While the internet has made communication much easier and gives businesses the freedom and convenience to operate remote teams, there is still often the need to travel for in-person meetings, conferences and other business related events.
As a business owner, cutting cots is always welcomed. Money you are able to save on travel related expenses can be rolled into other aspects on the business, which can help contribute to growth. So, anytime you can save money it should be something to consider.
We spoke to several business owners and asked them for their best travel hacks to maximize value. Save time. Save money. It all comes into play and sometimes the smallest effort can lead to very noticeable savings. Here are some travel hacks to look into the next time you are planning business travel.
Book in advance.
“The longer you wait to book anything travel related, whether it’s airfare, a hotel, or a rental car, you are going to end up paying more money the closer it is to the travel date. This is even more severe when you are booking travel to a large conference.
For example, if it’s a massive industry conference that draws 20,000 attendees, flights, hotels and cars are going to be in higher demand. The companies know this, and start to increase prices, knowing they are going to sell out based purely on supply and demand. The earlier you can book, the more money you are going to save. If you know you have to go there Is no point delaying the booking. Get it out of the way and save some money.” – Pat Skinner of Answer First
Sign up for all rewards programs.
“Sign up for the rewards program for every airline, hotel and rental car company, even if they are not your primary choice. You never know when you will use them again, and often times the companies will cross promote and you can share or transfer points. You are throwing money out the window if you don’t do this.
If you are worried about email inbox overload, consider registering a separate email address like travel @ yourwebsite.com to filter all of these messages. This way you can reference it if needed, but it won’t disrupt your primary email inbox.” – Tad Thomas, Managing Partner of Thomas Law Offices
Check with smaller regional airports.
“When booking flights, always check to see if there is a smaller regional airport close to your final destination and if so, if the price to fly into it is significant enough to justify it. If it’s far away, then the travel might cancel out any savings, but there are some cities that have regional airports down the street, and if you can save money by all means consider it.
A prime example is Ft Lauderdale and Miami. If you can save $300 by flying into Ft Lauderdale instead of Miami International it’s worth it. This can add up to huge savings, especially if you are traveling often.” – Ignacio Soria, CEO of Cann & Co.
Travel during off-peak days and hours.
“Days like Friday, Saturday and Sunday are always going to be prime travel days, and there are times like early morning and mid-afternoon that are the most popular. Flights during these times will always command more money. If you can fly early and on off-peak days you can save money.
A flight might be $800 roundtrip leaving on a Thursday afternoon and returning on Sunday morning. The same flight might drop to $250 if you fly out Wednesday morning and return Monday morning. If you can take extra meetings you can get more accomplished while also saving money.” – Hyung Park, President of Abraham Lincoln University
Pack light to avoid unnecessary bag fees.
“The days of free checked bags are gone. There are some airlines that will extend it to their top customers, but in most situations you are going to be charged for every bag you check, and some airlines are now even charging for carryon items.
When you didn’t have to worry about the additional expense you would pack bags, probably over packing, because there was no consequence. Now it costs money. Try to pack light and bring only what you absolutely need. If you get creative it’s possible to travel only with a personal item of a backpacks and one carryon. This can save you an easy $100 per person, per trip.” – Chad Gaynier of Clarity Clinic
Get TSA PreCheck and Global Entry
“Time is money, and any time you can reduce your travel time and eliminate airport waits it is worth the effort. TSA PreCheck will allow you to pass through security much faster. This means less time waiting in lines. If you travel internationally, Global Entry will save sometimes hours per trip, allowing you to move through customs very quickly.
Check with your credit cards, because many of them offer statement credit for the fees associated with TSA PreCheck and Global Entry fees. If you have an American Express Platinum card for example, use it to pay the fee and you will get it credited back to your account. This is a benefit many can get for free.” – Michael Herron, Law Offices of Michael R. Herron
Set up meetings in advance for the most time-value.
“When traveling for things like one-off meetings or conferences, there are often a lot of time gaps that could be filled with more productive meetings. If you have clients, customers or vendors in the area try to set up meetings that have potential to benefit your business.
Or, if you are going to a conference event, network in the event’s Facebook group and see if there are any potential meetings that you could take that would give you some sort of value. Rather than sitting in your hotel room killing time there are meetings you could be taking that would contribute to the growth of your business.” – Chris Moberg, President of Slumber Search
Sign up for in-flight internet service.
“Long flights can be great for catching up on sleep and disconnecting, but if you have work to do they can be a real stick in your spoke, especially if you don’t have internet connection. While some flights offer free in-flight internet, those are few and far between.
If they have it at all, they will usually require you buy it, and they typically sell it in time blocks. Find out what provider or service the flight uses and see if you can sign up for a plan in advance. If you travel often this is a good idea, as the cost for a plan is usually a small fraction of what you would pay on a per-flight basis. Being connected while 40,000 feet in the air is convenient.” – Christopher Kerr, VP Marketing at Earnhardt Lexus
Contact hotels directly.
“There are several booking websites that offer specials, but in the end they are receiving a cut from the hotel. The bottom line that the hotel realizes is far less. But, they know that a large percentage of the bookings come from these websites so they have to be listed there.
Check prices online and then contact the hotel directly. Not only will they often beat the online prices (they still net more money this way), but you will often get special perks, like upgraded rooms, free Wi-Fi, free parking, food vouchers, etc. It’s always worth reaching out directly. The cancellation and refund policy is often always better direct as well.” – Paul Kelly, 247 CCTV Security Ltd
Pack healthy snacks to avoid airport food.
“Not only is airport food horrible for you, but it’s very expensive. You could either throw a healthy protein bar in your bag or be lazy and end up eating a sub-par meal loaded with preservatives that is heated in a microwave and costs you $30.
Even if you want to pick up some snacks, do so before. A $2 bag of nuts is $9 at the airport. It’s an expense that you don’t have to tolerate if you just plan in advance. If you travel often make sure you are stocked up on these types of food items. In the long-run you will save a lot of money.” – Christopher Dziak, CEO of Pure Nootropics