Host and experience budget-friendly local tours all over the United States

HipHost, a new “peer-to-peer marketplace for socially-hosted local tours“, not only gives travelers a way to experience new cities from a local’s point of view, but also gives people an opportunity to make extra cash.

Anyone who wants to share their local knowledge can be a HipHost and design a tour based on anything they find interesting. Some tour topics include art, culture, fitness, architecture, history, hiking, markets, music, and more. It’s free to sign-up and guests pay for tours in advance, so hosts don’t have to worry about losing money to no-shows.

Moreover, anyone interested in learning about a topic can search for affordable tours and see a region from a local perspective without paying big tour company prices. Afraid you won’t enjoy your tour? HipHost guarantees a full refund if customers are not satisfied.

Some of the many tours being featured right now include:

And many, many more. Click here to sign-up for and/or host a tour.

Ojai Studio Tour

Ojai is one of those quirky Southern California art towns where creative spirits have fled the big city and set up studios in a more copasetic environment.

This artistic oasis is located between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles and is a pleasant detour if you are driving the coastal road. If you happen to be driving this route this upcoming weekend, however, you must absolutely visit. That’s because October 13 kicks off the 24th Annual 2007 Ojai Studio Art Tour where 40 resident artists will open up their studios to the public.

Studio tours are always rewarding in my opinion; even if the art sucks, it’s always fascinating to see how the artists work and the eccentric ways they’ve decorated their live-in studios.

And if it’s still not your thing, wine country is always nearby…

24 Hour Museum website: a resource to tour for hours

If you are in the United Kingdom or if you are heading there anytime soon, the website “24 Hour Museum,” is a handy reference guide. This is where you can find out about the listings and features of 3,000 museums and heritage sites around the United Kingdom from the large to the small venues. Instead of just listings with brief descriptions, there are downloads of art, other websites and articles about what is going on pretty much everywhere.

One thing I like about the site is that you can find places you may not have thought about. Sure the British Museum in London may be on your list of places to go, but how about The Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester? There’s an exhibit going on with the theme Collective Identity that features the work of 10 Chinese artists.

The 24 Hour Museum also has a feature called Trails. Each trail has a theme that shows travelers what museums and cultural spots have a particular connection to each other. For example, the trail “A History of Enlightenment, Buddhism in London” leads travelers to various museum exhibits, temples and gardens that show a Buddhist influence. There are detailed descriptions of each place so you can brush up on each site’s importance beforehand.

I wish I had known about this site when I was in London for just a day. It would have been great to know what exhibits to look for when we popped in and out of museums in a mad dash to see as much as possible.