It’s time to get down to leisure! 2013 was ushered in with some in trepidation, thanks to the political landscape over the past several months. The news has been filled with impending disaster of the ‘fiscal cliff’, with many on edge with anticipation for the worst yet to come, halting any thought for the future, let alone planning a vacation. Perhaps now is the time to be innovative when it comes to minimal to no discretionary income for a brief get-away, a weekend excursion, or an all out vacation.
This brings to mind my involvement with the USO while living in Germany. One of the many things USO does for its service members and their families is to provide economical recreational opportunities. We lived in a very scenic area of Germany, less than a days drive to many popular attractions; such as Paris and the Eiffel Tower; Bavaria and its Black Forest; Berlin and its famous zoo; Belgium, home of the original French Fry and Luxembourg, a tiny country and home to several famous war memorials.
Many may not be familiar with the USO and its dependence on volunteers, and this my blog readers, is how some of my volunteers were able to venture into the French countryside, or tour a crumbling castle, or visit the famous art gallery ‘Le Louvre’ and so on. Become a volunteer; drive a tour van, or earn a free seat on a tour.
Today, there are numerous websites featuring volunteer opportunities tied to travel; however, they may not necessarily be FREE, but as the title says ‘Stretching Your Travel Dollar’, might just be the way to get out and go in 2013!
You might want to check out www.i-to-i.com/volunteering-and-sightseeing.html where you can volunteer to work with wildlife, or put your carpentry skills to work. Maybe you’re a born teacher, like working with children or love to teach sports. How about helping to conserve the earth? Health care, education, agriculture and construction are areas that need volunteers; and, in many cases these are in far-away lands, like Cambodia, where you can broaden your own horizon.
Don’t forget staying at home has its advantages too. I searched: www.free-attractions.com and found some pretty cool things to see and do.
Want to trek through history, going back to 1850; well you can do so at Oakland Cemetery; Atlanta, Georgia’s oldest cemetery and a “supreme example of a Victorian cemetery.” Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind is one of the famous buried here. By the way, you can volunteer to work at Oakland Cemetery — a great opportunity for history buffs.
And . . . for the nature lover, the next time you’re near New York’s Bronx Village, why not meander throughout the 250 ‘exquisite’ acres of the New York Botanical Garden; visit some of their 50 gardens, or stop by their landmark conservatory. Nature enthusiasts won’t want to miss opportunity (note: there is an admission cost, but if you buy a New York pass you can visit over 70 top New York attractions – now that’s really stretching your travel dollar! Prices vary based on the number of days and additional features you select.
Are you the adventurous type? Did you know there are approximately 58 national parks in the U.S.? In some cases there is no admission fee, while there may be minimal costs for touring in your car, or entering some areas as well as camping fees. Visit www.nps.gov for more information.
If you’re a music lover, like I am, and need a little exercise, why not ramble up and down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana or on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee . . . and while it pays to pay to hear someone to play, you can still catch the strains of some mighty good blues and jazz drifting out of local nightclubs and record stores at no cost to you!
Why not share a FREEBIE with your fellow blog reader … let us know of some fun thing to do, or a great place to visit or see in 2013!