Keeping The Guests Entertained On The Cheap

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

The holidays are coming up, and with them come the floods of visitors. Nobody wants to come to hot, miserable Nashville in the summer; so I go visit everyone up north in the summer, and all my Yankee relatives come see me in the winter. It works out.

But when the guests get here, they want to do stuff and I need to keep the guests entertained. They want to eat in restaurants they don’t have at home, and go to all the tourist traps. If you’re escorting your guests around the city, going to the Country Music Hall of Fame for the 1,992,345th time is not just mind-numbing, it’s expensive.

A little planning ahead can go a long, long way, to curb the expense and make sure your guests are entertained and satisfied with their visit.

A little planning ahead can go a long, long way, to curb the expense and make sure your guests are satisfied with their visit. If you’ve lived in your city for a long time, you may already know which tourist traps are worth the admission, and which aren’t. If you’re fairly new to your city, this may be harder to do. Ask your friends and co-workers what places are good and what places aren’t so great. You will find there is usually a fairly general consensus.

Some places, while great, may be horribly expensive; these are the places to send your guests by themselves. Other places may be inexpensive and worth seeing over and over; these are the places to go with your guests. It is also worth it, if you have frequent out of town guests, to buy a membership to a local zoo, museum, or botanical garden. For one thing, they often have reciprocal memberships that you can use while you are out of town. Another thing, sometimes they have free guest passes your visitors can use, saving them some money too.

Eating can be another expensive proposition when you have guests. Guests like to go out to eat, and if you are hit with several rounds of guests within a month, you may find you have way overspent your food budget. There’s no reason this has to be so.

Ethnic restaurants are usually a good bet for inexpensive places to go out to eat. Don’t be afraid if the place looks shady. In general, I have found that the shadier the place looks, the better and more authentic the food is. Of course, test out the restaurant before your guests get to town.  You don’t want to take them somewhere horrible, or be shocked that the shady looking restaurant charges fine dining prices.

Another thing you can do for your guests is cook local food for them. This is another good time to ask around. Many people would be glad to share their recipes for Tennessee Tipsy Cake or their killer Philly Cheesesteak. And, of course, you can always ask us here at Home-Ec 101 for an awesome recipe.

Hope this helps you keep your guests entertained. The most important part of having out of town guests is remembering to enjoy your time with them. Sometimes we get so hung up on details that we forget to have a good time!

You might also like to read: 

Top 5 things to clean to make your guests think you’re a decent housekeeper


  1. Caroline on September 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    There was a time about 8 years ago when i could recite the tour speech from the Tower of London verbatim. Then we got smart, and when guests came, we gave them a cell phone (this is before blackberrys and international cells). an A-Zed (street map), a tube (subway) map, and a list of recommended tourist spots. They left in the morning, came home at night and everyone was happy.

  2. mona on March 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    nice work man 10x

  3. Ann at mommysecrets on October 30, 2007 at 8:48 am

    I’m a TN gal, but I don’t know how to make a TN Tipsy Cake. Will you share the recipe?

  4. Amy on October 29, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Those are great tips! I couldn’t agree more on all counts!

  5. Cheerful Frugality, Uncomplaining | Frugal Hacks on October 29, 2007 at 10:31 am

    […] Cheerful: Let’s invite out-of-town friends to vacation in our home. Let’s enjoy their fellowship while we show them the town. […]

  6. newscoma on October 27, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Ivy, Great post! And a lot of good points.
    You’re right, people do want to go out and do the cha-cha shuffle which usually costs cash.

  7. Meredith from Merchant Ships on October 27, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Good points!

    I like to pull out the Entertainment Book for just such occasions. Even if you send your guests on their own, “buy one admission, get one free” is nice.

    Some favorite free places we like to take visiting guests:
    *Bicentennial Mall downtown
    *Downtown library for marionette shows or just to gawk at the incredible reading room
    *Ellington Agricultural Center and museum
    *Hike up Ft. Negley (conveniently located between the Sounds stadium and Adventure Science Center)

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