A mobile office allows people to work anywhere they go, but business travel costs make it difficult to take advantage of this situation. Airfare, hotel costs, car rentals, food costs and other incidentals add up fast. Control expenses with these travel tips.
Start Your Planning in Advance
Last minute business travel costs are one of the biggest drains on the budget
. Airfare can increase more than two times when someone books within a week. Ideally, the employee arranges airfare and lodging at least a month in advance. If the business trip is international, booking two months before the dates bring down the price.
Use Comparison and Discount Finding Tools
Kayak, Priceline and other comparison and discount finding tools aggregate information from many hotels, airlines and car rental companies. Employees can easily compare the pricing and options from multiple sources. However, some prominent businesses, such as Southwest Airlines, do not participate in this type of website. People need to check directly with the company to confirm that the prices from the comparison tools are actually the lowest price.
Price Out Packages
Several travel agents and other services put together business travel packages. The premade nature of these deals makes them convenient. Calculating the overall costs allows staff to find out whether they’re getting the best deal compared to individual pricing.
Look for Money-Saving Benefits
Hotels with free breakfasts and airport shuttles provide significant cost savings. The included food covers one meal per day, and a shuttle allows business travelers to avoid pricey airport taxis.
Get a Rewarding Experience
Many business services offer rewards points that add up to perks such as airport lounges, free flights and discounts on rental car services. Frequent flyer miles can significantly reduce the costs involved in business trips, although this method works best when the company sticks with one or two specific airlines.
Plane ticket prices are on a downward trend, which causes more airlines to boost revenue through baggage fees. Business travelers also face the risk of losing checked bags and wasting productive time trying to track down their things. If they only need to worry about a carry-on, the entire flying process becomes smoother and less expensive.
Get a Ride to the Airport
Airport parking is not cost-effective, even in the cheaper long-term sections. Eliminate this hassle by getting dropped off at the airport or carpooling with coworkers going on the same business trip.
Cut Down Lodging Expenses
Hotels are often willing to price match internet pricing or offer a lower rate to fill up the last few rooms during slow times of the month. Airbnb, HomeAway and other house-sharing services offer a hotel alternative. While the room cost is lower, business travelers may be concerned about the reliability of staying at a location that’s not run by a professional hotelier. They can mitigate potential issues by focusing on Super Hosts at Airbnb, who have hosted hundreds or thousands of people in their homes. The experience visitors have matches what’s described on the listing page.
Reduce Food Costs
The average food cost varies depending on the travel location, so the price expectation should tie into the local cost of living. Business travelers should prioritize casual eateries away from tourist-heavy parts of town.
Cafes, diners and other casual restaurants that attract locals are safe bets for good, affordable food. Employees can reduce costs further by going to a nearby grocery store and looking for prepackaged food offered.
For example, sandwiches, soups, salads and rotisserie chicken are made fresh every day at the shop. If the hotel room has a kitchenette, people who love to cook can create their own meals. Room service food should generally be avoided, as hotel restaurants typically have higher prices to begin with, and may have a more expensive menu for in-room dining.
Opt for Ridesharing
Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services are reliable and less costly than local taxis. The cheapest option for getting around at the trip destination is using public transit, but that’s not always an option. The city may lack buses or trains, or the system is too complicated for an out-of-towner to use.
Ridesharing apps take the complications out of arriving in a new town. Many areas have an abundance of drivers waiting for a ride request. They come quickly, take the most efficient route based on the GPS and payment goes through the app without a hassle.
Cover Unexpected Travel Expenses With a Small Business Loan
Companies can’t predict the future. Sometimes opportunities that are too good to be missed come out of nowhere. If the business budget doesn’t have room for these travel expenses, a small business loan
can cover the gap.
Use an App to Track Expenses
A manual business trip expense tracking system involves collecting receipts and submitting them to the accounting department. However, paper slips get lost or damaged, or employees forget to ask for them after a purchase. Accurate expense information is required to get the right amount of deductions during tax season.
Several mobile apps streamline the expensing process. They allow staff to take a picture of the receipt with their smartphone camera. The app then pulls relevant details, such as the category, total amount and time of day. These applications often include related functionality, such as tracking mileage or time spent on the job. The data goes into a centralized server for easy collection by accounting
Business trips offer excellent opportunities for companies wanting to leverage their mobile workforces. These tips help organizations control their expenses and leave room in the budget for other high growth activities.
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