I enjoy traveling, which is a very good thing, considering how much of my life I spend on the road. You know what else is a very good thing? Saving money on all that business travel.
I decided to sit down and compile a list of all my best travel savings strategies, and I'm going to share that list with you. Some of these strategies are broad, and some are quite specific, but every one of them is designed to help you get the most out of your business travel.
1. Travel only when it's worth it.
My first tip is kind of a big-picture one, but it's important.
So often, I look around a business airport lounge or hotel lobby and wonder how many of the travelers I see are actually earning money for their companies, rather than just spending it.
When you're thinking about your business and whether traveling should be part of it, make sure you look at your ROI. If you can't connect your business travel with real dollars, that might be a red flag. Make sure your travel dollars earn your company money.
2. Leverage rewards.
Travel costs money, but it is also a great category of business expenses in terms of getting the most for your money.
If you're looking to expand your company and open another location, make sure you take travel costs into account... Figuring in factors like airport hubs can help you grow more wisely.
If you're traveling for business, set up the right rewards accounts. There are a host of business charge or credit cards that may offer reward travel spending with bonus airline miles, free hotel stays, access to upgrades and even good old-fashioned cash back.
3. Get the right gear.
My backpack is pretty much my office-on-the-go, I've invested in reliable, functional technology that lets me work from anywhere at any time. That means I don't lose work hours when I'm on the road.
It makes me more productive, and I recommend that every business traveler get outfitted with the equipment they need to get the job done no matter where they are.
4. Keep personal expenses separate.
Getting the most out of your business travel funds (and staying on the right side of the law) means you're going to have to track your expenses accurately.
I've found it's far easier to make personal purchases on a separate, personal card than to try to reconcile lumped-together expenses. If you only make legit business purchases with your business charge or credit card, you don't have to worry about sorting things out afterwards.
5. Plan business growth and expansion with travel costs in mind.
If you're looking to expand your company and open another location, make sure you take travel costs into account. It costs more to travel to San Francisco, for example, than it does to Kansas City. Figuring in factors like airport hubs can help you grow more wisely.
6. Plan your travel for off-season.
While you can't necessarily reschedule national conferences, it makes sense to plan your business travel for less expensive times of year when possible.
Going to Washington, D.C. during the spring cherry blossom festival will ensure the highest hotel rates and packed restaurants. Choosing a time to visit the nation's capital when it's outside peak tourist season can give you much more favorable rates.
7. Evaluate your business travel annually.
Every year, I review all my travel expenses. I make sure I have the best business cards to max out airline and hotel rewards, and I double check to make sure I'm visiting the places I need to and trimming travel that's not beneficial to my bottom line.
8. Use car-ride services.
Cab rides from the airport are almost always the most expensive way to get to your destination. Take the time to see if your hotel offers free shuttles or simply grab ridesharing service to get places on the cheap.
9. Explore online home rental services.
Hotel rooms in many metropolitan areas can cost a fortune.
If you peruse other rental options, you may find better amenities (like a kitchen) that will make your stay more pleasant and save you money at the same time.
10. Use off-site parking at the airport.
I almost never use airport parking anymore. It's typically costly, and I've found better and cheaper alternatives.
Whether you find a hotel that offers free parking while you're out of town or you discover one of the many offsite parking lots, you can get great service while spending less to park.
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