From walking tours to free museum days, street art and local food, discover 8 things to do for little to no money.
Gifts, parties, dinners and the high rate of inflation…For many 2023 begins with saving money high on the agenda. If that sounds like you, but you still have a burning desire to travel and explore new destinations, don’t worry. We’ve come up with a list of budget and free activities that you can do in almost any destination. Best of all these experiences can also be easily adapted to where you live, so if you’re short on time you don’t have to go far from home to see something new.
Read on to discover 8 budget-friendly things to do around the world (or in your hometown):
1. Take a walking tour
A walking tour is a great way to explore a new destination. You get to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the city, while also seeing its top attractions and getting some fresh air and exercise. Walking tours are also led by local guides, who share little-known facts and anecdotes that let you dive deeper into your destination.
Many walking tours are also free or cost relatively little, with several options you can choose from depending on your budget and preferences. With a self-guided audio tour, like this one in Paris, you can explore the city at your own pace. Or, if you think you know your destination very well, why not go on a themed tour? You’ll learn something new and get to see the sights from another perspective. You can also do this in your hometown and get to know it even better.
2. Make the most of free days at the museum
Going to the museum doesn’t have to be a pricey affair, in fact sometimes it’s completely free! That’s right, some museums offer free admission on certain days and times. The Prado Museum in Madrid is free to enter from two hours before closing and on some public holidays. There are also many museums in major European cities, such as Berlin, Barcelona and Milan, which are free on the first Sunday of the month. And in Britain most national museums are always free, no matter what day or time. So, if you’re in London, take the opportunity to visit the National Gallery and the Tate Modern, just to name a few. Finally, museums such as the Met and the American Museum of Natural History in New York let residents enter by making a small donation.
3. Create a gastronomic experience at home
Do you like good food and discovering new flavors, but want to stay true to your savings plan? Then create a restaurant experience in your very own living room! Depending on where you live it’s fairly easy to source ingredients for foreign dishes and there are thousands of recipes online, even some which are relatively basic and easy to follow. You could make Lebanese hummus, Thai pad or Mexican tacos right in your kitchen. And to complete the experience we recommend choosing a theme, inviting family or friends, decorating the dining table and printing the menu, as if you were in a real-life restaurant.
4. Save with an attraction pass
Taking a vacation on a budget doesn’t mean giving up visiting a destination’s top attractions. By planning your itinerary well and calculating costs, it might make sense to buy a pass that includes access to several attractions at a discount. These passes vary greatly depending on the destination, but usually grant free entry to main museums and attractions, sometimes with discounts on activities, shops and restaurants. Are you planning a trip to Barcelona, Gran Canaria or Mallorca? Check out our TUI Passes and get the most out of your holiday at a very reasonable price.
5. Hunt for street art
Since the birth of graffiti in the 1950s, art has broken free of museums and burst onto city streets all over the world. Colorful, original and fantastically democratic, street art is literally within everyone’s reach and is now found almost everywhere. One of the best-known European capitals for street art is Paris, especially thanks to the murals and graffiti of the 20th arrondissement. New York is also considered the cradle of graffiti and this historically significant scene is still very active. It’s mainly concentrated in Bushwick and Harlem. Take a look around and you might be surprised to find amazing artwork on the walls of your city, too. Do you like art challenges? Download the artist’s Invader app and find the “invaders” scattered on the streets of about 80 cities around the world.
6. Join a free course
When traveling there’s no better way to meet local people than by attending a course or workshop, which is even better when it’s free. With a little pre-departure research, you’ll be able to join free yoga classes at some of the world’s most famous parks, like Bryant Park in New York City. Even in Berlin it’s easy to find completely free experiences, events and workshops that make for a refreshing change in any classic travel itinerary. In Orange County, California, you could even take a free trapeze lesson!
7. Walk or rent a bike
One of the best ways to explore a travel destination is by foot. Compared to getting around by uber, taxi or public transport, not only will it save you money it’ll also let you discover hidden corners and glimpse local scenes you might otherwise miss. Taking a walk is also a great way to rediscover your city, letting you stumble upon shops, bars, buildings and monuments that you might never have noticed before. If, on the other hand, you need to go a little farther, why not consider renting a bike? Prices are usually low and you’ll avoid traffic jams and get around faster, while also doing some exercise and enjoying the feel of the wind in your hair.
8. Plan where to eat
Saving on meals doesn’t mean missing out on local specialties. In fact, it’s the opposite! Very often the best way to taste the local flavors of a destination is by eating street food, buying fresh or particular foods at the neighborhood markets, or even getting products from the supermarket that you can’t find at home. For those who are passionate about food, you could even join a food tour. Not only will you get to explore different neighborhoods and their fantastic foodie offerings, you’ll have the knowledge of your local guide at hand.