Businesses can often save money by cutting down on travel, but the reality is that some trips are essential, and others may have benefits that far outweigh the costs involved. If you find that your company needs to spend money on business travel, there are still ways to take some of the pressure off your balance sheet.
1. Use travel sites. When you set out to book your trip, be sure to look at travel sites that let you compare rates for airlines and flights as well as hotels. You can potentially save substantial money on both. Try checking Google Flights, Kayak, Momondo, and Expedia, for example.
2. Book trips as early as possible. The earlier you can book, the better, especially if travelling around holiday weekends or going to a large convention that thousands of others will also be attending. The closer the travel date gets, the more you're likely to have to pay. Your options will also become more limited, so it's always best to give yourself as much time as possible.
3. Use Uber/Lyft. Once you arrive at your destination city and need transportation, consider ride services like Uber or Lyft. They'll usually be easier on your wallet than taking taxis everywhere you need to go or renting a car.
4. Take advantage of shuttles. Pay attention to whether hotels offer shuttle services to and from the airport. This could save you some money right up front when you land and need to make your way to your room. It will save you the cost of cab fare or an Uber/Lyft ride. It will do the same when it's time to go home.
5. Business credit card perks. Don't neglect to utilize the perks that come with your business credit card, as they may have some benefits directly related to travel. This might include discounts on hotels, flights, restaurants, and/or car rentals, all of which can cut down on your overall travel expenses.
6. Limit baggage. If you can get away with it, try to travel only with a carry-on bag if you're flying. Checking bags can get rather expensive. You're likely to pay around $25 or $35 each for the first checked bag, around $40 for the second checked bag (per person) and much higher for additional bags.1 If you can limit yourself to one carry-on (which will likely be dependent on how long you intend to be away), you can save some significant cash. If multiple people are making the trip and can stick to carry-ons, you'll save even more. Evaluate how much you really need to take with you.
Just be careful not to take bags on the plane that are too large, as oversized carry-ons are a big problem these days. Take advantage of free gate check when available, but there's no guarantee you'll be able to do so.2
7. Airline loyalty programs. Consider airline loyalty programs that can save you money down the road if you continue to stick with one carrier. Plans vary from airline to airline, of course, but you can earn discounts on hotels, flights, baggage, restaurants, and car rentals. You can also potentially utilize an airline's VIP lounge during layovers.
8. Company loyalty programs. Look for other company loyalty programs as well. These can include hotels or car rental services. If you, or employees within your company, travel frequently enough, these programs can get you discounts on airfare, car rentals, hotel stays, and food.
Traveling costs can add up fast, but if you're smart about your business travel, you may be surprised by how much you're able to knock off your expenses. Many businesses just don't take the time to do the legwork involved with setting these savings up. It may seem like an inconvenience, but when you realize how much you're saving, you'll find that it's well worth it.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.