Controlling Business Travel Expenses

Often when we are traveling on business, it is simple to let costs bring out of control.  But if you’re working from a per diem or have other constraints on your travel budget, you had better learn some cost reducing formulas that you can put into effect that will not make your life pathetic on the road.

These cost-reducing ideas are not just to stick out of trouble with the budget people back at the home office.  Sometimes businesses have a set budget for business travel and when it is gone, no further trips can be made during that budget year.  So if you expect the need for a lot more business trips in months ahead, it is wise to keep an eye on costs as you go so you can maintain that limited budget to facilitate important trips yet to come.

Economizing on the road can be hard because you are put right in the centre of the hospitality industry which, while good at making you sense comfortable and providing for your needs, hotels and restaurants are also good at running up your tab.  But there are some easy ways to sidestep a plenty of extra spending so you can stretch your business travel budget.

1. Eat before you start.  Airport restaurants or snack bars are notoriously overpriced.  So even if you are leaving early in the morning, have breakfast and get well satisfied before leaving home so you don’t have to buy food en route.

2. Wise packing.  Think through your life in the hotel and on the road.  You can buy travel sizes of almost everything you will need.  Moreover, you can pack some light and easy to carry snacks such as trail mix, candy bars or nuts that can be used to tide you over during the trip until you can get a good meal.  By being self-dependent during the trip, you save a lot by not using airport services.

3. A hotel is just a bed, a shower and a TV.  When booking your accommodations, think about where you should stay.  If you don’t need a luxury hotel, don’t book one.  If you are just staying the night in one place and then moving on, a clean, well run motel can take care of you just as well as the executive suite at the Hilton.

4. Share that ride.  If you’re traveling as a party or you are meeting business partners at the destination, you can share cabs or rental vehicles and save business costs as well as conserve on burning fossil fuels unnecessarily.

5. Markets and delis.  You can even eat economically in a big town like New York or Orlando by utilizing the same sense you have at home.  By taking an early trip to a nearby grocery, you can stock your room with fruits and travel foods and cut down on the amount of meals you have to dine out.

6. Public transportation.  If the town you are moving to has secure and workable subways or other public transpiration, that can be much more efficient for you than hiring a car.  Washington DC for example has outstanding rail transport that you can use rather than rent a car.

By applying some of the same fine common sense you use at home to keep expenses under control for your home budget, you can not only live inexpensively on the road, you can actually live better.  And by not allowing yourself to be overcharged for some very basic commodity and services, you will feel better about your business outing and become known in your company as a smart traveler.

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