Traveler's Test

Where to go when you have no money (or literally a few dollars)

Where to go when you have no money (or literally a few dollars)

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The challenge: organize a completely free or nearly free trip

Next time you’re feeling the wanderlust but don’t have two pennies to rub together, use these crazy, quirky and unusual ideas to enjoy a cheap getaway. Life is short; you should try to organize an entirely free trip at least once in your lifetime, or at least learn how to have eyes for the obvious opportunities that lie right under your nose. Some of these ideas are destination-specific, but most are not. Enjoy!

Completely free ideas

1. Make the most of your friends (because that’s what friends are for). In the best-case scenario, you will have friends or relatives who can host you and feed you well during your trip. But then you’ll have to pay for transportation… so…

2. Delve into your reserves – maybe you have unused gift vouchers, tickets or airline miles you can exchange for a free ticket. Voila! Now you’ve got a free weekend somewhere exotic!

3. Go in the wilderness and find your way using only the sun and a long stick (***here’s how to do it***). The long stick needed for this experiment usually comes free in the wilderness.

4. If you are in Paris, you can drink free sparkling water from street fountains.

5. Become a local volunteer guide and meet a bunch of new and interesting people.

6. Immerse yourself in nature to take care of your mental health (it’s proven nature has this magical property). Leave your phone at home and experience the healing power of the forest, like people in Japan do. Here’s a list of fun nature challenges to complete.

7. If you are in Amsterdam, you can hitchhike on a local’s bike. Here’s how.

8. Organize a night picnic (because everything looks different by the light of the bonfire).

9. Bathe in a waterfall (that’s a free shower from nature). Here are 5 American waterfalls to bathe in.

10. Spend the night camping or, if you’re feeling even more adventurous, sleeping in a hammock hung in a forest.

11. Visit a museum or a gallery on its free admission day. Check the attractions around you and see when you can get in for free.

12. “Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom,” Terry Pratchett once said. Why don’t you post something on social media like: “Hey, I have no money and no idea where to go, but I want to go somewhere interesting. Any ideas?”. If you don’t know what to do, it doesn’t mean nobody else knows. Everyone has at least a few pals who know all the deals and will happily share them with you.

13. Barter for a night at a B&B anywhere in the world in exchange for a skill (painting, gardening, etc). Here’s how to do it.

14. Just head out to a park or a forest and take a nap under a tree on a sunny day.

15. Skinny-dip in a lake.

16. Dedicate a day or two to researching the past of your own neighborhood or town. Make a list of fun facts and write a visitor’s guide through the eyes of a local.

17. Check your city’s official website for upcoming events. It’s amazing how much free entertainment passes unnoticed every day!

18. Get your bike, blast our amazing bicycle-themed playlist through your headphones and set off on a day trip. Bring sandwiches.

19. Go stargazing with a friend. Take your sleeping bags and go somewhere away from the city lights and smog to enjoy the night sky. This is a good time to catch up.

>>> Here’s a complete guide to traveling for free.

Ideas that require a minimum investment

20. Go to the nearest bookshop-cafe. Order a coffee and feed your wanderlust by reading a travel book.

21. Hitchhike or take the public bus to a neighboring city and have a coffee there.

22. Take your friend’s kids for a walk in nature. This idea is great for you, your friend (because they’ll score a free day) and the kids, who’ll get to spend some time with their mommy or daddy’s cool friend.

23. Head to a low-cost airline’s website and see what’s the lowest fare from your nearest airport. Sometimes, you can book flights for as little as $20 return per ticket.

24. Organize a picnic.

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