While business travel is necessary in today’s global economy, it can put a strain on yours as well as your employer’s pocket. Thus business trips come with huge expectations of bringing in more revenue to at least justify the cost of travel and stay. This makes it imperative for you to be on top of your game when you travel for work, not only in terms of meeting business objectives but also managing expenses and ensuring that you are reimbursed appropriately.
If you are a first-time business traveller, you need to know about ways to cut costs and make the most of your travel allowance. Here are a few of the best ways to lower your business travel and stay expenses.
1) Save money through advance bookings
The old adage – “The early bird catches the worm” is completely true when it comes to managing travel costs. Booking your travel and stay beforehand can help you get the best deals. Though business travel can sometimes be unpredictable, it is a smart move to schedule travel in advance whenever you can.
2) Never skip breakfast
Save money on food by having a hearty breakfast, usually provided on the house by most business hotels. Not only will this keep you energized throughout the day but also prevent you from snacking on the usual unhealthy snacks offered during business meetings.
3) Get rewarded
Most airlines and reputed business hotels offer reward programmes that enable you to collect points and redeem them for free stays and flights. These reward programmes can be especially beneficial to you if you are on a tight budget. You can use the extra day’s stay you get free of cost to meet more clients or simply explore the new place.
4) Keep in mind the length and timing of your trip
Flights and hotel might charge a premium if you are travelling at a festive time to the destination. For instance, flights to Germany during the Oktoberfest are priced higher than any other time of the year. Consider this before you make your travel arrangements. Also, plan your expenses based on the length of your stay. Do you really need to rent a car for a three-day stay? Can’t you use the local taxi service and save a few bucks? Evaluate the pros and cons of every expense you make.
5) Internet usage
Is your hotel charging you for Internet services? Buying a broadband card from a local wireless provider can be a cheaper option. Not only will having your own wireless internet connection enables you to access the Internet from anywhere you have a cellular signal, it will also help you stay connected on the go. Check with your hotel front desk if they have any free Wi-Fi usage zones or if their loyalty program offers free Internet access to you.
Try spending your money on areas that have been clearly outlined in your company’s reimbursement policy. When you are travelling on work for the first time, you might go overboard and spend money on the things that you won’t be compensated for later. This makes knowing the reimbursement policy before you spend the money paramount.
Remember to save your travel and food receipts to submit to your accounting department at a later date. Label each receipt with the details of the expense (Taxi fare to client office on June 3rd, 2017). Staying organized will shorten your reimbursement process once you return.
7) Use public transport
Using less expensive public transportation and shuttle services between airports or within the city can help you make the most of your travel allowance. If public transport is scarce, consider sharing a taxi with someone travelling to the same business district or the same conference as you.
If you follow these tips, you will not only have a great maiden business trip but also be well on your way to making the travel expenses process as invisible and painless as possible.