If you own a business or are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you will likely be doing some type of traveling in order to pursue the best knowledge and resources to help serve your business and your skillset. While traveling for business can be an exciting and educational experience, it’s easy to overspend and rack up your credit card bill if you’re not careful. If you already travel for work or are in the process of planning your first business trip, check out these simple tips to help you save money without having to sacrifice your experience.
Build a Realistic Budget
Before you’re ready to embark on your journey, it’s important to determine how much money you have to spend and calculate what this trip could cost overall. You can’t expect to spend the same amount of money for an event in New York City compared to attending a business conference in a smaller town. If you’re traveling to a new place and not familiar with the area, research and read reviews online prior to planning you visit. This will help you gauge what you might be doing and how much money you should be prepared with. Having a general idea of expenses needed for transportation, food, social, and hotel will help you create a budget and prevent you from overspending.
Manage Your Spending
Once you have taken the time to set a budget, it’s recommended that you track your spending throughout your trip. An easy way to do this is by using an online banking service that won’t charge overdraft or hidden transaction fees, helping you manage your money anywhere without the added stress. Continue to monitor your bank account and transactions to ensure that you’re staying on track for the duration of your trip. Another perk of using a mobile banking service when you’re traveling for business is it allows you to send and receive money-free of charge-to friends and family.
Book Travel Strategically
There are many ways to save money on flights, especially if you research ahead of time to try and get the best deals based on the day and time you fly. If your schedule allows, consider booking your travel during the middle of the week when flights might be cheaper. If you’re able to be flexible, you can guarantee that you will be able to save some money. Purchasing connecting flights or choosing a different airport might be worth the additional effort. Keep an eye out for sales and promotions, sometimes you can purchase a package deal for a hotel and flight.
Negotiate Hotel Rates
Most hotels won’t advertise deals and rates, but it can’t hurt to ask! If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you might be able to get a business rate to stay at a hotel. Sometimes you might even get extra accommodations or perks, like a free breakfast or a discount on transportation from your hotel. Call up the hotel you are staying at and ask the manager if you can receive an unofficial corporate rate. Consider joining AAA to get some good deals and rates for your stay. If hotel rates are looking outrageous to you, don’t forget to check out Airbnb rental options, this might be a more budget-friendly and unique option to think about.
Take Public Transportation
If you’re in a busy city and able to safely navigate using public transportation such as a shuttle, subway, or bus, this will likely be much more cost-effective than ordering a private Uber or Lyft to drive you around. Again, this might take a little research, but it will be an adventure and might even help you get to know the area during the process. If you’re hesitant about directions in a new area, you can download a public transit app to help guide you during your trip so you don’t feel lost or overwhelmed.
Don’t Overspend on Meals
It can be extremely convenient and tempting to eat out at a restaurant every meal while traveling. Most often, you won’t have time during shorter, work-related trips to purchase food or even have the utilities to cook in your hotel or accommodation. You might inevitably eat out a few meals, but just try to be strategic about when and where you do. Oftentimes, hotels offer complimentary breakfasts, maybe skip the $4 latte and breakfast sandwich and opt for the free options for a few days. Try eating lunch at a restaurant as it might be more inexpensive than dinner. Then, you can plan to pick something up at the grocery store for later in the evening. If you decide to go out to dinner, check out menu prices online and consider where you can get a happy hour price or free appetizer with your purchase.
Traveling for your business can be a worthwhile and enlightening experience if you’re able to stick to your itinerary and even more importantly, your budget. Applying a few of these steps to your next business trip can help you stay organized, allow you to travel with ease, and keep your finances in check throughout the process so you have no regrets upon your return to the office.