From driving a few hours across the state to flying halfway across the world, business travelers cover a lot of ground. Whether it be sales, inspections, negotiations, or mergers and acquisitions, the purpose of business travel is always important.
Unfortunately, business trips are also expensive propositions. According to Business Wire, the average business trip in 2019 cost $1293. In the three years since, inflation has almost certainly caused that figure to get closer to $1500 or more.
With this in mind, any effort to lower the cost of business travel is considered a win. The following are six ways to make your next business trip less expensive:
Travel in the middle of the week
The easiest way to lower the cost of business travel is to book airfare Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday instead of at the beginning or end of the week. That’s because flights on these days are much cheaper than those on Mondays, Fridays, and weekends. The reason is simple: most people make travel plans that begin and end on Mondays and Fridays. That drives up demand, which drives up prices. With fewer people booking flights in the middle of the week, airlines are more likely to offer discount fares to passengers.
Skip business class unless absolutely necessary
Do you really need to be in business class? The answer depends, of course, on your specific situation. But if the flight is less than four hours, consider flying coach. Business class is ideal for long-haul flights where you plan to spend several hours getting caught up on work.
In that case, access to high-speed internet and other amenities found in business class serves a purpose. But if you’ll be arriving at your destination within a few hours, how much work do you expect to get done? With this in mind, consider saving money by flying coach.
Take advantage of refunds and deductions
The cost of business travel can be greatly reduced by taking advantage of tax refunds and deductions. For instance, those traveling to the United Arab Emirates for business can get a VAT refund UAE upon their return. Furthermore, certain business travel expenses can be deducted from the company’s tax debt owed at the end of the year. The cost of transportation to your destination is 100% deductible, while 50% of eligible business meals can be deducted as well.
Find a centrally-located hotel
Business travelers concerned with saving money often search for the cheapest hotel they can find. While that’s not the worst idea, the location of the hotel is another factor to consider. After all, what’s the point of saving $20 per night if you’re forced to spend $25 on transportation every day during your stay? Stop and crunch the numbers before booking your accommodations. There’s a good chance you’ll end up saving more money by paying extra for a centrally-located hotel versus one by the airport.
Take advantage of mass transit
Many major cities have robust mass transit systems utilizing buses and light rail networks. These modes of transportation are typically much cheaper than the cost of a cab ride covering the same distance. Given the affordability of a multi-day pass for riding the bus or subway, consider using mass transit during your business trip. Doing so will help you save money and give you a more authentic experience during your stay. Assuming your trip hinges on business relationships in that city, having a more intimate understanding of that location may be a tremendous benefit.
Swap sitdown restaurants for quick-service alternatives
Taking clients out to dinner calls for fine dining reservations. But other than that, business travelers can get sustenance via less expensive options. Rather than blow through your budget eating at fancy restaurants every day, stick to quick-service options like Chipotle, Subway, and Panda Express. These aren’t exactly the definition of gastronomical genius, but they provide reliably decent meals at a fraction of the cost of meals eaten in higher-end establishments.
Business travel is a fact of life for many professionals. But spending a small fortune on business travel doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are ways to lower the cost of business travel without compromising the business goals of the trip. Doing so saves time and money – the lifeblood of any enterprise.