Guide To Being A Tourist In Your Own Home Town | Refresh Financial

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A Step By Step Guide To Being A Tourist In Your Own Home Town

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So, you’ve chosen a staycation this year. Now what? How do you fill your time? How do you find out what new things there are to do in the place you spend most of your time? How does one effectively become a tourist in their own home town? Look no further, for we have the answer. Here, for your staycationing pleasure, is a step-by-step guide to being the best darned hometown tourist there ever was.

Step 1. Check out your city’s Lonely Planet page. Here’s the page for Vancouver: Lonely Planet Vancouver. As you can see, it’s full of information about Vancouver. Take your time on your own city’s page and make a list of things you’d like to do. Perhaps you’ve seen and done some of those things before and you want to experience them again, or maybe you’ve never experienced any of them. It doesn’t matter! There are no rules here. Add everything and anything to the list of local attractions and sights you want to see.

Step 2. Check what’s going on in your city during your staycation. There may be festivals or concerts, musicals in town or plays. Perhaps there are farmer’s markets or flea markets around town, or trade shows and other exciting events. Make a list of the events you want to hit up during your time off.

Step 3. Make another list of places in town you’ve always wanted to dine. Now, remember you’re saving some dough by choosing to stay in town for your vacation, and while it’s okay to splurge a little, you don’t want to spend what you’ve saved. Try some cheap eats everyone has raved about, as well as perhaps a couple of finer dining joints in town. I always find that a city’s Zagat page is quite useful when choosing an upscale place to dine.

Step 4. Check out the reviews for all the places on each of your lists, using sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor. Make sure you’re going to be spending your time doing things that will deliver what they promise. You can even find more suggestions to add to your lists on both of these helpful websites.

Step 5. Hit up sites like Groupon and LivingSocial to find deals on the attractions, dining experiences and events you want to see. You can save yourself a ton of money doing this. You’d be amazed at some of the deals that pop up on these sites.

Step 6. Give yourself a daily budget, so you know you’re not going to spend all the cash you’ve saved by choosing a staycation. Be reasonable, but allow some room for fun.

Step 7. Research the hours and prices of all the items on all your lists. Nothing is more frustrating than spending all week looking forward to a particular outing, only to arrive and find out that the destination is closed. Being informed beforehand will avoid all sorts of mishaps like this. You can also find out from some of these sites, how long people spend on average at the places you plan to visit. This way, you know if you can fit anything else in the day, or if you’re just going to have time for the one activity.

Step 8. Now, it’s time to plan. Grab your calendar and reference your lists to jot down the places you’ll visit on each day. Be sure to keep your daily budget in mind, as well as the hours of operation of each of your destinations. Maybe choose one attraction and one dining experience per day, leave some days free to be spontaneous!

Step 9. Make your reservations at each place you want to visit. Even when it’s not necessary, it can be a good idea. Just in case, you know?

Step 10. When you call around to make your reservations, it’s always good to ask if tour or attraction companies offer discounts for locals. The worst that can happen is that they say no, so ask them! Make sure you know what you have to bring to prove your local residency.

Step 11. Organize and book babysitting for any outings that are not kid-friendly.

Step 12. Hit the road! Get out there and do your thing! Go to every spot possible on your list.

Step 13. While you’re out there exploring your city, plan to stop when you see something interesting or new.

Step 14. Grab souvenirs! You can show your local pride and remember this amazing staycation you put so much effort into by grabbing a couple of souvenirs at your favourite stops along the way. Maybe you’ll find a mug with your city skyline on it, or a t-shirt, or perhaps one of those brightly coloured fridge magnets. Whatever it is, why not? You probably would have come home with a few cheesy souvenirs from abroad had you left town, anyway, so grab a couple of items and be proud of the awesome staycation you planned.

Step 15. Wander. Let yourself wander; let yourself explore. Not every restaurant or attraction or interesting sight is listed on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. New establishments pop up all the time, and events don’t always make it to all the online calendars. Walk around town and let your senses guide you. If you find something you love, be sure to add it to a review site when you get home, so others can enjoy it, and they stay in business!

Step 16. Probably the most important part: go home to sleep in your own bed, in your own house, with your family and pets by your side, knowing you have no planes to catch, no checkout time, and nowhere to be until your next planned adventure.

Even if you live in a smaller town, you’re going to experience something new if you follow this guide. Every city, every town, has hidden gems and new sights to be seen lurking just around the corner. In a big, diverse city, you’re going to find little gems offering food from cultures you’ve never experienced before, and beautifully decorated places of worship where they welcome all. In smaller towns, you might stumble across a hiking trail that leads you straight to a waterfall, or a breathtaking view. No matter where you live, it’s doubtful you’ve seen it all, so get out there and explore. Be a tourist in your own town!

Are there any missing steps you can think of, to help people rediscover their home towns? Let us know in the comments!

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