How to Entertain Out of Town Guests on a Budget

Today we have a post from my new staff writer, Sarah. She blogs at Life [Comma] Etc.

One of the best things about the city you live in is being able to show it off when friends and family members come to visit!

Now, the good news is that you have friends. The bad news, if you’re anything like me, is finding a way to counter the expense that comes along with being a good host.

Instead of worrying about who will be paying for what and planning to go over your budget, why not show them a good time that won’t leave everyone involved over budget?

bloody mary


Image via Flickr - TheCulinaryGeek

Party it Up at Home on a Theme

It doesn’t get much cheaper than staying indoors on your own turf! We’ve covered a few ways to host a party on-the-cheap, but you also create a small budget for a fun themed event. Using your Netflix, cable, or personal DVD collection, choose a popular TV show or movie to theme an event around. Try a cocktail party with details based on The Great Gatsby, or a supernatural party with a viewing of the Buffy TV series or the Twilight films. Dim the lights, light a few candles, and catch up with old friends in a fun new way.

Plan in Advance with Online Coupons

While being on the coupon list for daily deals can ruin your budget when you’re flying solo, it can be a prudent move to sign up for local coupons a few weeks before you expect guests. LivingSocial, Groupon, and other daily deals sites offer exclusive restaurant and “experience” gift cards at steep discounts (think: mani/pedi, massage, photography class). Score discounts on group activities as your treat, or see a fun event coming and alert the crew to each pick up their own coupon for the upcoming visit.

Seek Out Local Events

Seasonal celebrations can often be cheap or at least reduced compared to a big night out on the town. Summer celebrations, fall festivals, winter lights -- depending on the season you’re expecting guests, there should be a plethora of activities you can indulge in that will be low cost or free! Start with your local Chamber of Commerce or city tourism website for a list of events, then branch out into local papers and blogs for the details.

Do you struggle to find low-cost ways to entertain out of town guests? What have you tried with success?


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14 thoughts on “How to Entertain Out of Town Guests on a Budget

  1. Luckily St. Louis is super cheap, and almost all attractions are completely free (brewery tours, the Zoo, museums, etc.). This makes entertaining out of town guests super easy!

  2. Tammy R

    When we first moved to Houston, we would take everyone to Brazos Bend State Park when they visited. The cost is $4 per carload, and you can see alligators up close and personal. No fences!

  3. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides

    I've found that many times, my friends just want to hang out with me and are happy with anything that lets them see the city. It doesn't have to be the expensive things or even the trendy things. Anything that gives them a sense of the city works.

  4. Why hello there Sarah!
    I love using groupon style coupons for activities, I just wish there were more in my town! As a visitor, I also like to get them, because it usually gets locals out and doing something they don't get around to doing.

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