10 low cost adventure ideas

Many of us will be eager to have some new adventures, make some fresh memories, and try to put the events of the last year behind us. However, with the thirst for adventure often comes worries about money, and you may find yourself weighing up the cost of fun, against the cost of more pressing financial responsibilities.

But, the good news is that there are plenty of free or inexpensive ways that you can seek adventure, either alone or with others. From borrowing a pet, to hunting for treasure, here are 10 low cost adventures to help you make the most of the year ahead.

1. Create a time capsule

Time capsules are invaluable, because not only do they help us to take note of where we are now and how far we’ve come – but they also serve as a powerful way for us to communicate with future generations (or our future selves) across a span of many years. The process of selecting and packing away items that you love or cherish, or that represent some of the best and worst times in your life, can also be incredibly cathartic.

Making a time capsule doesn’t have to cost anything at all, as the items that go in it will typically be things that you already own, and that mean something to you. Many capsules also contain a handwritten letter to a person’s future self, or to the finder of the capsule.

It’s up to you to choose what sort of container you want to use to store items in, but this need not be expensive – for example, many people choose to use a shoe box or an old biscuit tin.

Where you decide to store your time capsule will also depend on how long you intend for it to be hidden away for. You might decide to put it in the loft and open it yourself in five years time, or you might choose to bury it somewhere for future generations to find and treasure in, say, 50 or 100 years time. For tips on how to create a time capsule that will last for decades or longer, check out this YouTube video here.

As well as making your very own time capsule, you could also get other family members involved too. Your grandchildren, for example, could fill their capsules with things like a treasured toy, book or favourite item of clothing. Check out this article on Time Capsule Ideas: 38 Things To Put In Your Capsule for some ideas and inspiration – or have a watch of the video below to see someone opening their own time capsule after 30 years!

2. Take part in an AirBnb Experience

AirBnb Experiences involve local experts hosting one-of-a-kind activities for participants, either in person or online – and often at reasonable prices too. The idea is that you gain insight into the host’s unique world, and in turn, are taken on a fascinating journey.

Experiences usually last for a few hours and can include anything from yoga at Newquay beach through to a walking tour of Glasgow Cathedral. If you live local to an experience, then you might be able to take part now (depending on what the experience is). Alternatively, you could book an experience as part of an AirBnb staycation for later in the year. One of the great things about booking accommodation through AirBnb is that there is usually a price to suit everyone’s budget.

If you don’t fancy travelling or attending an experience in person, then you might want to book a space on a virtual AirBnb Experience instead. For example, you could join an intimate gig from somewhere in the World, or take part in a positive thinking workshop with a paralympic hero.

3. Borrow a pet

Pets are a lot of fun! They make us smile, add purpose to our lives, and give us a reason to visit new outdoor places (such as parks, beaches and nature trails), and meet new people. They can also offer us an entirely new perspective on life by showing us their world, in which playing, cuddling and exploring are some of the top priorities!

A pet with a loving home also has none of the cares that we do – they don’t know what bills are, what’s happening in the news, nor do they care what we look like or how much money we have. This carefree outlook can be incredibly refreshing, and help us to explore our own playful, fun side, and let go (at least temporarily) of any pressing worries.

If this piques your interest and you don’t have a pet of your own, then you could consider borrowing a pet for a few hours, a day – or even several days. You might have a willing friend, family member or neighbour who will lend you their pet – or if not, you might want to make the most of sites like Borrow My Doggy or ShareYourPet. While these sites do come with a small fee, you’ll be able to connect with lots of pet owners near you who are happy to let others meet and borrow their furry friends – and the adventures you’ll be able to have as a result will be priceless.

4. Go in search of treasure

There are few of us that don’t feel excited about the idea of hunting for treasure, and often, the journey is just as thrilling as the final destination! If you want to get outdoors, get active and feel part of something bigger, then why not give geocaching a go?

A geocache is a small container, which typically contains a pen, log book and – if you’re lucky – some form of ‘treasure’, which can be anything at all from crayons to keyrings, through to miniature figurines. The idea is that you sign and date the log book to show others that you were there. Then, you can either leave the treasure as it is, add to it, or swap it for something of your own. There are millions of geocaches all over the world – so chances are there’s one not too far from you now! You can locate them by downloading the geocaching app and using the GPS coordinates on your phone to guide you.

As well as being great fun, geocaching is also a great way to get your steps in, get some fresh air and practice your orienteering skills. You can choose how much ground you want to cover by opting to hunt for a geocache that’s nearby or further away.

Head over to the geocaching website to find out more and download the app.

5. Plan a camping trip

Few things allow us to embrace our sense of adventure more than connecting with nature, so why not make your next adventure a camping trip?

Not only is camping a low cost way to explore new areas, but it also makes for a great sensory experience by exposing us to different natural elements. When camping, we’ll usually become more in tune with the weather, and have a heightened awareness of the sights and sounds that surround us – many of us will also be much more conscious of the various different creatures and insects that we’re sharing the camping experience with!

Camping also challenges us because we usually won’t have easy access to all the home comforts that many of us are used to – such as central heating, a microwave, and other appliances like TVs and hairdryers. After a camping experience, people often feel humbled, and view life’s everyday comforts differently. This makes camping a unique adventure that has a lasting impact long after we’ve returned from it.

