There are many opportunities to save.
Travel can be a sign of a thriving business, and one that is expanding. Many of the most rewarding and interesting things you can do in your small business involves travel. But it’s a double-edged sword. If you’re either struggling to stay afloat or are trying to increase your profits, travel can be an enemy. Here are some ways to save money on your travel budget.
Fly Less Expensive Airways
Clearly, one of the biggest drains on a travel budget. For an entrepreneur to save on travel, she or he must save on air fare. Here are some ways.
One thing to do is book your tickets with an agent, via phone. Tickets are sold lowest price first. As the plane begins to fill up, prices get higher. You’re trying to get tickets in the lowest bracket, and buying online runs the risk of someone jumping ahead of you in line.
Not only that, but when you’re buying these tickets, buy them singly—bulk rates don’t apply with airlines the way they do everywhere else. You can save a few hundred dollars on three or four tickets this way.
Buy On Thursday, Leave on Wednesday
According to a recent study by travel planner Hopper, cheapest fares are available for purchase on Thursdays, while the cheapest flights depart on Wednesdays.
Why do you think you’ve spent time trying to hone your negotiating skills? Use them! This might not work on airfare—but you’ve used the tips above—but it can with hotels. Not only do hotels have special business rates, but they’re more amenable to negotiating than you might think.
You Can Take it With You
One mistake small business owners make is in calculating travel expenses. If you take it gor granted that travel costs more than it really needs to, you’re doomed from the beginning. It’s more possible than you might think to prevent yourself from having to buy things like magazines, headache pills, sun screen, and even some food by planning ahead and packing a lot of the things you’ll need.
Here’s a related tip. Use online maps to find out what stores are near your hotel or meeting place. If drug stores are within walking distance (or if you’re renting a car), do not, under any circumstances, pay exorbitant fees for toiletries and similar items at stores in the airport. The only reason to buy expensive in airports or hotels is if you’d have to take a cab to get them at a full-size store.
Stick to the Budget
This tip is for small business owners with employees who will be traveling. Set a budget for travel, a rather rigorous one, and insist your employees stick to it. That forces you to be sure to stick to the tips above, slightly frugal ways of doing things that require some discipline. If going to a particular place will push you over the budget, even if you’re cutting corners, then simply do not go there. You’ll have to go the route of conference calls or some technological solution. Travel is important, but businesses fail because they spend too much money in an attempt to make money.