Save Money While Traveling to Business Meetings

by Guest Contributor · 5 comments

It is nearly inevitable that sooner or later you will need to attend some business meetings if you work in the corporate world. While your business may be willing to pay for your airfare and your hotel room, if they send you, you will still have a number of expenses to pay for out of pocket. This is even more of an issue if you own your own business and are responsible for the whole trip.

Fortunately, there are ways to save money on every aspect of your meeting – if you know how to work the system.

Travel Expenses

Whether you travel by air or car, there are ways to save money. When it comes to airfare, you best bet is to purchase tickets from online discount travel sites such as Orbitz or Travelocity. Additionally, to save more money, search for promo codes such as the ones I list here, and here. These codes can also reduce the price of the tickets you purchase or offer discounts on hotels when you arrive. Finally, try to fly at less desirable times; the red-eye flight is going to cost less than the one that leaves at 9:00 am.

For car rentals you can go to the same websites and also look for promotional codes and coupons. Sometimes, by combining all your needs – airfare, car rental and accommodations – you will access better deals, so play around with the options. Also, consider driving together with other business associates and share the costs of traveling.

Food on the Road

If you are driving, taking food along on your trip is the best way to cut costs. It may not be possible to eat every meal out of a cooler, but it is certainly achievable to eat many of your meals that way. Stock up on fruit, hard boiled eggs, granola bars, and other easy to handle foods. Prepackaged oatmeal and microwaveable meals are ideal for eating in your room as well. Taking along a water bottle will keep you hydrated and you can fill it at any water fountain you encounter.

Eating Out when Required

No matter how careful you are with your expenses, sooner or later you will probably have to go out for some meals. The usual money-saving techniques will work very well here. Offer to share a meal with a coworker. Order an appetizer instead of an entrée. Opt for less expensive restaurants and skip drinks, especially alcoholic beverages. If you can get everyone to agree to attend a happy hour buffet instead of going for dinner, you can get your meal as well as a drink for very little cash.

Cutting Back

Of course, the best way to save on business meetings is simply not to attend any. That isn’t necessarily practical all of the time, but everyone is dealing with tightened financial belts, and other options such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing can be reasonable alternatives for many previously scheduled face to face encounters.

Business meetings are an inevitable part of company politics, but by avoiding them as often as you can, scheduling alternatives and anticipating your costs so you can trim them as often as possible, you can make them affordable again.

Want more money saving tips? Check out the frugla email newsletter, where you will get weekly personal finance tips as well as a massive ebook called How to Save Money on Everything.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Elton Sites says:

    The best way to save is to look for discounts. Take everything that has discounts. Every little discount counts. But to really save money for business meetings, be in groups. So you can avail group discounts.

  • If a company isn’t willing to cover your expenses when you go out on business, I’d really seriously consider working elsewhere. It’s not right to have someone travel and NOT reimburse them. That’s just taking advantage of someone.

  • Make sure to log expenses if your company reimburses the cost. You can also look at business travel as an opportunity to save on leisure travel cost. If the company allows you, it might be an opportunity to take a few days off before/after your meeting or conference to travel at that specific destination. You’ll be able to at least save on airfare or even hotel rates.

  • KM says:

    Yes, a company should pay for things like hotels, airfare, and car rental for sure, as well as other possible items such as taxis. If it doesn’t, you can deduct the expenses when you do your taxes (so keep your receipts). My work pays the per diem too, but most of our people get sent out for longer periods and they get hotels that have kitchens and are intended for longer stays. But I went to Florida on vacation with family and stayed at a hotel with a kitchen – that reduced our expenses dramatically too since we only ate lunch somewhere.

  • indio says:

    When I travel for business, the company covers all of my expenses. This includes a daily per diem on food. In some cities or expensive hotels, I can frequently go over the daily allowance of $75, even without alcohol or dessert. Because I can’t control the choice of hotels and cost for food, the company picks up the overage without a complaint. Reimbursement covers everything from tips, ground transportation, airfare (and all of their add on fees), parking, etc.
    Your suggestions would also be applicable to people traveling on vacation and want to control costs.

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