Travel for business can be fun, but it can also be a serious cost for growing companies. As a small-business owner who has to travel for conferences and other events, it isn’t always easy to find an affordable hotel. This short list of tips and websites should help you plan your next trip.
If you use Google enough, you probably just type: “Affordable Hotel Tokyo” or New York City or whatever city where you need a hotel. But the list you get back is long and does not necessarily save you time.
Apartments, houses, and rooms for rent. Airbnb tops my list even though I haven’t used it yet. Numerous small-business colleagues have used it and tell me great stories about their travels. You have to love a company that plasters its site with “Free Housing for Sandy” which lists 600-plus listings for free rooms to help those displaced by the storm. Airbnb offers everything from a shared room to a full apartment for rent, on a nightly basis, in locations around the world.
Hostels for the adult set. Youth hostels are often considered for the college set, but I have stayed in some very nice “youth” hostels when I don’t quite qualify for that designation. In fact, most have no age limit and offer some of the best value and locations in cities worldwide. You do not have to be a member to stay there, either, but the rates are slightly better. You have the option to share a room or book a private room in many of them also. Check out Hostelling International for more information.
Search smarter online. Kayak.com is a popular search engine for travel, including hotel stays. They include results from HotWire, which showcases the best hotels with substantial savings. Kayak lets you choose deals from Priceline, Hotels.com, and other hotels when you begin your search. If you like a more mainstream approach, than say the two options above, this is my recommendation.
Budget hotels that don't feel budget. In August, the Financial Times reported that IKEA would build 100 “budget design” hotels across Europe. These budget hotels offer boutique styling at lower price points. If you travel to Europe, these hotels will be great on the wallet. These hotels will be similar to Base2Stay in the UK or Chic&Basic in Madrid.
Travel tips in your in-box. Smart Brief on Business Travel can also be a great resource. The editors of this e-mail newsletter curate from a number of sources to offer the top tips and articles on business travel. Of course, we're also partial to our own business travel tips and advice right here on OPEN Forum.
What are your top tips for saving on business travel? Please share them in the comments below.