September 26, 2017

Top Tips for Keeping Your Business Trip on Budget

A business trip can be as expensive as it is productive. Read on for tips on how you can control the costs while building your net worth and increasing your bottom line.

Make paperwork a priority.

Lost opportunities for reimbursement can derail a business trip taken in order to increase commission earnings. The costs you incur on behalf of your company are not insignificant by any means, so itís important to file complete expense reports and set aside time each day to document receipts for meals, rental cars, tips and more. Consult your accountant on which unreimbursed items are allowable deductions by the IRS. International credit card use can also come with hidden costs. Be sure to check out this Trek Hound resource on using credit cards abroad.

Proper packing can help pinch pennies.

Even if youíre combining business with pleasure, packing light can help reduce baggage fees and necessary tips to those who help you carry luggage. For those who frequently participate in business trips for the purposes of conference and trade show travel, this is even more critical. Wheeled luggage makes walking a few blocks more feasible, reducing cab fees. Easily packed and efficiently stored booth paraphernalia means your display area costs less to move between locations.

Plan accordingly for down time.

Whether you have to deal with unexpected flight delays, or find yourself with multiple small blocks of time in which to conduct your other affairs, it pays to keep up with communications and small projects when your schedule allows. For business trip veterans, this means maximizing the use of tablet devices such as a Kindle Fire and getting groovy with any exceptional travel apps available for their smartphone. For exceptionally long international layovers, priority pass lounges offer an exceptional value for the business traveler. Their resting spaces, complimentary internet access and open bar make downtime a dream compared to sitting in the uncomfortable chairs near the main gate areas. Short layovers where gate waiting is a must are best utilized for quick email checks, document reviews and on-the-fly phone calls to colleagues.

Penny pinch your way to reduced overhead costs.

Not only is it possible to reduce travel accommodation costs, you can also save money on things like meals and transportation as well. For day trips across town, taking a Segway may save some scones and using hot water from your hotel room can result in a few simple meals that will shave significant dollars off food costs as well. Free hotel shuttles can eliminate cab costs depending on where youíre going, and leave you with only the burden of a small tip. Maximize your use of hotel business centers to save yourself a trip to the copy store. Free printing and faxing are worth their weight in gold, not to mention the fact that you wonít have to cab it to Kinkoís. Many hotels also have luxurious soft seating areas near fireplaces with complimentary tea and coffee bars. These make excellent places for low-level business meetings† and meet and greets.

Prepare for possible delays.

You never know when things like weather and stalled contract negotiations will extend your business trip. Itís best to prepare for the long haul by digitizing and uploading critical contact information, project notes and tech gear to be able to work remotely if you need to stay an extra day or two. As long as you have internet and phone access, youíll be able to get things done. Provided you have access to the proper information, that is. Itís also critical to pack the proper grooming supplies. Image is everything so you want to be able to look your best on the road with minimal fuss and drama.

How do you keep costs under control on a business trip? Do you have a tried and true strategy or do you simply roll with the punches as they arise?

Photo Credit: BTO University