Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.
Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:
What’s your best money-saving tip for business travel?
1. Use Startup Stay
Use a platform like Startup Stay to connect to the local startup ecosystem and save some cash — it’s like couchsurfing for entrepreneurs. Who knows? The connections you make might result in some unexpected opportunities.
2. Stay an Extra Day
Instead of rushing in and out of an event, consider staying for an extra night or two. This lets you take advantage of peak flight rates and better hotel rates when you’re staying for several nights. It also enables you to have time to catch up with new contacts, local leads or colleagues.
3. Don’t Do It
There are other ways to connect with people, like Skype and Google+ Hangouts. Travel is expensive and can be tiring. Also, meetings and events don’t always turn out to be as productive as you think they will be.
4. Decide Early
In our early days, I used to wait until the last possible minute to book a trip — I was never sure if the business would “need” me to be onsite, so I deferred the decision. Plan your trips for the year and decide early on which events you can extract the most value from. Then, commit by booking your airfare and hotel at lower rates.
5. Stack Trips Together
If you know that you’re going to need to take multiple trips in the next couple months, see how many of them you can block together. Last month, I was away from home for two weeks straight — but I don’t need to take another trip until May. It’s exhausting, but it saves money in the long run.
6. Don’t Pay Cash to Travel
Leverage the purchasing power of your business by charging all your company’s expenses on credit cards with aggressive reward points programs. Purchase everything from materials to office supplies to vendor payments and marketing services on your credit card to rack up points. When it’s time to travel, simply trade points for airfare and hotel rooms.
7. Find a Flat-Rate Airport Car Service
Find a flat-rate airport car service that will get you where you need. Almost every city has one. Not only will you save money, but you will most likely be in a more luxurious car with a more professional experience.
8. Find a Credit Card Without Foreign Transaction Fees
If you travel a lot, cards like American Express Platinum are well worth the $500/year fee. If your foreign transaction fees add up to more than 3 percent, this type of card is well worth it. Add in all the mileage rewards, bonuses for signing up and other assorted travel insurances and perks, and you end up saving big in the long run.