Spring is quickly approaching which means that vacations are being planned and many – especially those buried in snow – are dreaming of exotic places with warmer weather. If you’re lucky, your plans include a plane ride or two and the need for more than one piece of luggage. If you’re like most families in this economy, your big travel plans may just be a drive to the next town or state.
No matter where your travels take you, finding something to do once you arrive can be challenging. Unless you’ve hired a travel agent to plan your every moment, you’ll need to know where to look or who to ask for fun or family-friendly activities. This could be true whether you’re across the country or only miles away from your own house.
Extra, Extra! Read All About It!
In any town or city, there are newspaper dispensers on various street corners and in convenience and grocery stores. These publications can be free, often they’re a minimal cost, but contain a plethora of information about goings-on in that city and nearby areas. There may be a calendar of events listed in the Community section or there may be a major event that warrants their front page, especially in small towns.
Of course, there’s always the internet. Our reliance on technology has resulted in towns, both small and large, creating their own websites. This might be the first place you go because it’s convenient and accessible anywhere you go; you might have your entire itinerary planned before you’re off the plane! The internet may prove to be less than useful, however, if their site is maintained regularly or if they’ve no site at all. You can use Google to search for things according to your interests and tastes. For instance, if you are a movie buff, look out for an arthouse cinema in the local area. You can add a visit to the same in your itinerary. In addition, many such places also offer online ticket bookings. Likewise, you can search for other desired sites and create your itinerary accordingly.
Let The Town Guide You
Most cities have a Chamber of Commerce. A Chamber is meant to promote the business community in that town. They’re not a government institution so their interests are those of the town and its businesses. There are local, regional and state Chambers so any one of those will be able to tell you every and any event that is occurring in that area during your visit. They can tell you about the most popular restaurants and hotels, the hole-in-the-wall bars with the best music and even about the hidden gems in the town where you can purchase the best souvenirs.
Facebook and Twitter isn’t just for bloggers and companies. You might use these resources to find establishments located in the area you’re visiting to search upcoming events, specials, coupons and other goodies. I often use these and Foursquare to find places in my own city that I’ve not yet explored. They definitely came in handy on my first trip to Las Vegas! Checking in on Foursquare can accomplish two things for you; first, you might be offered a discount at your place of check in. Second, just by searching the area in which you’re standing, you’ll find a listing of other local businesses, restaurants and shops!
Take A Walk
If you’ve the time and comfortable shoes, just walking through town, along with water, or around your hotel can lead to the discovery of a great restaurant, a beautiful view, or a once-in-a-lifetime photo opp. Don’t be afraid to explore; just make sure that you know your way back.
Using resources that are local and often free are the best way to explore any location, whether you’re across the country or in your own backyard. If you’re on a budget, these resources can also be the best way to find free or low-cost events wherever you travel!
About the author:
Dusty is the owner and editor of As Mom Sees It, a product review and family matters blog. She is the mother of two in Ohio and has maintained successful partnerships with companies like Nike, Kolcraft and Kingston Technology. She also assisted a well-known National publication with a product launch campaign. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for her emails.
We travel a lot, so this is really helpful! I usually just use Google, but I will now be searching out newspapers!
Yes, Dusty definitely gave me some new ideas to use when I next travel
Lindsey G. says
Great tips! I've tried to get in the habit of googling and looking up places before we actually get there!
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Great ideas! We typically Google a city before we visit to find things to do. The newspapers and booklets we find in restaurants and rest stops help too!
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Great tips! I'm online like crazy when I am trip planning. I also order travel guides from states that we are going to visit.
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I like the idea of letting the town guide you.
Sarah Park says
Thanks for these tips. When planning for a trip, I usually research it online or ask suggestions from friends on where to visit best depending on the mood I have at the moment.
These are all great tips! I look forward to putting on my walking shoes and exploring the city, just as soon as it warms up a bit.
We are always visiting new cities and these tips are going to be so helpful.
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We have a "local" newspaper specific to my island and I've NEVER picked it up. I can only imagine how much I'm missing out on. Thanks for these great tips!
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