When you don’t plan for a vacation, you won’t take one. Don’t be a statistic!
Kerrie Vilhauer is the Director of Marketing at the Children's Museum of South Dakota.
Did you know that for those American workers who receive the benefit, 768 million vacation days went unused in 2018? Or that 86% of Americans say they have not seen enough of their own country? And even more disheartening, that 83% of Americans want to use their time off to travel—but they aren’t.
That’s why it’s important to plan for vacation, and with the most recent South Dakota Governor’s Conference on Tourism just wrapping up last week, we think Plan for Vacation Day couldn’t come at a better time!
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 and further, when they travel together it creates memories that last a lifetime.
With that we offer 6 tips that can help you and your family plan your next vacation:
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 vacation, we encourage you to check out the many great places to visit in South Dakota and make sure the Children’s Museum of South Dakota is on your list.