The first week you’re home for summer break probably consists of a lot of family time, unpacking, aimless Internet browsing and catching up on sleep. All of those activities are perfectly fine, don’t get us wrong, but a girl can only take so many naps! While your minimal cash flow might not be ideal for taking long, luxurious vacations, there are still some ways you can beat summer boredom. Try some of these easy and fun activities that won’t break the bank!
1. Host a girls’ night in
You haven’t seen your high school friends since winter break? Host a girls’ night in (GNI)! Not to be confused with Miley Cyrus’s GNO, your GNI will be super laid-back, easy to do and easy on your wallet. You could watch a classic chick flick, do one another’s nails, try new hairstyles, do homemade facials, eat yummy snacks and, of course, drink delicious mocktails (or cocktails, if you’re 21 or older) all night. Try recreating these summery hairstyles from Pinterest to get your girls’ night and your summer started right!
2. Go to a dog park
If you and your dog have just been lying around the house doing nothing, going to the dog park is a great way for you both to get some social interaction (those three seconds of conversation with the pizza-delivery man don’t count). Going in the evening ensures you and your dog won’t overheat, and there’s a better chance of seeing more people at the park with their doggies because it’s after typical office hours. Don’t forget to bring a tennis ball for your dog and the others to play with!
If you don’t have a dog of your own, see if any local animal sheltersare looking for volunteers. You’ll get to play with puppies that are in need of a friend and help a local shelter at the same time. Yay for multi-tasking!
3. Make s’mores
Whether you cook them over a campfire or on the stove in your kitchen, s’mores are an easy treat to make and so quintessential of summertime. For a classic s’more (an oldie but a goodie), grab some graham crackers, jumbo marshmallows and some chocolate bars. You can easily spice up the plain ole s’more by adding Oreos, Nutella, M&M’s, peanut butter or even some fresh fruit! If you want to be really healthy but still get to enjoy the delight of a s’more, try roasting some bananas and chocolate chips in tinfoil instead (don’t do this in the microwave!). If you’re in an urban environment far away from nature, make the experience feel more like camping by turning all the lights off and eating the s’mores by candlelight!
4. Walk, jog or bike on a new trail
No matter where you live, there’s bound to be some uncharted territory you haven’t explored yet. Why not explore your hometown while getting some exercise, too (snaps for multitasking)? Try walking, jogging or even biking on a new trail in your town. Free apps like Scout and TrailLink show you trails nearest to you. Just download the app, use your current location and pick out a trail that looks the most exciting (for Scout, you’ll need to specify that you’re looking for trails when you’re doing your search).
Grab a friend and lots of water and have an exciting day of discovering your hometown. To make your trip more exciting, create a playlist of your favorite summer jams to listen to while you’re walking or running!
5.Do outdoor yoga
To stick with the exercise theme, doing yoga outside is a fun twist to the typical atmosphere of a studio. There are a bunch of different apps you can download that have free yoga classes. Pick whichever one speaks to you, head outside and get to it! Try it in your backyard, at a park, on the beach… wherever you feel like it! If you want to really enhance your experience, try doing yoga during sunrise or (more realistic) sunset.
6. Check out a free concert
Summer concerts are great because you get to be outside in beautiful weather and enjoy live music by some of your favorite artists, but concert tickets can be expensive. Look into any music festivals happening in your town or one nearby. Good Morning America has a free summer concert seriesheld in Central Park this summer. Even though the performances start at 7 a.m. and go until about 9 a.m., some of the biggest names in the music industry will be performing (such as Jennifer Lopez, Luke Bryan, Demi Lovato and 50 Cent). This would definitely be worth checking out if you’re near New York City.
If you don’t happen to have easy access to the Big Apple, an app like Scout can help you find live music near you. Click “Live Music” under the “Explore” tab and use your current location to get information about the events happening near you. You can even specify when you want the date of the event to be (within the next 7 days or the upcoming weekend, for example).
7. Help someone out
There are countless ways to lend a helping hand to anyone from a family member to a complete stranger. You could mow your neighbor’s lawn, help your grandma plant flowers in her yard or cook dinner for your family. Finding something you love to do and then turning that into volunteer work is the best way to stay passionate about your service.
You can also check out local listings to see if any community centers or programs are in need of volunteers. VolunteerMatch is s great online resource to find volunteer opportunities near you. It sorts opportunities by interests, like advocacy and human rights, animals, environment and more, so you can find the cause that interests you the most.
Having fun doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Whether you reconnect with old friends, explore your city or get in shape this summer, your free-time fun can also fit your student budget!