Being a Tourist at Home

In Budget by Kait0 Comments

With less than two weeks to go until M-Day (“M” as in move), I spent the majority of my weekend either packing, thinking about packing or reminding myself that I am also writing exams next week and need to study. Our condo is an absolute disaster and I have been reduced to nothing more than a frantic ball of stress, but I still wouldn’t change it for the world.

Oh the insane joys of moving..

Oh the insane joys of moving..

Why on earth would I put myself through this?! The answer is quite simple, at least in my opinion. The stress, extreme time management and crazy amounts of work is going to be soooooo worth it because I now get to explore an entirely new neighbourhood of my city. The idea of wandering through a more-or-less unknown neighbourhood excites me beyond all belief. It is going to be awesome.

Ok, maybe I’m just a bit weird…

My first photo of downtown Edmonton

My first photo of downtown Edmonton

At this point I am sure you are probably reading this wondering “Okay that’s cool and all Kait, but how does this relate to travel?” Well just hold on a second…. because this DEFINITELY relates to travel 🙂

When you are on a tight budget, travel might seem completely unobtainable. I totally get that. And it sucks, right? Never fear! There is a way to sate that inner wanderlust, while also saving major pennies. And that is playing tourist while at home! Having moved around Edmonton a few times, each time to an entirely different neighbourhood, I have taken full advantage of this idea.

Kingsley checking out the view from my old apartment

Kingsley checking out the view from my old apartment

It is far easier to explore a new neighbourhood when you’ve just moved, but it is entirely possible to still explore hidden nooks in your home town without moving your entire life from point A to point B. Is there a little corner of the City that you haven’t been to yet? Why not take a day and spend your time wandering through it? I can almost guarantee that you will stumble across some hidden gems during your adventure. OR on the other hand, why not check out those cheesy touristy attractions that you’ve never bothered to go to? I will admit that I’ve never actually taken the time to check out the Edmonton Zoo or Riverboat. Oops!

One of my other fun ways to play a tourist while at home is to host a friend for a weekend. A couple of years ago I played tour guide to a friend of mine from the UK and spent just over a week showing him around Edmonton, Calgary and Banff. A lot the places I took him to (like the Calgary Stampede and Lake Louise) I had been to more than I care to admit. On the other hand, we hit a lot of attractions that I had never been to before, and probably wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for him. I had so much more fun exploring Alberta with someone who hadn’t experienced anything quite like it before. You truly get to see things from a different perspective when you are playing tour guide. James was quite taken with so many different parts of Alberta that I had begun taking for granted. His enthusiasm helped me realize how lucky I am to be so close to so many incredible sites and attractions.

Lake Louise with James in 2012

Lake Louise with James in 2012

I had so much fun hosting James that summer, and since then I have repeatedly volunteered to host friends who have expressed a slight interest in coming to Edmonton. Granted, nobody has taken up on that offer yet, except for James, who is now considering experiencing an Edmontonian winter. My trip with James in 2012 definitely helped change my view of Alberta and put a stop to my nasty habit of taking our beautiful province for granted. Because of that, I will forever insist that playing tour guide to a foreign friend is an awesome way to play tourist in your own city.

The view from the top of Sulfur Mountain

The view from the top of Sulfur Mountain

Travel is not cheap. That is a hard and sad truth. BUT there are ways to satisfy your inner wanderlust while saving big. Exploring uncharted waters in your own city or playing tour guide to a friend is an excellent way to get some of the exploring we all crave in, but still sticking to that budget of yours.

What about you guys? Do you have any fun suggestions for playing tourist in your own city?