A top concern of today’s road warriors is how to effectively save money and time while traveling for business. And their concern is valid. According to the 2015 Global Travel Price Outlook report from Carlson Wagonlit Travel and the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, business travel prices are on the rise in 2015.
In my frequent travels, I’ve found I can save big -- on both time and money -- by simply and consistently using a few cost-saving strategies each time I hit the road.
1. Take public transportation to and from the airport
Public transportation may be an obvious tip, but we all know it’s frequently overlooked. Mass transit offers a convenient and less expensive way to reach airports at major cities around the country.
When I lived in Atlanta, my 20-mile drive to the airport sometimes took more than an hour -- and I still had to park my car off-site and ride a shuttle to the terminal. When I discovered I could access the subway system for Atlanta (MARTA) about a mile from my house and take it straight to the airport terminal for $5 round trip -- saving 40 minutes of time -- it became my transportation of choice.
2. Use Groupon local or Restaurant.com for dining
Whether you are dining alone or with colleagues, these websites offer dining deals and coupons at thousands of restaurants around the world.
Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website featuring discounted gift certificates that can add up to big savings. The site offers a mobile app that allows users to buy deals and retrieve them using their phone screens as a coupon.
Restaurant.com is a website that offers dinner discounts through gift certificates with the added convenience of a map, menu and virtual tour of the restaurant included. Thousands of restaurants across the country use both websites as advertising tools that provide a win-win for entrepreneurs and customers alike.
3. Call the hotel before booking online to discuss applicable rates or discounts
My time in the morning is very valuable on business trips, so I try to find a hotel near my first stop of the day. After narrowing down my hotel choices, I'll call the top three to see if I can find offers that are better than those published online.
Sometimes hotels will offer special rates for suppliers working with nearby companies or discounts for being a member of a club or association. Some hotels may require validation from the company you're visiting.
4. Join hotel, airline and rental car loyalty clubs
Business travelers can eliminate the long lines at airport counters by using time-saving benefits offered through travel brand loyalty clubs. The time saved by not waiting in line can often allow for one more meeting in a day.
With a relatively small amount of effort up front, travelers who stay focused on saving money and time will find rewards that can pay big dividends in the end.