With ten plus years under my belt as a law enforcement wife, I can say that planning a vacation as a law enforcement family is difficult. Every time I approached the subject with my officer, I was left feeling frustrated and no further along in the process. And if I had to hear the phrase “we’ll see,” one more time, I was going to scream. I felt like “we’ll see” was the answer for everything. He no longer says this to me (thank you, honey), but that took some time.
In the beginning, I didn’t quite understand “what the problem was” and why it was so hard for him to schedule time off. After years of discussion, it finally began to sink in, on my end. Our officers have so much scheduling to work through to make taking time off actually happen.
Our officer’s career is not the only thing that makes it difficult to plan a getaway. Throw in the wife’s job, children, school, extracurricular activities, pets; it gets tricky.
Like I said, it took me some time to work through it all, but after using these helpful strategies it began to get easier. We don’t always get to take a vacation every year (we skipped it last year), but these are helpful for planning any time off in advance.
Here are the most helpful tips I have for planning a successful vacation as a law enforcement family:
LOOK AT HIS SCHEDULE FIRST.
I have found that planning around his schedule is the easiest. His career just has too many factors with rotating shifts, court on days off, trainings, days at the range, etc. Every time we figured out his schedule first, everything else just fell into place. Our kids may have to miss one dance class or one day of school, but it was worth it to us so we could have a vacation and be together.
GO WITH THE FLOW.
The rotating schedule flow, that is. I know not all departments have rotating shifts, but most do. Plan to go on your vacation during a week that he has the least days to work (or more days off). This always made it easier for my husband, because he didn’t have to ask for so many days off or use his precious sick/vacation time (because they don’t get much). At one time, my husband would work 5 days one week, then the next week he would only work 2 days. So we would plan a vacation for the week he was supposed to work only two days. Granted, trainings can get scheduled for his days off but we tried to plan far enough in advance, which leads me to my next tip!
SCHEDULE IN ADVANCE.
Try to plan as far ahead as the department allows. No brainer? Well, not always. You would be surprised how many people wait until the last minute to plan a trip and it then seems like everyone is requesting off at the same time. Like I mentioned above, planning in advance can help avoid scheduling of trainings and range days. In this line of work, only a few people can be scheduled off at the same time. You don’t want to be told “no” because other people planned in advance and already have the time off.
PLAN A VACATION DURING AN OFF SEASON.
Try planning vacations before school lets out or during off-seasons. You are kinda used to this already. Think about it, you have ‘weekends’ during the week a lot. How nice is it for places and roads to be less crowded? That is a BONUS for us, especially with little kids. Try to find a time of year where you can take advantage.
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We just went on our vacation a few weeks ago. We went further south so it was plenty warm, but not scorching HOT where the kids are miserable. The roads and beaches were not crowded at all, because schools are still in session. It was a great way to kick off summer!
Planning your vacation with your officer doesn’t have to be difficult. Use our helpful tips and let us know how it works for you!
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