See Your Town Like A Tourist

Even with little in the way of extra money in the bank, your family can have a great "stay-cation" anytime you want! Try thinking of the activities, restaurants and historic sites in your town the way a tourist visiting you would, and you can save tons of money while having some great quality time together. And you don't have to spend money on a hotel!

* Visit your town's tourism office. Walk into a visitor's bureau office and you'll be instantly surrounded by information, tickets, offers and specials for all those great activities happening around you. Chances are you haven't been to some of them since you moved to town, so this is a great opportunity to see what's happening. Plus you know whatever money you do spend is staying local.

* Peruse the free papers. They're outside of the grocery store, at the hair salon, at the library and some even show up in your mailbox. Take a few minutes to look through the ads and articles to discover what new and exciting activities you might be overlooking.

* Go online. Many museums, stores and restaurants have schedules and special offers on their websites, but you have to go to them to find them. Local spots are just as good for these specials as the chains, so think "out of the ordinary" and try some different locations. You'll save some money and get a great new experience.

* Think "historic." What does your city have that no one else has? Is it a museum or a great river walk? Has it been a while since you visited the historic homes, walked through downtown or shopped at that area of local shops? Choose the path less traveled and you'll find you don't want to go back to your rut.

* Pretend you're only here for one day. What would you do if you were visiting some other city for just one day? Find coupons for the putt-putt course, visit all of the free museums downtown or go see a play. There are all sorts of activities that are constantly changing, if you just know where to find them.

* Take your camera, not souveniers. A typical tourist would probably spend money on knick-knacks to take home, but you can take tons of pictures instead. After this fabulous day of family activities, have everyone help you put together a scrapbook of all the pictures you took. Let everyone have space to write down their thoughts and adventures from the day. It will be like a real vacation, but you get to sleep in your own bed!


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