By Rhonda Campbell
Whether they travel domestically or internationally, small business owners who do their homework can save money on travel expenses even if oil prices and the costs of airline tickets rise. One way entrepreneurs traveling abroad can save money is by accessing the services of experienced vacation planners. Benefits gained from taking this step include avoiding pricey tour guides, expensive taxi cab services and overnight stays at over priced hotels.
Money Saving Domestic and International Travel Tips
Following are several money saving travel tips small business owners can start using to save money while on vacation or while traveling to meet with clients. Some of the tips may yield hundreds of dollars in savings over the course of one or more years.
- Reserve airline tickets and hotel rooms 30 or more days in advance of departure. (An easy, practical tip that, due to busy schedules, many entrepreneurs avoid taking advantage of. This one tip alone can save business travelers $100 or more on a single airline ticket.)
- Combine airline, hotel and rental car reservations to receive discounts.
- Purchase airline, hotel and rental car tickets through discount travel agencies (e.g. Cheap Tickets, Orbitz). (Business travelers who purchase tickets from individual airlines are strongly encouraged to compare ticket prices before finalizing their purchases.)
- Rent a furnished apartment when traveling with groups of six or more people on trips that last a month or longer. Furnished apartments are designed with cooking equipment (e.g. stove, oven), utensils and entertainment units. They are also often located near major tourist attractions.
- Purchase a small amount of groceries from local stores and prepare meals in hotel rooms or furnished apartments.
- Use debit cards instead of paying fees for traveler’s checks when traveling internationally.
- Ask hotel staff if they offer discounts on tickets to area attractions. If so, purchase tickets to the attractions directly from the hotel.
- Use personal cell phones to make long distance telephone calls rather than using the hotel phone.
- Set aside a certain amount of money to be spent on art, souvenirs, etc. Stick to the budget.
- Use those frequent flyer mile discounts.
- Consider purchasing insurance on airline tickets so changes to schedules can be made without having to purchase a brand new ticket.
- Have personal autos inspected and repaired before hitting the road. Ensure tires have adequate air pressure, the engine is adequately lubricated, etc.
- Pack light and carry on as many bags as the airline will allow to avoid paying baggage fees. Remember to remove liquids from carry-on bags to avoid having security toss the items while traveling through airport security check points.
- Use Skype or email instead of cell phones when possible.
- Travel to domestic and international locations during off-peak seasons. Airline, hotel and area attraction ticket prices tend to be lower during off-peak seasons.
Small business owners can save money while traveling despite economic conditions. Fortunately, many cost saving steps are practical, making them easy to take. However, business owners must make the time to practice the cost saving steps including preparing meals in rented apartments or hotel rooms, traveling to popular areas during off-peak seasons and taking advantage of frequent flyer mile discounts. Furthermore, by creating a travel budget and sticking to it, business travelers can save even more money whether they are traveling domestically or abroad.
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