Corporate travel is demanding. Getting to and from the airport, hotel, conference centers, meetings, and everywhere in-between can be a logistical nightmare. The “go, go, go” mentality makes it hard to slow down enough to assess your spending habits.
Convenience is often far more persuasive than value or quality when you’re on the road in search of a last-minute hotel, meal, or item of clothing you forgot to pack. But corporate travel expenses don’t need to exorbitant. These tips will help you stick to a travel budget and cut back on unnecessary spending on your next business trip.
1. Book in advance
Start pricing out flights the moment you know you’re going to be heading out of town on business. The earlier you can book, the cheaper the tickets.
Booking at least 2 weeks in advance gives you enough of a window to score discounts on airline tickets and hotels. Shop around on popular travel websites – Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, and Kayak – before you book. Apps like Hopper predict when you should buy your airfare to get the best deal. Compare prices extensively over a long enough period, and you’ll give yourself more chance to save money.
2. Choose the less popular airport
Usually flying into the smaller, less obvious airport can help you save money. For instance, in Chicago, choosing Midway over O’Hare will likely save you time, since it’s closer to downtown, and money, as ticket prices are often lower.
Flying in and out of a less busy airport will allow you breeze through security and baggage claim so you can make better use of your time as you wait for your plane to board.
3. Bring your own snacks
Airport pricing tends to be absurdly inflated. You might not realize how much money you’re spending on last-minute snacks and supplies at the airport convenience kiosk, but a pack of gum, a bag of trail mix, and a bottle of hand sanitizer can cost $20! Seemingly small expenses add up quickly, but there are easy ways to avoid them.
Just bring your own snacks! Nuts, granola, jerky, dried fruit, crackers, and chips are security-approved as long as they’re in its original, pre-sealed packaging or a sealed plastic bag. Bringing snacks along in small portions will not only minimize the amount of food you’re consuming during downtime, but it’ll also save you a significant sum of money by avoiding outrageous airport pricing.
4. Choose the best method of transportation
Time is money. A method of transportation that helps you efficiently manage your time is the best option for corporate travel. Consider how long it will take you to stand in line at the rental car kiosk after your plane lands. Consider the amount of time you’ll spend stuck in traffic, trying to find parking, or just navigating the streets of an unfamiliar city.
Additionally, relying on taxis or ride-sharing services might not be the best option either. Trying to hail a cab during rush hour could prove disastrous, especially if you have a meeting scheduled to start in a short amount of time.
Choosing a corporate car service to meet you at your airport of choice with a professional driver to help you with luggage and handle the ins and outs of navigation and parking could save you a ton of time and frustration. You’ll be able to get more work done during your commute and eliminate the possibility of getting lost or wasting time trying to find a parking spot.
Your next corporate trip doesn’t have to be rife with unnecessary, exorbitant expenses. With a few simple money-management tips in mind, you can maximize your trip without breaking the bank.
*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2015 and has since been updated to reflect the most accurate information.