5 Ways to Stay Engaged Online (on a Discount)

Posted on 03 Aug 2018 by Julian House

There’s a nearly endless range of services and products available online. Obviously, some of the most competitive promos are on offer on discount sites. While many can be applied for purchases both online or offline, some truly unique experiences can only be accessed via laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

For many, staying engaged online comes down to following topics they’re interested in, from social media feeds to video streaming to shopping. However, those looking to try something new can easily find engaging activities that come at a huge discount, if not for free.

Let’s take a look at five of the most interesting ways to expand the mind without overspending.


Strategy Games

There are countless sites and apps that let users play chess for free—but what about 3D chess? In recent years, there’s been an uptick in interest for this difficult board game. There are tournaments, apps, and forums full of advice for those interested in strategic thinking. 

3D chess has garnered plenty of attention, but online poker was the original gold rush for strategy-game enthusiasts. Throughout the 2000s, sites looked to incentivize newcomers to try their online platform with big welcome offers. This led to a handful of unforgettable promo events in which buy-ins were cheap and winnings were in the thousands.

Eventually, players stuck to one or a few companies with superior online platforms. Today, promos don’t offer huge potential payouts, but do offer free chips for newcomers.


Museum Tours

In response to dwindling visitor numbers in 2020, many of the world’s most visited and acclaimed museums teamed up with Google Arts & Culture to create unique virtual tours. Last year, a total of 2,500 museums opted into the program, which looked to bring the world’s most celebrated art into homes.

In many cases, specialized galleries and shows are off-limits to the general (and virtual) public, but online visitors will still be treated to awe-inspiring tours of places like the Sistine Chapel, The Louvre and the Guggenheim. Some have called for expanded virtual tours, which could include famous gardens and buildings from various architects.

Family Trees

There are few things quite as intriguing as learning something new about family histories and genealogies. For many Americans, tracing ancestral roots back to Europe, Africa, and beyond is both riveting and fulfilling. 

Back in 2000, Family Tree DNA launched in Texas. Since then, many genealogy groups have shifted to promote DNA testing for ancestry and health reports. This means that many record-based sites, from USGenWeb to Olive Tree Genealogy and RootsWeb, offer free research materials.

Those who are after advanced features may have to pay a minimal fee, but there’s sure to be plenty of information and leads to work with. Keep a lookout for sites that cross-reference family tree members with other user accounts, as this can help expand existing family trees far into the past.


Coding Basics

Coding can be a baffling topic for non-digital natives. Despite this, computer programming, which tells a computer which actions to take, is one of the fastest-growing industries in the workforce—and one of the most lucrative for start-ups. And you don't need to spend a fortune on tech equipment.

Many newcomers choose to attend boot camps, but those with a passing interest can check out free opportunities online. Some of the most celebrated coding sites are Khan Academy, Code Academy, and BitDegree. There, visitors can try their hand at some basic coding in a variety of programming languages, including JavaScript and Python.


Make a Friend

Interested in making cross-cultural connections without paying for a pricey plane ticket and lodging? Lucky for pen pal enthusiasts, there are now more options than ever for virtual friendships. Whether looking to expand horizons or simply learn how adults live in other parts of the world, virtual pen pal programs can be extremely rewarding. 

There are a variety of sites that connect adults with pen pals around the world, including PenPal World, Conversation Exchange, and Compatipal. Compatipal, in particular, has proved very popular. Similar to a dating service, the pen pal platform connects participants with like-minded pen pals based on quizzes that identify user interests.

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