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Learning to Live On Less
Welcome to Adventure On the Cheap!
I’ve spent my whole life (after the age of 17, anyway) scheming up ways to embark on epic adventures without paying an epic price tag.
I’ve used Husky trash bags for dry bags, duct tape for bike frame repairs, shipped a disassembled bike via Greyhound, run half-Ironman races in $12 Walmart shoes, slept in an abandoned woodshop, lived on 25 cent discounted nutrition bars, and eaten nothing but peanut butter and hotdogs for three days straight.
Some of these techniques worked great. Others gave me nothing but a stomachache (I’m talking to you, $0.99 hotdog-on-special!).
So here’s a compilation of what I’ve learned after decades of adventuring on a budget.
This Ain't Your Grandma's Cruise Ship!
Learning how to adventure on a budget might mean changing your idea of what “adventure” looks like.
Adventure doesn’t mean being endlessly entertained. If your idea of adventure is exchanging money to be wowed and bamboozled by the-outdoors-in-a-box, then you’re quite mistaken.
True adventure comes from challenging your mind, training your body, and committing to the destination – no matter how tired or hungry you get on the way.
As you can see in the list below, a common theme is muscle and mind over motor.
It’s a delicate balance between a pigheaded determination to push on and a Buddhist-like inner peace to slow down and enjoy the moment.
Best Adventures ($)
These activities are super-affordable and super-fun! With enough creativity, you can do them just about anywhere.
- Hiking and trail running
- Swimming and snorkeling
- Kayaking and canoeing
- Mountain biking
- Rock climbing
- Roller skating
- Ice skating)
Acceptable Adventures ($$)
If you’re a person of normal financial means, you may find these activities to be a bit expensive. Most of these adventures require lots of technical gear or a skilled guide.
In most cases, if you can do these activities yourself, you’ll save a lot of money. However, with great reward comes great risk!
- White-water rafting
- SCUBA diving
- Dog sledding
- Horseback riding
- Skiing and snowboarding
- Motorboating and jet skiing
Activities to Avoid ($$$)
To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with these activities! But if your goal is to adventure on the cheap, these activities won’t help to stretch your money.
- Cruises, ocean or river
- Hot air balloon tours
- Helicopter tours
- Theme parks
- 4WD Jeep tours
- ATV tours
- Snowmobile tours
- Acrobatic plane rides
- Paragliding and hang-gliding
- Trophy hunting and safaris
Getting Cheap: Transportation
Best: There’s no cheaper source of local transportation than bicycle.
Better: If you can’t or won’t ride a bike to your adventure, have you considered an ebike? They are available for as little as $1,200 for well-known brands!
OK: If your travel includes highways, you might need a motorcycle or a small car. Fuel is normally your biggest expense. Air up your tires to maximum pressure to optimize your fuel efficiency!