I was fortunate enough to make my first ever solo trip all by myself in October 2018 as a Texas weekend getaway to visit my dearest friend for her birthday. I had never traveled completely by myself mostly because of irrational fears of something happening to me and not making it back home to my children, so this was a huge step!
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How to Travel for Cheap
I had a few hours to myself to just wander freely so I arrived with my handy dandy checklist and hit the ground running. Costs worked out really well since there were plenty of things to do for free and I used points for my hotel stays. To learn more about getting the most value from your points, read how to get more free stays.
I always start my plans by setting alerts for my intended flights so I can book for a great price as soon as the right one comes up. You can do this on google flights, momondo, or kayak.
I flew into Dallas (DFW airport) on Sun Country from Tampa for less than $100 roundtrip including the preferred seat upgrade. I did the upgrade for the return flight and it included a seat in the first row and immediate free drink service while everyone was still boarding, so of course, I had a mimosa.
Find great last-minute deals on flights Flight Guru!
I picked up a car rental at Hertz for $106. Reserved a Jeep Wrangler and received a nice upgrade to a Buick Enclave. I always get these kinds of upgrades when I least need them, go figure. Luckily, my son worked for Hertz at the time so I also had the friends and family discount but one way to keep your rental costs low is to plan ahead when booking your flight. Try to schedule pickup and dropoff around the same time so you don’t pay for extra hours on your daily rate.
Cheap Eats in or near Fort Worth
My first stop after landing was to this organic, farm fresh juice bar. Great assortment of juices and smoothies including a longevity bowl with Acai or Pitaya and topped with granola, coconut flakes, fresh fruit, and agave or honey drizzle.
Every week, they take flavors from around the world and put them into a taco. You can find them throughout Texas and also in Atlanta and Chicago among a few other places. Flavors to try include the chicken & waffle, nashville hot tofu, beer battered cauliflower, and Korean fried rice.
Orchid City Fusion Cafe
I’m in love with any place that serves fried catfish. So, of course, I had to try the catfish with spicy basil rice.
If you like BBQ, this might be the right place for you. If you eat more vegetarian fare, we know that BBQ places are usually not the greatest but you can get a salad and a pretty good cocktail while everyone else dives into the pit for burnt ends, hot links, brisket, and peppered turkey. Happy hours are from 2 to 7PM and they feature ole’ smokey moonshine.
Staying Nearby in Arlington
There are definitely some great options for hotels in downtown Fort Worth and throughout the area but another option that puts you in between the airport and Fort Worth is nearby Arlington. It’s also a good central location if you are visiting other areas like Grand Prairie or Dallas. Here’s 2 pleasing picks for Arlington hotels.
Courtyard by Marriott Dallas Arlington South
711 Highlander Boulevard, Arlington, Texas 76015 USA
With flexibility in October, this hotel could be as low as $100/night with AAA or 25,000 Marriott points per night. The one bedroom suite can be as low as $175/night. See reviews, photos, and compare rates on TripAdvisor.
Doubletree by Hilton Arlington DFW South
1507 N Watson Rd, Arlington, TX 76006
Current October rates show as low as $101/night with AAA or 28,000 Hilton points per night. Visit Tripadvisor for reviews, photos , and to compare rates.
Cheap or Free Things to Do in Fort Worth
Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
The entire 1.75 mile trail loop through the gardens can take 1 hour. Along the way, you’ll pass through more than a dozen unique gardens and journey along the Texas native forest boardwalk.
It’s also a great place to check for events. A family might find the homeschool days especially useful during their travels for an engaging and educational experience. The topic of the day will generally teach through fun games, activities, and explorations. In addition to homeschool days, there are family workshops, camps, and girls nature workshops.
Adults will find enjoyable workshops and activities that don’t just focus on horticulture and gardening but also food & wellness, botanical arts & crafts, and botany & nature.
