This past weekend something bright, yellow and warm appeared out of nowhere here in Salem, Oregon. It was a rare sighting and something I felt faintly familiar with… After wracking my brain for a while I realized it was an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a while, my old friend named Sunshine.
I was so excited to see this old friend that I immediately invited him into my house- I pulled the curtains back, opened up windows, and even invited flip flops to the party. Ultimately though, we wound up hanging out on my back deck. As I stretched out my toes and soaked up all of the Vitamin D Sunshine had to offer; I dreamt of barbeques, family get-togethers and summer vacations. Oh the longings for road trips, lakes, canoes, camp fires, and baseball games all came flooding into my mind. And just when my mind was running at max speed with all of these great vacation ideas-- Sunshine left-- like he always does here in Oregon.
Here I am two days after Sunshine left, still dreaming of summer vacations… Lucky for me, after hours of researching and brainstorming my wonderful fiancé already has our summer honeymoon planned with all of our favorite vacation elements, with the highlight of finally seeing my favorite MLB team live- Go Yankees! Throughout our travels, we’ll be buying local and doing our part to contribute to the tourism revenue of the cities and towns we visit.
So, when planning a summer vacation, where does one find the best local secrets for food, lodging, activities and all around fun? Well there are a couple options…
- Start with friends and family- anyone traveling to where you’re going? If so, find out what they liked or didn’t like.
- Peruse the depths of the interwebz to find blogs, reviews or articles written on the local flair.
- Check out the local newspaper or fire up the google machine to find out who’s ‘best of’ or ‘voted top choice’ in the local community.
- Or, get friendly and ask a local!
Buying local on vacations is important. Whether you’re going up to the Puget Sound in Washington, Upstate New York, Hawaii, Greensboro, North Carolina, Chicago, Illinois, or Bend, Oregon; buying local matters. Let’s take a peek on a grand scale of tourism dollars being spend around the United States. According to Business Insider’s ‘The 20 New Most Popular Cities For Tourists’, Los Angeles ranked #20 and New York ranked #5. But what’s even more interesting is according to their statistics there’s a ton of money that can be pumped in local economies:
“#5 NEW YORK: The 11.52 million tourists who will visit NYC this year will spend the most here than in any other destination — $18.6 billion.”
“#20 LOS ANGELES: 4.84 million people are expected to visit LA this year, bringing in $7.8 billion in visitor spending.”
Yep, you read that right. BILLIONS.
Through careful research, planning, or by the last minute google machine match- remember when you’re on the road or at your destination, you have the power to sustain and grow the local economies with your hard earned dollars. So, instead of a chain hotel- stay at a B&B. Fill the tank up at a locally owned franchised gas station. Eat at the diner that’s been in a family since 1942. Enjoy your vacation, and ‘pay back’ the destination and the citizens who made your vacation great by buying local. Help them, help you!
So go plan your vacations and use that PTO!
P.S. When you see Sunshine again, can you tell him to come back to Oregon? We miss him.