This may a little biased, but honestly the best money saving outing out there is getting out there and taking a hike! Hikes are amazing activities that really only require you to have gas and water. The whole family can be involved and often, you can even bring your pet!
This is really just our opinion but there is science behind it that I could get into but it will be too much for you to read. Now, this may a bit difficult depending on where you live, but usually there is at least one hike within an hour away. Hikes provide a sense of accomplishment that other activities like going shopping or going to eat McDonald’s can’t fulfill. All you need is water, a location, water, snacks, gas, and water.
Be prepared before the Hike
There hiking gear out there that you could purchase in order to make your hike more comfortable like expensive hiking shoes, hiking clothing, hiking sticks, and much more. If its something you would like to do more often and with harder trails, you may want to invest on some decent hiking shoes in order to protect your feet. Other than that, you can use any kind of backpack and comfortable clothing. walking sticks can usually be found on the trail itself, Jesus once found a stick that looked like a lightning bolt (his nickname is Zeus) and on another hike he found one that belonged to Gandalf. Anyway, if you have to get anything, make it shoes, they are very important your, I have ones like the one in the picture and they are literally the most expensive shoes I own (and they really weren’t that bad).
One thing that I would really recommend are snacks. I always get hungry at the “top” (sometimes its actually at a lower elevation), halfway, and/or end while Jesus eats throughout the whole thing. If its the first time, you could take a variety of healthier snacks to keep up your energy. You don’t really want to take too many sweets or super salty snacks because that could dehydrate you quickly. You may also want to take an actual little lunch to eat at the halfway point or at the end (so that way you don’t just go to the first drive thru available).
The most important thing you have to have without a doubt or argument is water. How much? That depends on the length of the hike, your body, and your limitations. You don’t want to over pack and be carrying 5 pounds of water because that will only make you tired and hate hiking. But you can’t skimp on it. Some of these hikes are aways away from civilization and you don’t want to pass out in the middle of the hike.
Make a plan to avoid problems
The next important item is the location. Most of the better hikes are untouched by humans, therefore getting there may be tricky. Make sure you have the drive planned out and get a printout if the gps is faulty in certain areas.
You should also have the hike planned. There are many apps out there meant to take you outdoors and you just need to find the right one for you. I personally use Hiking Project and All Trails. Hiking Project is free and All Trails is to an extent. I prefer All Trails because the app is friendlier and I can choose a hike based on the views, dog rules, length, etc., but either one works well.
Do note that many hikes don’t have signs to show you the way, or a nice well-kept trail. You may need to print this map out or take pictures of it. One little trick I did learn to keep me from getting too lost was to turn on my map app (or the map on the hiking app) before you lose reception. Then if you get lost, just go to it and it will hopefully show you where you are (little blue dot) in relation to your vehicle.
This may or may not work for you depending on the type of phone or your cell provider. I have an iPhone and AT&T and it has really saved me. Anyway, this really only works if you have battery (the hike may be too cold or too hot which will kill your phone) and you remember where on the map you parked. If you really want to finish the hike, remembering how the hike moves on the map would really help. Also, you may need gas, depending on how far away it is.
Once you are there enjoy! You are in nature surrounded by beauty and fresh air. Take pictures of the landscape to encourage others to go to!
Other things to keep in mind
If you have health problems, you should probably talk to your doctor before you go out. You may need specific snacks or should keep the hike to specific length. Since hikes are pretty much just mother nature at her finest, some hikes have uneven paths and you may want to be careful about twisting your foot. With this being said, look up every once in a while. You are there to enjoy the beauty, not look at a bunch of dirt or rocks.
Also sunscreen! just because it may not be super sunny doesn’t mean the sun won’t hurt you. Speaking of no sun, check the weather, you don’t really want to go if it provides dangerous driving conditions, unless you are into that. Along with this, check the weather. I don’t know about you, but I do not like hiking in the rain.
If I had the opportunity to go on a hike everyday, honestly I probably wouldn’t (Jesus would) because I like to be lazy sometimes, and it can be quite a physical challenge. But I would go on at least two per week because they are so beautiful and relaxing and it is quite inexpensive.
On a different note, if you are interested in trying to create your own job online doing something you love, check out this awesome program that you can try out for free (without taking out your wallet). An online job would really help out if you are trying to hike or travel!
If you have any other suggestions on budget friendly outings, awesome hikes people can try, or tips on making their hike safer leave it below on the comments!