How to Visit over 350 Museums for Free

One of the main parts of planning a trip when you’re travelling with kids is to find family-friendly activities.

Some of the best options I’ve found are museums where kids, youth, and adults can have fun and explore a variety of hands-on exhibits.

The only problem is that some places like that can tend to be pretty pricey, and with a family of even moderate size, that can add up, especially if you’re running on a tighter budget.

For example, last weekend my family visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

The cost per adult is $21.95 and for kids between ages three and eleven, it’s $12.95.

So for a family of four, that would usually cost nearly $70.00 for a single trip (depending on the age of your kids).

However, my family went there without having to drop a single dime on admission.

How’d we do it?

Well, let me tell you a little secret called the ASTC Travel Passport Program.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh

The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) has over 350 participating museums—in the United States and 14 other countries around the world—and if you have a membership to any one of them, you get into all of them without having to pay general admission.

Okay, okay—yes, you do have to pay the initial membership fee for whichever ASTC museum you decide to join, so that part isn’t free. But in most cases, that fee quickly pays for itself, making it totally worth it.

Terre Haute Children’s Museum

For example, our membership at our local museum only costs us $75/year (some memberships at other museums might cost more), so between how often we go there and all the other museums we’ve gone to, it has absolutely paid for itself and been totally worth it.

You can find a list of the participating museums at the ASTC website to locate which museum is closest to you, and to find out if there are any in your next family vacation destination.

Note: I am not officially affiliated with ASTC or any of its participants and do not get any kind of commission if you choose to purchase a membership at any of the locations listed.

So do I really care if you purchase a membership or not? Nope! Not one bit. But am I just a nice human being who likes to share awesome resources with others who want to travel with kids because this is an amazing opportunity you’d be a fool to pass up? Well, I’ll let you decide. 😉

3 Steps to Making Travel a Priority

We’ve had so many people ask us recently how we manage to have the time and means to travel as much as we do.

Well, here’s our first tip: make travel a passion and a priority in your life.

You might say you really wish to travel, but do you actually set it as a priority?

Or are there other things that take higher spots on the shelf? How badly do you really want it?

Because when it comes down to it, you have to decide if you really do want travel as a priority in your life, or if there really are just other things that you’d rather do instead.

But if you really do want it badly enough, you can make it happen.

Perhaps that sounds like a “Well, duh; but then what?” answer; or maybe you’re thinking, “Psh, yeah right. That’s easier said than done.”

Well, here are three steps to help transform your intangible travel dreams into a realistic passion, hobby, and lifestyle.

1. Make a list of what’s holding you back

If you feel like you’re not traveling as much as you wish you could, take a few minutes and write down the main things you think are holding you back.

Is it money? Time? Not knowing where to start? Or what?

2. Be willing to sacrifice

Anything that’s really worth it usually takes some sacrifice in one form or another.

So after listing what you think is preventing you from traveling, think about what it might take to overcome that obstacle—and what you might need to give up to make it happen.

For example, if money is the challenge, look at where you’re spending and if there’s anywhere you could cut back so that you could put that money towards saving for a trip instead.

3. Take action!


In the infamous words of both Nike and  Shia Labeouf, “Just do it!” Set a goal of where or when you want to travel next, and write it down! As they say, a goal not written down is merely a wish.

And what better time to set a goal than now at the beginning of the new year?

Then set smaller goals that will help you get to that main goal—goals like, “I’m only going to eat fast food once this month and put the rest that I’d usually spend towards travel.”

The Beginning

This was just a simple introduction to some basic steps you can implement to get you started on the path to having a traveling, Fernweh lifestyle.

We’ll focus in and go into greater detail for some of these steps later.

But for now, we just wanted to give you a place to get started.

To give us an idea of how to better help you with future posts, write in the comments what your answers are to step #1. What are the main things holding you back from traveling? Or you already make travel a priority, what changes have you made in your life to make that a reality?

Travel—Not Just for Single Hipsters or the Wealthy

I’m walking the cobblestone streets in Odense, Denmark, savoring a lakrids-flavored ice cream cone, admiring the quaint, yellow, historic house of Hans Christian Andersen.

I’m hiking the red-stone wonders of Arches National Park.

I’m scaling sand dunes and swimming Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Want to see some pics?:





Perhaps not. We know a lot of people do things like this with kids or while pregnant. And yet, people still frequently express to us how surprised they are at how much we travel.

There seems to be a misconception out there that traveling frequently or having adventure is too difficult or too expensive—especially as a young family.

And yet we manage it.

We’re not rich. Mr. Fernweh is a PhD student and Mrs. Fernweh is a stay-at-home mom, so we’re technically living slightly above poverty level on nothing more than a student’s stipend with two kids.

But despite that fact, we’ve somehow managed to have a little travel adventure nearly every month for the past several months and frequently in general over our six years of marriage.

“How do you do it? What are your secrets?”

Those are the questions that multiple friends keep asking us. Several of them even encouraged us to write a blog to share our “secrets.”

So that’s why we’re here.

Thanks to the prompts, encouragement, and inspiration of numerous friends, we’ve decided to start this blog in hopes that we can share some tips and experiences about how traveling can be for anyone of any age or stage of life, in nearly any socioeconomic or family situation.

We may even have some useful tips for those of you out there who are the young traveling hipsters—after all we used to be those ourselves (except we always said we were too hipster to be real hipsters, since hipsters are so mainstream; but that’s another story).

We don’t claim to be experts, and we’re  strong believers in the fact that something that might work for one individual or family might not work for another. We just hope what we share resonates with someone out there and to spread the Fernweh vision with anyone who wants it.

Fernweh (pronounced “FEIRN-vey”) is a German word meaning, “far-sickness” or “aching for far away,” and is also defined as “an urge to travel even stronger than wanderlust.”

We both definitely have this wonderful illness and hope to contaminate you all with it as well.

But before we get too far, our question is, what do you guys want to know about traveling on a budget or with kids, or just having a travel lifestyle in general?

Write your suggestions for future post ideas in the comments below, and subscribe to be notified when we write new posts.

Can’t wait to get this conversation rolling with you guys!