How to be a tourist in your own town
If you are opting out of a vacation this year or staying closer to home, you are not alone. More and more people are cutting back on their travel due to the economic downturn. You still need some time to yourself, to relax and "get away". How are you going to achieve this without a true vacation?
Make a list of places you have never been to or rarely been to in or around your town or city. Is there a restaurant that you have heard about but never tried? A neighborhood you have never driven through? A museum you might have visited once or twice?
Check your local newspaper for activities around the area. Are there local festivals or markets that are of interest? If you like to bicycle or hike, are there trails or routes you have always wanted to try out? If you craft, check the local supply store for classes. Many community recreation centers also offer classes and activities for a small fee.
Go to the tourist information center and see what brochures they have. Also check with your local AAA office for the guidebook for your region.
Look over your list of places and activities. Which ones do you have the money and time to try? Do some offer group discounts? Like any good vacation, you want to schedule your activities so that you do not feel stressed for time. It seems like an oxymoron, but schedule in some "unscheduled" time as well, so that if things come up last-minute you can rearrange your plan.
If you have friends who have time off when you do, see if they want to join you. This saves on gas, and often trips and experiences are better when shared.
Now you are ready to be a tourist. Bring along your camera, dress like you are on vacation, and have fun! Write a journal entry about your experience or send a postcard to yourself detailing what you did. That way, when you look through your vacation mementos, you can remember this not as the year you didn't go anywhere, but as the year you did ____.