The view from my hotel room this evening
I flew into Dallas this afternoon to speak at a conference here tomorrow and Saturday. And as I was going about my day, I thought it’d be fun to share a few tips I’ve picked up on how to save money on business trips.
Note I said business trips. That’s very important.
You see, if you really want to save money, I recommend taking road trips. They are much less expensive than flying anywhere. Plus, you can bring a cooler and your own food. And well, they are usually just so much more economical in so many different ways.
So this post is not written from an ultra-frugal perspective. Because well, business trips in and of themselves don’t tend to be ultra-frugal. And that’s okay. Usually, the value you are providing or receiving in return for the expense paid by your business or another business on your behalf makes it worth the investment.
But I know that many of you do take frequent or occasional business trips, and I thought I’d share a few money-saving tips I employed today that might inspire you or spark an idea to help you save money. Because just these four things combined, save me hundreds of dollars every year.
First off, always bring your own reading material instead of being tempted to buy an overpriced book or magazine from the airport gift shop. In fact, always bring a little more than you think you’ll be able to read. Because this way, if there’s a flight delay or some other delay, it can just become a relaxing reading time, instead of a stressful, twiddle-your-thumbs-with-nothing-to-do time.
I save all the magazines that come in from our five or six current subscriptions in a drawer and then bring a few of them each time I travel. I also bring a few books. Usually a few too many… but hey, if we are stranded somewhere for 12 hours, at least I’ll have plenty of good reading material. 😉
Bring your own tea bags, too. I love hot tea — and it’s so soothing on your throat if you’ve been doing a lot of speaking/talking at events. I usually have a few tea bags in my purse and a few more in my suitcase and then I can make hot tea in the hotel room with the coffee maker or I can ask for hot water on the plane to make my own tea.
Not only is a soothing cup of tea is a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day, but it’s much more convenient and much less expensive when you bring your own tea bags instead of buying a hot drink at the hotel or a nearby restaurant.
When you arrive at your location, if at all possible, find a place nearby to purchase a case of water or even a 6-pack of water bottles (if it’s a short stay). This encourages you to stay hydrated while you’re busy in meetings or at a conference, and it’s also so much cheaper than buying individual water bottles from the hotel or venue where you’re at.
We also often stop by the grocery store and pick up some food for snacks/meals to extend our travel food budget. Not only is this so much less expensive than eating all your meals out or grabbing snacks from the hotel gift shop, but it’s also much more convenient if you’re needing to eat a quick snack (as I often do) to give you stamina before you go on stage or into that three-hour intensive meeting.
The fourth photo I took today was of my beloved suitcase. I bought this suitcase off of Groupon at a steal and it has traveled many, many miles with me and saved me well over a thousand dollars in the last year.
Why? Because it’s roomy and can fit enough stuff in it for up to an 8-day trip. Which means I never pay for baggage fees — which add up very quickly when you usually travel a few times per month!
When I started traveling regularly, I created a “system” of sorts for packing and have pared down to the essentials I need for trips + a few extras. I typically always pack almost the exact same thing every trip.
(Yes, I don’t have that many outfits so I wear the same progression of 2-3 outfits for almost every trip until those outfits wear out or the seasons change! It might seem really boring, but it actually simplifies things so that packing for a business trip usually takes me very little time.)
You can see a peek into my packed-for-an-8-day-trip suitcase here, if you’re interested.
What advice or tips do you have for saving money on business trips and/or while traveling? I’d love to hear so I can get some new ideas to try!