The United States is one of the most popular countries for business travel in the world. With a number of extremely large cities, many people bring their business to the United States in the hopes that they can broach these larger markets.
Traveling frequently to the United States can become very expensive if you don't pay attention to your costs and itinerary. Use these tips to save money on your next business trip.
Timing-If Possible Travel During January to March
Tourists and many business people try to plan their holidays or travel during the summer months and enjoy a little warmer weather. You will find that travel in general is cheaper from early January to early March. Remember to avoid dates like Presidents Day and Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. are often a less expensive time to travel with a couple of exceptions.
Avoid Main Cities - Travel Just Outside Instead
The best way to save money on your business travel is to simply avoid the heart of most cities. Take New York, for example; eating dinner in downtown New York may cost you as much as $150 USD, whereas dinner in nearby Brooklyn can be cheaper by nearly half. Likewise, staying just inside the heart of Los Angeles will cost you an arm and a leg. Traveling just 45 km out will result in much more affordable accommodations.
Check Cancellation or Adjustment Policies
It is not uncommon for business trips to be cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. Make sure you that you thoroughly check your airlines cancellation or change policy. There are a few airlines such as Southwestern Airlines that have a no charge policy for changes so long as they are made prior to a specified time from flying.
Fly Into Secondary Airports
May low cost airlines offer flights to and from secondary airports. It is often very cost effective to fly into one of the smaller airports and either hire a car or use public transport to get to your final destination. If you are staying for more than a couple of days you will also find that hotels near these airports are considerably cheaper than staying in a center city location.
If you are booking online you can ‘check nearby airports’ on many larger travel booking platforms.
Use Public Transportation
If you want to make business travel even more affordable, use public transportation methods to get around. This is a more sustainable way of traveling, and in major cities like New York, using public transportation can end up being faster than driving your own vehicle. Cab drivers know all of the fastest routes, and most are honest and willing to take them for you. They also know how to navigate traffic jams.
Also consider using:
- Bus systems
- Rental bicycles
Travel in Groups
Business travel often provides one of the best ways to save money on any trip; in many instances, traveling in groups is not only preferred, it's necessary.
Plan your business trips in groups whenever possible. If your business travels to a specific US destination on the ESTA waiver several times throughout the year, try to schedule all visits in groups. If your marketing director needs to visit New York in August to plan for the holidays, and your CEO plans to visit in July, try rescheduling both for either July or August. Your marketing director, CEO, and all assistants can then seek group rates with several popular airlines and hotel chains.
Negotiate the Best Rates
While most US businesses don't have a reputation for negotiating, that doesn't mean it can't be advantageous to try. Particularly when it comes to business travel, you should ensure that whichever staff member plans your trip at least attempts to negotiate better prices. Combine this with group travel, and you stand to save quite a bit of money on accommodations and food.
This is also a must for conferences, as conference space providers and hotels tend to have specialized pricing options set up already. Negotiating isn't normally possible for leisure services, either, like a spa or massage service, but it doesn't hurt to request special pricing. Book well in advance to win the best chance of better pricing. If you aren't sure how to do this, consider using your travel agency as a middle man. Travel agents are proficient in negotiating prices for you.
Packing For Travel
See this great video guide on how to pack the most punch into your travel bags.