Frugal Business Travel

Posted by T | 10:09 PM | 0 comments »

Traveling is usually never cheap, especially business travel. Meeting with clients, eating out every meal and the mere act of traveling out-of-state can really eat away at the pocketbook. But, with a little pre-planning, there are ways of saving big bucks on travel expenses. This week, I traveled to Atlanta on business, halfway across the country from my home in Oklahoma. My employer gave me per diem for my expenses, which saved me the trouble of paying for my meals out-of-pocket. They also took me out to dinner for a couple of meals, also saving me some money. I did splurge a bit and went out to Fat Matt's Rib Shack in Atlanta, which I highly recommend! Besides eating some of the best barbecue ribs I've had in a long time, we were also treated to some excellent blues music by Frankie's Blues Mission, which plays at Fat Matts's every Wednesday. Total cost: $18.95, including tip. While that may sound a bit much for a meal at a place called a "rib shack", that included a half rack of ribs, potato salad, Diet Coke, sweet potato pie and free entertainment. Not bad for a night out on the town. Here are some of the other ways you can save money while traveling for business:

1. If flying, check for flights on www.farecast.com. Not only will it provide you with a number of options at different price levels, but it will tell you if the price of the flight is expected to go up or down before you travel, helping you determine not only where, but WHEN to purchase your tickets.

2. If going to a trade show, leave the convention facility to eat your meals off-site. The food available at the convention site is usually 25 to 50 percent higher than restaurants a few blocks away.

3. Check for hotel and rental car discounts at sites like www.hotwire.com.

4. Save all of your receipts. Business-related travel expenses can be tax deductible if you are paying out of pocket.

5. If you are driving to your business destination, pack some sandwiches and other finger foods in a cooler for the road. This will save you the expense of eating at fast-food places along the highway. You can pack bottled water and sodas, too. Make sure you log your mileage and save your gas receipts for possible tax deductions.

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