A common misconception around travelling for work is that “all expenses are paid.” This is often the case, yes, but not always. Unnecessary or avoidable costs aren’t always covered by your company and you may find yourself with unexpected bills. So how can you save the most amount of money possible when overseas for work? Here are 6 money saving tips for business travel:
1. Confirm your budget
Checking with the company you work for whether you have a budget or not will help you to gain an overview of where your limits are before you even leave. Some businesses will provide you with either a daily allowance of personal spending, or others will give you a lump sum for you to use over the course of your trip as you wish. Generally, the purpose of this is to cover food and transport costs or other necessary expenses that arise over the time of your trip. Being conscious of this amount will prevent you from overspending too much and dipping into your own pocket to cover costs that could otherwise have been avoided.
2. Accept ticket restrictions
You don’t always have to have flexible bookings or select your own seats, especially if the flight is quite short. Things like this always have unnecessary added costs and you will probably end up more out of pocket. Companies aren’t always willing to reimburse for things that only assist your comfort and aren’t practical, for example if you’d prefer to fly business class, you probably won’t have those expenses paid. If you desperately want to save money, the smartest idea is probably to take advantage of where costs are covered by your business, and worry about your comfort later.
3. Book things in advance
If you need to take public transport, especially longer trips (such as a train trip from one city to another), make sure you enquire or book them ahead of time. Especially in places like Europe and the US, it’s far more cost effective to book in advance. Although many people do see success by waiting until the last minute, this tactic isn’t necessarily always successful and I wouldn’t recommend it.
4. Get reimbursed
There are some travelling expenses that are necessary for your trip and should generally be covered by your company. Check whether you can be reimbursed for unavoidable travel costs, like your visa or your travel insurance. If you need to pay for your own cover and are looking for the cheapest options, try looking at sites that compare business insurance policies with specialised cover – this will provide you will a bird’s eye view of all of your options, and allow you to pick the cover that you think will suit your trip and your needs the best.
5. Combine trips where possible
If you’re able to carpool with someone or something else along these lines, then by all means do it! It’s always handy to split costs with someone, not only for the money-saving element of it but also because it just makes sense. Plus, you’ll get the bonus of having company, which is always nice. However, it’s probably wisest to lift-share with someone you know, as opposed to a total stranger.
6. Be careful what you pack
This means that you’re avoiding the added costs of having huge amounts of luggage. If you’re travelling locally or for a short time, you could even just take carry on instead of a suitcase. However, obviously if you’re going away for an extended period it’s best if you take some carry on, however try to stay within the weight limit. There are almost always extra costs involved when the luggage limit is exceeded, so save yourself the hassle of paying extra by packing smart.
Travelling for business doesn’t have to be the expensive venture that many people would expect it to be. In fact, if you play your cards right and prepare in advance, you can end up having a fantastic enjoy with minimal costs. Enjoy!
Article written by Michelle Hutchison. Michelle is a Money Expert and travel lover at Australia’s most visited comparison website, finder.com.au.