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Top Cheap (or Free!) Things To Do With Your Family in a New City

One of the best things about traveling as a family is discovering a new place together. But visit just a few tourist attractions as a family, and the admission fees add up. You’ve already spent money to get to your destination. Why not save a few dollars when you’re there? Mix in a few of these fun and thrifty activities to give your budget a break or challenge yourself not to spend anything on activities on your next trip…and watch the savings add up!

1. Volunteer

You likely wouldn’t think to volunteer on a trip. But with a little pre-planning, this can be a great way to teach children about service while having fun. Keep your family’s interests and hobbies in mind when you’re looking for opportunities. Would they have more fun walking dogs at an animal shelter, sorting items at a food pantry, or getting outside to clean up a local park? The more aligned with interests the opportunity is, the more fun everyone will have. For busy, on-the-go families, volunteering while traveling is perfect for maintaining a sense of schedule and teaching important life lessons.

2. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are a classic way to keep kinds entertained. Whether in your hotel, a designated area like a park, or around the city, create a list of both easier and harder items for kids to locate. (Tip: search online for ideas or ready-made printables.) If your kids have phones or cameras, you can make it a visual scavenger hunt and have them take pictures of things like sculptures and street signs. Put an educational twist on it by having them find different types of plants, critters, or architecture. Another option is to put a spin on classic road trip games, like the license plate game, by taking them into town. The first person to take pictures of 5 license plates from different states wins!

3. Geocache

Geocaching is an activity similar to a scavenger hunt, but it uses GPS or other techniques to locate caches hidden around the world. There are over 3 million geocaches scattered across the globe, so odds are there will be something to find in your destination! Get the free app to get started. You and your family will almost certainly discover something or somewhere unexpected on your hunt.

4. Rent Bikes

More and more towns have rental bikes available for just an hour up to the whole day for a reasonable price. Not only does it get the family exercising in the fresh air, but you’ll cover much more area than walking alone and see more than you would from the car. Look up a recommended biking route that’s the right distance for your family or choose a destination that everyone can agree upon, like your lunch destination, and get pedaling!

5. Free Community Events

Like you, the families living in your destination are interested in free family fun and entertainment. Find a parents’ group online or do a quick search ahead of time to see what’s going on when you’re in town. Community concerts, festivals or fairs, free museum days, farmers markets, yoga classes, ice skating, library programs, sporting events, and local theater are all fun ways to get to know a city better and have cheap entertainment at the same time.

6. Hotel Olympics

If the weather isn’t cooperating with your planned outdoor activities, take the fun inside. Using your hotel’s gym, pool, or common areas, designate specific events for the family to participate in, like cannonballs, relay races, and obstacle courses. The winner gets to choose dinner, the night’s movie, or an activity for the family to do next.

Ready to hit the road with your family and make it the best tournament ever? Head to to book your next stay.

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