If you are a regular reader of Reach Financial Independence, you will know that I love travelling, and I do it pretty often. So often, people ask me: “how do you do it?”, meaning how can I afford to spend a great deal of the year travelling around, while many households struggle to save enough for one week of holiday per year? Well, it is easy, I do a lot of cheap and free activities when I travel.
That helps keep costs down and allows for more travel. When you travel often, you don’t care too much about big sensational attractions, such as bungee jumping, or jet skis, or Segway tours, which are generally very expensive and can quickly max out your travel budget. They’re pretty much the same all over the world. What you want to do is explore what makes a city or a country unique, and generally, it is free.
Take walking for example. Doesn’t get any cheaper. By taking your time to explore a city’s old neighborhood’s, taking it in as you go, stopping here and there to admire a church or drink a cup of coffee, you will get a much better feel of the city than if you get on the double decker city tour buses with all the other visitors.
The same goes for hiking. While many tourists will go to the main natural sight, take a picture, and then look for a helicopter ride above the waterfalls, or a horse riding tour up the mountain, you can take your time and hike around for a few hours. Once the flow of tourists is gone it gets much better anyway.
Most cities also have rich cultural calendars, which are ideal to look for free activities. College towns have art shows, big towns often have free guided tours, or free museum days. Make a quick online search to find out. In Paris for example, the city museums are always free. National museums such as The Louvre are free on the first Sunday of each month. And some spectacular sites that are often closed to the public open once a year (again, for free) in September during National Monuments weekend. Combined with reviews from people who have already been there, you should be all set for an unforgettable an affordable trip.
Sites like Meetup also offer free activities that include meeting local people around a common interest. You can cook a dinner together, go dancing, or follow an art lover to the museum and share their view on a specific type of art.
The web is a great source of free activities to help prepare for your travel. You can virtually walk the streets of a city before you go for real with Google street view, to see what you want to visit, or before you go to a real casino you can try an online casino such as MansionCasino.com – here you can play your favorite games for free, in practice mode.
While some may argue that it could spoil the real experience and the novelty of it, I think for inexperienced travelers, it is a great way to feel like you know a little bit about what you are going to see and experience, instead of it being a big jump into the unknown.