National Trails Day (sponsored each year by the American Hiking Society) occurs on the first Saturday each June. This day was set up to honor the many trails that have been created across the United States. While there are many events happening specifically to celebrate this day, some of them can cost bit of money. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few ways to save money if you’re planning on participating in National Trails Day (or just looking for an excuse to go on a hiking trip).
Hike Free Trails
There are dozens of free hiking trails in most areas, probably a lot that are near you that you didn’t even realize were there. Take some time to do a little research on hiking trails in your area and you’ll likely be surprised at the opportunities you have to get out that you haven’t taken advantage of yet. Even if you don’t have any money, you should be able to find plenty of wonderful hikes in your area that you’ll be able to utilize time and again at no cost.
Utilize Already Paid for Passes
If you already hold a pass that allows you free entrance to national parks or state parks, this is a perfect time to take full advantage of it. Since these passes are good for a year, if you are planning any hiking or camping trips to national or state parks this summer, it could make sense to get a pass to take advantage of National Trails Day, and then use them again latter this summer as well. While not free, the more you use the passes once purchased, the lower the cost and if you are planning to buy one anyway, now may be the time.
Bring Your Own Food
If you’re intending to visit one of the many events that are part of National Trails Day, make sure you take your own food. While there might be food carts at any of the hosted events or food in one of the lodges by the nearby trailhead, that food can be overpriced. You’re better off saving money by bringing your own food with you to any event you attend.
Check Out Free Events
There are many clubs and organizations that host events on National Trail Day, but many of these events come with a fee. There might be an all-day entrance fee to the park hosting the event or there might be fees per activity, such as a fee for a guided hiking trip. This isn’t always the case, so it’s worthwhile seeing what, if any, events in your area are free.
Join an Organization
A lot of outdoors clubs or official organizations allow you to become a member. While some may have large membership fees, others have smaller annual fees or are free to join. One of the perks of such memberships is that sometimes you no longer have to pay fees for events or activities. Check out what clubs or organizations might be available in your area to see what perks you may get by joining. You never know – it could mean free maps and guides or even free/discounted admission to parks, trails, or other landmarks!
Avoid Guided Group Events
A lot of guided group events tend to cost money, whether it’s a small fee or a larger ticket price. Events such as National Trail Day sometimes mean that the normal ticket price is even higher than normal. If you’re looking to save money, try to avoid the guided group. It might be fun to grab a map and follow the trail yourself. Then you can go at your own pace and don’t have to worry about being stuck in a large group.
Make Sure You Know About Activity Fees
National Trail Day not only honors the country’s gorgeous landscapes, but also encourages people to participate in the activities that are associated with national trails such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, or kayaking. Before you plan on engaging in those activities, make sure you know whether or not you have to pay any additional fees to partake in them.
Sometimes volunteering comes with an added great benefit. For instance, volunteering at your local national park or national trail – or one of their organizations – might garner you free admission to some of the events or activities. Or volunteering on National Trail Day may mean that your activities or admittance fees are waived for the day.
Rent or Buy Used Equipment
If you’re planning on taking advantage of the day by hiking or camping, considering seeing whether or not it’s less expensive to buy used equipment or rent it. New equipment can be pretty pricey, especially the higher quality equipment. If you don’t hike or camp all that often, it might be a good idea to rent or buy used equipment instead of buying new equipment.
Don’t Overdo It With the Equipment
Sometimes it’s easy to go crazy when it comes to buying or renting equipment for an upcoming trip. If you’ve been looking forward to attending National Trail Day or going on your annual hiking or camping trip, make sure you don’t go overboard with packing and buying equipment. You might believe you really need those new binoculars or a solar powered backpack, but it’s important to assess what you currently own before you go out and buy something new. Don’t let your excitement and eagerness blind you.
Because of the popularity of such sites as Groupon or LivingSocial, there are always coupons or discounts popping up. Keep your eye on one of the many discount and coupon sites out there to see if any coupons appear for National Trail Day or any hiking or camping sites around you.
Camp Out Instead Of Paying For a Room
One of the reasons why a lot of outdoors clubs and enthusiasts love National Trail Day is because it encourages people to spend even more time outside enjoying our beautiful natural landscape. Instead of booking a room at a hotel or a lodge, considering saving your money and camping out instead.