Try these six travel-free summer fun ideas

Erin Thorburn, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertaining

Fuel prices have made traveling this summer a luxury not everyone can afford. But who says astronomical travel costs should bar summer fun? Not this writer! And, not most Americans. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we are a resourceful and creative bunch. So for the sake of making the most of whatever breaks you have, take a look at these six entertaining, inexpensive and (mostly) easy activities to do with family and friends.

Goodwill blindfold challenge

You may have seen the trend on TikTok or Instagram: People are blindfolded at Goodwill, tasked with grabbing random outfits, which turn out to be wildly mismatched and often hilarious. The outfits are then worn on an outing immediately following the shopping excursion.

To replicate this fun and affordable Goodwill experience, gather a group of friends and take turns blindfolding one another. Guide each person to the tops and bottoms clothing aisles closest to their size and let them select an item from each, sight unseen. And no take-backs! After everyone has purchased their items, find a place to change. Before going out to lunch or dinner, be sure to capture snapshots of wonderfully wrong combinations of neon-striped tank tops with red-and-black plaid pants for all to enjoy.

Book sharing club

Many years ago, a trend began with the premise of spreading literary joy by leaving finished books behind (at coffee shops, restaurants and other public venues). Some people would even leave an email address to track the book’s journey to discover who found the book, read it and passed it on.


Rather than enclosing an email address, consider creating a Facebook virtual book club and put its designation inside the book cover. That way, anyone who has read the book can join a virtual book club to share their thoughts and engage in conversation about the book. If you happen to have a neighborhood sharing library, consider placing a few of the same book and see if this ups your virtual book club attendance.

Summer menu madness

Make a four-course summer-themed menu with summer favorites such as barbecue, pasta salads, fruit and veggie salads, chips, baked beans, pie, brownies, lemonade and ice tea as examples. Now here’s where the “madness” enters. Make a paper menu for your guests, but instead of listing food items with their real names, sub each dish with a summer-themed name. For example, brisket is sunscreen; pasta salad is flip-flops and brownies are sunglasses. Save three summer items for a fork, spoon and knife (e.g. fork is “sunscreen” on the menu). The true identity of food items must remain secret.

Each course, your guests can only choose three items off the menu. Watch while some guests receive a brownie, pasta salad and knife, while others get a summer gazpacho soup with iced tea and hot dog. Didn’t get a fork your first course? Maybe you’ll get one next round, or maybe you’ll have to be inventive in how you eat your flip-flops, aka pasta salad!


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