In today’s business environment, you have to keep your skills sharp. Live events and marketing summits are vital sources of information and inspiration to help you maintain a competitive edge. But traveling for business on a budget can seem difficult. Expenses add up quickly, and if not carefully maintained, can supersede your allowance. So what’s a business traveler to do to help control expenses? Here are some tips to help you cover the basics — transportation, food, and lodging.
Reduce Transportation Costs
Saving money for your business trip should begin before you even leave the workplace. Start by researching airfare deals online, and book flights as far in advance as possible. Often, you can find great flight deals directly on an airline’s website. Whenever possible, weigh the cost of driving versus flying. If you work for an employer and use your own personal transportation, you’ll often be reimbursed for mileage and other expenditures. Once you’re at your destination, don’t be afraid to use public transportation. It’s cheap, and you can answer emails and do other work while you wait.
Minimize Food Costs
Since business travel often requires you to dine out, you’ll want to make your restaurant meals work for your budget. Ask locals where they like to eat when you’re in an unfamiliar city. If you’re pressed for time, try using a search engine to look up restaurants near you. Many websites list food prices online so you’ll have a general idea of what you might pay beforehand, instead of being surprised when your waiter or waitress delivers the bill. At the restaurant, skip the expensive booze. If you must indulge, try going during happy hours, when drinks are often less expensive than normal.
Find Alternatives to Hotels
U.S. consumers spent an average of $124 per night at hotels in 2017, according to Statista. Though that price is steep for the average business traveler, there are ways to significantly cut overnight expenses, especially if you’re planning to travel for more than one night. Short-term apartment rentals are a great alternative to hotels, and often cost significantly less than many overnight hotel stays. What’s more, many short-term apartments come fully furnished. As most living spaces come with a kitchen, short-term apartment rentals have an added cost-savings benefit: you can purchase food from a grocery store for much less than what it would cost to eat out, and prepare your food in your rental’s kitchen.
Business travel does not need to break your budget. With a little preparation, you can save money on your next event or marketing bootcamp.