Each year business is growing more globalized. Despite technology such as skype and FaceTime allowing colleagues in the four corners of the globe to conduct productive meetings without hassle, the value of face-to-face interaction remains as high as it ever was. This means that more and more of us are habitually conducting long haul business trips. If you work for an SME or are self-employed, the accumulative cost of such trips can quickly become daunting. Below are some tips sorted into seven categories to help you conduct cheap but efficient business trips.
- 1. Currency. Firstly, ensure that you are aware of the currency exchange before you build up a budget. This sounds simple but can so often be forgotten. Do not assume that prices will reflect those at home. Budgets are important, but if you begin with false figures then your foundation will always be wonky.
- 2. Luggage. Pack as lightly as possible to avoid having to check in a suitcase. Not only will this save you avoidable costs but it will also allow you to quickly whip through the terminals at each end. If you are expecting to bring a lot back with you from the business trip, it is worth packing ‘end-of-life’ clothes. Not only will you then have space in your bag for the return leg, but you will also keep your wardrobe at home uncluttered.
- 3. Flights. Avoid popular holiday seasons like Christmas, Easter and the summer months. Also have a look at when schools break-up for half term. Unless you have children or work in a school these can often come as a surprise, and can hike prices up considerably. Plan your itinerary carefully so you don’t waste time en route. Make small sacrifices such as opting for the cheap flights early in the morning or at night. Additionally, always consider the air mile offers of each airline.
- 4. Money is time. The saying ‘money is time’ is never more apt than when referring to a business trip. Ensure that your ‘direct flight’ is also a ‘non-stop’ flight. There is nothing more infuriating that sitting on a plane waiting an hour for another load of passengers to hop on. When at your destination it is worth considering whether you want to spend a little more on private transport to get the most out of your trip. Not only will you be able to get about the place quicker but you will also be able to use that time to make calls and prepare yourself for the next meeting. Blacklane is a handy chauffeuring service operating in cities worldwide. Their cars are easy to book and will not only take you to and from the airport but also around the city.
- 5. Accommodation. Research this thoroughly and when possible follow recommendations from people you know and trust. You don’t want to arrive at your hotel and see your budget blown when you find you have to pay extra for things such as breakfast and laundry. When arriving at the hotel ensure you are smartly dressed and polite. If it is quiet, it is worth asking if a free upgrade is possible. Never underestimate how far being smart and courteous may get you.
- 6. Technology. Make use of the best apps that are out there that can keep your business trip running smoothly. Apps like Plnnr can locate trusted and cheap accommodation and restaurants in the surrounding area, if for whatever reason you haven’t been able to make arrangements beforehand. BingVision and iTranslator will help you understand the gist of foreign phrases, and Expensfiy will allow you to keep track of your expenses.
- 7. When in Rome … Budgeting when away doesn’t have to be boring. In fact it can often make the trip more interesting. Avoid overpriced tourist traps and instead follow the locals. Not only will this help you to avoid extortionate menus but it will also allow you to explore a little foreign culture while working.