Backyard Barbecue

Despite many of the headaches that I may encounter while going through airport security or fumbling with a lost hotel reservation, I must say that I really enjoy traveling and I truly believe that it is one of the best ways for you to spend your money. You can’t put a price on these incredible experiences. Well, travel agents can (and will), but you can’t.

Even so, times seem to be a lot tougher these days for a lot of people. As a freelance writer, I’ve hit a couple of snags as a result of the ongoing situation with the economy, though I’ve been lucky enough to rebound with a couple of high points as well. But I digress. Many of us want to go on a glorious summer vacation in some exotic locale, but this may not be financially feasible.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

This list is far from exhaustive, but allow me to suggest five cheap ways to stay entertainment (and have fun) this summer without having to take out a second mortgage or do away with all foods that aren’t canned.

1. Pot Luck Dinner Party with Friends

There is no better way to have a good time than to be in the company of good friends. You could host a traditional dinner (or barbecue) party at your place, but this could end up being too pricey for your tastes.

Instead, use an online tool like Evite or Facebook to organize a pot luck. This way, everyone brings something and it won’t be the same thing as the next guy. Cap off the evening with a friendly game of poker, a rousing session of Rock Band, or just random backyard antics.

2. Just Outside of Your Town

Just because you want to visit somewhere that you’ve never been does not mean that you need to travel half way around the world. Yes, it would be fun to visit Paris, Tokyo, or Melbourne, but those can get pretty expensive from around these parts.

Instead, think about what attractions and towns are in close proximity to your hometown. For example, people from Vancouver may consider a trip to the Okanogan, Tofino, or the Oregon Coast. You can do the “local tourist” thing in your own city too, but venturing a few hours out can bring more novel experiences.

3. Find Something that Can Be Thrown or Caught

Get a Frisbee or a football and just enjoy the great outdoors while you can. Summer is a great time to hit up the beach or the park with family and friends. If you’re more inclined to play beach volleyball, go for it. Or, if you prefer, you can shoot some ducks from a boat.

4. Film, Jazz, and Comedy Festivals

This will vary considerably from town to town, but the summer season is usually filled with all sorts of various festivals and festivities for you to enjoy. Read up in the local paper and approach your local tourism board about what events are coming up in the weeks and months ahead. If you have the opportunity, check into cultural events in your area as well. The Summer Night Market in Richmond might be worth checking out if you’ve never been there.

5. Tweetups, Meetups, Wines, and Dines

Going to a local restaurant, bar, or club can be a nice experience on its own (especially if the restaurant has a nice patio), but they can be so much more fun when it involves social interaction with people you may have never seen in person.

It’s pretty easy to get addicted to the Internet and shun yourself away from real-world interaction, but events like Twitter Tweetups can merge your online life with your offline one.

More Summer Activity Ideas?

Do you have any suggestions for having summertime fun on a budget? Having a great ice cream cone while taking an evening stroll? Playing a wicked game of tennis? Feel free to share your ideas using the comment form below.