See the Sights
Traveling is a great way to relax, and you don't always have to hop on a plane to go on a trip. Try embarking on an adventure in your part of the woods to save money. Summer weekends are ripe for a staycation--plus, you may just discover a new favorite go-to that was hiding under your nose all along. Read on for some ideas on the touristy things you can do where you live. And, let us know about some of your local favorites in the comments.
Try visiting a museum or a new exhibit that you haven't been to. These cultural institutions are a great way to spend an afternoon — you'll be learning more about history and the quiet environment can also be calming. Drag someone along with you for an engaging conversation after your museum exploration.
If you've been to all the major museums in your area, try digging around for some of the lesser known, but equally intriguing ones. For example, in Chicago I remember spotting a hologram museum and a medical devices museum when I was researching tourist sites.
Save Your Bucks: Check the museum websites or call to see what discounts are available. Most museums have certain days in which the public can enter for free or pay discounted admission so be sure to mark those dates on your calendar. To make things easier, just Google your city and the keyword "museum discounts," and you'll find lists that will detail ways you can save on museum outings.
Truly Frugal: There are museums out there that have no admission costs, so those would be great choices for frugalistas.
Let Your Taste Buds Travel
I don't know about you, but my trips generally revolve around food, food, and more food. Take that element of travel and enjoy it in your hometown. Spice up your weekend by trying a cuisine you've never had before.
Save Your Bucks: Wait for an online coupon offer from sites like Groupon or FreshGuide to save big when you go. I've seen deals for a variety of restaurants ranging from Middle Eastern to Asian, so keep your eye out for a cuisine you'd love to try. Another option is to wait for events like restaurant week, which you can often find great deals at Restaurant.com also has a long list of restaurants, which you can buy discounted coupons from.
Truly Frugal: Challenge yourself with an online recipe and whip up your own out-of-this-country dish.
As High As You Can Go
One of the major points of travel is to view the sights of the city you're in at a high vantage point. Dine at a restaurant in a tall building or go to an observatory if there is one.
Save Your Bucks: Go to a lounge that's high up instead of a restaurant to save some cash, and enjoy a drink or two without splashing money on a meal.
Truly Frugal: Seek out friends who live or work in tall buildings. Better yet, if the buildings have rooftops, suggest enjoying a night out relaxing on the roof, and admiring the gorgeous landscape at the same time.
Research to see if there are other affordable options besides enjoying the view from a building. For example, some natural landforms like the Twin Peaks hills in San Francisco offer an even better view than the city's skyscrapers.
Mother Nature's Bounty
If you live in the city, consider driving a little bit out of the way to enjoy the sights of Mother Nature. Viewing bits of green is known to be really good for reducing stress, so this definitely a win-win type of activity.
Save Your Bucks: In some national parks, you can save if you don't drive in with a car, so if possible, try to find other ways to get there. Make sure you get to your destination early and leave late to milk your entry fee for what it's worth!
Truly Frugal: Not to worry, there are plenty of gardens or parks that you don't have to pay admission for. You can also find free nature walks, which are held by local nature-focused organizations.
Put on Your Tourist Boots
From architecture tours to the tour buses that transform into boats, there are lots of unique ways for you to view a city. Check to see if some of the cultural neighborhoods offer local walking tours.
Save Your Bucks: Do your research carefully online to see which tour will give you a bang for your buck. There are sites that will show the prices of different tours in a full list, which will make it easier for you to pick the best deal.
Truly Frugal: Map your own walking tour and do all the research beforehand. Be your own tourist guide and let the magic of Wikipedia show you the way!
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