Travel Tip Tuesday: Think Free

The success of a BlinkPacking trip can ride on the traveler’s ability to stretch a dollar. There is no better way to coddle a trip budget than to choose the free or nearly-free options. Here are five ideas.

The land of the free
One of the best examples of cities with free things to do? Washington DC. However, most cities offer attractions at no cost to visitors, such as the Knoxville Art Museum (pictured above). To ferret out the best free attractions, rely on the good old web. For instance, If you are planning a trip to St. Louis, run a Google search for ‘St. Louis Free’, and behold the plethora of results.

Go roomless
Why pay for the time you are sleeping? If you have to travel to your destination anyway, why not choose an overnight bus or train? Instead of wasting precious vacation hours traveling, try leaving the driving to someone else, and get your snooze on at 60 miles an hour.

Hop a ride
More and more visitors bureaus are trying to make traveling around their cities easier on their visitors. In many places, there are now free transit loops, bus trips, and even rapid transit offerings to some of the best tourist destinations. Skip the taxi and opt for the free ride.

On the walkabout
Transit is a cheap and efficient way to zoom around a city. But walking often has a leg up (pun intended). Instead of teleporting from departure to destination, walking offers the BlinkPacker a street-level view into the daily lives of a city’s inhabitants, and the walker is guaranteed to find gems of dining and culture along the way. Plus, walkers are able to burn off that Chicago dog or Cincinnati Five-way Chili on their way to the next stop.

The Free Nosh
A free lunch is difficult (though not impossible) to find, but there are lots of options for sourcing free snacks if you are willing to get a little creative. Banks offer free lollipops. Service stations usually have free coffee and tea on tap. Hardware stores sometimes have free popcorn machines. Visitor Centers are known for having light refreshments available. And here’s a favorite: any fruit growing above public property is indeed in the public domain. Try neighborhoodfruit.com to find a tree near you.

What are some other freebies that have enhanced your BlinkPacking adventures and kept the trip budget in check?

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