Money Matters - Simplified

How to Save on Your Business Travel

Businesses that involve frequent traveling know how much the cost can add up to if not paid heed to early. The Money Times suggests ways of pruning your business travel budget.
Book your air tickets in advance, at least a month prior to your intended departure.

Cost-cutting has become an essential and indispensable part of all business ventures in today’s uncertain business environment. Saving on your traveling expenditure can go a long way in saving you money.

Business Travel Tax Deductions

- You can write off your transportation costs, accommodations, rental car days, food, and more by carefully following the rules laid out by the IRS for domestic travel.

- Determine if the location you are traveling to is in the United States. Many people are surprised to find that Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean are all considered travel within the United States and follow the rules of U.S. travel.

- When you make your U.S. travel plans, make sure you work more than 50 percent of your days away during the course of your trade or business travel.

- According to the IRS definition of a "business day.” It includes travel days and days where you spend the majority of working hours ( at least 4 hours and 1 minute) on your trade or business.

- You can deduct 50 percent of most meals if they're directly related to the active conduct of your business or they take place directly before or after substantial, bona fide discussion directly related to the active conduct of your business.

Our economies are still recovering from the aftershocks of the recent economic downturn and the rumors of another setback have already started doing rounds.

It is only natural for business-men to start looking for ways to save costs wherever possible, including that on travel.

Here is what you can do to keep your business travel costs to a bare minimum:

Trim your Air Travel Budget
Air travel tickets can cost you a fortune if you aren’t careful enough in making your bookings. Paying attention to the following details can be immensely helpful:

- Book your air tickets in advance, at least a month prior to your intended departure.

- Book roundtrips as far as possible. These air fares are cheaper than one way tickets.

- Hunt for the lowest available fares on the net.

- Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays since these middle-of-the-week days offer the cheapest fares.

- Travel light to avoid paying excess baggage fees.

- Embark and disembark on domestic airports rather than an international airport to be able to avail of cheaper taxi fares, better services and lesser distance between city and airport.

- Make optimum use of your frequent flier points.

- Combine two or more business trips whenever possible.

Trim Your Expenses on Accommodation

- If you are traveling on week days consider staying outside the city. And if your days of travel are weekends you can benefit from staying within, even in the heart of the city, where room tariffs are sometimes lower during the weekends.

- If you intend traveling to the same city frequently in future, you could sign-up with a hotel for its customer reward programs. Or else, check for a customer reward program of a chain of hotels which have properties in a range of cities, including the ones you often visit.

- Try to get a hotel booking near your place of work so as to avoid the extra cost of renting a car.

Trim Your Expenditure on Food
No matter how much you spend, you can never get food that can score anywhere around homemade food, whether in terms of nutrition or taste. When on business tours, you can save your expenditure on food by doing the following:

- Check the meal plan the hotel that you are putting-up in provides. They could have one of your meals (usually the breakfast) free. Make the most of this free breakfast and have an early brunch. This will definitely help you save on buying yourself a lunch.

- Consider staying in hotels with a kitchenette.

- Avoid using hotel room service. Food tends to become costlier when served in your room.

- Carry your own snacks if you tend to much in-between your meals.

Trim Your Expenses on Car Rentals
Here are tips for spending your lowest possible on car rentals and transfers.

- Find out if the hotel that you are booked in provides free transfers to and fro the airport.

- Get a small compact car that is just enough to accommodate you and your belongings and capable of providing the basic amenities. Spending a fortune on a high end model with a GPS system and other latest gadgets doesn’t make much sense especially since it will remain with you for only a few days.

- Ask for upgrades.

- Use public means transportation.

- Sign-up for a frequent car rental program if you are eligible to do so.

A little forethought and planning on your part is all that you need to trim unnecessary expenditures on your business travel.