Making the Most of your Business Travel Budget

Traveling for business may have taken a backseat during the pandemic but it is back with a vengeance. Though businessmen and professionals have retrieved their travel gear to hit the air again the budgets of the heyday need some catching up. Priority seats, chauffeured pickups, high-end hotels and elaborate room service are habits that need some adjustments. Adding to the budget woes are new fees for baggage, change of tickets, late check-out, car drop/pick-up and more.

I am also visiting the airport more often and foresee a lot of travel in the months to come. The travel activity is also becoming very noticeable in our CorporateConnections chapter meetings as more members are out of town than before.

Here are a few sensible ways that I‘ve figured out to keep traveling with lowered budgets. If you too are a frequent business traveler looking for practical ways to cut down on the raft of new charges coming at you, then buckle up as I ride you through simple ways to keep business travel expenses down.

Travel midweek when possible

Flights and hotels don’t cost the same throughout the week. Weekends and long public holidays tend to be the most expensive days to travel. If you’re flexible with dates and can move things around, plan to fly in the middle of the week to cash in on great deals you wouldn’t get otherwise.

Plan early and book in advance

Planning your travel itinerary early does help. Though you cannot always avoid last-minute trips, wherever possible try to make bookings in advance (at least 3 months) to get the best prices. Like air tickets, advance hotel bookings are another way to manage your travel budget. Many hotels offer deals for advanced bookings such as a free night or extended hours of stay and rooms at lower rates.

Travel light

Airlines are notorious these days for brutal charges on checked-in luggage. To keep costs at a minimum, avoid crossing the permitted in-flight luggage limits. Not only will it save some extra cash on checked-in luggage, but also save you from waiting at the baggage counters to check in extra bags.

Skip business class, fly premium class

For short-duration flights you can always book premium-class tickets (available on some airlines and routes) and apply the savings to book business-class tickets for long-haul round trips. This way you’ll get extra legroom and privacy along with restaurant-quality meals for your travel-weary stomach on long-distance flights.

Take advantage of loyalty programs

Global airline carriers and chain of hotels offer loyalty-reward programs for their frequent customers. Depending on your membership tier (Silver, Gold, Platinum) which is based on the points or miles earned, take benefit from member-only offers, travel packages and extra baggage allowance. Redeem all your earned points and use up those frequent-flier miles you’ve been accumulating over the years to chip away costs per year.

Plan smart meals

Food is a major expense when traveling. So try and book hotels that offer at least one complementary meal such as a buffet breakfast or brunch. Make use of apps to locate nearby affordable restaurants and cafes and grocery stores to pick up snacks and beverages on the go. You can also make a conscious choice to eat light and healthy to keep both your waistline and budget in control.

Hopefully these travel-saving tips for business owners will help you plan more cost-effective business trips this year.