05 Aug Entertainment on a Budget while Traveling
Today’s Topic? Entertainment on a Budget while Traveling
Obviously, we travel to see the beautiful sights of various places and to experience different cultures. We like to explore historical sites, cities, castles and churches. Luckily, the world is full of easy to find ancient and historical sites, we have heard of in our history and humanity classes.
We also love local festivals, parks, quirky things off the beaten path, and traditional events. So how could we pass them up, just because we do not want to spend the money? Well, we try not to. However, at the same time we strive not to bust our budget either. We do not necessarily have to go to every concert, festival, church or museum, but we have a good idea of which ones are important to us. Ironically, there were many unexpected events, places to see, and things to experience that we never would have known of or experienced if it was not for us trying to keep our budget. So how did we manage? Here are a few things we learned along our journey.
5 ways to save on your entertainment while traveling
Make friends with the locals!
Whenever you have a chance, try to make contact with the locals!
Nobody likes to spend extra money, but most everybody likes to have fun in their time off work. Just like we enjoy going for walks in parks, checking out local markets, galleries, concerts and events at home, locals in other areas most likely cherish doing the same things around their home. Usually, they know their area like the back of their hand. This makes them a great resource when it comes to places to go. Many small towns host events, parades, festivities that are held at different times of the year. Unfortunately, most of these events are not listed in any tourist guides. Luckily, a lot of people are proud of their region and happy to let you know about beautiful, hidden places off the beaten path, that are usually not mentioned in any travel guide. We have enjoyed dips in hot springs, strolled through beautiful parks, visited pre-historical sites, old roman and medieval ruins. None of them were ever mentioned in a travel guide. We also had an amazing 5 star view of the sunset by the Acropolis and drank local beer at quirky little pubs. All because of local residents leading us on to these special places.
Check online for free events!
The internet is full of information. Many towns are very proud of what they have to offer and organize such events as “free museum nights” to ramp up tourism. Sometimes a festival is going on, when anybody can enjoy a free concert at the market place. Many Cathedrals or other attractions offer free admission or drastically reduced prices during certain days of the month.
The vatican and vatican museum, for example, has free admission every last Sunday of the month. However, you have to show up very early, because there are many visitors and the line can be crazy long early in the morning.
Also the Convento de Cristo in Portugal, one of the last strongholds of the Templar nights and an extraordinary building, is free to visit every Sunday until 14:00. Those are just two places among many, we were able to visit free of charge.
Many major cities have free self guided tours available on-line. They are easily downloaded onto phones and tablets. These self guided tours are great, especially when you don’t like the time constraint of conventional guided tours. Since there is no starting or ending time, you can stay longer at one place of interest and skip another that you might not be so interested in.
If you don’t have a computer handy, most tourist information places and libraries in Europe have computers with internet connection available.
Go to the local tourist information office!
Many places, even the small towns in Europe, have tourist information offices. At times the city hall, may double function as a tourist information center. There, you can find information about accommodations and possible camping opportunities in the area. They often offer free local maps and free self guided tours to go along with the maps. You can also enquire about events, theaters, plays, galleries, local hiking or biking trails, and other curiosities. Also, like we mentioned before, they often offer free internet services here.
We managed to organize our entire route along the Loire Valley with nothing more than the local maps and information about places to see from the local tourist information offices.
Create your own sight seeing tour!
Taking guided tours is an easy task. You go to the touring office, pick a tour, sign up and pay. Afterwards, you stand in line with about 40 other participants to claim a seat on the touring bus or to enter the desired attraction. No thinking required! Unfortunately, this convenience usually comes with a hefty price tag and regimented time schedule. To save money, try to be adventurous and organize your own tour! Most tourist attractions are accessible by public transportation or even by foot or bicycle. This cuts down drastically on the transportation cost. Many places offer self-guided tours of attractions which come in different formats. Some places have audio guides available or pamphlets that give information about points of interest during your tour. Another bonus point for self guided tours is, that you can take as little or as much time to check things out as you desire.
At times you might even find other adventurous travelers at the ticket booth, to form a group and get even bigger discounts.
Look for bulletin boards
Check black boards and bulletin boards at campsites, hostels, and even grocery stores and churches for local events. Not only can you find information on events, but you would also be able to connect with other like minded people to join you or form groups, which may allow you to enter events or attractions at a group discount. This is especially true when visiting hostels and campgrounds, where a lot of budget travelers try to save on entertainment.