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When travelling, free things are not only appealing, but essential to get the most out of a trip. With The Best Things in Life are Free: The Ultimate Money-Saving Travel Guide, the world’s leading travel media company, Lonely Planet, shows that it’s possible to explore the world on a budget – you just need to know where to look.

Lonely Planet’s travel experts have collected the best value experiences they’ve discovered from over 40 years of on-the-ground research and have brought them together in this one essential resource. Packed with money-saving tips, tricks and recommendations, The Best Things in Life are Free is the key to experiencing more of the world without breaking the bank.

Photo credit: Zohaib Anjum / Shutterstock

Photo credit: Zohaib Anjum / Shutterstock


At first glance, flashy Dubai looks decadent and indecently expensive, but beneath the excesses of the modern metropolis lies a once-modest pearl-trading settlement, still visible between the behemoth buildings and monstrous malls. Even in the new city there are things to do and see cheaply or for free.

Camel Museum
Beit Al Rekkab (House of Camels) celebrates camels and the role these ‘ships of the desert’ play in Arabic history, culture and literature. When Dubai was just a creek-side settlement, camels were everything to the Bani Yas Bedouin, from beast of burden and status symbol to provider of milk and medicine (camel urine can cure ulcers and alopecia, apparently), racing animals as well. Al Shindagha Historic Village; 8am-2pm Sun-Thu; free.

Rooftop cinema
Free films are screened under the stars every Sunday at a rooftop cinema amid the gardens that top Dubai’s Egyptian-themed mall. The movies start rolling at 8.30pm, but rock up early to bag yourself a beanbag and a prime spot. Popcorn, hotdogs and beverages are available at Dubai’s standard scary prices, but at least the flick is free.; Pyramids Rooftop Gardens, Wafi Mall, Oud Metha Rd; from 8.30pm Sun; free.

Pehlwani wrestling
Every Friday, shortly before sundown, crowds of construction workers amass in the sandlot behind the fish market in Deira to watch – and participate in – contests of strength and skill. Pehlwani wrestling is a traditional sport in Southeast Asia (from where most of the labourers hail) that sees two loincloth-clad men attempting to knock each other down. Crowds are excitable, but friendly – dress modestly. Deira; 5pm Fri; free.

Photo credit: Marat Dupri / Shutterstock

Photo credit: Marat Dupri / Shutterstock


5000 years of Chinese history? Free. 19 museums and galleries in Washington DC? Free. Britain’s national parks? All free. Plus you only need to dip into your spare change to experience classy street food like a choripán (chorizo sandwich) in Buenos Aires, the best views of Hong Kong’s skyline from the star ferry or a Boston brewery tour. From parks, museums and exercise classes that are free, to insider ideas on experiences offered at great value, The Best Things in Life are Free features 884 free (or almost free) things to do in over 60 major cities around the world, from Berlin to Brisbane.

The Best Things in Life are Free also includes 17 themed lists:

Africa: Wildest experiences | Safari without the big bucks
Asia: Best sunsets without the price tag | Best cheap gourmet grub
Europe: Best national parks | Best wild swimming | Best free museums and galleries | Best city walking tours | Stinge Henge: Best free neolithic sites | Best tours by public transport
North America: Top10 free-wheelin’ all-American adventures | Best free movie nights | Top 10 free-range adventures in America’s national parks | Free spectator sports in the USA
Oceania: Australia & New Zealand’s best free walks
South America: Wine tasting on a shoestring | How to party at Carnival in Rio

The-Best-Things-in-Life-Are-Free-1-refAccording to Lonely Planet’s budget travel expert, Tom Hall, “One glance through these pages and you may never aspire to the indulgences of top-end travel again”. The Best Things in Life are Free will leave readers inspired to see more of the world and will lead to “great memories, a happier you and a grateful wallet.” After all, life changing experiences don’t have to come with a huge price tag.

For more information and to download your free chapter, head to

Reproduced with the permission from The Best Things in Life are Free, 1st edn. ©2016 Lonely Planet