It seems that we have more and more training opportunities for SQL Server professionals all the time. In addition to the PASS Summit and SQL Connections, it seems that there are a few SQL Saturday one-day events every month and regular webinars from the PASS Virtual Chapters as well as various software vendors. These are great ways to help motivate you as well as learn new skills and techniques that can help in your job.
Now we have a new event, the SQLRally, coming to Orlando next May. It will be at the Marriot World Center on May 11-13, and it will offer more of a conference feel than a SQL Saturday, but not quite the same experience as the PASS Summit. And it won't have the same cost, with the admission fee slated to be under $400 for a two day event. It's also in Orlando, which has many, many inexpensive hotel choices, and is an easy place to travel to from many parts of the country.
I think that Jack Corbett, Kendal Van Dyke and Andy Warren have done a good job organizing this event, and I am looking forward to more details in the coming months. I think there are some challenges in separating the value here from the Summit in Seattle and from SQL Saturday events, but I've heard a few of their ideas and I think they are on the right track. I love the Summit and having a large group of people there, but I think that there can be a lot of value from smaller events as well and reach a much different audience.
If you are in the South East US, I'd take a look at this event and keep an eye out for more details over the next few months. There should be a number of high quality speakers there and the chance to get some inexpensive training with less travel. I certainly hope to go, and might even be able to set up some type of SQLServerCentral party at this event as well.
And if you want to combine it with a mini-vacation, I can think of a thing or two that your kids might like to do in the area.