Business travel in the last few years has taken a back seat. With the increase in virtual meetings and online conferences, the need for traveling for business was pretty much eliminated. However, as we start to move out of the pandemic and things go back to normal, there will likely be some return to travel as before.
The setup in the future is likely to be some hybrid of online and in-person meetings and events. Business travel has changed, and we must adapt to the new norms.
Here are some business travel tips to save time and money and make the most of the resources available to us today.
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The most significant part of traveling is the cost of the flight and the hotel. If you’re an entrepreneur who has to foot the bill, charge all expenses to a business credit card to maximize benefits and easily keep track of costs.
If you have that travel credit card, put it to good use! Find out if you can use points for your stay, get extra nights for free, or score complimentary perks.
Consider these sites to find affordable pricing options outside of the travel credit card realm.
If you don’t have membership or status at hotel chains or are traveling somewhere where budget-friendly venues are limited, consider non-hotel options. These include:
- Air BnB
- Phone a friend
- Extended Stay
With Phone a friend, I’m referring to reaching out to your network and see if they have a place for you to stay temporarily. You may also consider asking if your friends have timeshare options in the city, you will be visiting. If they aren’t using their dates, and it works out, you can sublet the timeshare! Along with extended stay sites, this option may benefit longer business trips.
Business travel credit cards can come into good use here. You can find an extensive list of the best ones here.
Each travel credit card has different perks. Some are associated with certain airlines; others are universal in giving you extra points for travel purchases. Yet others have excellent cash-back options. Some even give perks like lounge access. The one you choose should suit your overall business needs.
If business travel for you is rare, then a cash-back card might be best. An airline card may give you the most perks and bang for your buck if you travel often.
Alternate resources for finding the best flights for your business travel needs are:
- Scott’s Cheap Flights (this is especially useful if your travel dates are flexible and/or you need to go abroad)
- Google Flights
There is also the Hopper app. This app allows you to put in the destination you need and travel dates. It helps you to track and watch airfares over time and will alert you when the prices are likely the lowest. If you can plan your business travel, this app can help you book and save at the right time.
If you have several meetings or in-person appearances to make, and they happen to be geographically close, consider planning your business travel in clusters.
Traveling between cities that are close by allows you to explore other modes of transportation and save on flight costs. For instance, you can take a bus, Amtrak, or rent a car if your destination is close enough to your starting point. Doing this can save you both time and money as you’ll be able to knock out several business meetings in one trip!
If you’re the one asking people to come to you, consider hosting a hybrid event. That means you invite those who are most needed in person and set up a live virtual event so that others can join in from home. With this option, you can get the work done, be inclusive of everyone, yet save time and money on event space, meals, and the like. You can even do this for networking social events.
For international business trips, you should be prepared for that as well! Save time at the airport by enrolling in TSA precheck (saves time at check-in) and Global Entry (saves time while coming home). They cost $100 each and last for about five years. Many travel credit cards will also reimburse you for this expense, which is absolutely worth it.
For these longer trips, booking a vacation package with a flight and hotel can sometimes be more cost-effective for your wallet. You may also ask your event host if they are offering discounts at nearby hotels for conference attendees. Another idea is to see if your colleagues are also going. You can plan to share a hotel and split the cost, saving you a lot of money for the whole trip.
Regarding car rentals, doing this abroad can be expensive and is often unnecessary. Instead, look for ground transportation or public transportation options, as both can help you save money. Shared rides are another option, especially to get from the airport to the hotel.
As mentioned above, the future of business meetings is likely to be hybrid events. If you’re an employee gearing up for business travel, or an employer looking for ways to keep your staff connected, this trend is important you adapt to it.
As an employee, ask your company about online options for business events. If the possibility exists, you can save time and money by attending online.
As an employer, you must be mindful of your remote work employees and their limitations. That is also important if you cannot fund business travel for everyone.
Hybrid events allow people to choose what works best for their needs while remaining engaged with work and the company.
Many business events will likely still have Covid precautions in place. That is important to note as you may need to arrange for proof of vaccination, exemption, or negative test results to attend the event in the first place. As an attendee, check the guidelines and prepare accordingly.
If you’re hosting the event, stick to company policy in this regard and be sure to accommodate the different needs of your attendees. That includes having extra masks available, hand sanitizer, and a plan for cleaning in between events or meetings.
As a side note, if you’re an employer who is preparing for an upswing in business travel for your employees, then consider utilizing the services of a business travel management company. An example is Concur, which has a platform to help you keep track of expenses, reimbursements, and the like.
This kind of software can help keep things streamlined and fair, allow everyone to stay up to date on their travel and expenses, and clarify where the most travel expenses are occurring.
Final Thoughts on Business Travel Tips
Business travel’s recovery may not look like what you imagine. Adapting to a new normal is essential for sustainable business travel in the future. Travel smart as a professional with these tips to save time and money while growing your career!
This post by Sanjana Vig originally appeared on Savoteur and, was republished with permission.
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