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Be a Hometown Tourist

by Guest Blogger

If you don’t have the time or the money to get away this summer, there’s no reason you can’t have a memorable vacation. Everything you need is right in your hometown.
Sticking close to home means you not only save money, but you avoid the hassles of travel and help support the local economy. What’s not to like?

The trick to having a great stay-at-home vacation is to create the environment of a traditional vacation. That means getting out of your normal routine and treating your time as true vacation time. Travel expert and creator of TravelingMamas.com, Shannon Hurst Lane, has some tips to help you plan:

  • Schedule it. Decide on a beginning and an ending date, then put them on the calendar. Clear those days of anything that smells of work or regularly scheduled events. You’re on vacation, remember?
  • Let local deals help you decide. These days, there are hundreds and even thousands of deals available close to home for dining, spas, attractions, museums and more. In fact, according to a survey from Bing.com, the decision engine from Microsoft, 6 out of 10 adults will search 2 to 10 different deal sources every week. For example, going to m.bing.com on your cell phone will save you time and money by showing you local deals – all in one place – from Groupon, LivingSocial, Tippr and many others.
  • Establish a “No Chore Zone.” This is not the time to clean out the closets, re-landscape the yard or tackle that home-improvement project. This is time for fun and family activities only.
  • Plan activities for every day. You wouldn’t go to Orlando and stay in the hotel room the whole time, so don’t just sit around the house. Find interesting places to go and fun things to do every day. Get the kids involved in planning, too – let them choose a place to go or a theme for the day.
  • Act like a tourist. Take photos and videos to document your local adventures. Pick up postcards and souvenirs from the museums or amusement parks you visit, just like you would if you had gone out of town.

Here are just a few ideas for some hometown adventures:

  • Use great deals to eat out affordably. Use Bing mobile deals to find great local deals at that restaurant that you’ve always wanted to try. This approach will let you eat out with the whole family, or even on a date night, and still not break your vacation budget.
  • Science and nature. Visit an arboretum or nature center. Bike the trails in a local or state park. Go horseback riding. Have fun in a local science center, or spend the day at the zoo or aquarium. Some zoos have overnight camping adventures available, too. Live near a lake or river? Try boating, water skiing or tubing for a day.
  • Amusement parks. You may not live near one of the big theme parks, but there are more options around town than you might realize. Check out regional theme parks, water parks, and even local community centers. Family fun centers that have mini golf, laser tag, go karts and bowling are a fun option, too.
  • Family food fun. Explore the local farmers markets and pick up fresh produce and local goods. Visit a U-Pick farm and gather things like fresh blueberries right off the bushes. Treat the family to a night out at a fancy restaurant, and have everyone dress in their best outfits. Or, order in from your favorite local eatery and have an indoor picnic.
  • Local highlights. You know all those places that out-of-town guests want to go to when they visit but you’ve never gotten around to seeing? Well, now’s your chance. Look for walking tours of historic districts; tag along on guided tours of famous landmarks; or take that scenic drive everyone talks about.
  • Take some time. Any vacation can be exhausting so make sure to take some “me time” at a local spa to get those toes done before stepping out.

“Your hometown is a treasure-trove of fun and interesting things to do,” according to Lane. “And you can make it even more fun by finding money-saving deals when you search on Bing or m.bing.com.”

Nearly 80 percent of respondents in a Bing survey said they were likely to pick their summer vacation destination based on whether or not they could find a deal or redeem a coupon to save money.
Whether you stay in town or hit the road, Bing mobile deals (m.bing.com) gives you access to more than 200,000 unique offers in over 14,000 cities and towns across the U.S. You get leading offers from Groupon, Living Social, Tippr and more, making it easier to discover, share and search for the best deals in your area – all from one place.

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