Sunday, July 22, 2012

What does YOUR town have to offer?

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope the weekend is treating you well!

On today's agenda is my second guest blogger subbing for me while I'm away.

Everyone, meet Abbie who did a great little piece of finding the entertaining side of your own town! Sheesh, I oughta take a page out of her book... I don't even know how many times a day Anthony and I are left sitting around asking each other, What do you want to do?

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Daycations: Being a Tourist in Your Own Town

Hi there! My name is Abbie, and I'm today's guest blogger. I post (fairly regularly) over at Dames Who Dish with four of my closest lady friends from college. I love to write movie, album, and book reviews, as well as DIY tutorials and tips. In keeping with the travel theme while Sam is away on vacation, I thought I would write about daycationing and being a tourist in your own home town. While working on both my bachelor's degree and my master's degree, I rarely had the time to take a nice long-ish vacation, and my college student budget never really allowed for that kind of travel. Well, except for the time I went on Spring Break to Las Vegas with my mom and sister, which was a lot of fun. Growing up, we were never ones for Disney World. Christopher Elliot, an author and consumer, wrote an article outlining these six tips for a successful summer daycation. I've used several of these suggestions when planning day trips with my family or my boyfriend to explore Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

1. Not too far.

Can I get there on one tank of gas? This is always one of the biggest factors I take into consideration when planning a trip. If I can get there in about 1-1.5hrs, then I won't have to pay for a hotel room. However, if it's going to be a weekend trip, I usually opt for a Holiday Inn Express since I think they're the nicest of the hotel chains, and I can normally get a pretty good discount with AAA membership.

2. Think like a tourist.

What does your town have to offer that you can't do/see/eat/etc. anywhere else? Look at local advertisements for events from a different perspective. Imagine you had a relative or friend coming to visit... where would you take them to get a sense of your town?

3. Check out your Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Most states have an online database listing all CVBs, which you can search by zip code. These can normally point to local resources for activities, events, and sights not to be missed during your visit.

4. Visit a park.

This is one of the easiest ways to save money while daycationing. Pack your own lunch and spend a day in your local park. Make sure to bring a good pair of sneakers to explore the trails, a book for relaxing, frisbees, and other fun items to help you enjoy your daycation! (If you're heading to my favorite state park, don't forget your sun screen and a towel!)

5. Crank up the culture.

Don't forget to check out the local arts scene during your daycation. Many museums offer free or discounted admission to students with your ID. This also goes for getting tickets to plays, concerts, or other shows. This is a great chance to get out of your comfort zone and discover something you may have otherwise overlooked.

6. Don't blow your budget.

If you plan ahead, you should have a pretty good idea of how much you'll spend on your tourist day. Try to stay around this number, but bring a few extra dollars. You never know what you'll see along the way that you'll want to try!
Elliot suggests that travelers bring their phone along to check into Foursquare, a smart phone app that allows you to share location-based exploration tips with others. I would add using Instagram, an app that allows you to tag your location when you add an "artistically" filtered photo to your stream. I hope you find these daycationing hints helpful. Have you even spent the day as a tourist in your own town? What would you recommend I do if I visited your town? Head over to Dames Who Dish to read about four great daycations in Northeast Ohio! 

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Thank you again for posting Abbie! This sure was interesting, and gave me a few pointers on how to make my own area more interesting (well, hopefully! My town needs all the help it can get)!