Concerts, Golf and More: 12 Fun Things To Do That Inflation Has Ruined Over Time

Many Americans feel they need to cut back on leisurely activities due to the lingering effects of inflation.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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With inflation making hobbies and fun outings much more costly, those hoping to get ahead financially may feel they need to skip out on some of their favorite activities for a while.

Significant price hikes have been reported on everything from restaurant meals to amusement park tickets.

Below are 12 activities that have seen significant price increases — and some tips on how to keep from spending a fortune on them.

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Concert tickets

luckybusiness/Adobe people celebrating at concert

Through a combination of high demand — due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic putting live music on hold for years — and a chaotic U.S. ticketing system, concert prices across the country have skyrocketed.

For popular acts, ticketing fees and a largely unregulated resale market mean price tags can soar to $1,000 and beyond for a single ticket. These days, many fans feel it’s just not worth it to see the big acts.

Golf

freebird7977/Adobe putting golf ball on tee

For serious golfers and amateurs alike, the price to play golf or even just practice your swing is going up. Price hikes have been reported in the cost of gear and seasonal green fees.

Many who love the sport are reporting having to cut back on how often they play due to cost alone.

Dining out

Marius Venter/peopleimages.com/Adobe  friends eating burgers outdoors

Dining out — even if you opt for allegedly affordable national chains — has become out of reach for many Americans.

Earlier this year, CNN reported that the price of food consumed at restaurants was up more than 5% year over year — enough of a hike that many people are choosing to eat at home instead.

One tactic to avoid the price hikes is to take advantage of deals offered during happy hours and early bird specials.

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Camping

andreusK/Adobe camping in mountains at sunset

Camping is often considered a cheap way to vacation and enjoy the great outdoors. But even this activity is getting pricier across the country.

For example, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is expected to raise nightly camping fees from $35 to $45 for several popular campsites by 2025.

Fortunately, not all campsites charge nightly fees. So, campers who are OK with fewer fancy sites can avoid paying.

Video games

Mkorobsky/Adobe guy plays the console on video games

Even staying at home to play video games isn’t cheap these days. News reports say standard game prices have gone up $10 in the past year or so.

Revisiting a game you already own is one way to stay entertained without having to pay the price of inflation, but this option can be quite disappointing for dedicated players.

Road trips

Jacob Lund/Adobe couple on a road trip

Think you’ll save money on your summer vacation by opting to do a road trip instead of a pricey flight? Think again.

Gas prices are much higher than they were prior to the pandemic. So, you might not save all that much by driving. In May, the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.73 — a price that’s thrown a wrench into many summer plans.

Music lessons

SETO fotografias/Adobe violinist changing the page

Inflation has unfortunately come for those who enjoy playing music.

From the cost of the instruments — the prices of guitars, for example, have skyrocketed in recent years — to the hourly fee you’ll pay a teacher, picking up a new instrument is getting pricey.

Perhaps it explains why many aspiring musicians have turned to YouTube to try to pick up a few chords.

Bowling

gpointstudio/Adobe close up of bowling balls

Over the past year or so, customers have been unhappy about the many services that are now engaging in “surge” pricing. With this pricing model, the same service costs different amounts at high- and low-demand times.

Bowling alleys were once a cheap place to spend an afternoon with family and friends. But many of them have unfortunately jumped on the surge-pricing bandwagon.

Amusement park tickets

Phongsak/Adobe people riding roller coaster

Tickets to top amusement parks are going up.

CNN has reported that Disney fans may be in for a sad surprise at the happiest place on earth in 2025. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Disney World is reportedly raising standard prices for single-day passes from $109 to $119 next year.

Ticket prices also vary by day and demand — so pay attention to surges when booking.

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Coffee shops

YURII MASLAK/Adobe barista making coffee at coffee shop

Hanging out with friends at your favorite local cafe is not the cheap way to spend an afternoon that it once was. Coffee prices have spiked due to inflation, weather patterns, and other issues that make growing and transporting beans difficult.

Those $7 lattes may keep many coffee lovers brewing in their own homes instead.

Sewing/Crafting

iana_kolesnikova/Adobe ceramics maker working with pottery

Artsy types who enjoy crafting have had to make inflation-related sacrifices as well: The cost of things like sewing machines, fabrics, and supplies have all increased over the past year.

On the plus side, being handy with a needle and thread is a great way to avoid having to buy expensive new clothes when something tears.

Hotels

Kryuchka Yaroslav/Adobe girl on vacation moving into bright room

Inflation has made vacationing a lot more expensive — and that includes both the cost to get to your destination and what you’ll pay to stay there.

Nightly rates at hotels are not expected to go up quite as much as they did after the COVID lockdowns were lifted, but experts say they will still rise a bit this year.

To avoid pricey stays, travelers can sign up for hotel rewards programs, book by using points from one of the top rewards credit cards, or reserve a refundable room and watch for price drops.

Bottom line

shurkin_son/Adobe female pensioner in apron

Even though cutting out nonessential activities and purchases may be a great way to save more money, inflation doesn’t mean you have to give up on your hobbies completely.

You might be able to simply dial them back, avoid some new purchases of gear and materials, and take advantage of sales and discount days.

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.