Traveling for business can be quite expensive if your employer doesn’t cover the costs or if you own your own business. That is, if you don’t know a few good ways to find amazing money-saving deals in the process.
Whether you’re traveling upstate to visit a client or flying across the country to attend a conference, there are a few travel tips that may even enable you to travel more once you see their cost-saving potential.
Here are the 10 business travel hacks you’ll wish you always knew about (and now you do):
Cash out your credit card rewards
Use your credit card rewards for air mileage, rental cars, hotel stays or even gift cards for services you’ll likely use on your travels. I have the Chase Ink Signature and was able to cover my flights for two conferences last year, saving me hundreds of dollars just for using the credit card for my business expenses.
Rack up more credit card rewards
While you’re on your business trip, use your credit card to build up even more rewards that you’ll be able to put towards other trips or general business purchases. When credit is used properly, you can really maximize your rewards to get something for nothing. (Related article: Three Reasons You Should Charge It)
Stay longer than necessary
If your travel dates are flexible, consider planning a longer trip than necessary so that you can take advantage of lower airfare costs. Certain travel days are more expensive than others, so you may save a substantial amount simply by staying one or two extra days. Traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays tends to be less expensive than weekends or Mondays.
Plan in advance
You may not be able to commit to a trip until last minute, but if you can plan early you’ll wind up saving some money. Last minute airfare alone will really make your entire trip much more expensive than it needs to be if you had planned a few months, or even a few weeks, ahead of time.
Take only 1 bag
Unless you’re traveling Southwest Airlines or already paid more for first class, you’ll get hit with round trip baggage fees anywhere from $50+ depending on the airline carrier’s baggage fees. My recommendation: Travel light and don’t check a bag. Bring everything you need in a small carry on suitcase and save on both baggage fees and time waiting around the luggage carousel once your back on the ground.
Take the train
What’s so nice about the train is that the price is much less expensive than a plane if you have the extra travel time. Also, most trains now all have WiFi and power outlets at each seat so you can be highly productive getting work done the entire time you’re traveling.
Don’t stay at a hotel
You could stay at a hotel or you could use Airbnb or even a business motel. You can rent someone’s home or room in just about any city in the world using Airbnb, and you can wind up getting a place more centrally located with a kitchen at a lesser cost than a hotel room. Rentals with kitchens also allow you to eat out less, because you can easily buy a few things so you can have a few meals in.
Choose a different airport
Some cities have several airports you can choose from. There are several regional airports surrounding places like Los Angeles and New York. In some instances, even major airports are close but can offer vastly different rates like Newark, NJ or Philadelphia, PA.
Road trip with others
There was a time not too long ago that I took a road trip from San Diego, CA to Phoenix, AZ with a few other guys all going to the same conference: #4dudesinaprius Rather than fly, we drove together and shared the expense of gas along the way. If you have a specific destination, this can be cost saving, fun and relationship building all at the same time.
Set a travel budget
Lastly, consider setting a budget. Keep your spending limited to a fixed dollar amount so you don’t go off the rails. Having an amount you know you can spend total on the event will help you determine if it is a wise investment in the first place. From any event costs, to travel, lodging, meals and incidentals, set your budget and determine (before you go) if you’ll be able to keep your business travel costs where they need to be.
What travel hacks have you used that you would like to share? I’d love to hear more ways others have saved on their business travels.