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15 Ways to Keep Your Business Travel Expenses to a Minimum

15 Ways to Keep Business Travel Expenses Down

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With American business professionals making 405 million work-related trips a year, according to the Bureau of Transportation, expenses for these trips can certainly rack up quickly. While life on the road is full of costs from hotel stays to airline tickets and meals, keeping these expenses to a minimum is a must for every company looking to maintain economical operations. We asked 15 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

What’s the easiest way to keep business expenses down while traveling?

How to Keep Business Travel Expenses Down

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Use the Right Apps

“I have a folder on my phone where I keep my travel apps. These include several apps to search for inexpensive flights, as well as apps to find inexpensive hotels and apps for transportation. Never rely on just one tool or app. Sometimes a Lyft costs significantly less than an Uber, and vice versa. At times Airbnb accommodations are actually more than those from local apps. Be versatile!” ~ Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

2. Book an Extended Stay Suite

“When traveling with two people, I have found it easier to get an extended stay with a two-bedroom suite. You only pay a little more and get a bonus ‘hang out’ family room and full kitchen. It’s awesome because you don’t have to hang out in each other’s rooms or the community bar, but have a private space to prep and relax.” ~ Brandon Dempsey, goBRANDgo!

3. Share Expenses

“Find out how much you can combine traveling costs with other team members, such as using an Uber rather than renting cars or taking public transportation. See if it is more reasonable to do an Airbnb rental of a small house over multiple hotel rooms. If you are traveling by yourself, focus on online discounts and use sites like Groupon to dictate restaurant choices and other services.” ~ Peter Daisyme, Due

4. Use Airbnb

“Airbnb is great because it’s typically less expensive than hotels and it gives you the ability to cook any of the meals you’re not having with clients. Not only is it a way to save money, but if you’re traveling with team members, cooking a meal together is a great way to bond. Also, if you’re health conscious, it makes it much easier to eat well.” ~ Mark Krassner, Expectful

5. Create a Budget for Your Team

“For young employees, a business trip is an overwhelming experience. Help them by giving them guidance on how to spend. Maybe suggest up to $9 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. The point isn’t that the team hits those numbers, but that they’re in the ballpark (and yes, they can skip breakfast for a bigger lunch if they so choose), limiting the overall cost of the trip.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

6. Keep to Your Work Schedule

“By focusing your time on work instead of sightseeing you’ll save money and actually be using that time as a leveraged asset. It’s not the most romantic way to enjoy a business trip, but at least you’ll be getting work done and saving money.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

7. Use Points

“Early on, select a ‘points family’ like Amex or Chase and try to spend all of your company’s expenses on credit cards in that family. You will quickly amass points that pay for your travel expenses when needed. If your business is anything short of travel-intensive and is growing, it’s possible to cover nearly all of your travel costs based on the growing points balance.” ~ Brennan White, Cortex

8. Be Honest With Yourself on Food and Drinks

“Airfare and hotel are the largest travelling expense, so do your best on that front. Outside of that, I see a lot of entrepreneurs using travel as a way to justify needing expensive meals and drinks. There is something about travel that makes an expensive five-star meal seem well deserved. Perhaps it is, but be honest with yourself and your budget.” ~ Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar

9. Incentivize Savings as Part of a Mini-Game

“As part of our open-book management approach adapted from The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company by Jack Stack, we look at our cost of goods and travel budget utilization every week. This gives everyone on the team visibility into the travel expenses and how quickly they add up. As a result, the team can really see how much travel contributes to, or detracts from profitability and the bottom line.” ~ Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

10. Find the Locals

“Find a local in the area that’s willing to give you the lay of the land, showing you the best places to eat (for the best prices), or the best spots to grab an Airbnb. Hunt down some Facebook groups, browse Craigslist, Reddit, or other local forums and social groups to find your guide.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

11. Plan Ahead

“I always plan as many items of a trip as possible ahead of time in an effort to reduce cost. Frequently I use points, book Airbnb if hotels prices are spiked and look into our destination’s restaurants to find something great that won’t blow out the budget. Just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Having an agenda upon arrival allows for less unforeseen splurging.” ~ Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co

12. Use Prepaid Debit Card Set to Travel Budget

“Load a prepaid debit card with what you have allotted for the trip, with a focus on less over more, limiting food and extras. This has been a great way that has helped any impulse spending on a trip and killed any urge to splurge on anything.” ~ Angela Ruth, Calendar

13. Share Hotel Rooms

“One of the biggest ticket items when we travel to visit a customer or to attend a trade show is always the hotel. Engage your employees to be open to share rooms (same gender, of course), which not only allows you to save money but also brings your team together as they experience spending off-hours with their colleagues. Sharing a hotel room creates a new experience and cuts costs.” ~ Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

14. Don’t Travel Business Class

“International business class flights can run six to eight thousand dollars more than coach. That easily adds up to a budget for another employee or investing in other parts of the business while splurging a little bit when on location (e.g., a slightly nicer hotel). My longest coach trip? Boston, Tokyo, Sydney, Auckland, San Francisco, Boston in six days.” ~ Erik Bullen, MageMail

15. Stay Within Walking Distance of Your Meeting

“Check the walk score of an area before traveling and book your hotel or Airbnb within walking distance of your meeting. This will help you save money on transportation (and get some exercise) if you can walk rather than drive. If you can’t find something walking distance to restaurants, check online ordering companies such as GrubHub and Instacart to see if they deliver to your hotel room.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms
Business Couple Photo via Shutterstock

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

2 Reactions
  1. It is all about taking every expense into account and maximizing the use of apps. They can give you discounts and get you the best deals for your travel.

  2. “Worth reading article..!!! Thanks for sharing this blog.
    With simplified reporting, a centralized dashboard, data analytics, and end-to-end visibility, you can keep your costs down and save Money on every business trip. ZaggleSave is an all-in-one business spend management platform that empowers your businesses to significantly reduce employee effort and human error for improved productivity. “