Whether taking a getaway to a much-loved vacation spot you’ve been to before, or trying a new travel destination, getting the max for your money also means making the most of your time.
Become a Virtual Tourist: Get-A-Way Before You Go
Going on a weekend getaway close to home or flying farther away, get into the vacation mode before you go. Well before your arrival, scout out websites for local hot spots and hangouts to visit while you’re vacationing. Champion Google Earth, site maps and other “roadie” planning tools. The more site-scoping you do now, the more time you’ll actually spend vacationing.
Data Mine in Advance of Your Trip
Search online for promo codes or restaurant coupons, discount event tickets, resident or visitor specials and other discount deals to take advantage of the best for less. The less money you spend on one event, the more you have remaining to spend on another.
Contact the Local Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce has a wealth of information you can get for free, all in one place. Nearly every city or town has a Chamber whose purpose is advocating for local businesses and promoting tourism. They welcome questions about their locale; it gives them the perfect opportunity to show off their community.
- Ask about historical background information, area landmarks and other must-see sites.
- Inquire about the secrets of the locals. Where do they like to eat, special town events, where and when are the best sales.
- Look through restaurant menus for foods you love (and the prices) daily specials, happy hours or places to shop for organic
- Inquire about medical info, like where to go for first aid.
- Seek out the freebies! Ask for free tickets, complimentary drink coupons, hand-outs or mementos to take with you.
The Chamber may also have unadvertised discounts only made public to those who stop in to visit.
Live Like a Local
You’ll feel more “at home” when you’re away from home if you live like a local. Chat with people who live in the area you’re visiting. Ask them for secret spots, out-of-the-way and off-the-map sites. Ask about photo-op places, spaces and places of interest.
Consider a Different Mode of Transport
Renting a bike, scooter, skateboard, Segway, cart, surfboard or another means of transport gives you an additional perspective on the sites you are seeing. Not only can you get closer to the subjects or objects of interest, it’s also a good way to capture unique angles for photos you would not get otherwise.
Making a return visit to a former vacation spot allows you to repurpose the tips and tricks you learned on preceding visits, which means you can cut to the chase quicker. Keeping a journal of notes and quotes from your vacation can help you recall things you loved to do, people you met and even restaurants you don’t want to revisit.
New Destination on Your Next Vacation
If you choose to go to a new location, repeat the useful tips learned here and add other tips derived from your readings such as, “Be sure to have exact change for toll roads,” “Cart drivers must be 17 or older,” or “Don’t drink the water.”
BONUS Travel Tip
What’s the best way to find a good place to eat if you know absolutely nothing about the city you’re in? When driving by a restaurant, if the parking lot is full, chances are the food will be awesome.