Several years ago, before the Arrows were even a glimmer in my eye, my husband and brother-in-law convinced my sister and I that going to Las Vegas for a few days to whoop it up was exactly how we should spend a fall getaway. I love big cities, but the neon lights and roulette wheels had never really called my name.
But there I was, on a flight bound for the Sin City. Pretty skeptical that I was going to have fun beyond a few sunny afternoons lounging by the pool. But I boarded a return flight a few days later with a huge smile on my face and tons of great memories (and the weather never got about 70, so it actually didn't include fruity drinks poolside).
I was mesmerized by the huge hotels. I laughed 'til I cried in the wee hours of the morning at the penny slots with my sister. I became buddies with our cab driver on the way to the Old Town area. FYI, I highly recommend getting around Vegas by cab, it's cheaper than a car rental. I ate three desserts at a buffet one afternoon. My jaw dropped watching the water show at the Bellaggio. Much of this is stereotypical Vegas behavior that I had rolled my eyes at before our trip. And there I was, whooping it up, just as the guys had suggested.
This fun-filled trip didn't just make me want to return to Vegas (oh, but I do!). It taught me that all locations have worth. Everything is interesting to visit with the right attitude. Keep an open mind, and you might be surprised by how much fun you can have just about anywhere.
Girls' trip to Richmond, Indiana? Sign me up. Beaching in Michigan instead of the Tropics? Fine by me. Noshing on treats in small town candy shops instead of five star restaurants? I'll take a salted caramel, please. Hiking the rolling hills of southern Indiana instead of a huge national park? At least I won't have to deal with jet lag.
The Midwest might not be the most popular vacation destination. But I've had more fun exploring its nooks and crannies in the last few years than I've had, quite frankly, anywhere else in the world. It's convenient, family-friendly, really inexpensive (meaning we can travel MORE), and often surprisingly breathtakingly beautiful.
I still have grand plans for seeing so much more of the world. I dream big. But I'll also never pass up the chance to explore some lesser known destinations. Who would have thought I'd learn that by going to Vegas?
What do you love most about traveling around your own backyard?
This post was written in collaboration with PokerJunkie.com. Image purchased from Picha Global.