While this garden is not free, you can enjoy it free with a reciprocal garden membership. Learn more about reciprocal garden memberships here.
If you receive SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, or Medicare, you can receive discounted admission for $1 (ages 16 – 64), free for children 15 and under.
Active military families can receive free access and Fort Worth Library users can check out a physical or digital pass for free access.
- Free – under 6
- $6 for ages 6 – 15
- $12 for ages 16 – 64
- $10 for ages 65+
Fort Worth Water Gardens
This FREE 4.5 acre water garden was dedicated to the citizens of Fort Worth in 1974. An elevated walkway of free standing steps takes you down to the center pool surrounded by walkways, trees, fountains, and terraces of water. Metered parking is available on the street nearby.
Fort Worth Zoo
Not Free but cheap – if you’re not a zoo member, you can visit on Wednesdays for half price:
$8 for ages 13-64.
$6 for ages 6-12 and 65+.
The Foundry District
This art and culture filled community has showrooms, shops, and restaurants to wander freely. Inspiration Alley serves as the anchor with over 70+ pieces of art to add to your outdoor art experience. Home to Blackland Distillery, for $30 you can tour the distillery, choose a cocktail and enjoy a tasting flight of their Vodka, Gin, and Bourbon & Rye. You’ll also find a vintage record store for vinyl lovers.
Fort Worth Stockyards
131 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76164
I cannot be the only person that thought, this is the number one thing I have to see while in town. Because I’ve never seen a cattle drive before! I had to. And if you still get excited driving past cows on country roads then, you have to see a cattle drive too. This happens everyday except Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm.
You can view the steers before and after the cattle drives in their pens. Visit How to get to the Stockyards for great instructions.
If you head over to Cowtown Cattlepen Maze where you can make your way through a 5,400 square foot labyrinth for $6. If you go on Tuesdays and mention the code word: Cowtown or show this link, you’ll get half off.
Kimbell Art Museum
Admission to the Kimbell Collection is always free. Special Exhibitions $16 (students and seniors) – $18(adults) per person.
This FREE 103 acre park has plenty of room to roam with equestrian trails, a disc golf course, a 1.5 mile hike and bike trail, playgrounds, and a performing arts stage.
Explore Fort Worth hotels, things to do, vacation rentals, and more.
A weekend exploring for cheap in Fort Worth is easy to do, especially if you enjoy outdoor spaces. Find more things to do in Fort Worth. And if you have never traveled solo for whatever reason, give it a try. It’s refreshing to just do your own thing for a change and not have to worry about anyone else.
Happy Wandering in Fort Worth!
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES
We know how important it is to save money so we can have more to spend on the things we love.
Here are our favorite travel resources for saving money and planning your trips.
- Booking Flights: To compare flights and set price alerts, search on Google Flights or Momondo.
- Accommodations: We typically stay in mid-range or boutique hotels with loyalty programs. That way we earn ourselves free stays to help extend our vacations and getaways for free. Learn more about earning your free stays here. For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO (for the lower fees and better support than Airbnb, sorry, we’re not big fans of the alternative) You can also book vacation rentals on Hotels.com.
- Travel Insurance: We feel pretty strongly about this, travel insurance is a MUST for international trips, and if you still aren’t sure why, check out our Travel Horror Stories. We recommend comparing your options with Squaremouth , learn more here.
- Local Attractions: We utilize memberships to help us see more when we travel. NARM members get free or discounted access to reciprocal member Art museums, Arboretums, Historic Sites, and Nature Centers throughout North America. AHS reciprocal membership includes gardens throughout the U.S. and Canada. ASTC membership gives reciprocal access to Science Centers and Museums. America the Beautiful National Parks Pass allows entry into National Parks for $80 annually. You could spend less than $300 for all 4 memberships depending on your local museums and have access to hundreds of museums, parks, and gardens. Memberships often pop up on Groupon so always look there first.
- Save more with loyalty programs, read how to get more free flights and hotels here.