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5 Tips to Reduce Business Travel Expenses

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5 Tips to Reduce Business Travel Expenses

Business travel can be quite an expensive affair. China and the United States alone contributed to nearly $600 billion US dollars worth of business travel last year. It is estimated that close to 16 percent of all international trips and 34 percent of domestic trips are for business purposes. Besides the cost of the flying itself, traveling for business also includes the cost of hotels, cabs, and airport transfers. All of this can easily add up, especially if you are a bootstrapped business traveler. In this article, we will take a look at five ways to minimize the cost of business travel.

1. Fly the Same Airline/Alliance

It can be tempting to fly the cheapest airline each time you travel., but in doing so, you are denying yourself an opportunity to accumulate frequent flyer miles. By sticking to one airline (or alliance), you get to quickly accumulate airline miles that may be redeemed for free flights in future.

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There are a few things to remember here. First, you may sign up for more than one frequent flyer program so that even if you fly a different airline each time, you still get to accumulate miles. Secondly, many frequent flyer programs allow their members to redeem miles for flights that they have already flown. So in case you have already flown an airline a few times recently, remember to sign up and redeem these miles as well.

2. Use Off-Site Parking

Domestic business trips seldom last more than a couple of days. For such short trips, hiring a cab for airport transfer can work out to be expensive. For instance, if you are in Los Angeles, the average trip to the airport from LA downtown could be $50 (that is, $100 both ways). Shuttles are cheaper but inconvenient since they may not always fly from your neighborhood.

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A great alternative is driving your own car to and from the airport, but with the daily parking rates hovering between $25 to $30 in most major airports, this may not be the cheapest option either. For long-term savings, a good idea is to use off-site parking services that are located conveniently close to major airports.

The average off-site parking cost is $15 per day, and this is just half the price of airport parking. If you run a business with 100 trips each month and assume each trip is two days long, you could potentially save as much as $3000 each month by just using these offsite parking services.

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3. Book Hotel Chains

Most business travelers are aware of frequent flyer miles, and use it to save money. These travelers often fail to seek similar loyalty rewards from the hotels that they stay in. If you are someone who travels across the country or the world, a good way to save money is by booking rooms in hotel chains instead of stand-alone establishments. Such loyalty not only helps you save money, but can also help you win favors from the hotel management in terms of preferred rooms or extra amenities.

4. Avoid Cash

A business traveler to San Francisco is estimated to spend $509.50 each day on an average for food, car rental and hotel. At a national level too, the average daily cost for meals and car rentals work out to around $96.89 and $46.89 respectively.

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A great way to save money is by avoiding cash completely during business trips. Using corporate cards earns you reward points that may be redeemed in future for other purchases. For instance, Amex cards routinely reward you with 1 point for every dollar spent. Which means, twenty days in San Francisco would earn you enough points to cover the cost of a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

5. Create a Travel Calendar

Your travel dates may depend on a multitude of factors, and this may make it difficult to book your trips in advance. But if you are a sales manager traveling the country to simply meet with your regional associates or to keep in touch with your clients, making last minute bookings may work out to be expensive.

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A good idea is to prepare a travel calendar that you can share with your associates and clients in advance so that they may schedule their appointments accordingly. A travel calendar also helps you identify peak travel times for specific routes which you may avoid. For instance, international trips to India may be expensive during the local festival season in October, while similar trips to China may be expensive during their new year in February. A travel calendar helps you prepare for such expensive seasons in advance.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Anand Srinivasan

Marketing Consultant

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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