How to Save on Business Travel

Tom Egelhoff  |   Monday May. 2nd, 2016

Sooner or later you’ll have to travel someplace on business. It might be a trade show, informational conference or industry retreat. Poor planning can result in much larger travel costs then you might like. Here are some tips to help make business travel fun, easier, and more economical.

Airline Tips
If you book online there are a couple of online sites that I like. One is (hotwire.com) and another is Google Flights (google.com/flights). These both work pretty well to major cities.

If you’re going to smaller venues then you might want to consider a travel agency. The top online booking sites don’t always have smaller local or regional airlines.
If you’re flexible on your travel dates then you can use (google.com/flights/explore). This will show you at a glance what flights are the cheapest about four months out.
Sometimes there is substantial savings by booking rental car, hotel and flight from the same site.

Save on Luggage Costs
Unless you have to carry a lot of information, travel light. A 22 by 14 by 9-inch bag is approved for carry on by most airlines and trust me they hold a lot. You won’t have to wait in line to check bags or wait at baggage claim to pick up bags.
You can also carry on a briefcase for your laptop and other items you can usually stow under the seat in front of you. Women can carry on some fairly large purses. You might want to check with your local airport before the trip and find out what will and will not work.

Overweight bags can add $50 or more to your travel costs coming and going so travel as light as you can and save.

Shuttles, Rental Car Savings
If you are going to be traveling around the city a lot then a rental car with GPS makes sense. Depending on the company you can usually negotiate unlimited millage. Check with your auto insurance as to coverage for rental cars because their insurance can add a lot to the bill. Make sure you have all your insurance information and contact numbers just in case of a mishap. Many credit cards offer rental care insurance if you use the card to pay for the rental.

Don’t Pre-Pay for Gas
Rental car companies usually give you three options when it comes to gas. Return it with a full tank, or pay off the charts high gas prices for the difference from when you picked it up, or pre-pay for a full tank and don’t worry about it.
Pass on all of them and just fill the tank right before you return the car. If you didn’t use a full tank it still works out to be your cheapest option.  

Use Uber
If you’re in major cities consider trying Uber rather than taxis or rental cars. If you just need to go on a few short trips it can save you big bucks. And you don’t have to tip Uber drivers. You can download the app on your smart phone to check rates and fares for trips.

Some Final Thoughts
Smart planning can make your next business trip an exciting adventure rather than a hurry up and wait drudgery. In order to deduct travel expenses the majority of your trip must be business. One day of business and six days at Disneyland won’t cut it with the IRS. Keep detailed records in case of an audit. Explore all your options before making reservations.

Have a safe and profitable trip.

About the Author(s)