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Save Money on Travel: Be Your Own Tour Guide

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tourYou may travel a bit, even take a tour or two, but you’re not exploring new areas the way you’d like.

You may think you don’t have the money right now but don’t get too disappointed. A narrow mindset may be to blame.

Here are two ways to look at tours differently.


1. Replicate a tour that is all in one location.

Essentially you get the expert tour tips without the expert price tag. Think about it. What is a  tour? A trip visiting a series of places in a scheduled sequence in a group led by a guide. Someone had to take the time to research, plan and dig up some interesting historical information to tell you about the area. When I went on a fully escorted tour to Italy, I was beyond pleased to have meals, entertainment, museums and shopping all prearranged for me on an itinerary. I liked not having to research or plan anything. I left it all up to the experts of travel. All I had to do was pick how long I wanted to be there, book the tour and show up. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the advantages that come with having someone else do the work. Well that was life before kids and a mortgage.



On the regular vacations I take now, I make up my own tours. What’s more custom than picking out your own activities? I plan out the trip and partake in whatever strikes the mood.  You can control all aspects of your trip. Now, it can seem like more work but I try to make it as easy as possible. I still try to harness the expertise of others but I do it for free. I use to watch Giada’s Weekend Getaways when the episodes were first on Food Network. I printed out the information from the Food Network website.


I took my family in April to Newport, RI. There are fewer people there at this time of year and it’s easier to park. We stayed overnight but this can easily be a day trip for those who live close by or may be passing through. I was able to get to the Coffee Grinder where Giada had a beverage and banana bread. I also tried Del’s Lemonade. The Delucia family’s great grandfather first made frozen lemonade in Naples, Italy back in 1840. He put together the perfect combination of lemon, sugar and “snow” to make frozen lemonade.

After taking  a stroll on the Cliff Walk, we made it to the Mooring’s Seafood and Kitchen Bar . We made sure to try their “bag of doughnuts” appetizer while catching a view of Newport’s historic waterfront. These “doughtnuts” were lobster, crab and shrimp filled fritters served with a chipotle-maple aoili. I never would have stepped foot in this restaurant with my children if she didn’t feature it on her show. The show may be over but the information is still on the site. This was an excellent recommendation.

2. Put together a thematic tour and drive to different locations.

Base your tour around a theme. The website TVFoodMaps.com showcases restaurants and places featured on food and restaurant shows. Users can search for locations on their site or through their mobile app based around food shows, the type of cuisine, features and cost.(See diagram below.) I love the show Drive Ins, Diners and Dives.  I did a search on the site. I typed in my state and the show. Now I am going to base my itinerary around all of the places Guy Fieri visited in my area. I just went to O’Rourkes in Middletown, CT. I wish I had found this website sooner. I could have visited spots featured by Man Versus Food in Denver, Colorado.


As I said before, you already travel. Now it’s time to create your own tour. If you found this information useful, take a minute and share it with your friends. Maybe they’ll even join you on your tour. Commenting is great too. Thank you.

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