If you’ve never been camping before, then you might want to check out this article on How to plan your first camping trip in seven easy steps from Camping in the Forest. Or to get some inspiration on where you might like to camp first, have a read of Camping UK 2021: the best places to go camping in the UK this summer from Conde Nast Traveller. Alternatively, if you want to book a campsite, then why not head over to Campsites.co.uk?

6. Volunteer in your local community

Volunteering not only offers the opportunity to give back to the community, but it can also encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and try something completely different. There are opportunities to support disadvantaged animals and children, to improve an elderly person’s quality of life, to raise money for a cause you care passionately about, or to help protect and support the environment – just to name a few.

Many people who take up some form of volunteering often speak positively about the fact that it gives them the chance to hone skills or develop new ones, meet new people, and experience feelings of reward and satisfaction. Volunteering can also open new doors, and take us on exciting journeys, some of which may be totally unexpected.

Examples of volunteering roles could include anything from Children’s Activity Support Helper, to Video Editor, through to an Online Counsellor. Head over to the volunteering section of our website to find out what sort of opportunities might suit you.

7. Go on an adventure at home

Being at home doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on having fun, as there are plenty of low cost adventures you can go on from the comfort of your own home.

For example, why not check in with some of the beautiful and intriguing creatures from around the World? Explore.org allows you to view free footage from live webcams in a range of different locations. You can visit giant pandas in China, bald eagles in Iowa , or alligators in Florida.

Or if animals aren’t your thing, then why not explore any country in the world using MapCrunch? All you need to do is hit ‘Go’ and you’ll be transported to a random location where you’ll be free to venture as far as you wish using the arrows.

For more low cost home adventures, including seeing live footage of Earth from space, going on a culinary journey, or joining in with storm chasing, you might want to have a read of our article, 15 adventures that you can enjoy without leaving home.

8. Visit a museum or art gallery

Standard entry to many museums and art galleries in the UK is free of charge, meaning that you’ll have a whole world or history, creativity and culture right at your fingertips, without having to worry about cost.

Many people find museums and art galleries to be thoughtful, peaceful places to be. You can get lost in a painting, take a journey back in time to your favourite era, or acquire some new knowledge about a particular interest.

If you’d like to get some ideas for which museums and galleries you can visit for free in the UK – including the National Football Museum in Manchester, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow and the St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff – then have a read of this article from The Guardian.

Note: Due to capacity limitations at the moment, it’s worth booking your visit in advance to avoid disappointment.

9. Explore new territory by walking, hiking or cycling

The sense of adventure that we often get from walking, hiking or cycling can quickly become lost if we visit the same places time and again. It can feel easy to take the same routes to avoid fear about the unknown, and about getting lost. But, some of the best adventures involve exploring territory that we’ve never set foot on before.

If you want to venture somewhere new but you’re unsure where to start or how to work out a decent route, then it’s worth checking out AllTrails, either via desktop or by using the free mobile app. Here you can discover inspiring trails to suit everyone and every activity, whether you want to go for a relaxing stroll, or a mountainous hike.

It’s also worth downloading the free Strava app to track and gain further insight into your activity, such as details about elevation, pace and distance travelled. You can also share this information with friends and family, keep up with their activities, and give each other kudos! If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could even challenge one another; for instance, by seeing who can go on the longest hike, or the fastest cycle.

If you want to enhance your walk, hike or cycle further, you could also take a camera with you to enjoy a photowalk, listen to an audiobook enroute, or take a friend and use it as a chance to catch up. Have a read of our article 10 rewarding activities to do while walking for some additional ideas on how to make the most of your outdoor adventures. Or if walking, hiking or cycling aren’t for you, and you’d like to try some other low cost outdoor activities, then check out our article; 10 fun outdoor activities to try today.

Outdoor adventures can also be incorporated into a low cost staycation; especially when booking accommodation through AirBnb, or opting to pitch a tent and camp. So, if you’d be interested in planning a trip for later in the year, then why not take a look at these 5 remote destinations for a UK walking holiday or these 9 beautiful cycle routes in the UK?

10. Take up stargazing

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and felt curious about the countless stars that twinkle above us? Or wondered whether a larger, brighter star is actually a planet? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to know more about the cycles of the moon, and why we see it the way that we do?

If this sounds familiar, then stargazing could be a fascinating and highly rewarding way to spend an hour, or an entire evening. It’s amazing how easy it is to explore the night sky with the naked eye if we just look a little closer. Our night sky tells a story, and each star, planet or constellation that you get to know will help you piece a little more of the narrative together.

You don’t have to venture far to start stargazing: you can do it from your window, your garden or your local park. Just be sure to wrap up warm on chilly evenings, and to give your eyes enough time to adjust to the darkness before you try to make sense of what you’re seeing.

If you’d like some stargazing tips to help you get off on the right foot and make the most of your starry adventure, then you might find it helpful to have a read of our introductory guide here.

Final thoughts…

With the majority of us spending more time at home over the last year, it’s unsurprising that you might be looking forward to a change of scenery. Whether you’re on a budget, want to enjoy an adventure alone or with others, or haven’t yet decided how you feel about returning to ‘normal’ life, we hope there’s something in this list of low cost adventures to suit everyone.

By choosing to look at the world a little differently, and making an effort to find adventure wherever we might be, we can open up a whole new and exciting world. And the good news is that some of the best adventures turn out to be priceless…

Have you been on a low cost adventure recently? Do you have any additional low cost adventure ideas that you’d like to share? What’s the best low cost adventure you’ve ever been on? Join the conversation on the community forum or leave a comment below.

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