- Use bunk beds. Even if your children have their own rooms, consider investing in bunk beds for at least 1 child’s bedroom. Not only will it come in handy for sleepovers and such when they are older, but it can also be used to accommodate an extra sibling or cousin when family comes to visit.
- Use double beds. Again, your child might not need a double bed, but if you have the space to put one in their room instead of the small twin-sized bed, then they will be able to share with someone as needed during visits. This also gives you the option to make the double mattress bedroom the “guest room,” and move that child into the bunk bed room for visits.
- Get an air mattress. A double air mattress is not very expensive, and is an easy way to create a sleeping area when guests are around, but then collapse it for storage later. It can also be an investment for camping trips!
- Family members can sleep in your bed. Your husband isn’t home, so there is at least half of your bed available. If you feel comfortable, ask a family member if they mind sharing. Or, if a couple is coming to visit (like both Grandparents), invite them to take the Master bedroom while you set yourself up in a smaller space.
- Consider sleeping in the baby’s room. When my babies were still nursing at night, I sometimes gave my bed up to visitors and set up a cot for myself in the baby’s room. I could usually sneak into bed without waking up the baby, then when baby woke up in the morning, we could nurse for a while quietly so no one else would be disturbed.
- Borrow cots from base housing. This may not work at every base, but some bases have a Self Help center, a Housing office, or a Recreational Issue building where you can rent items like a cot or extra mattresses. Sometimes you can even sign them out for free! The cots aren’t fancy, but I found them very convenient when hosting a lot of guests. I could also place 2 cots together, then put a double air mattress on top of them. Voila! It makes a fairly comfortable double bed.
- Kids can use sleeping bags. If it’s not a very long visit, consider letting the kids use some sleeping bags or blankets to ‘camp out’ in 1 bedroom together. Kids don’t mind sleeping on the floor, and making a visit into a sleepover can make some great memories! This is best for children who are old enough not to need naps. You don’t want to exhaust young children so that they become too tired for activities with their guests!
- Rent a cabin on base. If you are hosting several people at once, consider renting a cabin or beach house from your base. These typically offer low rates, and are only available through military sponsorship, so your guests would have to let you make the arrangements, but they could always repay you for making the reservation.
Whatever arrangements you choose, try to make your visitors comfortable by cleaning up their guest space. Remove necessary clothes so that your kids won’t be running into the guest bedroom to get dressed. Put away large toys. Any toys that are played with regularly should be moved to a new temporary location, so kids won’t go through your guests’ things to look for their favorite toys. Provide fresh towels, washcloths, soap, and maybe even a snack, so your guest will feel like they are in a hotel! With a little bit of planning, you can make almost any guest comfortable, which will certainly increase the number of visitors you have during a deployment!