Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Business trips are a great way to network with other businesses and if you have the privilege of traveling for your company, congratulations—you have made it. While these trips can be stressful and enjoyable at the same time, budgeting for travel and finding ways to spend less will make things easier for you in the long run.
Be sure to create a customized budget for each trip according to the destination. It’s going to be significantly more expensive to go to Los Angeles than Detroit. Don’t just come up with an arbitrary number; research the place you are going and plan accordingly. You may want to temporarily hire a travel expert to set up a lot of the accommodations for you. There are also business travel plans out there that are packaged in a way that is more affordable than booking everything separately. Use discount travel companies; often you can do everything online.
Try to book air travel for the middle of the week when the rates are the lowest. Avoid luggage fees by only using a carry on (if possible) or flying with airlines that don’t charge a luggage fee. Save any unused tickets and apply them to future travel.
Consider using alternative transportation while you’re there such as subways and bus systems. If you do need a rental car, ask for one with a full tank of gas and fill it up before you return it—that way you are only paying for the gas you use. Waive the insurance if your personal auto insurance or credit card can cover it as these policies tend to be very expensive and the need to actually use the insurance policy is rare.
You can decide to have lunch with your clients instead of dinner. Lunch menus are generally less expensive than dinner menus and a restaurant that is outside your price range for dinner may be affordable for lunch. Focus on and plan the leisure part of the trip. You don’t want to be bored to tears when your meetings are over and if you plan activities in advance, you will spend less money. Stay in a hotel with a kitchen and buy ingredients for some of your meals at the grocery store to make them yourself. You can also take advantage of free breakfasts at the hotel. Finally, you should plan business trips as part of your yearly budget so you don’t overlook these costs and wind up in debt. All these tips will make business trips easier to manage and more relaxing. Make it happen!