Budget-Friendly Fun: 20 Absolutely Free Activities to Do During Your Travels

Budget-Friendly Fun: 20 Absolutely Free Activities to Do During Your Travels

Traveling to new destinations is a thrilling experience full of wonder and amazement. There are just so many things to try for the first time! The best part is, you'll likely form lasting memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life. But if you're young or on a budget, who says you have to break the bank just to have a fun, memorable trip? In this article, you'll find 20 fantastic, fun, and most importantly, FREE activities to enjoy while on your travels. Let's take a look at all the cool things you can do!

1. DIY City Scavenger Hunt

It’s time to put on your detective hat with this free but very fun activity. Explore the city with your very own DIY scavenger hunt! All you really need is a map and a keen eye; as you traverse through the city, look for unique landmarks, historical sites, or bizarre street art. You not only get to see the city with a unique perspective, but you’ll also get a taste of its hidden gems and treasures. 

guilherme-stecanella-SaVlzqe9068-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

2. Sunrise/Sunset Viewing

Nothing beats the raw beauty of a sunrise or sunset, especially when you’re already feeling that magic thanks to being in a new city. Just find a nice hill, rooftop, or park, and bring a cozy blanket or a light chair. It’s free, it’s majestic, and it’s a different experience in every city. This peaceful activity works both as the perfect way to start your day, or the perfect way to end your day on a beautiful note. 

david-mullins-3Jnws1iRSwk-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by David Mullins on Unsplash

3. Volunteer Experiences

Now this is one you’ve probably never considered - volunteering can be an amazing way to connect with the local community. Help clean up a park, assist at a local shelter, or teach a class at a community center. Not only will you make new friends and learn more about the culture, but you’ll also feel great knowing you made a positive contribution. It’s a rewarding experience that won’t cost you a single dime!

ray-sangga-kusuma-7uSrOyY1U0I-unsplash-1024x680.jpgPhoto by ray sangga kusuma on Unsplash

4. Attend Free Events and Festivals

Dive into the local culture by attending free public events or local festivals. From musical performances in the park, food festivals on the streets, to art exhibitions, these events often highlight the essence of the city’s culture. You’re sure to have a fantastic time, but you’ll also get a genuine taste of local life. 

nandu-menon-hGHldbCgYDA-unsplash-1024x683.jpgPhoto by Nandu Menon on Unsplash


5. Explore Local Parks and Gardens

Parks and gardens can be a traveler’s paradise - they provide beautiful scenery, fresh air, and a break from bustling city life. You can enjoy a nice leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply lie down and read a book. It’s the perfect way to relax after a long day, all while soaking in the beautiful nature that lies around you.

ignacio-correia-1_yycyoMT6g-unsplash-1024x576.jpgPhoto by Ignacio Correia 🟢 on Unsplash

6. Visit Local Markets

Check out the local farmer’s market or flea market for a unique cultural shopping experience. You don’t have to buy anything to enjoy the vibrant colours, unique offerings, and live atmosphere. Many markets also offer free samples of local foods or have street performers, providing a multi-sensory treat that represents the local vibe. 

diego-catto-sw9V-jBBurQ-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Diego Catto on Unsplash

7. Try Outdoor Fitness Activities

Who said working out has to cost you? Take advantage of the free outdoor gym equipment that many cities have. Alternatively, go for a run or hike in a local park or along a scenic route. It’s a fun way to keep fit while exploring the city’s natural beauty. Besides, after indulging yourself in the tastiest treats, a little workout might be what you’re looking for.

hopefilmphoto-FOf71KkqLrs-unsplash-1024x679.jpgPhoto by Надя Кисільова on Unsplash

8. Visit Historic Sites

Historical landmarks, memorials, and old districts are usually free to visit but are enlightening educational experiences filled with stories. Walking through these places is like stepping back in time. You can learn all about the city’s history, heritage, and even some interesting trivia. It’s a valuable experience you simply won’t regret!

k-mitch-hodge-oQ9pECond48-unsplash-1024x640.jpgPhoto by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

9. Free Museum Days

Many museums offer free entry on certain days or times. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the city’s history, art, and culture. Just remember before you go, check the museum’s website for more details about their free admissions and what you can expect. A day in the museum can be an enjoyable one without having to take out your wallet even once. 

amy-leigh-barnard-H3APOiYLyzk-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Amy-Leigh Barnard on Unsplash

10. Street Performances

Cities around the world are just teeming with the most talented street performers. From musicians and magicians to mimes, you can enjoy a variety of different live performances everywhere you go! Just find a comfortable spot to sit or stand, and enjoy the show. It’s a free, entertaining spectacle that will leave you both amazed and full of joy.

