Business trips can be a great way to expand your business to new markets or network with other businesses in your industry, but they can get costly, especially if you’re running a small business. One of the best ways to make sure your business trip is still fun and relatively stress-free is to budget for your expenses and make sure you have a spending plan.
First and foremost, you should create a customized budget for every trip. Don’t just use a generic budget plan for every trip, because different destinations are going to vary widely in cost and accommodations. If you’re planning a trip to New York, you’re going to need to spend a lot more than you would going to Minneapolis. Make sure you do your research to find out hotel pricing, travel, and food for your whole trip to put together a realistic spending budget while still having some money left over for emergencies. If you have the means, you may even want to hire a travel agent temporarily to help you get started.
There are also many online travel resources that can help you find deals and bundle many of your expenses together which can help you save even more money. Look for travel and lodging packages, or better yet, all-inclusive plans for more expensive destinations if possible. Try to book your travel in the middle of the week if you can, because tickets, particularly for air travel, are at their lowest. You can also save on travel costs by avoiding extra baggage and sticking to using carry-on if the length of your trip allows for light packing. If you are a frequent traveler, consider getting a credit card that offers travel discounts and free flights based on the miles you’ve accrued. Every little bit saved makes a difference in the end.
During your trip, you can also save money by using public transportation, such as the bus or subway, rather than renting a car. If you need to rent a car to get around, ask for one with a full gas tank and fill it up again when you return it so you’re only paying for the gas you use. If your regular car insurance covers rental vehicles, you can also save on the overpriced insurance options from the rental company by opting out.
Food can also be a huge expense while traveling. If you’re taking clients or business prospects out to eat, consider trying for lunch rather than dinner. Lunch options are often much less expensive, so you won’t feel like you need to break the bank to make a good impression. It can also help to get a hotel that has a kitchen so you can get some ingredients from the grocery store and cook your own meals, rather than ordering out for every meal. This is also a much healthier option than the less expensive food options out there, so you can save money and still feel great!
Finally, don’t forget to plan some leisure time during your trip. You don’t want to be bored out of your mind once all of your business is done for the day, and planning something fun to do can help you unwind and actually enjoy your trip. Plus, if you plan activities and buy tickets ahead of time, you can save even more money!
Whether you travel once or several times a year, it’s important to have your trips planned and budgeted ahead of time. Include your typical travel expenses in your yearly budget so you can have money set aside and avoid going into debt just to afford a trip. It will help you feel much more relaxed and confident when the time comes for your business trip.