Easy $5 adventures for broke explorers

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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!):

cheap adventure food and book

#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*.

Some of my favorite international food bloggers: Nami-Nami (Estonian/Eastern European), AZ Cookbook (Azerbaijan, Turkey, & beyond!), and The Cook’s Cottage (India).

cheap adventure public transit

#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.

If you’re going far, try taking along Last Bus to Wisdom* or the ever-classic Murder on the Orient Express*.

#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.

cheap adventure travel planning coffee

#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.

cheap adventure picnic sunset

#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!

  • These are good ideas, Polly! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mine is a little bit of a ะดะพะผะพัะตะด idea, perhaps, but I like writing a penpal (or making a new one). It’s cheap / free, plus you eventually get the bonus of a letter in return.
    Katherine recently posted…Best of a Russian JulyMy Profile

  • I really love the public transit idea – I feel like I should get an MRT map and cross off each station as I visit ๐Ÿ™‚ the weather is still pretty sticky here but I am totally convincing my friends to do a wine and cheese picnic this fall!
    Jamie recently posted…how to survive a month of travelMy Profile

  • Awwww! getting such a warm, cozy feeling. Love the pictures, specially that of the train.

  • There is so many reasons why I love this post – I’m so happy that someone shares my view that if you leave the house you’re spending. My friends and bf are always telling me, go for a walk, do something, and I’m trying to save money so I’d much prefer stay home to read a book or write, etc. My man never spends money so he finds it hard to understand. Also, I love travel planning when I can’t travel! Sometimes it even fulfils my dreams. My boyfriend is always worried when I start planning trip lol but i just love planning trips and dream itineraries ๐Ÿ™‚