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.
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.
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.
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