10 tips for budget business travel
Are you getting ready to travel out of town, to another state, or to another country for business? Whether your company is paying your expenses or you’re going to be taking care of most of your expenditures out of pocket, it’s in your best interest to look for ways to save money on your trip.
Here are some tips to help you save money while conducting business out of town.
Before the trip
1. Pack light
This can save you time and money. Not only will you get through customs faster, but the airline will charge you or the company less for your baggage. Limiting yourself to a couple of small bags will save you time and money after you arrive at your destination too, as you’ll be able to use public transport to leave the airport instead of hiring a taxi.
If you’re in charge of planning your own flights, consider using connecting flights. They may take an hour of your time, but they could save you a lot of money. Sometimes you can ask for a delay, conduct some business in the connecting city, and pay the same price to fly to your next destination a few hours or days later.
3. Know when to fly
Different days of the week cost more to fly on than others. Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays tend to be the least expensive days to fly. Thursdays aren’t bad either. The most expensive days to fly are Mondays and Fridays.
4. Choose your hotel well
If your business regularly uses a particular hotel, try asking for discounts when you make a reservation. If you can, go with a hotel which offers complimentary breakfast. Make sure the hotel you choose offers some essentials for business like high speed internet and a nice work table. Note that, while you want to save money on your hotel, you don’t want to go with something too cheap—otherwise you risk clients getting a bad impression.
5. Itemise your budget
Make an itemised budget before you leave and, as you travel, write down every expense and keep constant track of whether you are meeting or exceeding your budget, or if you are under budget.
6. Use a website to help you plan your trip
A travel site can help you find better deals on airfare, rental cars, hotels and activities. By booking flights, hotels and cars at the same time you can save a lot of money. You can also view last minute deals, which is perfect if you need to book reservations for an unexpected trip in the next couple weeks. Some websites also offer a rewards system where you can accumulate points toward free travel whenever you book reservations online.
When you arrive
7. Be savvy about transport
If you rent a car, you don’t need to go for the insurance deal they offer you if you already have personal auto insurance. Another good strategy with rental cars is to ask for a full tank of petrol before you go, and then refill the tank before you return the car. This stops you from buying more petrol than you’re actually going to use. Use public transportation when possible.
8. Do lunch, not dinner
Instead of inviting your associates or clients out to dinner, consider inviting them to lunch at a high class restaurant. Lunch prices are often only half as expensive as dinner prices, but you’ll still impress your clients with the generosity you seem to be able to afford.
9. Find affordable meals
For your own meals, hunt for bargains or cook for yourself if there’s a kitchenette in your hotel. Also keep in mind that the expensive restaurants aren’t always the best ones. Every city has its hidden gems. Ask your clients or associates to recommend restaurants and other activities to you, which shows your business associates that you value their opinions.
10. Use a single credit card for all your expenses
This can result in free points and other specials over time.
Business travel can be hectic, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. By planning ahead, searching for deals and booking reservations online, you can save yourself and your business money while you’re out of town.