You don't have to break your budget planning a vacation. A staycation could be the get-away that turns out to be a favorite experience and memory, allowing for quality family time with less stress.
How to Plan Your Perfect Family 'Staycation'
Life can be complicated. You're constantly bombarded with articles about the prohibitive cost of airfare, reports of flight cancellations and even the expense of putting gas in a car. Not everyone can afford to travel to exotic places. Yet, after the stress of the past couple of years, it's essential for families to share time together. What's one to do when everyone wants to get away, but you don't have the time or finances to plan an elaborate escape? This may be the right time to dare to be different and enjoy a unique type of vacation.
What is a Staycation?
A staycation is a way to gather loved ones together and enjoy activities, explore exciting places and see new sites (or revisit some old favorites) without breaking the bank. Everyone's given the opportunity to make choices while keeping a budget in check. You can ensure your family's health and safety by going where you know it's appropriate for all, from the smallest to the eldest. You may want to stay in a local hotel, motel, or resort as well as use your own home as a hub from which to branch out each day. In Las Vegas, this is an extremely popular type of get-away to relieve stress and enjoy the surroundings you so often take for granted.
Where to Stay
Your budget will determine your destination. The best time to stay in resorts or hotels is during the week since costs go through the roof on weekends. In Las Vegas, many families choose to book into casino hotels where they can watch a movie, go bowling, play at arcades, eat at different restaurants or choose from a variety of snacks to tide them over until mealtime. Most of the bigger resorts have wonderful pools or spas and exercise rooms (for the grown-ups). The Silverton is an example of an off-Strip Vegas location that features a huge fish tank with "mermaids!" You may prefer one of the many budget hotels or motels in your own town. You can often find various places ranging from inexpensive to costly by checking websites or asking around. Just do some research, watch for advertised specials and select the appropriate place for your get-away. If there is an airb&b near your town, that may be an ideal choice with perks not offered elsewhere.
What to Do on Your Get-Away
Las Vegas has a plethora of sites to see and things to do while on a staycation, allowing you to make selections according to your physical capabilities. We found ourselves drawn to history and experiences that we had otherwise missed.
• The Mob Museum offers a fascinating look at this city's storied history, from Bugsy to the Atomic Age.
• The Atomic Testing Museum is perfect for teens and adults with many interesting photos, artifacts and relics from that time. There's even an Alien section that's "out of this world."
• The Neon Boneyard has all the glitzy old signage from defunct casinos on display.
• Clark Country Museum is an indoor/outdoor experience complete with a historic train, a timeline of prehistoric to present-day displays (indoors, which is good on hot days) and refurbished "olden days" buildings and homes.
• If you're looking for a peaceful escape in a beautiful natural setting, visit Springs Preserve. The Springs started the settling of Las Vegas and is a great place to eat.
Natural wonders abound here:
• Valley of Fire with its brilliant colors of rocks, trails and petroglyphs.
Every town and city has its hidden treasures: spots that locals appreciate but often don't have time to explore. You may choose to go to a ballgame, visit a fair, play mini-golf, or explore a site of interest. It's all up to you.
How to Have Fun on a Budget
1. Choose one small activity and one larger one per day. Make one an active adventure and the other more of a learning experience, so you get the most out of your staycation.
2. If you have dinner out one day, have a healthy breakfast or lunch instead the next day. Or perhaps pick up some treats and take them to a scenic spot for a picnic (if permitted).
3. You may decide to see a family movie or drive-in one evening. Let the kids choose which one they want to see (as long as it's age-appropriate for all). Bundle everyone up in the car and enjoy a snacking good time at the drive-in or have each child bring a comfy blanket to the theater and watch a later show than usual. Share some cuddly time together and enjoy the experience!
4. When you walk a lot one day, you might want to make it more sedate the next day if you're not used to regular exercise. This is easy to forget when you're fresh in the morning after a well-deserved rest, but your legs will thank you by the evening. If your children want more playtime, bring them to a park with sprinklers so they can run around to their heart's content while you supervise them.
5. When you stay at a hotel, there's nothing wrong with spending one day there without going elsewhere. If they have a bowling alley, you may want to hit some strikes. If there is an arcade, you can enjoy some retro fun. Visit a kiosk for lunch and a restaurant for dinner. It doesn't have to be expensive to be memorable. Consider ordering an in-room movie to relax at the end of the day while chilling in the room. It all depends on the pace you want to set and the energy of the youngest and oldest members of the family. Above all, take lots of photos!
Family time can be one of the most memorable experiences as the years go by. Reminiscing about these shared times through videos or photos is invaluable. So, a staycation may help your family reconnect in a new way. You may even do a bit of learning as you explore new places and visit interesting sites. Just being together, away from day-to-day distractions, can relieve some of the stress families have faced throughout the past two years. It's a win/win for the home team!