NYFW on a Budget: 5 Essential Tips

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Fashion Week is one of those events you should do at least once in your life. It's a whole adventure in and of itself: the clothes, the people, and that moment the lights go down and the music goes on... It's complete chaos at times, but there's nothing like it. 

But let's be real, attending Fashion Week, it ain't cheap.

My first fashion week I went way over my budget and I was staying with family. The most pitiful part of this is that I never had time to go shopping! I quickly found out that to do Fashion Week, you have to be smart about it. You're going to need a plan. For Fall/Winter shows, I usually suggest you start thinking at least a month in advance: Who are you are staying with. Where you are staying. What you're budget is, include food, drinks and transportation. (Don't forget shopping) Obviously we're a little closer to the two week mark at this point but now we know for Spring and Summer show planning, right?

A place to sleep (& change), for the whopping few hours of sleep you're going to get. 

This is probably going to be your biggest and most underused expense if you don't have the luxury of surfing a friend or family member's couch for the week, but don't fret. Sharing a room with your blogger pals certainly helps bring the inflated Fashion Week rates down. But, it doesn't hurt to reach out to hotels and their pr firms for a discounted press rate. Map out where you're going to be spending the most time and put together a combined media kit and pitch it with what you're offering in return and send that baby out. Be warned this is not something you want to do 1-2 weeks in advance because chances are they will be sold out already. At least 1-2 months ahead of time is key. Don't fret if you get a handful of no's because someone will eventually say yes. Be diligent and do your research.

Getting from Here To There.

I'd love to say that Fashion Week events all reside in just one place, but in reality, you're going to find yourself jumping from here or there or anywhere on a given day. It's like a damn Dr. Seuss book if you ask me. Whether you're at the Lincoln Center, the Hub or downtown at Milk or Artbeam, chances are you're going to need some sort of transportation.

Skip the cabs, and opt for public transit. I knooooow: As if! Right? But, a weekly unlimited metrocard will run you $30 and will get you to where you're going. If New Yorkers use it everyday, you can too. Not savvy with maneuvering the NYC subway? Open your google maps, or download moovit or nycmate and they'll help you every step of the way. They can be lifesavers. If you absolutely have to take a car, sign yourself up for uber or lyft. You get $20 off your first ride and if you refer your friends (because chances are you're not taking this trip alone) you get a $20 credit for each person referred. So if you're going to take a car, make it count.

I'm going to let you in on my favorite fashion week travel secret because dropping $15+ each way to commute from Lincoln Center to Milk is where things start to add up- especially when everyone is heading to the same place. Surge pricing? No thanks. The M11 bus is where it's at. It stops off to the right of the steps (near backstage entrance) of LC and takes you all the way down to Artbeam, Milk Studios, and through the Meatpacking District. It's usually a 15-20 minute ride so it's about 5-10 slower than taking a cab, but it gives you a chance to upload your runway snaps to Instagram or tweet out the celebrity you just shared a sidewalk with. Plus, it's included with your unlimited metrocard, boom! Sadly this option might become completely irrelevant come September but for now I'll savor it while Fashion Week looks for a new home.  

That grumbling in your stomach.

Yep, it happens things are moving so quickly that you forgot to eat, again. And this time you're not going to make the rookie mistake of eating a $5 {seemingly} two day old croissant from the cafe at the Lincoln Center. You wised up and brought a granola bar or trail mix to keep you energized. You can shop your neighborhood near the hotel or bring from home, but always come prepared because you don't want to pass out on the steps. That's not the street style picture you want you want to be remembered for. Plus, champagne and an empty stomach never mix. Worst.Hangover.Ever.

Speaking of, Drinks are usually never few and far between at presentations and events, so in most cases you don't have to add them to your budgeting. Because what is fashion without booze? Kidding.

Obviously staying fully caffeinated is a must because that few hours of sleep I mentioned earlier? It's real. Brew at your hotel or grab a latte before you enter the tents. They often have bottled drinks and snacks from sponsors but those, one: are never guaranteed IF they're available, or two: you're going to enjoy eating whatever that was. Also drink water, a lot of it.

When snacks are just not cutting do a quick yelp search for eats in the area. You might have to walk slightly out of fashion week's eye-view for budget savvy meals, but there is a good chance you will welcome the space by the time you come up for air. Trust me on this one.

Reach out, far and wide. 

Don't hesitate to reach out to your pr friends and ask them if they're doing anything special for Fashion Week. Chances are they are and now you're invited to go. Connect with bloggers you know and see if they need someone to cover shows or events for them. Don't forget to be polite. Contrary to what some people think, you're far better off being nice.

The inevitable shopping, if you have time.

If you do end up catching a break from the crazy and want to treat yourself to a little retail therapy, be sure you love it before leaving. Because chances are that once you get on that plane, it's yours. Buyer's remorse be damned...

All seriousness aside, don't forget to have fun!