If you have to travel much for business, then you know how expensive and what a hassle these trips can be. If you’re not properly prepared, business trips can send you into the panic zone. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can take with you to help you have a fun, cheap and easy business trip.

    Negotiate Your Hotel Rate

    The first thing everyone wants to know when they go on a business trip is how to get a great deal on a hotel. Many people don’t know this, but sometimes you can negotiate your hotel rate. Ask the hotel you’re planning on staying at if they offer any corporate rates. Oftentimes, hotels do offer special rates for businesses, especially if you’re going to be staying there for several days. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask if you can get a deal for staying for an extended number of nights.

    Waive the Auto Insurance

    Auto insurance coverage at car rental places tends to be expensive. Better yet, you don’t need to invest in the extra insurance if your personal insurance or credit card covers you. Of course, most car rental companies won’t tell you this, but it’s like paying twice if you’re already covered and still take out coverage with them.

    Corporate Housing

    Although many haven’t heard of corporate housing, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a great option for you, your colleagues, and your business. Essentially corporate housing is fully furnished apartments that are prepared exclusively for workers who are traveling for business. Corporate housing provides an impressive list of amenities that most hotels can’t provide. They are more welcoming and a little more personable than hotels. Despite them sounding prestigious and for the wealthy, they can be very affordable and can make a multi-day trip feel less stressful or isolating because you’re returning to rest to a room or apartment that feels more comfortable than a hotel.

    Multitask Over Meals

    You can do this a few ways. If you are able to rent office space for meetings, you can cater to the office and have your meetings while eating your meals or if you want to schedule a bit of downtime for you to enjoy the city you’re visiting, schedule your meetings at a restaurant for your meals. You’ve got to eat anyway, so why not eat with the person you have to discuss business with and take care of two tasks at once? There’s a couple things to keep in mind for situations like this, such as waiting for everyone to arrive before eating, staying on task, not ordering anything that would be messy to eat, and be extra courteous. Another tip you might want to keep in mind is to choose a breakfast or lunch meeting if you plan on paying for you and your guests. Breakfast and lunch menus aren’t usually as expensive as a dinner menu.

    Travel Mid-Week

    You can save a significant amount of money on airfare if you choose to fly mid-week rather than on the weekends. It’s also important to keep a close eye on the calendar for holidays that might not affect you directly, but will impact your flying like school holidays or regional-specific holidays. Airfare rates skyrocket on the weekends, and you won’t have to deal with as much of the rush and crowds during the middle of the week as you would on the weekend. Likewise, if you drive, weekends tend to be busier. Driving mid-week and at night can make your travel routes less busy.

    Choose Your Destination Wisely

    Research your potential destinations closely. Cities will vary drastically in regards to cost, food, accommodations and so on. Estimate the costs of the destinations where you plan on doing business beforehand. For instance, if you can choose to host your business affairs in a cheaper city, by all means, do so. You need to know how much it will cost to eat, travel and so on in a city prior to setting your budget. Safety should be an important factor on any business/pleasure trip. Find out if the place you’re going to is safe, and if the surrounding areas are safe as well.

    Business trips are a fact of life, but the above tips can help make your business trips easier. You might even have a mini vacation along the way. Perhaps as part of your mini vacation you want to relax on the beach or enjoy a round of golf. Make sure you make the best decision so that you can keep your finances and costs down.

    Make sure to spend some time in the Business section of our website for more great articles like this one!