Vacationing the Budget-Friendly Way
- Thursday, August 02, 2012
Don’t be afraid to ask those locals where they like to eat. You may find a wonderful, one-of-a-kind café that doesn’t show up at any guide book. Check the paper or shop window posters to see if a church or local group is having a fish fry, spaghetti supper, or similar event. You could make new friends and eat yummy food for one low price.
If you long to dine on a fancier fare or just have to try that expensive five-star restaurant, try them at lunch. You’ll enjoy the same delicious cuisine at lower prices. Or eat at the bar; you often pay less there, plus you can chat with the bartender and sometimes the people around you (Do exercise caution if you’re alone—a single at a bar can be a magnet for unsavory types and I want you to stay safe).
Sight-Seeing on a Shoestring
When it comes to making the most of your sight-seeing dollar, research is your best friend.
• Check out the city or area’s Visitor and Convention Center Bureau’s Web site. Not only will they have information on what to do, they often have coupons.
• If you’re driving to a U.S. location, stop at the state’s welcome center for information and coupons. They also tend to have clean restrooms and room to stretch your legs.
• If you have enough lead time, sign up for Groupons or similar programs in the city you’ll be visiting. You may be able to score deals on food or activities.
• Find out if the place you want to see offers free days (many museums do).
• Many attractions offer discounts to members of the military, AAA members, and so on. It can’t hurt to ask.
• If you’re a museum or zoo buff, see if the one in your vacation spot has a reciprocal agreement with the one you’re a member of back home. You may get in free or at a discount.
• A multi-attraction pass can be a great deal IF you’re actually going to use it at enough places to make it worthwhile.
• Visit the local library. Not only can they be fascinating in themselves (have you seen the one in Seattle?) I’ve found librarians to be smart, friendly, often-underpaid people who know what’s worth seeing in their area and how to see it on the cheap.
If you have additional cost-saving ideas to share, please pass them along. Meanwhile, are you ready to head out? Fantastic. Pack your snacks and your spirit of adventure and let’s go!
Susan Ellingburg is a natural-born Texan who sings at every opportunity, reads as much as possible, and cherishes every day she gets to spend with friends. She's a serious foodie and not-so-serious gardener who is determined not to let being single stand in the way of living an amazing life. Read Susan's blog at TastingGod.wordpress.com.
Publication date: August 2, 2012
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