I am currently sitting behind my desk thinking less about work and more about the fact that I don't make nearly enough money. If I am being honest here, I don't need boat loads of it, but a few extra thousand a quarter might make traveling feel less daunting.
As it stands, most of my traveling is done with a budget in mind. A fairly low budget at that. Most people might find traveling on a budget helpful, appealing, wiser and all of that other good shit, but I am over it. I am ready for all business class all the time. I am ready for forest green 7 series bulletproof BMW's with diesel engines chauffeured by men and women in all black ill fitting polyester blend suits to whisk me and my titanium luggage away to rooms that put Hallmark movies with phenomenal unobstructed views set on green screen backdrops to shame. I am ready for Michelin starred 12 course tasting menus comprised of micro greens, hand caught caviar fed lobster, canary tinted foam and a whole host of other ridiculous food I can't pronounce with flavors that leave me tongue tied and portions that leave my sub 300 pound frame perturbed.
Yeah, that's the kinda travel I'm ready for, but until I can begin earning a bit more of that cash, here are some of tips on how I try to keep my trips within reason.
I've often found that lodging tends to be the most expensive cost associated with traveling, so I try to get that out of the way first. The simplest tip I can offer is to use three or four booking sites not owned by the same parent company and compare early and often. More than just running comparisons, what I found really helpful is to pay a bit extra to have the option to cancel sans penalty even as late as 4 or 5 days prior to your arrival. Doing this gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you have something booked while maintaining the flexibility to shop around for a more attractive location, possibly with better pricing and more amenities. Putting this into practice has helped me save several hundreds of dollars on most of my trips.
As far as flights go, the biggest opportunity to save some gouda has come when I've made the choice to depart or arrive from different cities/airport terminals. For example, we just got back from Asia and probably saved about $1,000 per person by flying into Singapore first as opposed to flying into Tokyo. We still managed to get to Tokyo, but opted for smaller budget carriers to ferry us throughout Asia and used well known larger carriers for our legs to and from the United States.
Additionally, play around with different search engines and when flying internationally I've found that booking too far ahead of time, say anything more than 5 months has often cost me more than waiting a bit closer to my departure. Ooops, I almost forgot, tinker with the days and times, sometimes flying mid-week on either leg can save you a bundle and a half, so don't get cemented to a specific time and date unless you have no other choice.
By the time you've made your way through security (please get TSA pre-check, it's absolutely worth it), gotten off of a long flight in economy and used the 15 minutes it takes to wait for your luggage trying every yoga pose known to man/woman to ease the tension in your back, all you'll wanna do is get to a bed as quickly and as affordably as possible. In my case, that usually means public transit. Rarely do I ever take a cab from the airport, unless it is just so late that transit has stopped running or unless there is no real route to get me to my destination. If for whatever reason you decide on a cab, try to negotiate a flat airport fare and ask around before you settle on the first cabby (trust me, I know, fatigue and laziness has cost me a mint).
Other than that, it's public transit all day every day; not only is it significantly cheaper and in many cases just as safe, but it also allows you to really discover the city and get a feel for the people, the customs and local traditions. If you're dead set against public transit, you may want to look into whether your hotel can make arrangements to get you a driver to shuttle you around, but that will undoubtedly put a dent in your bank account. If you strike out with your hotel, there will also be taxi's or ride sharing services, but you might wanna see if there's a local app for either, sometimes that can also help you save some cash.
However, If you are feeling adventurous and love the idea of bike sharing, walking and bus and train hopping, vaya con dios and be sure to keep your transit pass safe, because once you lose it, it's usually gone for good and you'll be forced to purchase another one.
I guess what I am really trying to say is that travel doesn't have to be as expensive as many people make it out to be. Yeah, it can definitely get pricey, but if you follow some of the tips above, at least until we both start making some real money, you can get lost anywhere in the world for a fraction of the cost, well at least if you can commit to being diligent, patient, relentless and only slightly obsessive.