6 Unique & Affordable Winter Break Activities and Adventures

By Julia Dunn on December 7, 2017

Want to have a great winter break, but don’t have the cash to take a fancy trip? Don’t fret! This winter break, try something more creative (and cheap). Here are 6 affordable activities to do and adventures to have on your time off:

1. Take a day trip on public transportation

Does a train connect your town with someplace you always felt is far away but actually isn’t? Have you spent little time learning the local bus routes in your town? You might be surprised by the affordability and ease that public transit can provide. No need to worry about parking or car troubles!

Round up a friend or two and ride the bus or train to some random town you’ve never been to, and make it a day trip. You don’t even have to know why you’re going there—that’s the fun of it. You can even choose a town at random. Your best memories of the break could come from the discoveries you make in this town you wouldn’t have otherwise visited.

Tip: If you find yourself wanting to take an overnight or weekend trip, splitting an Airbnb with a friend can often be cheaper and more interesting than renting a hotel room. Search their website to locate houses of all sizes in different parts of town!

Image via Pixabay.com

2. Hold self-care days

Throughout the semester or quarter, you probably neglected to take as good care of yourself as you could (and should) have. All that studying, reading and running around from meeting to meeting really throws your back and shoulders out. Anyone could always use a soothing massage and a day to chill over winter break. While professional massages can be a bit expensive, they’re worth if it you can afford it.

Need a budget-friendly option? Ask a loved one to spend 20 minutes massaging your back and shoulders. You can use coconut oil as a massage oil for a great-smelling experience.

3. Hit the library (not for research paper sources)

Yes, the library doesn’t have to be for academics! You might find it weird to see this on a list of winter break activities, but recall that the library houses books and media that you can use for unlimited leisure reading (and watching). Instead of buying books, you can check out as many as you like. Of course, there is fun in buying books, but for students short on cash, it’s good to remember that the library can supply thousands of free books for winter reading.

4. Visit different farmers markets and cook with what you find

If you’re like me, you love fresh produce as much as the cheap prices attached to it at the local farmers market. In winter, you’ll find many varieties of oranges and pomegranates, as well as lots of winter squash (butternut, acorn, patty-pan and others). Some farmer’s markets end in late summer, but many are year-round and stocked with the best seasonal goodies.

Image via Pixabay.com

Depending on the farm/vendor, produce can be dollars cheaper than it would be at the grocery store. Going to the different markets around can lead you to all kinds of treasures! Visit a market and grab some fruits, vegetables and other goods you don’t normally use, and look up recipes incorporating them. Spend the rest of the day playing with food combinations and see if you can find a new dish you enjoy.

5. Find a new show and watch it all day 

Again, as a student, you don’t get much leisure time at all. Winter break is a time to recharge! Has someone recommended a show to you that you haven’t had time to watch yet? Now you do! Make some popcorn, find your fuzziest blankets and curl up like a burrito on your couch or bed!

Tip: Spotify and Hulu recently released a partnership by which college students who subscribe to a $5/month Spotify premium account can add a Hulu subscription on for free (included in the existing $5 payment). Score!

6. Attend local events!

During the busy term, between classes and work commitments, you probably didn’t have time to go to any events in your town. Now’s the time to check Facebook for any holiday events coming up in your area! There are usually a lot of festivals and harvest fairs around this time of year, along with craft fairs which can be great places to snag unique and inexpensive holiday gifts!

You may not have even known that your city had a “Christmas in the Park” event or even a tree lighting ceremony. Usually, holiday events have either free admission or quite inexpensive ticket prices to accommodate the highest number of attendees. There’s nothing cozier than celebrating the holidays with your own community, then coming home for hot apple cider and a gingerbread cookie!

The most inexpensive winter break activities are often the most exciting. You don’t have to spend days in the mall and you don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on an expensive ski trip to have an action-packed winter break (although a visit to the snow is tempting). Adventures pop up when you’re not actively looking for them, and getting together with friends is a great way to generate even more ideas for winter break fun.

By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
A writer, editor and educator based in Northern California.

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