Going out is fun but paying top dollar for drinks isn't. Lighten your tab each night by bringing a bottle or buying one at duty free to make some drinks in your room before you hit the town. I bring my cocktail shaker in my luggage or carry on and ask the hotel for a (free) bucket of ice to whip up some great drinks before we head out! Cheap and cheerful!
2. Free Rides: Uber good!
If someone in your group hasn't signed up for Uber take advantage of the free ride promo! Their first ride is free and then you get a free one for referring them! I recently took advantage of this with my wife and her sister. We took six rides before we had to cough up! Genius. A few nights of free transportation on the town saves big bucks! If you haven't signed up, use my link (click bold text) and we will both get a free ride!
3. Dont BURN money!
Going International? Never change money at the airport! EVER. Your ATM card is accepted almost everywhere (double check for safety). By ordering currency from your bank before you leave or waiting to use an ATM machine in your destination you will save tons of money. The airport exchange services like Travelex give you the consumer rate of exchange (about 10 percent less than the bank rate). If you were to change $500 into Great British Pounds from an ATM abroad or from your bank before you leave you would receive roughly £320. At the airport through one of these "exchange" (moronic) services you would receive only £285! Even with an ATM service fee for use abroad you save over $50! Big difference!
4. Airport Grub & Pub!
Planning on eating and drinking in the airport? Think about purchasing a lounge pass or carrying a credit card with complimentary lounge access. Most lounges are $50 for walk in access or complimentary with certain credit cards but you can have as many drinks and as much food as you want once you're in! The way I see it, if you plan on having a few drinks and some food you end up saving money and you get a nice comfy place to wait with free Wifi! Take a look at the American Express lounge at LaGuardia Food & Drink Menu. Another added bonus is that you can then skip the shi**y plane food and get to sleep earlier! Nice.
5. Total tourist?
Look into "all inclusive" tourist packages offered directly by the city. These often include travel/transportation cards, attraction entry and useful maps and guides. In Amsterdam we bought an "iAmsterdam" pass and it saved a ton of money compared to going into each museum or attraction separately and included all mass transit at a greatly discounted rate.
6. Hotels expensive? dont stress.
Check Airbnb. This service for renting apartments is great and available in most cities. Even if the rate for a nice place is the same as a hotel you'll have a kitchen where you can cook and not have to purchase three meals a day. You could use the money saved on breakfast and lunch to go to an extra nice dinner. If you are with a group of friends this can be crucial because most hotels limit the number of people to 2 per room so not only do you get more space but you save money.
7. Save on Wifi! more hours for selfies!
if you are one of those people who feels the need to keep in touch and post Instagram pictures constantly during your flight, pre purchasing your wifi will save you a fortune versus what you will pay on the plane. Buy ahead. Buying ahead when you book your ticket can often get you a 24 hour pass for less than what an hour pass would cost on the plane.
8. Window shop!
Have a go to site for booking flights or hotels? Cool but don't forget to at least compare. TripAdvisor has a useful tool for hotels where you can see the going rate on almost all the major sites like Expedia, Kayak and Travelocity while browsing reviews and user photos. I recommend also looking directly at the hotels website as lately I have noticed the best deals and benefits once at the hotel are received on bookings done directly through the hotel.
9. Leave Room in your Carry-On!
This one may seem like a no brainer but I have seen so many people go to check a bag, find out its overweight and not have anywhere to put the stuff they need to take out to get it under the weight restriction. Even if your bag is light chances are you will pick something up on your travels so its nice to have space for it. While we are on the subject of carry-ons I regularly bring a change of shirt, underwear and jeans in mine in case my bags get lost that way I am not totally stranded.
10. Enroll in Global Entry / TSA Pre Check.
They are both programs designed to expedite traveling through an airport. Time is money. Global Entry is a system that electronically processes you through customs in the US and in select countries abroad. It takes under 2 minutes to clear customs. If I call a cab ahead of time it is really nice to know I will be coming out on time and won't be paying for waiting charges while in a painful customs line. Pre Check comes with Global Entry and allows you to keep your shoes and belt on and use a priority security lane on your departures in the US. Its nice not to strip for the charming agents.
As always, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any travel or points questions.