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Managing the Top 3 Expenses of Business Travel
The top three expenses of travel for almost every business are the costs of flights, hotels, and meals (food and beverages). business travelers inevitably incur these costs in various levels whether travel is international or throughout the United States. However, by cutting costs on these three most expensive parts of business travel, you can save money to spend on other things that can better serve the traveler and impress potential clients and business partners that you meet on your journey.
Pack lightly to save on really hefty luggage fees. This can be easier said than done, especially if you need to bring non-wrinkled clothes to multiple meetings, conference days, or business lunches. If at all possible, though, take as few bags as possible, and be sure to carry on one. Also carry along a bottle of water and approved food so that you can chow down in comfort on the plane, yet not have to pay for the very expensive (and not so tasty) meals that are offered during most flights. Yes, even business class flights are not renowned for great cuisine.
When it comes to hotels, there are lots of ways to save big. Whether you are traveling for a conference or business meeting, the other party never sees your hotel bill so you don’t have to worry about any judgments from great deals. You can stay in some really nice hotels at a big discount in multiple ways. One way is to search auction websites like eBay for hotel gift cards. They’re often offered at a great discount, but be sure to check any seller’s feedback. To be on the safe side, only buy from those who have at least 99 percent positive feedback and at least 500 reviews from others.
There are more ways to save on the cost of hotels as well. Your business should join every hotel program. If you’re traveling frequently or as an independent business owner, you may want to join them in your own name as well. There are no fees to join these programs as they are seen by the hotels as incentives to keep repeat business, and you can end up earning lots of frequent stays if you travel often. By joining lots of them, you are not obligated to one particular hotel if others are offering a great deal. You can still earn points and have several options. Be sure to check for special member discounts if the business has AAA or is a member of any other clubs. Even the Sam’s Club card qualifies you for discounts some places.
One tried and true way to get a great deal on a quality hotel is to check around. Calling multiple places and seeing the rates that you are able to get can give you a much better understanding of what would offer a good price while still having the best amenities. Amenities and prestige are especially important if you are going to be meeting clients for dinner within the restaurant of the hotel or something of that nature.
Well, there will always be the costs of meals with business lunches and dinners are held. It can actually sometimes be surprisingly cheaper than catered affairs, though, and there are definite ways you can cut back on these expenses without looking cheap to the potential clients or partners you are trying to impress. One way to do this is opting for a smaller local restaurant instead of the pricey eating establishment in the hotel you may be staying in. Choosing an eatery off the beaten path can be an excellent way to both save money and show your guest a good time. Be sure to get a feel for the business associates you’ll be dining with if possible. Some people may love local fare, but some people may hesitate to eat unless they can tell exactly what is in a dish. Venture only to exotic eateries with adventurous diners.
Whether you’re the business traveler or simply trying to get together rules for business travelers within the company, chances are the option of drinking during a business lunch and dinner will come up. Most companies allow this, but some may request that it be initiated by the other party. Many people feel uncomfortable drinking alone, and the last thing most people want to do is to make their guest feel uncomfortable. This is a hugely personal choice so will probably be left up to each traveler. Nobody should ever make drinking mandatory, but some business do request that it be kept minimal, if allowed at all. It would save a lot of money if booze was cut out of the budget altogether, but that may not be practical for all business engagements. Cutting back can help a lot, though.
Another way to save would be to peruse the menu before you get there. Be sure to pick out nice items that are on the less expensive side. You also want to pick dishes, however, that aren’t obviously picked for their price range. Coupon and deal items that are advertised as such in the way that they are placed on the menu or ordered may not be the best choice for a business dinner. If that does not sound up to your style, then consider opting for business lunches instead of dinners if you can possibly schedule it that way. The lunch menu of most restaurants is much cheaper, and you can splurge on more food while still saving as well.