I'm fortunate enough to be in an industry which requires me to travel and opens up income opportunities pretty much wherever I go but it doesn't mean I don't have to be smart with my money. In fact the smarter I can be with it the more travel opportunities I can take up! It gives me the opportunity to travel for fun as well as work and reward myself with such much earned time off. Whether it be for events, work or just play. Here is some tips iv picked up along the way that help me keep costs down and just have fun along the way!
Air Fares: I'm a big believer in frequent flyer points because I have a lot of business and personal credit cards with frequent expenses. I don't let myself go overboard and get hit with any fees or interest I just pay it off weekly as I go before 30 days sets in. It takes a little while to get some miles but its well worth getting a few free flights just for spending money as you usually would!
I also check travel deals frequently and well in advance when I can. You can really get a good price if your prepared and shop around a few months beforehand. This is a must for any holiday or event seasons where flights get scarce leading up, the less available the higher the prices drive. The good thing is too that theyre usually that much in demand if you cancel, you can always sell it on.
Another trick is always playing around with your flight path - pariticularly if you are flying to a few destinations that are close together. It doesn't always mean you get the quickest path ever but if your open to spending an extra couple of hours between it may just save you a few $100's.
Accommodation: This can be the kicker when travelling and that's why I'm so so happy AirBnb is now a thing. Catering to every traveller you can go el cheapo and take some share accommodation, rent a cosy spare room in someone's household or take it next level and rent an entire home. I always usually give myself a few days in a full property for a few days just to really get the vibe of what its like to call that place "home" but if you don't really know anyone and keen on making some friends share accommodation is great for that! I usually always find someone to buddy up with within a couple hours when I opt for the share option.
The best part as well is its not commercialised, your staying in a place which hasn't been styled room to room in corporate attire and really has that "homely" feel about it. There is everything from sleek and modern to shabby chic as well so if your feeling like doing some photography projects renting out a full space is a great option for that too. Two birds, one stone.
Eating Out: I get around this expense by just being smart about it. When I'm travelling its pretty likely I'm going to be eating out a few times both socially and on the run. I just try and be conscious of this and buy a handful of groceries when I first arrive. Small things like drinks, handbag snacks like nuts and fruit and lastly some breakfast food. This way I can make sure I'm not walking out the door already hungry and can keep myself going while I'm roaming out and about. This stops me not only from spending a lot of money on eating out but also from eating copious amounts of junk. I also find its good because it justifies checking out that incredibly expensive celebrity restaurant - behaving means rewards!
Getting around: I like to experience the area for what it really is so due to this ill take a train or tuk tuk over a cab most time when time allows and this keeps cost down but if I'm getting to work or an important event you can go wrong with Uber!
Much cheaper then a cab and its so simple to just operate and keep track on your phone rather then messing with cabs, figuring out what address you are at and waiting around wondering how far away it is. Different countries obviously have different apps as well though and many hotels will have promo codes for travellers. Its worth while taking note when you can. I think Lyft for example gave me a free $50 credit when I signed up in LA.
Shopping: Its so easy to lose control of your budget when it comes to shopping overseas. New stores, markets, hidden boutique gems and lets not forget possibly your favourite brands headquarters or sample sales along the way. To try and keep control of my finances in this department I often write out a list of stuff I really need or have been looking to find for a while and keep my eye out of those items. Granted a lot of things are cheaper overseas as well for example if I'm going to the USA I may splurge a little extra on electronics. Or perhaps a tailored suit in Thailand or China..... be smart and you'll find yourself collecting a lot more for a lot less everywhere you go. I'm also a sucker for cute ornaments and traditional items don't forget to buy something that applies to where you were as a keepsake.
Making Buddies: A big part of the experience is making new friends along the way. If you haven't travelled before or in a country where the first language isn't your own it can be a little daunting but my tip is just to be open to the moment and put yourself in situations you wouldn't usually. It may not be your thing to go out for a drink on your own but when your travelling you should. It may end up being a standard time or it may end up being the time of your life. I have made countless lifelong friends in my travels... its only going to make your trip more interesting! You may as well take the risk and put yourself out there :) Just stay safe in the process.
Weird Expeirences: Make sure you put yourself out of your comfort zone and don't just stick to the tourist destinations! Talk to the locals, get a drink in a dingy bar, spend some time talking to the homeless and handing out your leftover change. Sometimes I challenge myself to ask the most odd person I can find what they would do on a perfect in their city and just follow their intinirary.