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Hometown tourism saves money and sanity

I’m going to be guest-posting about money and visiting DC for plonkee’s blog, as a guest post while she’s here. As I was brainstorming the idea, I came up with some general ways hometown tourism can save money and still be lots of fun. No spoilers here for the other post, just stuff which was too general yet interesting.

Hometown doesn’t have to be your own lil’ town (if you don’t live in a big city). Instead, it can be anywhere that’s within, say, a 3 hour drive.

First advantage of being a hometown tourist: You save big on hotel rooms by not having any.

When Mr. Micah and I were honeymooning, I sometimes cringed at the sight of our hotel bills. Yet we did pretty well, they could have been a lot more expensive.

Second advantage: You can pack meals or fix something to reheat when you get home.

We used to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (about a 1.5 hour drive from my old house, depending on traffic). We’d leave in the morning, see some exhibits, and then go back out to have our sandwiches (we used a good cooler). Then we could go back in ’till about 4 and head home to our reheated dinner.

If Mr. Micah and I wanted to visit the National Gallery some Saturday, we could have an early lunch, bring a little snack, and be home in time for a normal dinner.

Third advantage: You save gas and other traveling expenses.

Gas (or plane tickets) is another huge expense in traveling, especially right now. But if you’re staying local, you’re obviously using less gas. And if you’re visiting some place like DC or New York, you can use their metro system. Some places even have day passes you can buy (more to come on DC’s nefariousness in the plonkee piece).

Fourth advantage: You stay in your comfort zone.

This is where sanity comes in. You’re not having to drive or fly long distances. Score 1 for comfort. And you’re not spending too much money. Score! And (most important to me) you come back to your home at night. Megascore!

I’m a nesting sort, a homebody, the kind of person who’s most at ease at her own place. I really don’t like traveling much. Visiting relatives is ok, at least once you know them and their house pretty well. Hotel rooms depress me. They feel so lonely. Plus, it’s so easy to get bored in them, because you don’t have all your things around.

And last: If you’re lucky you save on admission.

Touring your local area means you can pick and choose when and where you go. We used to visit the Delaware Art Museum on Saturdays because it was free. Or my mom and I went to see a quilt exhibit last summer because her credit card was sponsoring free admission to that local museum (it was weird, you just showed the card to the people and they let you in!).

It’s easier to find out about things in your local area and, because you’re not traveling far, you’re freer to go to them.

So enjoy your local area. Look for free days and great deals. Enjoy the savings and enjoy the comfort of home!! 🙂

{ 5 trackbacks }

Best Frugality Posts from the Festival of Frugality #102 at Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money
December 1, 2007 at 7:48 am
Travel in Your Own Backyard « Less Than a Shoestring
December 3, 2007 at 6:34 am
Relatively Frugal | Mrs. Micah: Finance for a Freelance Life
January 5, 2008 at 8:34 am
The value of getting your money’s worth | Sense to Save
May 20, 2008 at 8:03 am
Cheap Vacation: Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown ? Get Rich Slowly
June 20, 2008 at 10:15 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

plonkee November 21, 2007 at 3:07 pm

I’m so looking forward to reading your guest post now.

Anyway, I quite enjoy being a tourist close to home – although I don’t describe 3 hours as close. It’s easy to forget that there are great tourist attractions on your doorstep.

Mrs. Micah November 21, 2007 at 3:09 pm

3 hours is way further than I’d like to drive, but it’s still doable for leaving early and coming home late.

I don’t think my family’s ever gone that far, but we did once have a day-trip which was over 2 hours each way. It was pretty fun and nice to come home to our house at the end of the day.

Art February 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm

The idea of being a traveller at ‘home’ is great. I lived in Central Florida for a long time and one of the things I loved was that within just a couple of hours there were so many interesting and varied places to see. Not shelling out the cost of hotels and airfare makes it even more enjoyable, let alone not having to hassle with airport security and luggage restrictions, etc…
Its a great way to save money and still get out and see something new.

Minnemom May 18, 2008 at 8:01 am

Another advantage (not monetary, but important nonetheless) is not having to pack! And, when traveling with kids, it’s great to get them home in their own beds at night.

I just mapped out a 3-hour radius and have a list of 135 places . . . and counting! Even if you think you don’t live close to anything, there are interesting places to be found if you start digging for them.

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