18 Popular Hobbies That Have Become Too Costly to Pursue

Hobbies are an important way for many of us to relax, enjoy ourselves, and pursue our passions. Yet some hobbies require equipment, travel, or membership fees that are increasingly unaffordable, particularly in light of recent increases in the cost of living. In this article, we describe 18 popular hobbies that have become too costly to pursue for many individuals.

Golf

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Stitch Golf writes, “It’s no secret that golf is expensive, considering the clubs, bags, balls, fees, and training you’ll need.” Although long perceived to be a pursuit for the wealthy elite, sharp rises in club memberships, greens fees, and the cost of quality equipment have made even those with a decent disposable income struggle to afford to play.

Photography

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While the digital era has eliminated the need for development costs, digital photography and ever-rising standards have pushed many budding photographers toward other, cheaper hobbies. Although never exactly cheap in the past, The Online Photographer says modern, high-end cameras, lenses, and accessories often come with a hefty price tag.

Sailing

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Owning and maintaining a sailboat used to be something a mid-income family might be able to do with careful budgeting. Yet today, marina fees, training expenses, and upkeep costs have skyrocketed. Life of Sailing confirms that the expense of sailing often limits access to this hobby for anyone other than the highest income classes.

Traveling

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Almost everyone loves to travel, but doing so frequently or visiting faraway lands can quickly add up to an unaffordable expense. CNBC reports that the costs of accommodation, air travel, transfers, and excursions have peaked recently, largely due to the pandemic and escalating operating costs for hotels and other similar services.

Scuba Diving

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As with any sport that relies on technical equipment for safety, scuba diving can quickly become an expensive pursuit. Recently, the costs of certification, boat trips, and equipment have been steadily rising, making it difficult for many divers to afford to dive regularly. Social Diving says an entry-level certification (like PADI Open Water) can cost up to $1,200 alone.

Mountain Climbing

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According to OutdoorFAQs, climbing mountains for fun can be expensive, especially if you live far from suitable terrain, lack training, or climb at an advanced level that requires upgraded equipment. The escalating costs of gear (like ropes, harnesses, and crampons), paying for guides, and travel expenses have put many climbers off the sport.

Wine Tasting

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The world of fine wine can be costly, particularly for those enthusiasts seeking the rarest and most distant bottles to sample. Many wine-tasting fans complain about the high cost of tasting tours in the U.S. and say that special events like wine auctions and private tastings can be prohibitively expensive for those on even a mid-level income.

Auto Racing

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Racing cars, even at an amateur level, requires a financial investment of at least a few thousand dollars a year, according to TurnFast. Even if you ignore the cost of purchasing your own vehicle, the costs of maintaining, fueling, and storing a racecar are rising rapidly—not to mention extra expenses like race entry fees, hotels, and safety equipment.

Flying

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While flying light aircraft used to be something the middle and upper classes could enjoy, it’s now reserved only for the super-rich. Training, accruing flight hours, hangar fees, fuel costs, insurance, and maintenance fees have all skyrocketed in recent years, forcing most lower-income flying enthusiasts to pursue other hobbies.

Collecting Art

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With more and more art lovers vying for the most sought-after pieces, competition for artworks can be tough, with the richest bidder winning each time. AllPastTimes says that nowadays, “Art collecting is considered to be among the most expensive hobbies; that’s why only rich people can afford it.”

Home Brewing

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Crafting your own beer may sound like a cost-cutting exercise, but the initial costs can be substantial. Equipment like fermenters and kegs is increasingly unaffordable, while ingredients such as hops and malt have also increased in price. Enthusiasts also often experiment with recipes and techniques, pushing the expense up further.

Equestrian Sports

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Horses weren’t always reserved for the elite, but they are increasingly expensive nowadays. Riding lessons, equipment, stabling, exercise, and vet fees are notoriously high and on the rise. Extra costs like farrier services, transport, and competition fees can also add up.

Skydiving

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Skydive Danielson states that learning to skydive can cost up to $14,000 and that individual tandem skydives thereafter are around $250. While the thrill of skydiving can be exhilarating, the costs are too high for most people to afford, with the price of equipment, fuel, parachutes, and jumpsuits all increasing.

Gourmet Cooking

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Many people love preparing delicious meals with more intricate cooking techniques and high-quality ingredients. Unfortunately, the cost of groceries has been steadily increasing, not to mention the expense of specialized kitchen tools, cookware, chef knives, and cooking lessons.

Cycling

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While basic bicycles are still affordable, cycling enthusiasts often want to invest in bikes suitable for hours on the road. The high-end bikes that fit the bill are often thousands of dollars to buy, plus cyclists need to factor in the cost of safety accessories and bike maintenance, all of which are rising.

Antique Collecting

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According to Sarasota Antique Buyers, “the boom and interest in antique and vintage pieces that are older than 50 to 100 years are increasing day by day.” The costs can be astronomical for antique collectors wishing to collect ancient artifacts, and owning the best pieces requires winning fierce and expensive bidding wars at auctions.

Hot Air Ballooning

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This quirky kind of air travel gives hobbyists a peaceful and unique view of the world but is now prohibitively expensive for most. Owning and maintaining a hot air balloon is expensive on its own (particularly with rising fuel costs), while participating in events and competitions adds extra fees for registration and travel.

Yachting

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Like sailing, yachting is now a pastime reserved for only the wealthiest members of society. Once you’ve factored in the costs of owning or renting a yacht, maintenance costs, docking fees, crew salaries, and fuel costs, there won’t be much left from an average wage packet!

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