Once you’ve paid for your flights, transportation, hotels, and food, you’ll have spent a pretty penny on your vacation. If you’re on a budget, this can pose some challenges. You want to see and experience things, but you don’t want to be limited because you can’t afford a lot of extras.
If you’ve been paying attention to sound personal financial advice, you’ll have spent months saving for your vacation. But you shouldn’t waste all your cash on exorbitant entertainment. You want to have a good time, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your financial stability.
The good news? There’s plenty of free entertainment out there if you know where to look. Use these tips to keep your pocketbook happy and your personal finances under control while you travel.
- Scope Out Reviews Ahead of Time
Sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Klook (with promo code inside), and Priceline allow vacationers to share their travel experiences through online reviews. It may take some time to comb through their responses, but you can learn about dozens of free things to do when visiting a specific vacation destination.
While you’re on these sites, search for free things to do in the area. These searches don’t always offer perfect results, but you’ll still come up with several ideas.
- Read Comprehensive Travel Guides
For the most popular travel destinations, you should be able to find comprehensive guides on the best things to do in a certain area. These guides will list sight-seeing, walking tours, free museums, and more. For example, this list of things to do in Rome features dozens of free activities that anyone can enjoy.
Travel guides in book form can also give you a detailed look into the best free activities in a certain city. Of course, you’ll have to purchase the travel book in order to find these ideas, but that may be a worthwhile expense if it saves you hundreds on entertainment.
- Follow Travel Blogs
Travel bloggers are fountains of knowledge. You can learn even more by subscribing to bloggers who specifically focus on budget activities. Here’s a list of great budget travel blogs any financially savvy wanderer should read.\:
- Budget Traveller
- Wandering Earl
- The Poor Traveler
- Map Happy
- Shereen Travels Cheap
As you read these blogs, you’ll also learn some valuable skills for finding free and affordable entertainment on any trip you take.
- Hit Up Visitor’s Centers
When you travel, stop in at the visitor center right away. Most popular tourist destinations and cities have them. You can pick up a map and other valuable information, including a list of free and affordable entertainment.
This is also a great opportunity to ask an expert specific questions about free and affordable things to do around town. If you say you’re on a budget, the staff should be able to guide your choices according to your financial need.
- Walk a Lot
Transportation is one of the most expensive aspects of a vacation. What’s more, if you have free access to a vehicle, you’re more likely to spend more money than necessary. Vacationing in a walkable area offers a huge money-saving advantage.
Start by booking a hotel in a central location. After planning your trip and identifying the key places you want to stop on your travels, choose a hotel that’s in the middle of it all. Walking is totally free, and it should go off without a hitch if you plan in advance.
- Talk to Locals
Strike up a conversation with people who live where you’re vacationing. They’re likely to not only share their favorite free entertainment options, but also give you directions and advice on getting there.
Just be tactful when approaching locals. There’s nothing more annoying than a pushy tourist with little regard for their everyday routines. Be polite and make sure a person has time before asking questions.
- Use Travel Apps
Travel apps are hugely beneficial for the avid traveler. They help you organize your vacation and save money on the way. The right travel apps can also economize your trip and help you make better financial decisions while you’re there.
For example, Google Maps can show you a list of accommodations in your area, and you can select the best free entertainment. There are also apps like AroundMe that can direct you to nearby activities. Download a few budget-friendly travel apps and use them to help you save money on your vacation.