Travel like an influencer. Glamorous but affordable adventures!

Traveling is my passion . com 

But seriously, travel has become not only a really great way to experience the world, but also a lovely bonding experience for my guy and me. On a separate note, I could not ask for a better travel buddy. He's amazing and can now pick out good spots to see better than I can.

1. AirBnB your house / apartment

My husband and I rent out our house via Airbnb our house out every single time we leave. It's a fantastic motivator to clean, and it helps us offset some of the travel expenses. Up to date, we have made about $3500 since we started about 2 years ago, which isn't bad considering that we only rent out when we are going away for long trips and weekends, or when our family asks us to house sit so we leave the house empty. 

Some people might get worried about strangers sleeping in their beds, perusing their stuff, possibly drinking their good liquor. But worry not! Airbnb works very hard to make sure that both parties have a very pleasant experience, through background checks, reviews, and penalties for using the house improperly. If you choose to do it, make sure to price yourself correctly, (Airbnb helps with suggesting a price) because sometimes people underprice themselves, not understanding that hotels in your area most likely charge 3X what you're about to ask. I would lock up documents, and really fancy belongings, but other than that, Airbnb guests are pretty lovely and trusting. You can choose to meet the guests, or leave the house key in a dropbox so they can access the house without you. Whatever you do, make sure to take amazing photos! Airbnb is a very very visual platform and often times, first impressions are what gets you guests!

If you'd like to give it a shot and would like to host, check it out for yourself and see how much you could make per week hosting. In Philly, you can make about ~$448 by opening up your space! Or, if you'd like to use Airbnb for travel, check out my code which will give you $40 off of their first trip of $75 or more.

2. Use Google flights & be flexible on where you're traveling

This is probably my favorite tool for research. Google Flights makes it super easy (only on the desktop site, not mobile) to explore the map, or look through pricing to determine where you can go based on what you can afford. My guy and I like to fly to Europe, preferably somewhere with cheap flights like England or Sweden (prices ranging from $150~ for one way flight), staying a day or two, and benefiting from the inexpensive travel within Europe. Once you're in, your flights become $30+ bucks per flight which seems like a typo, but no, it's legitimately how cheap it is. 

The second point is to be flexible on where you might have to fly into, or which country might it make most sense to visit. When my guy and I were planning a trip to Europe for our honeymoon, we had some places that were really interesting to us (Vienna, Venice, etc) but those were very expensive at the time. We decided to fly into London for $170 each, one way, and got to check out England! Note that our cheap flights were due to us getting the cheapest ticket available. Airlines can tag on fees and up-sell you for things like in-flight food, baggage, in-flight movies, etc. We decided to bring sandwiches, books, and avoid spending the extra costs.

3. Avoid baggage fees

We tend to avoid the baggage fees altogether by simply traveling lighter. We both purchased bags from Nordstrom Off Rack, which cost about $100 each. My bag is from Kenneth Cole. It's nothing special in that its a lovely but common rolling suitcase, very light, compact, easy to travel with. I purchased some little tubes and containers for my makeup because as you might know, all liquid products over 1oz must be checked or thrown out. By also not overstuffing our suitcases, we tend to avoid the $40+ baggage fee, and it saves us time when we depart and land because the bag stays by us all the time. Lastly, if I know where my bag is, my belongings will never go missing so extra points for peace of mind.

4. Checking out destination hot spots ahead of time

This is a silly one, but essentially you can get a ton of helpful suggestions from the Internet, magazines, travel books but you don't need to pay for the suggestions. Simply go to Barnes and Noble and check out the books on the destination. I would advise against buying books because that book will last for 1 trip and then it will be largely useless as even if you go to that country again in the next 5 years, chances are, a lot will change in terms of attractions, restaurants, galleries. 

Instead, make an itinerary for yourself with the help of Google Maps (you can make a whole plotted timeline of things to check out), or you can do it the old-fashioned way through pen and paper. I highly recommend planning out places to look at ahead of time because it will be very difficult to do so when you are jet-lagged, possibly in a different country, with limited access to resources like WiFi.

Also, by looking ahead of time, you can get access to exclusive events that you might need to RSVP for, get ideas and suggestions about where to go, and of course, really plan out which sights you'd like to see. We love to make time for a lot of city activities but also a hike to experience the nature. This helps us be more energized, get different content for social media purposes, and of course, see more sides of the country we are visiting. 

