Travel for Business
If you are a small business owner, or work in a management at a larger one, there may come a time when company travel becomes necessary. Whether it’s an industry conference, meeting with clients, scouting for locations to expand to, inspecting manufacturing facilities, or any other reason, these trips are an important part of your success. Managing them efficiently and in a cost-effective way is key to maintaining your standing, as no one wants to be accused of abusing company privileges. Here are some recommendations to keep in mind as you plan you trip.
In order to minimize the expense of business-related trips, there are several factors to consider. The first is mode of transport. While flying is the fastest option for all but the shortest of trips, airline costs can add up dramatically if you are not smart about shopping around. Plan your trips far in advance in order to secure the best deals by booking early and taking the time to shop around through various search engines or travel agencies. Alternatively, see what can be done by surface transport. Car rentals afford a lot of extra flexibility for staff that must travel to another city, especially if they need to spend a significant amount of time touring different locations. Train transport is as cheap as ever, and becoming faster all the time with the implementation of new high-speed lines. Ferries are also an option for some trips. Taking a ferry to Belfast for a business trip anywhere in Ireland, for example, is sure to save you a lot of money.
Accommodation is the next largest consideration when dealing with business expenses outside of your base of operations. If you are attending a conference, you may find that significant discounts are available. If not, your local contacts may have some recommendations or deals worked out with specific hotel chains. When booking hotels, consider the needs of the company versus the desires of the individual—while of course it is good to be comfortable, paying double or triple the price simply for a larger room or better view is not a good way to manage funds. Once again, booking early is a primary consideration in order to save as much money as possible (and still find some excellent options, wherever your business is taking you).
With all travel expenses, keep exhaustive records and save all receipts in order to document everything and seek reimbursement where appropriate. As a general rule, the company is responsible for covering transportation, accommodation, and a reasonable per diem for food and other necessary expenses. Employees that choose to seek other entertainment or activities should not be reimbursed for them, and it is important that they are fully aware of this beforehand. Transparency is absolutely the best policy, and it is imperative for management of companies to not abuse their status in order to take trips that are more for their pleasure than the good of the enterprise. Inevitably, this behavior comes back to haunt them with dire consequences.