Travel always seems like something that is so expensive. There’s the transportation, the accommodations, the food, the activities… And yes, a lot about traveling IS expensive (unless you use rewards points). But there are many activities that cost little or no money! Sometimes, those things can also end up being the most rewarding. So do your research when you’re planning a trip, and find activities in the categories below.

But there are many activities that cost little or no money! Sometimes, those things can also end up being the most rewarding.


I don’t know about you, but natural wonders are one of the main reasons that I travel. Most of the activities on my list when I travel are related to nature. I love going to parks, to waterfalls, to mountains, etc. Not only do these places make for amazing photos, they also tend to be cheaper than other activities. Yes, sometimes you have to pay a small fee to get into a state or national park, but it’s often worth it!

So find out about nearby hiking trails or beaches. Research UNESCO World Heritage sites and see if there are any near where you’ll be. In Portland last week, I went to the International Rose Test Garden. It was beautiful AND free. Plus it gave us a great view of the city. The opportunities are nearly endless.

If you’re interested in seeing many different National Parks in the US, consider buying an annual pass. For $80 a year, you can get into as many National Parks as you want. Plus, you’re supporting the National Park Service, which needs our help!

Booze Tours

One activity I like to do while traveling is go on brewery tours. I’m a beer fan, and I always find it interesting to see what different breweries are like. The tours themselves are often free, but you may end up paying for some beer. You can also look for things like winery or distillery tours. Don’t drink? Look for tours of other factories. In Boulder, Colorado, you can do a free tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory! That was probably the best tour I’ve ever done. Plus, all the tea for sale there was cheaper than it is in stores. So do some research before you travel and see what tours are available that you might not have thought of before.


Not all cities have free museums. In fact, I feel pretty spoiled having lived in DC for 8 years. We have so many free museums that I’m always shocked when I have to pay to go in one somewhere else. So if you don’t live in DC, but you’re planning a visit, there are plenty of free museums for you to explore.

If you’re not traveling to DC, find out how much it costs to go to museums where you’ll be. It’s amazing the types of museums you might find: science, art, history, wax, toy, maritime, and more! There’s really something for everyone. You can spend days exploring museums, sometimes for a low or non-existent price.

Like I said, travel can be expensive, but there are plenty of fun things to do that are also inexpensive or free. You just have to do a little digging and think outside of the box. You might even find beautiful hidden gems (like the waterfall where I got engaged last week)…

What types of free or cheap activities do you do while traveling? Share in the comments!