With Memorial Day comes the official start of summer.
Thanks to summer breaks and sunny weather, the next few months have become the official season for vacations. The irony of vacations or family getaways is that between travel, lodging, food and entertainment, vacations — which are supposed to relax us — can actually become a real financial stress.
If a vacation isn’t on the books for you this year, don’t fret. There’s plenty to explore as a tourist right here in your own city. To make the most of a “staycation,” I recommend a good balance of free activities and luxury price tags — local things you wouldn’t ordinarily treat yourself to. It is your vacation, after all. You can save more money by eating some meals at home and mapping out the most fuel-efficient route as you plan your staycation.
Here are a few of my favorite places to visit across the greater Kansas City area, but once you start planning your staycation, ask friends and coworkers their favorite local haunts and soon your week will plan itself.
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Sights to see
Not only is there so much to see, but you can find various free and outdoor options. There’s even a website that maps out all of our fountains, which would be an adventure of its own.
▪ Nelson Atkins Museum (Free except parking)
▪ Hallmark Visitors Center (Free)
▪ Fountains (Free)
▪ National World War I Museum and Memorial ($)
Things to do
From traditional vacation fun, like amusement parks, to true adventure like indoor skydiving, you’ll have no problem finding entertainment in this city.
▪ The City Market (Free)
▪ Worlds of Fun ($$)
▪ Great Wolf Lodge ($$ - $$$)
▪ iFly ($$$)
Places to Stay
If you want to get really into it, KC has no shortage of great five-star hotels you could treat yourself to for a night, like 21c Museum Hotel expected to open in June.
▪ Belvoir Winery and Inn ($)
▪ Hyatt Place ($$)
▪ The Fontaine ($$$)
▪ Ambassador Kansas City ($$$)
▪ Chateau Avalon ($$ - $$$)
Or if you just don’t feel like cleaning for a few days, you can enjoy the luxury of housekeeping, pools and breakfast at chain hotels with low nightly rates.
More than the faraway places or exotic cuisine, the one thing most of us are seeking on vacation is a chance to spend time together away from everyday life and make memories we can revisit again and again. So don’t let the budget ruin your vacation — let it make your staycation something amazing!
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.