Monday, March 24, 2008

Free & Low-Cost Activities on the Road

Today Coupon Mom had a post on her blog about a website called on which you can find things to do for free in all 50 states. That's new to me. I'll have to keep it in mind when we start traveling again in the fall.

Michael and I have taken lots of trips together and are always on the look out for fun, interesting, and free (or at least, low cost) things to do. He's a master at searching the Internet for great attractions to visit during our travels. We also always request for the local and state visitors' centers to send us their packets of information before we go. (Their contact info is easily found by doing a quick Internet search.) We get free maps, brochures, and magazines about the area we are going to visit. They often include coupons for attractions and restaurants too. We usually plan several months in advance so that we have time to scour the brochures, tourist magazines, and websites to find the best things to do -- and to see if we can get a deal.

We love to experience a bit of local life when we go somewhere. Often those types of things are free. Here are just a few of the things we've done over the past few years: In Milwaukee we visited the Miller Brewing Plant and took their free tour. In Oklahoma City we, city folks, actually really enjoyed sitting in on cattle auctions at the Stockyards -- also free. In Kentucky we went on a couple of tours of distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail -- of course, they were free. We always make a point to take the free capitol building tours when we are in a state capital. We also got a great view of Hartford, CT by going to the top of the Travellers Tower -- which has an observation deck that is open to the public for free May through October.

Use your resources and do some research before you go. You can find a lot things to do for little or no money!

PSA: do plan to have a designated driver if you are visiting a brewing plant or distillery. Some of them (i.e. Miller's and Jim Beam) will give visitors who are of legal drinking age several full-size samples!

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Kristi said...

This was a pretty timely post for me - Bryan and I will be spending next weekend in New York City! Amazingly, we've been able to put together a pretty inexpensive itinerary, even in the Big Apple, by utilizing several free tours. We've both been before and done the main tourist attractions, so we're saving money by doing things that are a little off the beaten path. I found most of our ideas on, but I bet most big cities have a similar site. If we can manage it in New York, chances are it can be done almost anywhere.

Betsy said...

Kristi - I'd love to know what your itinerary is. What are the free tours?!

Since you are traveling with a NYC-pro, you'll have no problem finding good, inexpensive places to eat. But see my post on 1/19/08 for a couple of places I found in Manhattan.

Have a great trip!!!

Kristi said...

We are spending money to go to the Met, but our free plans include a walking tour of the downtown district (offered every Saturday at noon), a ride on the Staten Island Ferry (always free admission), a tour of the New York Public Library (offered regularly), and a self-guided walking tour through Central Park. Of course, Bryan has a master itineray, with times and dates plugged in. :)