Benjamin Franklin famously said, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Entrepreneurs, take note from one of our favorite founding fathers!
When you're running a small business, it's crucial to run a tight ship where your budget is concerned. Travel can be way too costly if it's not managed correctly. Yet for so many, business travel is essential. You need to travel to meet new clients or keep existing contracts--it's just a cost of doing good business.
You want your business travel to be an expense that justifies itself. Here are seven ways to save money on your next out of town client meeting.
1. Use flexible flight scanners.
Before you book a flight, check out whether the flight you're planning to take is a good value for the money when compared to those around it. Like train tickets, peak times command peak prices. It might be cheaper to get an earlier or later flight for a huge percentage off the price--especially if you are flexible with the days you need to travel, as well as the times. For instance, Friday night is always more expensive than any other time.
2. Only travel with carry-on luggage.
This will save you time and money. If you are only traveling with hand luggage, then you can skip waiting in line to check luggage for the flight, waiting for your luggage at baggage check after the flight, and you also save on the weight fees and don't have to worry about being over the limit and incurring extra charges. Ladies, yes--you probably have liquids. If you can, try taking them in smaller sizes that will pass TSA. Also, sometimes it's cheaper to buy a hair product (like hairspray) when you get to your location, rather than spending the money to check a bag.
3. Partial day stays at a hotel
You might have a connecting flight, or otherwise some hours to kill in between travelling. You can actually get an intraday stay at some hotels. Startups like HotelsByDay are trying to give travelers more reservation options that fit their timing and budget. For business travelers, it's a good way to get a few hours' sleep, store your luggage, and go about your business without paying for an entire night at a hotel with a bed you won't use.
4. Learn to love Uber.
Some of the costs associated with traveling can really add up--even rivaling the cost of the travel itself. One of the ways this is true is when it comes to ground transportation. Often, you have to rely on taxis, trains or a car rental. Not if you learn to love Uber. You pay when you need the service, and only for the distances you need to travel.
5. Shop like a local.
Most people who travel feel they need to go to restaurants for every meal. Then they wonder why the city they stay in is so expensive. Try to find food that locals eat--and if you need to use a restaurant, find one popular with the locals. They'll go for the value option with great food as opposed to the Michelin starred tourist attraction.
6. Don't try to impress needlessly.
We've all been there--we have a meeting with a client or potential investor--and we want to impress. Suddenly, that pair of cuff links seems necessary. Or, you're definitely paying for lunch for the pair of you with bells and whistles. Don't fall into this trap.
7. Pick the best airport.
Many metropolitan areas have a few airports to choose from when flying. If you're going to Los Angeles, LAX is not the only option. Perhaps flying into Burbank or Long Beach can save you some money on airfare. These smaller airports may even be closer to your destination, which will save you on transport costs.
Bonus tip: Don't travel.
There are other ways to connect with associates and colleagues--you don't need to leave your office for these. Try Skype or Google to conduct meetings. Sometimes meetings aren't all that productive, so save the time and money by doing them from your own office.
We're all in this together. So as always, friends--so if we missed anything, please feel free to send us your own money-saving travel tips!