• 22 November 2017

We’re here to tell you how to save money while you travel! If you’re on a coach tour that already includes many outings, you can save even more as you find free things to do on your free days.

Here are a few cheap or free things to do in just about any destination…

Seek out & document street art

Spot the street art as you wander through the streets of Paris

Most world cities have a lively street art scene. This includes everything from colourful graffiti to centuries-old statues. Take a walk around the city you’re visiting and snap a few pictures of the art that catches your eye. You might even encounter a few talented buskers or street performers!

In Edinburgh, you can walk the streets of the Scottish capital and watch all the street shows taking place during the Fringe Festival. Or, you can walk through Covent Garden in London and give a moment to the street performers along the way.

Did you know? Rod Stewart, Pierce Brosnan, Bernie Mac and Tracy Chapman started out as street performers and buskers.

Check out the local community calendar

Many towns and cities have community calendars with free events. Art shows, amateur theatre, classes in origami – you name it, it might be on there. Join in on a free community activity to soak up some local culture. It’s a great way to mingle with the locals and get a true sense of the place.

In Amsterdam you can look at this guide, to see what’s on while you’re there.

Fringe Festival in Edinburgh brings all kinds of performers (left), street entertainment in Barcelona (top right), the streets of London are full of possible entertainment (bottom right)

Visit the library

Depending on where you are, the local library could well be an entertainment treasure trove. In many European countries, libraries are stunning buildings with a lot of history. Others are marvels of modern architecture.

The Trinity College Library is a must-see if you find yourself in Dublin, Ireland! You can visit the Library of Congress in Washington DC – you can join an hour-long free walking tour and learn all about the history.

Have a picnic lunch in the park

If you are travelling in summer, a picnic in the local park is a great way to spend some free time. Get some bread, cheese and fruit from a market and spread out the loot. Get comfortable and watch the world go by. It’s a wonderful way to people watch and see what the locals are up to. On tour in winter?

Wrap up warm and go for a walk in the park. Stop for a warming cup of coffee or cocoa and enjoy the stark beauty of nature in repose.

Famous urban parks to choose from include: Central Park (NYC), Hyde Park (London), Park Güell (Barcelona), Monsanto Forest Park (Lisbon) and Phoenix Park (Dublin)… but that’s only naming a few!

There’s nothing better than watching the locals go about their day as you sit back and relax in the park

Go hiking

If you’re fairly active at home and brought along the proper gear, a brisk hike is another lovely option. Most cities and towns have a few hiking routes. Just be sure not to hit the trails unprepared. Plot your route beforehand and take plenty of water. Also be sure to check with your tour guide whether it’s safe to go on your own. If you can tick all those boxes, a hike on new terrain is a great adventure.

In Cape Town you can take a hike up Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. And in Italy you can walk from village to village in Cinque Terre.

Look up free days at museums & art galleries

If you find yourself in a beautiful city, with a whole day before you but a very limited budget you will still be able to get a glimpse of the culture to be found in the city. London is home to a whole list of free museums that are waiting to be explored.

In Dublin, you can see the world through the eyes of a leprechaun as you wander through the Leprechaun Museum, for free.

Travel Tip: From October to March, the first Sunday of every month allows free access to any museum in Paris!

Go swimming or walk the beach

If you’re visiting a coastal destination, a visit to the beach is a must. If it’s summer, get in the water for a swim! If you’re in a landlocked area, see if you can go find a local swimming pool or covered baths. In certain areas, e.g. Russia and Turkey, bathhouses are still very much a thing. Hot springs and thermal spas are also a fun way to experience local culture.

Enjoy some crepes in Paris (left) and sharing always lets your money go further

Get local fare from a street vendor

Almost every city or town has its ‘local thing’ when it comes to street food. In the Netherlands, it’s bitterballen and poffertjes. In Greece it’s Souvlaki. Germany has hot pretzels; France has crêpes. Your holiday is not complete until you’ve eaten this piping hot from a street vendor.

Best of all – since they don’t have to pay expensive overhead, the street version of these famous foods are mostly fairly cheap! Grab it hot and fresh, take a seat where you can watch the world go by and dig in.

Did you know? Famous cola brands taste different in every country due to the sugar content and preparation regulations.

The Long Room at Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells (believed to have been written in 800AD)
Natural History Museum in London, England

Find free audio tours & guide yourself

The tech age is a wonderful time to be alive. We’re all basically carrying computers in our pockets! Download a free audio tour of the city you’re visiting and you can stream it from your cellphone. Then hit the road and start exploring!

Next time you’re on tour, challenge yourself, your companion or fellow travellers. See if you can spend an entire day without spending any money.

Have a solid breakfast at the hotel and hit the road. You can cheat a little by packing a snack that you brought the day before. But other than that, see if you can find a way to keep your travel cash in your pocket for a full 24 hours. It will open your eyes to the many cheap and free things there are to do on holiday!

Questions & Comments

  1. Interested in tour in Cinique Terre. Pls advise

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