20 Summer Bucket List Ideas That Won't Break The Bank

20 Summer Bucket List Ideas That Won't Break The Bank

Fill your bucket with something other than sand this summer!

Let's face it: most of our bucket lists center around an inflated bank account and clear schedule. And, as a college student, I don't have the time or finances to fly to Hawaii and kiss a dolphin, or head over to Thailand and ride an elephant (which is inhumane, by the way).

So, to help out fellow college students who still want to be able to check off some boxes from their list, while still saving time and money, I made the following list. It's organized by price, with the most expensive activities at the bottom. Enjoy!

1. Learn to Use Chopsticks- FREE

It's quick and easy to learn, and doesn't cost a dime! Chinese restaurants give them out for free, and next time you order the lo mein, whip out the chopsticks and impress everybody.

2. Learn Another Language- FREE

Most colleges offer a variety of language courses, and at least a year of a language is usually a requirement. So why not continue with it? I'm currently learning French, and it's the greatest feeling to be able to hear phrases in French and be able to understand them without thinking twice.

3. Become An Ordained Minister- FREE

All it takes is an email address and a couple minutes of your time, and you're good to go! Sure, this is completely illegitimate and really doesn't mean anything, but it's a great conversation starter.

4. Write Something In Wet Cement- FREE

Leave your eternal mark-- or, like Michael Scott, your eternal face-print.

5. Dive Off the High Dive- FREE

Head over to your local/university pool and take a leap from the high dive! Think of it as cliff diving, but with chlorine.

6. Go on a Picnic- $5

Picnics are a fun way to spice up your lunch, and can be a cute date idea as well! Going on a picnic can as simple as taking your lunch outside, or you can go the extra step and pack a lunch in a cute little basket.

7. Pick Berries- $5

I would highly recommend finding any nearby fruit-picking establishments, and taking a trip to them pronto! I went cherry-picking with my mom and it was a really relaxing, fun day. The fruit tastes ten times better when you've picked it yourself, and it's ten times cheaper too!

8. Go Zorbing- $7

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a hamster?

9. Take a Yoga Class- $9

A lot of people are under the presumption that all you do in yoga is sit and stretch, but yoga is actually ridiculously hard. I took a class in Bulgaria, which made it a thousand times worse because not only did I have to contort my body into strange shapes, but I also had very little idea what the instructor was saying.

10. Watch a Drive-In Movie- $9

I have always wanted to do this, and just recently discovered that there's one only twenty minutes from my university. I would recommend everybody catch a drive-in movie before they're totally extinct!

11. Do a Ghost Tour- $10

I somehow manage to be very easily frightened, yet incredibly intrigued by most scary movies, so if you're like me and can't resist a good horror flick that you know you'll regret later, I'd recommend doing a ghost tour! I did a ghost tour in Cape May and it was really interesting. My imagination was working overtime to convince myself that yes, I did see a flash of blonde hair in that abandoned hotel.

12. Bake a Dessert You've Always Been Intimidated By- $15

Baking in general is always fun, but baking something you're mildly afraid of? Even better! I tried to make macarons with my roommate and THEY ACTUALLY TASTED FANTASTIC. So, moral of the story, don't let complicated recipes scare you off!

13. Go Grape Stomping- $20

I wonder how grapes feel under your toes. And who would even want grapes that had people's feet in them? But hey, it seems like it would be fun, and certainly an interesting sensation!

14. Learn to Play the Ukulele- $20

Ukuleles are really cheap online, and they only have four chords. I taught myself to play in a matter of weeks! Whenever I felt stressed out, I'd grab my uke and play a couple songs, and instantly feel better and more focused. I left my ukulele in storage for the summer, and I actually really miss it! So pick yourself up a ukulele from Amazon, and start strumming!

15. Go Kayaking- $20

I've gone a couple times at the Georgetown Waterfront in Washington D.C., and I love it everytime! Not only is kayaking a great workout, but the feeling of being surrounded by water is incredibly tranquil. I love letting my boat float, then skimming my hand across the water.

16. Go Horseback Riding- $25

RIDING A HORSE IS REALLY HARD IT BOUNCES YOU UP AND DOWN AND YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO FALL AND THEY'RE A LOT HIGHER UP THAN YOU THINK BUT IT'S VERY FUN and if you live in a beach town you can go the extra step, and ride a horse on the shore!

17. Get a Fish Pedicure- $30

Now, before you say anything, yes, I know that in Victorious when they got a fish pedicure they all got Myeloradiculitis. BUT Trina got them from a really shady van, and I heard the real fish pedicures make your feet incredibly soft. People say they're like receiving tiny fish kisses!

18. Go Paintballing- $30

If you want to see a bunch of grown men in leafy camouflage shoots, get pelted by a ton of tiny hard paintballs, and, for the first time in your life, feel true fear in your heart, paintballing is for you!

19. Chop Off All Your Hair (And Donate It!)- $45

The last time I chopped off all my hair, I got it done at a cheap Supercuts-esque place, and they made it shorter in the back and longer in the front. My hair kept flipping out in the back, and in the front. Unfortunately, this was the day before my senior picture. But, sometimes cutting your hair can be a great fresh start, and it can completely renew your hair strands! Plus, if you have enough hair you can donate it to Locks of Love and help others.

20. Dye Your Hair Blonde- $150

This is quite a price leap from the other bucket list items, but this one's mostly for me. I've just always wanted to see what I looked like as a blonde.

Cover Image Credit: Marketo

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.


For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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