20 Pros to Living Off Base
“What is it like living off base?”
I get asked this question frequently by military spouses who have never lived off base while married to their servicemember. To address this to an audience I’ll list some pros of living off base. Stick around for the cons of living off base. This may help your future decision for living arrangements.
This is entirely based off my personal needs and experiences. Keep in mind this is not ideal for everyone
I am closer to things I need access to everyday such as the doctors. I do not go to the Naval Hospital, so with frequent appointments at civilian hospitals it is a time saver.
There is always a store near by that is open in case I need to make a night time run for something. The commissary closes at 8pm and the MCX closes at 9pm. The MCX reopens at 8am and the commissary reopens at 9am (unless you have a verified disability you can go in 30 mins prior). This doesn’t work out for our schedule.
We get money back from BAH. It is believed that it is impossible to find housing in a high cost of living area. Shop around smart, look for deals, and you can get a large return.
More Privacy. Our neighbors keep to themselves with the occasional wave. They do not bother us and we do not bother them. This could be a con if you like to socialize with your neighbors. My husband and I both grew up in the city, the Bay Area. It is uncommon to know your neighbors.
It is not heavily policed. We have security in our apartment, but we do not constantly have MP’s driving around our neighborhood. I honestly feel like that is a hostile and aggressive environment to see police constantly on patrol.
I have the freedom to take my legalized and prescribed CBD and THC for chronic pain from Multiple Sclerosis. If I have visitors with chronic pain, they have the freedom to bring their medication as well. It is legal in many states, including mine, and even recommended in medical literature for numerous symptoms in disorders, however it is not allowed on base. If I brought my prescriotion on base I would get into big trouble. In my opinion CBD (extract from the plant with no THC) & THC for pain is far better than addictive painkillers that Tricare covers.
Many apartments allow you to paint your home and choose your own colors. They will paint your home for you and cover the costs.
Maintenance is awesome! They are efficient and get the job done thoroughly.
With renters insurance via USAA (not sponsored) at $12 per month we have never had to pay out of pocket for any expenses. For example, during the CA fires, USAA placed us in a hotel with food and utilities covered. Or when I dinged the garage, USAA covered it.
Our apartment came with a quality washer and dryer, whereas on base there are only hookups. That is a large expense since you want to invest in a good one if you’re buying it.
Parking is organized
We do not have to sleep where we work. While this is great for many people, this does not work for us.
Overall accessibility. Base is 10-15 minutes away. All highways are near by. We are near major cities.
We are near a variety of restaurants, park, activities (paid and fee)
We do not have to wait at the gait every time we are trying to get home. Sometimes it can take up to an hour or more.
It is an adventure to drive off base just to reach your destination of Target. For us its 5 minutes down the road. If we lived on base it would be a process of getting there and back.
Statistically it is safer on base than off base. Do not let the MP’s at the gate fool you. You can check out credible and verified local crime rates here.
We do not have to see the our neighbors when we go shopping or to the park. We are able to maintain some sort of anonymity.
It can feel like a dome.
You never get a break from the military. Everything is military. Neighbors, school, sports, stores, advertisements etc. It can be overwhelming.
Lastly, visit and subscribe to AHRN (NOT SPONSORED) for listings of credible off base housing. This has to be my favorite site since you get to individualize your profile and you get matches according to the data you put in. AHRN and their emails are full of helpful for tips & tricks to make moving and PCS easier. It is a great reference point to remind you of your rights when moving into and out of your place. Check it out!