7 Ways to Save Big on Business Travel

November 12, 2015

8:00 pm

As an entrepreneur, you’ve put a lot of sweat, blood, tears, and most importantly, capital into your business. You don’t want all of that to go down the drain due to excessive spending during business trips. Don’t worry – you’re not the only company facing this issue.

According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the United States was expected to spend $310 billion on business travel alone in 2015. What’s more, the average business trip costs $1,000 per person. Businesses that travel on a weekly basis with multiple employees are looking at potentially spending hundreds of thousands each year.

In short, business travel is expensive and often unjustified, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few suggestions you can use to cut down on your business travel costs.

1. Use Coupons

Just because it’s an all-expenses-paid business trip doesn’t mean you should throw frugality to the wind. Coupons are easy to find online, and they can trim the costs for each trip. Even if you only save $50 on each trip using a coupon, that could add up significantly over time.

Let’s put this into perspective. If you’re traveling to Los Angeles, there are several discounts you can utilize. Some airlines flying to L.A. may give you a discount if you book a flight and hotel package together. You can also search online specifically for L.A. restaurant coupons in order to save money on food, since that can quickly become a hefty, but unavoidable expense. The same applies for any travel destination, so do your research and use those coupons.

2. Take Advantage of Uber

Transportation is probably the biggest expense that companies face when it comes to business travel – but services like Uber can help. Though they can’t help with flights just yet, Uber can be used for transportation once you reach your destination, instead of hailing expensive taxis. This results in a pay-as-you-go service that will get you where you need to go for much cheaper.

3. Find Tax Deductions

Many of the expenses you accrue while traveling are eligible for tax deductions. There are specific guidelines and restrictions on this that can be researched through the IRS, but discovering any applicable tax credits can help to cut down on overhead.

4. Shop Like a Local

A solid piece of advice is to shop like a local when traveling. Instead of going to restaurants for every meal, find a hotel with a kitchenette, and shop for food you can cook. When you do decide to eat out, go where the locals like to go. You can get much more for your money here.

5. Set a Budget

One of the best ways to save on travel is to set a budget and stick with it. If you only have a certain amount of money allocated to travel each year, you’ll have an easier time staying within reasonable spending parameters for each trip. Give each excursion its own budget, and find discounts, coupons, and other deals in order to stretch your dollars as far as possible.

6. Work the Airlines

Airlines have many, unrecognized discounts. For example, you can save money on flights by choosing the flexible dates option when booking. If it doesn’t matter what day you fly out, this is a great way to find the cheapest airfare.

You can also find discounts by calling the airline directly instead of booking through an online service. They’re also more apt to give you deals if you fly often. It doesn’t hurt to give them a call and try for a better rate.

7. Stop Traveling

Perhaps the best way to save on travel costs is to abstain from traveling when possible. Some companies can’t avoid travel, but others can reduce or eliminate their business trips by relying on technology to connect them. Skype or Google Hangouts can be utilized to conduct some meetings and collaborate online. When travel costs become overwhelming, this could be your best option for solving the problem of business spending.

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Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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