Last week I talked about my experiences as a broke traveler. I think my conclusion was basically: meh, there are worse things in the world. But after I waxed poetic about how it was necessary to be creative as a broke explorer, I thought it was only right share some of my actual ideas on how to explore the world with a teeny-tiny budget.
So here, my friends, are five actionable, easy $5 adventures for broke explorers (plus a bonus map that may give you some other ideas!):
#1: Travel through your taste buds with lunch and a book
I’m going to be honest: if I need to save money, I’m not leaving the house. Otherwise, money will be spent. (Hey – what can I say? – at least I know myself!) So instead of going out and blowing money on things I don’t really need, I stay home with a great food/book combination.
Because most libraries now have an extensive ebook collection, I just hop online and search for a good book that matches the ingredients I’ve got in the kitchen. In no time at all you’ve created an easy meal or snack from abroad and pair it with a great book from the same area – instant travel experience! My own last ‘travel meal’ was a quickly thrown-together focaccia bread and one of my perennial favorites, The Birth of Venus*.
#2: Take public transport to the end of the line (or somewhere interesting along the way)
Faced with nothing to do on the weekend, I spent a lot of time mindlessly riding the Moscow metro and exiting at a randomly chosen stop. While your public transport system may not be quite as magnificent as Moscow’s, there’s surely something there to be appreciated. So: hop on a bus/train/metro and go. Don’t stop until you’re somewhere you’ve never been before.
#3: Download a podcast and explore a new part of your town
Getting out of the house and wandering around somewhere new is easier said than done, but I’ve found it’s easier to motivate myself if I have something to listen to as I walk. I prefer podcasts over music because I can pretend I’m actually expanding my mind as I wander (and perhaps I am!). Travel-themed podcasts are the best as they help you imagine you’re somewhere else altogether!
Whether you’ve got an hour or just a few minutes to learn something new, I’ve got you covered. Find a worthy podcast on the list here.
#4: get travel planning + a caffeine fix in a cool coffee shop
When you’re trying to save money, free time can become really, really tedious. If you’re feeling stuck at home, budget for a fancy coffee and head to a cool local shop for some indulgent travel planning. Whether you’re planning for a big trip once you’re bank account’s flush or just a short weekend jaunt, getting out of the house and letting your imagination run wild is a sure way to energize your creativity.
#5: grab a blanket, pick up some cheap crackers & cheese, enjoy the sunset
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from long days of work and never-ending work weeks, it’s that crashing in bed and mindlessly surfing the internet at night is the perfect way to make a day feel totally wasted. So instead of becoming a lump as soon as you get home, make a conscious effort to get outside in the evening. It’ll make your day feel much longer – in a good way!
And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an old-fashioned picnic! Raid your pantry, buy a $2 bottle of wine, grab a friend and settle in for an epic sunset. Pick a local park you’ve never been to and make the most of an evening outside.
Bonus: check if this WiseBread map has anything for your city
Bloggers from all over the world submitted tips for fun under $5 and the info has been collected on this WiseBread map. While it’s obviously more useful in bigger metropolitan areas, you might find a few activities you haven’t considered before. Give it a try!
How do you quench your thirst for travel when you’ve got a minuscule budget? Please please please share your ideas in the comments below!