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  • Writer's pictureKirk

How I Travel for Free (Part 3)

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

If you've followed my previous posts (last post:

https://www.kirkstravelstories.com/post/how-i-travel-for-free-part-2 you'll know I'm moving on to the second category of travel expenses. That is attractions.


As I've stated before, the title says "How I Travel for Free", but that doesn't mean I don't spend money traveling. It's free in the sense I spend about the same amount of money traveling as I would if I stayed home. So the travel portion really is free.


Attractions

Great Wall of China


Now attractions can be the biggest expense in many travelers' budget. Been to Disney lately? The cost of a one day park hopper is over $200! For a five day it can be $600. That's per person.


Living in Florida I've been to Disney many times. I'm not knocking it. It can be a fun place to take kids or to go with your partner the first time. At least it used to be for me. Now it's become so crowded I don't enjoy it. It's hot, long lines, and stressful for me now. Yeah, so I guess I am knocking it!


I feel different about travel now that I've traveled a lot. Disney attractions and the like were a new adventure and exciting once. But now I view them as man made money traps. If I were to go today I would leave with regret. This is just my take on it. If you've never been to Disney, or want to take kids for their first time, absolutely do it! I have a friend who would get Yearly Disney passes for his family every year. They spent nearly all their vacation time there. They never seemed to tire of it. Everyone's perspective is different. I don't regret my earlier trips when it was new for me or my kids. But now, after seeing what the world has to offer for natural attractions, I prefer other places.


And the natural attractions of the world are seldom expensive. Most are free. Some of my best adventures cost very little. Some examples I'll cover later in other posts in more detail perhaps include:


  1. Renting a pedal bike in Vietnam and taking a self tour through small villages. The people viewed me as a curiosity . I stopped at local shops to get my hair cut and even bought a pair of hand cobbled shoes. Great day for the bike rental price of a few dollars.

  2. Renting a car at $25 per day in Thailand and taking a self drive tour for days along the Mekong river that borders Myanmar and Laos. For me that's an attraction! One day I stopped at the bridge to Laos, parked and walked across the bridge (after securing a day visa) into Laos. There I was met by a taxi driver who I paid very little to take me to a nearby town for the day where I ate and mingled.

  3. In Sri Lanka I was able to rent a car and driver for $40 per day to explore the island. Yes this included gas, car, and driver! Now I've driven in many countries, even the hectic streets of Bangkok, but I'd never drive in Sri Lanka, but that's worthy of its own post.

  4. I think about the most I've paid for an attraction in a foreign land was visiting the Great Wall of China. I paid about $25 at the time to explore this marvel. And it was worth much more! This impressive structure is so vast and unique it was worth a second visit years later. What's great about it is it includes the natural setting for the Wall. You're right out into nature. One of the top 3 places I've visited. One of the other top 3 I covered in this post (https://www.kirkstravelstories.com/post/devil-s-throat-iguazu-falls)

  5. Pyramids of Egypt entrance fee only about $8.00.

  6. Countless beautiful waterfalls I've walked for free.

  7. Bat caves where countless thousands of bats come out after sunset. Free.

  8. National parks that cost only a few dollars or less than a dollar to enter but are rare sites.

  9. I walked a man-made bamboo ramp made in the side of a ledge up to the top where monks lived. They lived in small huts they built in the ledge. This was quite an experience I'll cover another time. Free of charge.

  10. Walking alone with wild penguins on a shore in South Africa. Free!


There are many more examples but this is a flavor of what I enjoy doing. Most of it is free. The ones I quoted with car or bike prices above are part of the local transportation category.


I spend almost nothing on attractions. As a result I can confirm the old adage: " The best things in life are free". They truly are!


But I will pay to see unique places. Yesterday's post on my visit to Tangmo Village in China (https://www.kirkstravelstories.com/post/ancient-village-in-anhui-china) cost only about $7 USD at the time of my visit. For a half day in this beautiful ancient village, a bargain. Especially being the only foreigner in the village!


Attractions are not a be a big part of my budget on a travel adventure. I don't even track it in my travel budget it's so low. I'd guess maybe $50 - $75 per trip for an average.


Tomorrow we will move to the next item on the list:

Meals (after this post you'll see how cheap I really am)!


Go to part 4:

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