Looking for the best travel freebies out there right now? Read on to save big bucks!
“Free” is a word that’s rarely used anymore. Even the dollar, which used to have some value, has been rendered essentially meaningless. It’s hard to find even a bottle of water anymore for that price.
That’s why I’m so excited to share with you some of the best and little-known travel freebies out there right now. Take advantage of these deals and save yourself money on your next vacation.
1. Free museum entry
Most museums have a set day of the month or off-peak hours where they allow free entry. The Perez Art Museum in Miami, for instance, allows free entry the second Saturday of every month and even provides activities for families on that day.
The Louvre, one of the world’s most well-known museums, has free admission to anyone under the age of 26 every Friday from 6pm-9:45pm.
Granted, free admission will naturally draw in a bigger crowd so the museum will be packed, but if you’re looking to save then don’t book a museum ticket without first checking to see if there’s a day or time that you can get in for free.
2. Free audio guides
Why pay for an audio guide when you can get the same content for free straight to your phone? Download apps like Rick Steves Europe and Detour to find free walking tours of major cities.
Most museums also have an app with a guide you can access for free, like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
3. Free city walking tours
These have become the latest craze. They’re run by volunteers and priced on a “tip what you think the guide deserved” basis. I’ve taken tours like this in Argentina and Greece and they’ve been pretty thorough. I usually tip $5-$10 depending on the guide.
Search Google to see if any are operated at your destination. There’s usually at least one company covering the city highlights multiple times a day.
4. Free bicycle rental
Some of the more bike-friendly cities have begun adopting free rental policies. You have to leave a small deposit to take the bike, like the quarter you put in the Aldi shopping cart, but you get your money back when you return the bike.
Programs like this are now available in cities like Copenhagen, Zurich, Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Even better, it’s good for the environment.
5. Free public transport
Not enough people utilize public transport. It’s already dirt cheap as is, but did you know some cities have actually made it completely free?
You’ll find this mostly in European countries like Estonia and Luxembourg. Note that starting in September 2019, Paris will be making public transportation free to anyone under the age of 11.
6. Free books & magazines
I love using the internet for planning, but sometimes it’s nice to hold a book in your hands. You can find free guidebooks at the travel section of your local library. Usually, these are the most up-to-date editions since the librarians want to keep their collection current. With a 3-week rental period, if you find a pocket guide you can eve take it with you on your trip.
Those wanting entertainment for the flight won’t want to carry any more bulk on their precious carry-on space, so instead download entertainment digitally through the Overdrive app. It connects to your local library and allows you to download ebooks and magazines straight to your phone.
7. Free calls and messaging
Leave that phone card at home! It’s not 1999. You can now make phone calls easily through a WiFi connection. Apps like WhatsApp and Google Hangouts let you keep in touch without having to incur roaming fees. You can also make calls to friends on Facebook messenger.
Talk as long as you want, for the low price of free. That $.20/minute mess is for the birds.
8. Free translation
Don’t know how to say something at your destination? Not a problem, Google Translate will fix this for you. Download a language file before you go so you can access the data without need for WiFi.
They also have the capability to translate menu items, so you’ll never order escargot unknowingly again.
9. Free language education
People pay beaucoup bucks to learn new language. Even Rosetta Stone’s most basic program starts at $100+. Those with an interest in learning but who are on a tight budget will appreciate the DuoLingo app, which lets you learn a language on your phone for free.
You can also rent Rosetta Stone at the library or download MP3 files on OpenCulture.com.
10. Free city tours on an airport layover
This is one of my favorites! Kill time on your next long layover with a free city tour. They depart from and return you to the airport and are available in cities like Istanbul, Taipei, Salt Lake City, Seoul and Tokyo
11. Free global entry (practically)
Did you know you can use the TSA Mobile Passport app to skip the lines when re-entering the U.S. without paying for global entry?
I have TSA Pre-check but not global entry, and I’ve never felt less than VIP. I’m usually one of the last people off the plane (from row 50 in economy cabin) but the first person at baggage claim.
12. Free fitness classes
You don’t have to let your gym time go to waste just cause you’re heading on a trip. You can do yoga at airport studios like Chicago Midway International and Dallas Forth Worth for free. Some hotels offer a schedule of classes for free if they have a gym on site.
Also, make sure to check Facebook events for any local events during your trip, like free Zumba in the park on Sundays.
13. Free animal therapy
Cuddles from a therapy pig at San Francisco International Airport? Sign me up! There are also miniature horses at Cincinnati Airport and therapy dogs at Charlotte Douglas Airport.
These animals have been introduced in recent years to reduce the anxiety of passengers. By far, this is the cutest option out of the travel freebies on this list.
14. Free shows & concerts
These are especially common during the summer months, from Shakespeare in the Park in Buffalo, New York to the Festival of Lights in Hamburg, Germany. There are also plenty of free festivals once it starts to get warm outside.
Check your city tourism website for a calendar.
15. Free hotel on a long layover
I saved the best of the travel freebies for last. Did you know you can get a free hotel stay, no points needed? This is a program only available with certain airlines at hub cities, like Air China in Beijing and Emirates in Dubai, but if you’re staying for between 6-24 hours on a long layover they will comp your room.
Bonus? The package may even include ground transportation, meals and visa costs as well!
There are still travel freebies out there, you just need to know where to look.
Till next time, safe travels!
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