alex-alvarez-ZK_KZnT5z9U-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Alex Alvarez on Unsplash


11. Free Walking Tours

Many cities around the globe offer tourists free walking tours. These guided tours are an excellent way to explore the city, discover its history, and hear fascinating stories from a local guide. Just be sure to tip your guide as a courtesy! After all, thanks to their guidance, you’ll walk away with a richer understanding of the city and its culture without spending much.

janis-oppliger-dRHE-XF7wls-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Janis Oppliger on Unsplash

12. Snap Away With Your Camera

Bring out your camera or smartphone and go on a photo walk around the city. Look for interesting architecture, colourful murals, or the hustle and bustle of daily life. Not only will you get to explore the city this way, but you’ll also hone you photography skills as you create beautiful, tangible memories to look back on. You definitely won’t regret having an entire scrapbook’s worth of photos to reminisce on. After all, sometimes beauty can be found in the simplest of things.

erik-mclean-9XK7vgoGSgc-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

13. Taste the Street Food

While this idea isn’t entirely free, sampling street food can be a cheap and tasty adventure. Just walk down the street to enjoy sweet treats and savoury delights - food stalls and markets are culinary treasure troves just waiting for you to open them! You’ll get to taste the authentic flavours of the city, interact with locals, and have an overall delicious experience like no other. 

syed-ahmad-kgjQ1AGDwE0-unsplash-1024x576.jpgPhoto by Syed Ahmad on Unsplash

14. Beaches and Lakes

If you’re near a coast or a lake, a day at the beach will cost you nothing. It’s the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing dip. Collect seashells, build sandcastles, or just lie there listening to the calming waves. It’s a great way to unwind after your busy travels, blending together the best of relaxation and adventure. 

johnny-africa-rAHEjUB-L6c-unsplash-1024x576.jpgPhoto by Johnny Africa on Unsplash

15. Public Lectures and Workshops

Universities, libraries, and community centers often hold free public lectures or workshops you can attend. They cover a wide range of topics from local history and culture to arts and science. Not only can you learn something new, but you can also engage with the local intellectual community. If you’ve got the spirit for education, this can make your trip even more meaningful. 

lexscope-0k2mMcdTOYU-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by LexScope on Unsplash

16. Discover Street Art

Cities worldwide have become open-air museums with stunning murals and graffiti. Exploring these artworks is like embarking on a cultural journey; you’ll be amazed by all the talent and creativity displayed on the city walls. Plus, if you’re looking for a great photo, they make for great backdrops! It’s a simple but fun way to explore the city and view some beautiful sights.

hin-bong-yeung-jF946mh5QrA-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Hin Bong Yeung on Unsplash


17. Bird Watching

For something a little different, grab a pair of binoculars and head out to a local park or forest for bird watching. It’s a peaceful, meditative experience that lets you connect with nature. Learn about different bird species, enjoy their bright chirping, and relish in all the calmness and serenity around you. Being in a different country might just expose you to some really unique and interesting birds!

forest-simon--TX0ufDSCV4-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Forest Simon on Unsplash

18. Stargazing at Night

If you’re in a location with less light pollution, stargazing can be a truly jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring activity to do. Just lay back, enjoy the fresh night air, and gaze at the beautiful stars. If you’re knowledgeable enough, you can even try to identify a few constellations. It’s a humbling, magical experience that’s both free and reminds us of our small place in the entire universe.

mark-de-jong-B3BisFE09y8-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Mark de Jong on Unsplash

19. Visit the Library

Public libraries aren’t just for books. They often host free events like author readings, book clubs, and film screenings. But of course, if you love books too it’s a great place to visit. Furthermore, the architecture of some libraries is definitely worth seeing. You can spend hours in these quiet spaces, getting lost in different worlds without ever leaving the city.

gabriel-sollmann-Y7d265_7i08-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Gabriel Sollmann on Unsplash

20. Take a Walking Architectural Tour

Every city has its unique architectural charm, some likely vastly different from your own home city. So to truly absorb all that the city has to offer, explore its buildings, monuments, and bridges. Admire the different architectural styles and learn about their historical and cultural significance. It’s an enriching experience that allows you take in all the city's wonders. 

lance-anderson-QdAAasrZhdk-unsplash-1024x682.jpgPhoto by Lance Anderson on Unsplash

Exploring new places can be an exciting adventure that doesn’t have to drain your wallet. With these 20 free activities, you’re not only saving money, but you’re also experiencing the city in unique and rewarding ways. After all, the best trips come from completely immersing yourself in the culture and interacting with the locals!