Traveling the World without Spending a Dime!

As one of the many unemployed right now, a vacation is not part of the budget for me. However, I still love to travel and right now I’m doing some virtual traveling thanks to some fun Web sites that I recently discovered. I also plan to do some “in my own backyard” traveling starting this week – more on that later in the post.

Once Jeff & I are once again working full-time, I’d love to take another trip to Europe. Until then, I have been logging on to Spotted By Locals. This site’s name sums it up. Locals blog about their favorite places in their home cities. Right now, Spotted By Locals only features European cities but they plan to expand over the next year or so. Even if you’re not planning a European vacation, Spotted By Locals is a fun read when you just need to escape from where you are right now.

Another recent discovery that I just love is What’s On When. This site includes many of the world’s major cities and not only gives you a visitor’s guide to the city, but also provides information about festivals and special events coming up in that city. While not as full of hidden finds like Spotted by Locals, What’s On When is great for your first visit to a city – especially if you want to take advantage of events, festivals or concerts happening while you visit. I checked out the Chicago and San Diego listings and was pleased to find some of the smaller upcoming festivals listed as well as major tourist attractions.

And, in case you’re not aware of it, iAudioGuide links you to (mostly) free audio tours (mp3 mostly) of major cities. Again, this site links you to (mostly) free tours so it takes you to other sites. For example, the two tours listed for Chicago take you to two different sites (the Loop Alliance and The Chicago Office of Tourism) with easy downloadable tours while the New Orleans tour takes you to the site Geogad where you have to log in/become a member to download the tour. If that is too much hassle for you, then check out Tourcaster which charges a fee for their mp3 tours (about $10-15) but I have used these and they are really informative.

As for that traveling in my own backyard thing? I have decided to tackle a project that has been on my mind for awhile. I’m going to visit all 50 of the Chicago wards. For those who don’t know, Chicago (like most cities) is divided into different districts called wards. Each ward is represented in the City Council by an Alderman (I’m not sure why that’s the name – I’ll look that up for a later post). Last week, I emailed all 50 Aldermen (although some are women) to ask where they recommend I visit in their ward. Some have gotten back to me and some need a reminder but the adventure starts tomorrow! I can’t wait! So, now Bright-Yellow will have two parts sometimes – the regular “here’s what is interesting to me” content and a recap of my experience in whatever ward I visit. Think of it as all of us going on one big tour of Chicago!

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