Many of us often find ourselves eager to have some new adventures and make some fresh memories. However, with the thirst for adventure often comes worries about money, and you may find yourself weighing up the cost of fun against 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 adventure ideas.
1. Create a time capsule
Time capsules are invaluable. 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 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 doesn’t need to be expensive – for example, many people choose to use a shoebox 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. 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.
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.
Alternatively, if the experience you want to take part in is a little further away, then you could book it as part of an Airbnb staycation. One of the great things about booking accommodation through Airbnb is that there’s 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
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 or 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’ll lend you their pet. If not, you might want to make the most of websites 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’re 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.
For more animal adventure ideas, why not check out our article; 13 ways to connect with animals?
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! So, 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, logbook, and – if you’re lucky – some form of ‘treasure’, which can be anything from crayons and keyrings to miniature figurines.
The idea is that you sign and date the logbook 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 geocaches 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 an entertaining way to get your steps in, get some fresh air, and practise 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 from Camping in the Forest. Or to get some inspiration on where you might like to camp first, have a read of our list of 10 of the prettiest camping destinations.
Alternatively, if you want to book a campsite, why not head over to Campsites.co.uk?
6. Volunteer in your local community
Volunteering offers the opportunity to give back to the community and can also encourage us to step outside of our comfort zone and try something completely different.
There are opportunities to support disadvantaged animals and children, improve an elderly person’s quality of life, raise money for a cause you care passionately about, or 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 a children’s activity support helper and online counsellor, to a video editor. 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, 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 read 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 of history, creativity, and culture right at your fingertips, without having to worry about the 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 Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, and the St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff, then check out our list of 13 museums in the UK you won’t want to miss.
Or, if you’d prefer to visit a museum or art gallery from the comfort of your own home, then have a read of our article; 10 of the world’s best virtual museum and art gallery tours.
9. Explore new territory by walking, hiking, or cycling
It can feel easy to take the same routes to avoid the fear of the unknown and getting lost. But some of the best adventures involve exploring territory that we’ve never set foot in 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 example, by seeing who can go on the longest hike or the fastest cycle.
And, if you want to enhance your walk, hike, or cycle, you could also take a camera with you to enjoy a photo walk, listen to an audiobook en route, or take a friend and use it as a chance to catch up.
You might want to 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, 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, 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. In fact, you can do it from your window, garden, or local park. Just be sure to wrap up warm on chilly evenings and 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.
Whether you’re on a budget, want to enjoy an adventure alone or with others, or just fancy a change of scenery, 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…