You've gone through all the wrapping paper, empty boxes, and ribbons scattered on the floor just to be sure you didn't miss that gift certificate for the cruise, the trip to Hawaii, the island getaway, or the ski vacation. Nope. Not there. You sigh. Well, Santa's budget was tight this year and with all the Fiscal Cliff stuff being talked about it just wasn't a good time to commit to a pricey trip any where. But wait! There's still an opportunity to get away and it doesn't have to cut into the budget for reindeer feed.
Travel doesn't have to take you half way around the world to be interesting and fun. Have you ever explored what is in your own backyard? People often live in an area for years, sometimes a lifetime, and never see all there is to see in their own hometown. Let's do a little exploring.
To start, plan this as you would any other trip you wanted to take. Start with a comfortable, medium priced place to stay in your area. Maybe there's a nice bed an breakfast nearby. If you have kids, pick a place with a swimming pool especially if it's indoors and you live in a cooler area of the country.
Next, look at your town or city through the eyes of a tourist, a visitor who wants to see the sites, experience the food, and learn the history. If it helps, think about what you would want to show a friend visiting from another country that will help them to understand more about the place where you live. We all have history. Is there a historical society in your area with a museum? Is there a bus tour that will show you the architecture or the history or just an overall view of your city. Check out the local community theaters for an evening of entertainment. Concerts? If you get stuck for ideas, visit a local hotel and check out their rack of pamphlets of things to do in the area.
Make an itinerary just as you would for any trip to a place you want to see. Keep it relaxed but fill it with some fun things to do. Try out an ethnic restaurant or one that you wouldn't usually frequent. Agree that if it doesn't look good, you'll snack at McD's on the way back to the hotel.
I'm sure once you get started, you can think of lots more things. Staying close to home will cut out any air fare, a big savings in itself, and certainly cut back on the cost of gas for a road trip. And the savings might even go into Santa's piggy bank for next year.