6 Tips to Help Plan Your Next Family Vacation

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6 Tips to Help Plan Your Next Family Vacation

January 24, 2022

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Make Vacations a Priority by Taking Time to Plan

Your next vacation could be as close as your own backyard!

Today is National Plan for Vacation Day. And while this day looks much different than in years past, we can still dream and we can definitely plan!

It may come as no surprise that 63% of Americans say they desperately need a vacation. The good news is that the mere act of planning a vacation can give our psyches the lift we need. 97% of Americans say that having a trip planned makes them happier.

How about a road trip or staycation?

As a children’s museum, we are at the front line of family travel. Whether we are a destination or a place to stop along the way, our organization was built on the power of play and imagination.

We know that when families play and spend time together it creates a powerful bond. Further, when families travel together it creates memories that last a lifetime!

Six tips to help you plan your next vacation

With that we offer 6 tips that can help you and your family plan your next vacation:

  1. Create an itinerary: Make a list of the highlights you can’t miss on your trip. Consider using a wall of post-it notes containing must-do items. If for some reason, things don’t go as planned, the post-it can be moved to a different day. Flexibility can help reduce stress!
  2. Get off the beaten path: If you are vacationing road-trip style, consider taking the scenic route. There’s a lot of fun to be had exploring lesser-known routes. If you are traveling to visit us, here’s a road trip recommendation using Highway 14.
  3. Build in time to be able to stop for fun: The joy is in the journey. On a recent road trip with my family, we cranked the Weird Al Yankovich tunes. Imagine what happened after we played The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota and pulled up right next to it! Plans are well and good, but stopping for play along the way can spark all sorts of imagination. And it only required 30 extra minutes from our original plan!

    A plush of the Children's Museum mascot Kidoodle is shown in front of the Dignity sculpture in Chamberlain.
    Where’s Kidoodle? At the Dignity sculpture by Dale Lamphere overlooking the Missouri River near Chamberlain, SD.
  4. Be in the moment, and then share those experiences when you return: Bring a sense of play with you wherever you go. When you go into your experience with a sense of wonder, it creates a connection that not only can be remembered but also can be life-changing. Our mascot Kidoodle is a good reminder of this for us. When Kidoodle travels, we get to follow along. We use #whereskidoodle on our Instagram account and watch from across the globe and even in our own backyard. Traveling vicariously through others can be equally as fun.
  5. Explore your own backyard: If a long, far-away vacation isn’t for you, see the world through new eyes with a staycation! Explore your own city or town like you are seeing it for the first time. Check out those trails, explore that museum, and take a different route from your usual.
  6. Take advantage of museum and zoo memberships: Did you know that if you are a member of a science center, museum or zoo you can often get free or reduced admission at similar organizations in other cities? Take that into consideration when planning your travel and you could get more value out of your vacation budget. The Children’s Museum of South Dakota offers an Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) membership. Look for participating ACM children’s museums at findachildrensmuseum.org.

Consider South Dakota for your next vacation

Traveling is a great way to learn, to grow, and to see the world in a whole new way. If you are inspired to start planning your next vacation, we encourage you to check out the many great places to visit in Brookings and in South Dakota and make sure the Children’s Museum of South Dakota is on your list.

We love spending time in places that South Dakota is known for such as Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park, but we also love seeing what’s new at Ingalls Homestead and seeing the incredible Faulkton elevator mural.

If you need help with that itinerary, we’ve got a great list of nearby attractions to get you started! Be sure to inspire us with your explorations using the hashtag #whereskidoodle or #playalongsd.

Make the Children’s Museum of South Dakota a part of your itinerary

Explore the world

"As a children’s museum, we are at the front line of family travel. Whether we are a destination or a place to stop along the way, our organization was built on the power of play and imagination."