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9 Ways Small Business Owners Can Save on Work Travel

Whether you have to meet a new client or attend an industry event, travel is part of almost every small business owner's job. But with everything from parking fees and airfare to meals and taxi rides, the costs of a business trip can quickly add up. With a bit of planning and effort, there are ways to save on work travel. Here are a few tips:

A woman using her laptop in a hotel room.

  1. Leverage virtual meetings. Before automatically agreeing to meet someone in person, determine whether you can handle the matter via a virtual meeting. Thanks to apps like Skype and GoToMeeting, you can host meetings for multiple attendees and even share screens or presentations─ so you might be able to achieve your objective without leaving your office!
  2. Compare rates. There are several travel comparison sites such as Kayak and Expedia that allow you to compare airfare and hotel rates to help you find the best deals. Nevertheless, it's important to keep in mind that not all airlines and hotels are included in the search results ─ for example, Southwest isn't on any of these sites, and Delta has started to retract its fares from them.
  3. Use points and rewards to your advantage. Although comparing rates can save you a lot of money, it can be time-consuming. You can also save money by sticking with one airline and hotel chain that you like and collecting points for future trips.
  4. Use airfare alerts. American Express advises leveraging sites like AirfareWatchdog, which allows you to sign up for email alerts with the best deals on your chosen route.
  5. Be flexible with your travel dates. Unless you absolutely must travel on specific dates, it's wise to consider a few days around your preferred travel dates. By doing so, you stand a better chance of avoiding the busiest travel days and times that have the highest rates.
  6. Consider all your options for parking at or near the airport. As Small Business Trends reminds us, airport parking lots usually charge premium rates. You can save up to 70 percent on parking fees if you park off site.
  7. Consider bringing only carry-on luggage. You can avoid extra charges if you don't check any bags. Keep your luggage to a minimum ─ it will save money and time.
  8. Think about alternative accommodation. Hotel costs can add up significantly so its good to consider other accommodations such as Airbnb rentals. These options are good if you're traveling for a longer period of time.
  9. Consider rideshares. Rental cars and taxis could be expensive; use rideshares like Uber and Lyft instead if you want to cut costs on ground transportation.

Once you've started to use some of these money-saving strategies, you'll soon see how easy it can be to travel without breaking the bank.

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