Staying entertained on the road, without spending money

If you are like me, after so many nights hanging out in your hotel room watching TV or in the hotel lobby, you get a little stir crazy and want to do something different, but you don’t want to spend money. Maybe your significant other or kids aren’t with you and you don’t want to do something without them, or maybe you are just frugal. You still need something to do. Here are some of my favorite things for staying entertained on the road without spending money.

Find a scenic walk with AllTrails

AllTrails shows you all of the nearby hikes and trails and gives info about them. While you probably don’t often bring hiking boots and outdoor gear on a business trip, what is nice about AllTrails is that you can find trails that are leisurely strolls that you could do with just normal shoes. Depending on where you are there may or may not be many trails to choose from but everywhere I have been and checked the app there has been at least a couple. Plus, this is a nice way to get some fresh air and get some exercise to stay healthy while on the road.

Watch a movie with Kanopy

Everyone knows about Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but none of those are free. Kanopy is a free service through libraries* all across the country that provides you with tons of movies to watch all for free. I would categorize the movies as primarily indie or classic but there are really all kinds including many Oscar nominees from recent years. One thing to note about Kanopy, unlike paid services, is that depending on how many your library allows, you can only watch a certain number of movies per month. For example, my library allows me to watch 8 movies per month. *You do need a library card to use this service.

Read a book with Libby


Libby is the free app that you can use to check out e-books and audio books from any library that you have had a library card with. You can listen/read directly on your phone or you can use libby to send e-books to your Kindle. This is quite easy, and free. The only drawback to this is, much like with physical books from the library, if you want to read a new release, there are only so many copies available and you have to go on a wait list. However, for older books, there is always something good available.

Learn a language with Duolingo

Duolingo is (in my opinion) the best language learning site/program available, plus it is free. It is available as both a website and an app. Personally, I learned Portuguese using only Duolingo, and starting out knowing zero words, by the time I completed the Duolingo course, I was able to communicate effectively in Brazil. It won’t make you fluent but it beats watching reruns on the hotel TV.


There are many free options available, if you know where to find them. What are your favorites for staying entertained on the road without spending money?

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