5. Reach out to hotels for a promotional stay

If you feel like you've got a substantial enough following, you can drop a line to nearby hotels to work together. Perhaps a hotel can offer a night's stay or some form of a discount to the creative folks like yourself, especially if your content suits their target demographics. Several months before (maybe even 4-6), take some time to research the hotels in the area you're planning to stay, and write them a message about a partnership. 

You could find hotels in the area that you're planning to stay with and pitch them a collaborative idea. Be advised that hotels typically seek accounts with larger followings as hotel rooms tend to be quite pricy per night. Do not be discouraged if you get a lot of "no"s. Take it as a sign that it's just not the right time, and keep building out your brand! 

A pretty easy pitch could go like:

Hello to the lovely folks over at {{Name}}

I hope you're having a great week so far. My name is Khrys, and I am the creator behind the Philadelphia based Instagram account and blog, . Take a look at some of my recent travel and style posts here, here, and here

I am emailing you because I travel to New York often to meet with clients, and am currently planning a trip for [insert date here] , and I'm looking to collaborate with a hotel in the area during the stay. I found you by looking for the best boutique hotels in New York and reading the raving reviews. As someone who loves unique accommodation, your decor really caught my eye and I feel that our values align. 

I'd love to discuss a collaboration with you. I'm a photographer and a content creator and it'd be my pleasure to offer a hotel review with photography, and a mention in my Instagram posts. 

Please let me know if this is something you'd be interested in discussing or have other ideas for working together. Would love to chat!

Obviously, feel free to customize the pitch to whatever language you prefer. 

Couple pieces of advice here:

  • If you've got a smaller following (under 10k), don't get discouraged. It takes time, and you will get a lot of "no"s. But that's the name of the game.
  • When emailing hotels, send over a limited amount of time as to not spook them. So instead of saying "We are going from September 1st to the 9th" break the dates apart into maybe 1 or 2 days and then reach out to a bunch of hotels with different dates. So you'd write to dozens of hotels to say "September 1-2", "September 2-3", "September 3-5" and so on. 
  • Refer to the name of the person for the PR or marketing if possible. If not, don't sweat it, but know that personalized emails are best.
  • Look up "boutique" hotels first, and then move up into the lower price ranges, or larger, more commercial hotels like the Hiltons of the world. Small boutique ones might be more open to visitors because they might not be able to spend a ton on marketing, but the room capacity might be limited. The larger hotels might have more rooms, so they may be interested in working with you based on the number of empty rooms alone.
  • If a hotel wants to give you a discount on a room, that's terrific too! But before you accept, look at the comperable AirBnb rates in the area, and look at a typical hotel night price. I've been offered "discounts" of ~20 dollars. That's not that much money saved for a hotel room that's already outside of my price range, and I am offering a ton of marketing! 

Read my full guide on pitching hotels. 

6. Credit card promotions & points

While credit cards are not happy with people trying to time the promotions, open credit cards, collect their travel points, and leaving, it simply doesn't always make sense to stay a customer. But that doesn't deter me from understanding the points system and using it to help our travels out.  Full disclosure, this is something I have not yet ventured into. I've been reading a lot of recommendations online and very excited to try some travel cards like the ones from American Express or Chase. Please let me know if you've had success with points! 

What about you? How do you travel bougie and on a budget? I love hearing how others travel! 

7. Use tools like Digit to help you save up throughout the year

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Tools like Digit make my vacations possible. Seriously. I set $5 dollars aside every week, on top of $2-$3 dollars every time I don't get that second cup of Starbucks, and with time, money adds up to a ton of cash, without me even noticing it! I always get a little stressed out, thinking about all of the travel expenses, and the clothes I'd like to buy, and the experiences I wanted to have so finding a little bag of coins literally makes my life that much better. I am not at a level of my influencer career where I can have 100% of my trip sponsored, and having bills means I can't simply take a big chunk of change out of my bank account, so I'm glad tools like Digit help me stash tiny amounts throghout the year so it's not so stresssfull to spend. 

Keep reading:

My favorite travel essentials


Khrystyna Oros