The last thing many want to be doing during the holiday is traveling for business. You're stuck amid throngs of families and others in airports, there are price surges and putting business first during the holidays isn't ideal. Nonetheless, some of the greatest comedies have followed the beleaguered businessman's trek home in the hectic holidays, and the slowdown of winter actually offers many advantages for getting ahead of competitors taking it easy this season.
Being a little more frugal during holiday business travel may even enable you to spend elsewhere on others during the season. Besides, saving on business travel needs to be a priority given the large associated costs. Business travel alone in the U.S. is a $111.7 billion industry, and companies pay an average $949 per person in domestic travel, according to data compiled by Certify, a travel expensing firm.
Being a business person, the value of a bargain doesn't need to be reinforced. There are several ways to save during business holiday travel:
Know your tax deductions. While one can't be blamed for wanting to get in the holiday spirit, it may actually help to be a meticulous Scrooge while in holiday business mode. The tax year will be coming to an end, and in preparation for saving as much as you can, keep the many available business travel deductions at the top of the mind. The IRS allows for deductions such as expenses relating to transportation, cab fares and even on-the-go dry cleaning.
Bankrate.com even noted you can utilize these tax advantages to minimize any expenses on personal travel days by tacking on vacation time at the beginning or end of a business trip to mitigate out-of-pocket costs.
Save on transport, consider alternatives. It's a no-brainer to try as much as possible to avoid flying or traveling on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. But, another thing to keep in mind is to not travel on the get-out-of-town days for regulars in that city. Many take extended days off and transport can be crammed, running up your costs and temper. Consider planning to stay an extra night for a smoother travel in the budget.
Planes aren't the only way to go as well. Rail services are actually more cost-effective at a comparable timeframe for travel between regional hubs: Say, between Indianapolis and Louisville or Chicago and Madison.
Make sure to carry cash. Time is money, and sometimes ensuring you have cash on hand will save you in the greater game.
"Always have cash on hand," Kevin Meany, CEO of brand marketing firm BFG Communications, told American Express OPEN. "Nothing gets things moving quicker than a bit of green, and when the credit card system or wire is down and credit cards can't be accepted, you're still in business."
Using a card may also heighten cybersecurity and finance risks. Getting scammed by a fraudulent credit or debit card reader in a city you won't be in for months would be the worst holiday gift.