Living Off the Base – More Freedom for Military People?

Living in a military housing in San Diego can mean different things to different people. The quality of the accommodation and the rents can vary depending upon your rank, as can the facilities that you enjoy. While many personnel residing in military complexes are satisfied with the living conditions, others think the steep rents, the overly disciplined atmosphere, and the lack of parking space are serious turnoffs that exist at some of the military housing complexes.

San Diego is home to several military establishments, including the San Diego Naval Base, which is the US Navy’s largest Base on the West Coast and employs 20,000 uniformed men and women. Just north of the office complex on the Base, the Pacific Beacon apartment community offers top-notch resort-style accommodation to military personnel in San Diego. If you are eligible, you can enjoy an upscale lifestyle living here. Extravagant swimming pools and sporting facilities and world-class amenities make life easier for those who’ve been in and out of the sandbox.

There are several other housing options available at the Naval Base as well as various other basis and establishments located in the San Diego area. Military apartments living features many benefits for the residents, such as sporting facilities, cheap shopping, a secure environment, great family life, and a convivial social life. However, there are times when military people want to live outside the base, in a private neighborhood.

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Reasons for Living Off the Base in San Diego

There can be several reasons for opting to live in the city. One of the spouses may be working outside the base and may like to live close to the office. A single officer might like to invite in his female guests to his apartment, something that would be impossible at the base. Kids going to a school located in an urban area, short or impermanent stay, or simply a personal preference to live away from the base are just some of the factors that prompt military people to look for accommodations off the base.

A major reason for deciding to live in the city is the controlled, disciplined environment of the base. You are still at work even after cease-work, or at least it feels that way living at the base. The military most often allows its members to go out and live in the city, as long as they can be available for duty. If you are in the military and assigned to San Diego, you have nothing to worry about. There are plenty of excellent apartments and housing options available both inside and outside the military establishments.

Pros and Cons of Off-Base Military Housing in San Diego

Should you be opting to live on the base, among a familiar community of uniformed personnel and their families, or should you be moving out into one of the rental military apartments in San Diego? There’s no simple answer to this question, as it depends upon your preferences and lifestyle as well as the type of accommodation available.

For one, if you are single and your base authorities allow you to reside off-base, you’ll find much more freedom enjoying that option. Moving out of the base after getting off from duty, you can feel as if the work day has really ended. You can go to your private apartment and relax without being disturbed by your colleagues or room-mate(s). You can also enjoy the nightlife, return home late, and invite guests to your apartment (especially female guests), things that you would not have been allowed to do in the service accommodation.

For families, residing in the base can appear to be a better option, as they have access to a lot of facilities and amenities, such as sporting facilities for kids, cheap groceries, and better security. The spouses and kids feel more comfortable living at a military complex when their serving family members get deployed for active service. However, not all military bases offer every facility. Also, military families coming to San Diego on short trips might find it more feasible and convenient to lodge outside the base, considering the time delays and procedures involved in renting military housing at the base.

When living in the base, military personnel usually have to sacrifice 100% of their BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) for occupying a rather basic accommodation. Living in the city, sometimes you can get a much better fully furnished military apartment within the same rent. Some of the private military apartments are located in posh neighborhoods, and are conveniently placed with respect to shopping malls, restaurants, schools, beaches, and other San Diego attractions.

Military personnel looking for a military housing in San Diego on their own might find out, to their distaste and displeasure, that some of the property owners are not willing to rent to them. The reason for such discrimination is that the owners are wary of the law, which allows military personnel to terminate their leases prematurely in case they are called for active duty. Most of the property owner wouldn’t like to be left high and dry in the middle of the lease term, hence their reluctance to accommodate military personnel.

Luckily, there are housing establishments and apartment complexes that specifically cater to military individuals and families looking to settle outside the base. Some of these San Diego military housing facilities are located in close vicinity of the bases, making the commute more convenient for serving personnel. More often than not, these temporary apartments and houses are fully furnished and have operational kitchens, qualities that make them excellent for short stays. Military housing in San Diego is generally available for a term of 30 days or more and has reasonable rents, well within the allowance that they pay in the military.

Although convenient and relaxed, living inside the base is like living in a canned environment. Life may get monotonous and/or less private when you are spending your days and nights surrounded by the same people. Residing in the city can sometimes bring about a welcome change. Some of the residences may be much more private and spacious compared to the apartment you’d get for the same rent inside the base. With that said, the choice is really up to you. If you feel more at-home inside the base, then the base is where your heart is.