As a business traveler, you’re constantly on the move and if you’re not taking advantage of a few smart travel tactics you’re missing out on free upgrades, potentially hundreds of thousands of miles that equal free flights, and more. This guide is your resource for business travel tips to turn back to time and time again to learn methods to save money on your traveling expenses and to learn how to travel like a pro. This article is long, but if you stick with it, you’ll walk away ready to take on the world of business travel.
How to Save Money on Travel:
- Utilize Hotel and Airline Cards: If you haven’t started doing this already, you’re missing out BIG. This is the best way to pocket money that you would have otherwise spent on flights and hotels. Hotel and airline cards basically work the same. These are credit cards that you use on your everyday purchases for your business or even personal expenses and you will rack up points. You’re spending the money anyway, so why not get rewarded for it? These rewards include free upgrades to business class or first class, free flights and hotel stays, first checked bag free, save money on airline food, and more. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to these cards (because frankly, there’s a lot of them), I’ve included a list of some of the best cards on the market below that you can examine to see if they fit your needs – and if not there are more out there with a bit of research.
|Club Carlson Rewards Business Visa||
· 50,000 Gold Points after first purchase, another 35,000 Points after spending $2,500 USD in 90 days
· 10 Points per $1 USD spent at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels
· Automatic Club Carlson Gold Status once card is activated
|IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card||· 70,000 Points after spending $1,000 USD in 3-months· Platinum Elite Status is automatic if you’re loyal· 5 Points per $1 USD spent at IHG hotels|
|Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business Card||· 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 USD in 3-months· They have 1,100 hotels in 100 countries· 5 Starpoints per $1 USD in participating SPG hotels|
|Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card||· 50,000 Points after spending $1,000 USD in 3-months· 5 Points per $1 USD at Marriot Locations· 1 guaranteed free night after every anniversary year|
|Chase Ink Plus Business Card||· 60,000 Miles after spending $5,000 USD in fist 5-months· No foreign transaction fees· 5 points per $1 USD spent on first $50,000 at office supply, cellular, landline, internet, and cable TV services|
|CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard (Clay: I just applied for this card)||· 30,000 Miles after spending $1,000 USD in 3-months· First checked bag is free on domestic AA and US Airways flights for up to 4 companions· 25% savings on in-flight food and beverages on AA and US Airways flights|
|The Platinum Card from American Express||· 40,000 Miles after spending $3,000 USD in first 3-months· Up to $200 USD Airline Fee Credit Annually· Platinum Card Concierge helps secure last minute restaurant reservations and hard-to-find gifts|
|United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card||· 50,000 Miles after spending $3,000 USD in first 3-months (limited time offer)· Priority Boarding Privileges· First checked bag free|
- Have You Heard of FlightCar? FlightCar is a service that to my dismay doesn’t pimp out your vehicle so that it has to ability to fly, but what it does do is allows the airport to rent out your car for the time your away to another customer. This is an easy method to save on parking fees and make a little bit of extra cash while you’re gone. We all have to leave our cars at home, so we may as well make money for it.
- Snag Extra Revenue with Gigs: You’re a business person, which means that you have insights other people would PAY to have. So why not take advantage of that? Look for speaking engagements before you go or on the move where you can make some extra income on your downtime. If you have a large social media following it’s even easier because you can shoot out a tweet telling your followers where you’re going and that you would love to give a presentation there.
- Cut Costs on Your Phone Calls: Phone calls are inevitable in the business world and expenses can add up quickly. Don’t even get me started on worrying about how much a cost from halfway across the world is going to cost. There are a few things that can be done though so you can worry no more. The first is to get a phone that is jailbroken and insert SIM cards as you go for each country and buy minutes. Jailbreaking a phone can be difficult, but you can always hire someone to do it for you. Other options are to always do your calls on a program like Skype or to get a contract that allows you to make calls wherever you are in the world. That can get a bit complicated though and phone companies aren’t the easiest people to work with in the world.
- Start a Blog:
Blogs are an excellent way to not only share your travel experiences and advice all over the world, but if you’re passionate enough about it to put serious time and effort into it, your travels can make you money. Even if you don’t want to blog or enjoy writing, writing is one of the best methods to tighten up your thinking because seeing your thoughts on paper will help you examine them in a new light, possibly leading to better business decisions. If you want to experiment with this, write your thoughts in a journal every morning for five minutes and see if you enjoy it and if it’s beneficial to your thinking. If it is, blogging may be something for you.
Saving money is an important part of travel, but being an efficient and crafty business traveler when it comes to networking and getting work accomplished is a completely other beast. Here are a few ways that you can connect with other business professionals like yourself and more:
- You’re on the Move A Lot, So Pack Smart:
Understanding how to pack like a pro is a must. There are plenty of videos online (such as the one below), which will teach you how to pack efficiently. In addition to that, always keep your bag semi-packed when you’re not traveling. This means keep your toiletries, socks/undies/bras, pen and notebook, as well as whatever else you see fit already pre-loaded so that when it’s time to travel is less of a hassle and you don’t have the fear of forgetting a necessity.
- Discover What’s Going On: Do some research before you go to discover what conferences, lectures, seminars, or other business related events are going on. Checking out a seminar in Italy would be a unique experience that may prove extremely valuable between what you can potentially learn and networking with business professionals in a different part of the world.
- Use Travel Time as Productive Time: Whether you’re in the air of in a cab, travel time can take up literally an entire day or more. My flight to Scotland from Michigan is going to take me 15 hours alone, meaning that I can get a lot of writing, marketing, or whatever else I have going on done. So why can’t you do the same? Use that “stuck traveling” time to get work done so you can enjoy your destination more.
- Meet Up With Your Followers: you’ve retweeted each other, favorites one another’s tweets, and so why not actually spend some face to face time with this person? It’s extremely rare that anyone on social media actually meets up, so why not make some waves and do just that? If you know of someone who lives in a city you’ll be staying at you can direct message them or send out a message to all of your followers asking people if they want to meet up. You’ll not only greatly strengthen that connection, but travel can be lonely as hell, so you’ll be able to have some company while you’re on the road. To make this seem less creepy, ask to meet them at a local café and offer to buy them a coffee or tea.
- Ask For Upgrades With Enthusiasm: Getting upgrades while you’re traveling is far easier than most people imagine – people just rarely ask for them. Asking for upgrades can be used anywhere, whether you’re at a hotel, going to see a concert, or traveling to and from somewhere. Just make sure to shine your pearly whites and be kind. There are enough jerks that travel the world, so showing some kindness will get you far. Also, don’t be afraid to ask! The worst that can happen is them saying a curt, “No.” It’s a good comfort exercise at the very least.
- Enjoy, Eat, Love Paleo:
Eating healthy on the road is one of the most difficult aspects of travel (at least for me), but having a rigid program to follow can make it easier. The best part about the paleo diet is that it’s heavy on things such as chicken and veggies, which can be found easily in practically every part of the world. You’ll be able to find something healthy to eat while out with clients and the temptations won’t be as bad to pig out.
- Bring a Form of Pain Relief: Travel can be hard on your body and make you feel random pains in and on your body. The uncomfortable feelings can be combated with a few simple tools and travel is all about tools. An hour or two before you get on your flight or travel for an extended period of time by rail, car, or bus, take a few pain pills and keep them in an easily accessible part of your pack in case you get a headache. There are also other forms of pain relief you can get such as Topricin that you can put topically on sore spots.
Phew, I’m glad you made it through all of that. You’re a champ. I hope you’ve learned a lot and feel like a smarter and better equipped business traveler for the next time you hit the road. If you have any of your own tips, I would love to hear them in the comments.