Experts Offer Tips For Successful Staycations

By Tonya Papanikolas

(Source:, posted May 20, 2009 6:20 am)

SALT LAKE CITY- This Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer months, more families will be opting not to take big vacations in order to save money in this tough economy. But that doesnt mean they have to skip all the family fun.

AAA reports the number of Utahns traveling this Memorial Day weekend will be down from last year.

Leigh von der Esch of the Utah Office of Tourism said, I think people, because of their overall economic situation, are staying closer to home.

That may hold true for the summer as well. But families still want to have some kind of vacation.

Joel Riecker of the Utah Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau said, Theyre looking for, How can we still get out and do recreation? How can we go out and do something How can we go out and do something new with the family?

These mini-vacations are called staycations, and travel experts say Utahns have a lot to take advantage of.

A lot of them dont cost anything; the canyons, the river, a drive on a scenic loop, Riecker said.

Von der Esch said, If youve never been fly fishing in Flaming Gorge, this is the summer to do that. Or if your children have never seen our national parks, get out there and see them.

Riecker said, Timpanogos Cave, up American Fork Canyon, is wonderful. Its a national monument.

Von der Esch also suggests, The Little Denmark Celebration in Sanpete County, with the parade in Ephraim and the farther, tourism employees say check the Web site of the state tourism office and county visitors bureaus for deals.

They can get packages for really affordable lodging and then the activities are almost free, Riecker said.

If your budgets really tight, you can even make a staycation in your own backyard by setting up a tent and camping out.

Family consumer writer Jen Singer said, The key is to treat it like a real vacation. Leave all of your electronics inside, stop checking your e-mail.

We play games like ghost in the graveyard, or we tell a story around the fire where we each tell a sentence until we have that scarry ghost story. she added.

Wherever your staycation, experts say rediscovering your neighborhood, city or state can be just as memorable as heading thousands of miles away.

Informational brochures are available at the travel council hall by the Utah State Capitol. They have details about different recereation opportunities in Utah.