day trips in the region. Within a few hours, you can visit many top destinations in Germany, as well as in France, Luxembourg and Belgium.
Popular day trips include:
- Heidelberg, known for its famous castle.
- Trier, the oldest city in Germany.
- Strasbourg, a picturesque French city close to the border with Germany.
- Bastogne, Belgium, site of the Battle of the Bulge and a city rich in World War II history.
You can stay near the train station in the nearby towns of Landstuhl or Kaiserslautern and use Germany's excellent rail system or rent a car and take a road trip.
Related: Who Is Eligible for Space-A Flights?
Learn more about local transportation and other logistics of flying Space-A to Ramstein.
OCONUS Bases with Regular Flights to Ramstein:
RAF Mildenhall, UK; NAVSTA Rota, Spain; NAS Sigonella, Italy; and Incirlik AB, Turkey
Naval Air Station Sigonella (Italy)
Sigonella is on the island of Sicily. For a relatively small geographic area, Sicily boasts a diverse range of attractions, including ancient ruins, gorgeous beaches, historic cities and Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe.
The base is on the eastern side of the island, within an hour's drive of Mount Etna. If you visit in the spring, expect to see snow on the mountain, but you can hike or even explore on an ATV at lower elevations.
Among the many places to visit within a couple hours of Sigonella are:
- Taormina, a beautiful medieval city on Mount Tauro that has epic views of the sea and a famous Greek theater.
- Syracuse, a stunning city on the southeastern coast of Sicily, known for its ancient ruins.
- Catania, the closest major city to Sigonella, with many historical sites, delicious restaurants and a lively fish market.
- Agrigento, a city on Sicily's southwestern coast that is most famous for its five Greek temples.
Much of Sicily is accessible using public transportation, but renting a car will give you more freedom to explore the island.
Read more about transportation and where to stay when flying Space-A to Sigonella.
OCONUS Bases with Regular Flights to NAS Sigonella:
NAVSTA Rota, Spain; NSA Naples, Italy; NSA Souda Bay, Greece; and Ramstein AB, Germany
Kadena Air Base (Japan)
Kadena is in Okinawa, a cluster of islands in the Pacific about two hours south of mainland Japan. Okinawa has a sub-tropical climate, amazing marine life and gorgeous beaches. Think of it as a less expensive version of Hawaii.
Okinawa boasts many activities for all ages and interests. The island is a paradise for anyone who enjoys snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking or simply relaxing on the beach. It also has important WWII history, including the Peace Memorial Park and the former underground headquarters of the Japanese Navy.
Other top sites in Okinawa are:
- Cape Hedo at the northern tip of the island, where the East China Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.
- Hiji Falls, the island's tallest waterfall.
- Churaumi Aquarium, which boasts a giant tank of whale sharks, manta rays and other large fish.
- The city of Naha and its most famous street, Kokusai Dori (a great place to buy souvenirs and sample local sweets).
If you're flying to Okinawa from outside Japan, make sure you're aware of the immigration procedures. Find out what you need to know, plus more intel about flying Space-A to Kadena.
OCONUS Bases with Regular Flights to Kadena:
Yokota AB and MCAS Iwakuni, Japan; Andersen AFB, Guam; JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; JB Elmendorf-Richardson (Alaska)
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