Saving money for travel is one of the most shared travel advice on the Internet. But what about having fun while traveling without blowing your budget?
Most people avoid travel for this sole reason- they worry that they’ll be bored to death if they travel alone and that having fun equals blowing their budget.
I’ve traveled to more than 20 countries and undertook many solo trips and I’ve never been bored or left with no things to do. Here’s how you can travel for cheap and have a lot of fun at the same time!
Most people relate Couchsurfing to staying at someone’s home for free, but it’s much more than that. Sure, you can find people who would be willing to host you but if you’re in a new place and want to hang out with the locals Couchsurfing is a perfect fit.
You can leave a public message and leave it to people to contact you, or you can check out the website to see all events that are happening in your area. These events are almost always free. You can join weekly meetups, free walking tours, live music, picnics etc.
Couchsurfing also has diverse groups so you can find people with similar interests.
No wonder why the sharing economy websites became so popular!
Go on a Free Tour
You’ll find free tours in almost every major city of the world. Instead of paying for pricey private tours that cost from 100 to 200$, you can go on a free tour and have fun! The offer is rich- there are free walking tours, free cycling tours, free cultural tours, pub crawls and more.
If you’re going to Berlin for example just google ‘Berlin free tours’. You’ll be swamped with the possibilities. Free tours are not totally free as you are expected to tip your guide at the end of the tour. However, it’s still a good value for money and you’ll most likely meet other people.
Visit Museums on a Specific Time
Did you know that you can visit some of the world’s most famous museums for free if you’re there at the specific time?
You can visit Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel for free every last Sunday of the month. If you’re in Paris, you can go to Louvre for free every first Sunday of the month. Check the website of museum you want to visit for more detailed information.
Also, never buy tickets from unauthorized sellers or from people just outside the building. You’ll most likely be a subject of scam and pay 4-5 times higher of the original cost. If you book your ticket online in many cases you’ll also be able to skip the line and you’ll avoid possible scams.
Free Cultural Events
There’s always a wide array of entertainment choices or a cool art exhibit going on with no entrance fee! Finding cool local spots and events is hard when you’re a tourist. Do some online research, check out the tourism board website of your destination, and locals’ blogs for insider tips.
Check out Meetup
Meetup is another good social networking site. The site can help you find and join groups that share your similar interests whether that’s politics, books, health, IT, outdoors, LGBT culture etc.
Walk and Explore
Your two feet can take you far! Instead of going on those sightseeing buses or expensive private tours why not grab a map and explore the city by walking? Not only you’ll be more physically active but you’ll be able to have a better glimpse of the way of life by local people and save more money for other fun activities.
Check out Facebook events
One of my favorite FB features is their events tool. When you’re in a new place you can check out the events page and see all the cool happenings in your area. Most of the time these events are totally free or require a small entrance fee. Parties, free film screenings, language exchanges, group hiking, exhibitions- you’ll find it all on FB events. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to find new things to do.
Attend Free Festivals
Admit it, some festivals can be a serious blow to your budget. Luckily, there are many free and affordable festivals without big price tag, where you can still have a lot of fun. Check out the official tourism board website of the destination you’re visiting for the list of festivals and events happening in the area.
Stay in Hostels
Sometimes just being surrounded by people makes everything better. Hostels are social environments with people from all over the world. They’re a great way to save money on accommodation and in many instances hostels organize free tours for their guests, prepare BBQs and other types of social mixers. No wonder why many travelers opt for hostels when they embark on a solo trip to Europe. Here’s a good resource on how to find cheap accommodation in Europe.
If you have camera, create art
You don’t need expensive or professional camera to take great photos. Your cellphone is enough too. Your time abroad is bound to be filled with new experiences and interesting people. It is something we like to memorialize and treasure – because life is made of experiences. Taking photos can be great stress therapy too! You can find out more about mobile photography in one of my previous posts here.
Spend time in the nature
Mother Earth gave us fantastic nature so why not enjoy it? You can have a light picnic in the park or go hiking. I love visiting botanical gardens as they’re so beautiful and peaceful. Some of them are free but most require a fee. Nevertheless, it will be more than worthwhile!
Go to Free Film Screenings
If you’re traveling during the Summer you’re in luck! Almost every city has outdoor film screenings! Imagine lounging in a park and watching Dazed and Confused or some other great summer flick. It’s also a great place to meet people. The atmosphere is always resembling to watching a movie with your best friends rather than being in a cinema. There is chatter all around as people yell out funny commentary much to everyone’s pleasure, and did I mention the street vendors bring out their best snacks?
Use your student card
If you’re a student you’ll most likely own a student card which entitles you to many discounts and free perks even. These cards offer discounts on accommodation, transportation, museums and other attractions. ISIC is the most famous card of this kind.
Get city tourist cards
Almost every major city and their tourism office offer tourist cards. They range from 1-day, 3-day to 7-day passes and offer free transportation, a guidebook and more than hundreds of discounts. Besides the ordinary tourist passes there are also museum passes which can be a great deal and money-saver if you’re interested in art.
Another fun thing to do is to go to a language exchange meetings. The entrance is free, you can meet a lot of locals and learn a bit of the local language or perhaps, you can help someone with your own! Also expect a lot of laughter 🙂
Drink in the park or utilize Happy Hour
Drinking in some cities can be really expensive so you may as well utilize those happy hour offers. If its summer, even better, you can buy drinks and enjoy them in parks and outside areas. That’s what people do in Berlin. Just make sure to read local laws, not everywhere is allowed to drink outside.
Check out local newspapers and websites
You can also hunt for fun things to do in local newspapers or websites. For example many cities have free magazines that you can find in tourism offices, your hotel etc. They have news on latest happenings and most of them have a listing with events happening in the area.
Also there are many blogs dedicated to a specific destination. You can research those too before traveling.
FourSquare app has been a life saver in so many instances. It is probably the best app if you’re looking for recommendations on restaurants, bars, activities, shopping etc. You can filter the results by distance, ratings and find the best match.
Check out coupon websites
Coupon websites sometimes have great deals on activities, shopping and day trips. You can subscribe to these sites and get all the great deals delivered directly to your inbox.