If you're looking for transportation to and from the airport,
hotel and the Marine base, please consider Point Shuttle. They are strong
supporters of the Marine Graduation Foundation and they provide all of
your transportation needs from the moment you step off the plane! This
service was not available when my Marine graduated but it would have been
nice. Even though we had a reservation for a rental car we had to wait
for them to clean one before we picked it up. We didn't know where we
were going and we were not accustomed to the traffic in the area. On our
way home we had to wait, once again, to return the car. This service will
get you where you need to go on time and hassle-free. Keep in mind though...unless you are staying in Beaufort or Port Royal, the shuttle costs will be much higher! It is not cost effective to stay in a hotel 20 miles away because they have a lower rate if you plan on using the shuttle service. Beaufort or Port Royal is where you want to stay in this situation. You can make reservations for the shuttle by calling
The nearest airport to Parris Island, SC is at Hilton Head Island, SC but
the tickets seem to be a little pricy. You can save about half if you fly
into Savannah International Airport in Savannah, Georgia. Yes, it is in
a different state but the drive is fairly short, taking just under an hour
to arrive at Parris Island. They have rental car companies at the airport.
If you choose to rent a car over using the shuttle service you may want
to make a reservation for a rental car in advance to avoid a possible catastrophe
when you arrive. If, for any reason, you have a problem getting a flight
into Savannah, Charleston International Airport is also an option but further
away from Parris Island, taking about 1 1/2 hours to drive to the base.
Making reservations a few weeks in advance seems to save you a little
money but keep in mind your Recruit can be set back and
graduation would be rescheduled. For instance, if your Recruit GETS INJURED,
he or she will need time to heal before completing training. If this happens
you may find yourself buying your airline tickets all over again if you
purchased nonrefundable tickets early in the game. This might sound like
it happened to me and that's because it did. It might be a better idea
to wait a while and pay a little more for the tickets rather than pay
at least twice as much because of a rescheduled graduation.
If you want your new Marine to be on the same flight home with you, it's
best to purchase his or her one way ticket at the same time you book your
flight. Be sure and let them know of your intentions so that they don't
buy a ticket also.
See the"Going Home" Page
for more info on how and when to buy airline tickets.
After graduation, allow plenty of time to get to the airport and check
in before your flight is to depart (3 p.m. or later would be best). Savannah
is a small airport and most of the families fly in and out of this location.
My experience was that they didn't seem to have the manpower or space
at the ticket counters to handle the surge of passengers as quickly as
larger airports so be prepared for long and possibly timely lines as well
as the necessary time to return your rental car.
Entrance into Savannah Airport. This was on a Saturday.
As you can see, there are no people in sight. The airport is quite small.
Your Marine will need to purchase an airline ticket to wherever he or
she needs to go after their 10-day leave. Most likely this will be Camp
Lejeune, which would take you into the Jacksonville, NC airport. At any
rate, take time out on Family Day to stop at the travel agency
there at Parris Island and get the trip lined out. They will need to have
their orders, Military ID and check card to purchase the ticket. If you
wait to do this when you get home, you may be quite disappointed in the
price of the flights. Make it a priority to get it taken care of while
you're at Parris Island.
Note: When reporting to their next duty station it is
important that your Marine puts whatever they think they will need for
the first two days in a bag that they CARRY ON TO THE PLANE just in case
their luggage doesn't make it to their destination at the same time they
arrive. This includes their shoes! Shoes are easy to overlook when packing
carry-on luggage but nevertheless, just as important as all the other
articles. The inevitable look of terror in their eyes when they realize
they don't have them should be avoided at all costs.