Veteran, veterans, free stuff, Jonathan Kaupanger, veteran discount
gettyimages 132708856 Taking advantage of being a veteran

SEATTLE – NOVEMBER 13: Fans hold signs spelling out “Thank You Veterans” prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens at CenturyLink Field on November 13, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

I like free stuff. Discounts on things are good too.  I didn’t join the military to get things free or discounted, but heck, there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of our veteran status when the opportunity presents– and with Veteran’s Day coming up, we have plenty of prospects headed our way.

You’ll most likely need to prove that you are in fact a veteran. You could carry around a copy of your DD-214, but getting a Veterans Affairs ID card is easy enough.  If you don’t want to register with the VA for your card, you can prove you served with your driver’s license too.  With the exception of Virginia, states will issue licenses that state your veteran status.  Virginia issues a separate state ID card for this purpose.

Now that you can show that you are a veteran, how would you like one free night in a bed & breakfast? B&Bs for Vets is celebrating 10 years of saying “thank you” to veterans.  The group estimates they’ve given away more than $2.5 million worth of free rooms to deserving veterans.  Many of the B&Bs participating in this program offer the night before Veteran’s Day as the free night so you can wake up and get spoiled on our day, but this varies from inn to inn.

You can find a bunch of veteran-specific deals and discounts when you join Veterans Advantage.  There is a fee to become a member of this site, but once you join you can enjoy discounts on travel, hotels, dining and deals on everyday shopping.

Operation We Are Here was started by a military spouse who was tired of the lack of support she felt during military deployments.  She’s compiled a great list of Veterans Day freebies that’s pretty impressive. There is also a very good list of free vacations, retreats and other opportunities for veterans and families.

gettyimages 187672968 Taking advantage of being a veteran

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 11: A woman holds up a sign that says “Thank You” during the Veteran’s Day Parade on November 11, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Veterans Holidays is a website that lets you find weeklong resort stays that start at just $349 a week.  It’s free to join, but if you want to upgrade to premium and get even more discounts, you’ll have to pay an annual membership fee.  I did a quick search and found an incredible deal for an Italian resort on the beautiful island of Ischia.  (This just may be my next vacation!)  This club is based on the idea that the US military and veterans deserve the best.  The site is endorsed by the Department of Defense, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Information, Tickets and Travel.

Offers.com has put together a list of over 250 discounts for us.  They even have a page of deals we can get on Veterans Day.  Meals, appliances, fashion – you name it, you can find it on this website.  I also found that several car makers offer bonus cash for active and retired military.

Once you start searching for free and discounted things, it’s very easy to fall down the internet rabbit hole. I did find several sites that look free to join at first, but once you dig around a bit the fees start popping up. My only piece of advice is if it looks took good, it probably is, so do your research before you sign up.

Connect: @JonathanVets1 | Jonathan@ConnectingVets.com

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