Seattle skyline

As a travel blogger, you understand that travel is more than, well, travel.  It’s about discovering a new way of life in a different part of the world, while discovering more about yourself. And the more you travel, the more you want to keep moving, because if there’s somewhere you haven’t been, that’s exactly where you want to be next.

There’s just one problem:  travelling can get expensive fast.

Except that it doesn’t haven’t to – not if you know how to sniff out the best free events and activities a city has to offer.  And what’s great about the freebies is that they’re usually local secrets, filled with culture, history, and a taste of the town’s true character.  Even in some of America’s most expensive cities, you don’t have to spend a dollar to be wowed, enriched, or inspired.  If you prefer to create your own guidebook rather than follow one, here’s how to scope out your free adventure:

  1. A great place to start is with museums.  Even the most acclaimed museums typically have select hours or days that offer free admittance. In New York City, for example,the Museum of Modern Art is typically $25, but you can get in for free on Fridays from 4-8:00p.m. So if you do research in advance, you can plan your stay accordingly and save good money.
  2. Another great resource is the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.   These government-run entities are all about getting the public engaged in outdoor activities, so there are frequently free programs and events offered no matter where you are.  If you’re visiting San Francisco, take advantage of the free fitness classes held in outdoor locations across the city.
  3. Live music is a great way to experience the heart and soul of the place you’re visiting. Just like the museums, many places waive cover charges during certain hours or on certain days.  In Chicago, home of the blues, you can avoid a $20 cover at the famous Buddy Guy Legend’s by heading to their Sunday night Jazz Party from 5-8pm.
  4. Check out local farmers market for insight as to what life is like in that area, and you can usually score some free samples while you’re there! Portland, Oregon, even has a whole site just about the different markets.
  5. In the summertime, outdoor movies are a staple for many cities, but they’re usually not advertised to visitors. In Washington D.C., for example, they are famous for movies on the National Mall, but there are also 10 other venues across town doing the same thing.

You probably know from your own experiences that the best memories are less about how much money you spent and more about the people you met, the hidden gems you discovered, or the trail you blazed.  And it’s a good thing, because travel should be accessible to everyone, regardless of budget.  Share these tips with your readers and help dispel the myth that travel has to be expensive.  Because the more people that travel, the more people are becoming global citizens with the wisdom and humanity to make the world a better place.  It’s not idealistic; it’s the power of travel.

Author Bio:  These tips are courtesy of Hostelling International USA (HI USA), a nonprofit, member organization founded on an enduring belief in the power of travel to foster a deeper understanding of people, places, and the world around.  As the nation’s leading hostel brand, HI USA hosts more than 1 million overnights annually, with guests from more than 100 countries.  For over 80 years, HI USA has provided a network of affordable hostels including converted mansions, reinvented lighthouses, and historic urban buildings all across the country, creating a sense of community among travelers. Visit www.hiusa.org for more information, or discover more free things to do across the U.S. at www.hiusa.org/FreeForAll.

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