The nature of today’s economy may have put a damper on your summer plans by putting a squeeze on your vacation budget. But don’t let high gasoline and commodity prices stop you from having a fun summer. Now is a great time to optimize budget-friendly activities that are often overlooked. The tips provided will offer you fun-filled activities that are free to low cost, and can be intellectually stimulating at the same time.
Film & Theater: With summer being the prime time for blockbuster movies, seeing the latest installment of Batman or Will Smith in Hancock can be a burden on your wallet. However, don’t let the high cost of movie tickets discourage you. To get a first-run flick at a low price, purchase an entertainment book. It includes coupons and national discounts on movies, dining, traveling, national attractions, and more. Book prices range from $25 to $45. For live theater, forget about Ticketmaster and try Theater Mania (www.theatermania.com), which offers discounted tickets of up to 60% for Broadway and other shows around the country.
Tourist for a Day: If you live in or near a major city, why not take advantage of it and become a tourist for the day? Check out CityPass (www.citypass.com) for admission tickets to major attractions in cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Hollywood, Southern California, Atlanta, Houston, and Toronto. The average cost of CityPass for adults is $54 and youth prices are also available. “CityPass is like having a pre-planned itinerary in your pocket,” says Mike Gallagher, Co-CEO and founder. “CityPass saves about 50% off the combined costs of admissions [and] allows visitors to avoid standing in box office ticket lines.”
Local Arts and Entertainment: Do an online search for free and low-cost arts and entertainment offerings in your community. You can start by visiting the online arts and entertainment section of your local newspaper. Larger cities such as New York, Dallas, Atlanta, and Seattle have specific sites dedicated to activities in the surrounding area. (For example, if you’re in Atlanta, check out www.accessatlanta.com for ideas.) Visit www.local.com to search for local activities wherever you are.
Afternoon at the Library: The library is a wonderful resource for all things low to no cost. Besides checking out new bestselling fiction and nonfiction books, many libraries also have movies on DVD and VHS for you to borrow that cost significantly less than your local video store or Netflix. Libraries also typically offer free events for people of all ages. If you’re interested in picking up a hobby or learning something new, see if your local library offers classes that dovetail with your interests.
Museum Visits: Museums can be perfect for a family outing and sparking interesting conversations. “Museums are safe, entertaining, and intellectually stimulating,” says Dewey Blanton, senior manager of media relations for the American Association of Museums (www.aam-us.org). The average ticket price for museums