Anyone who’s been tasked with making business travel arrangements understands the headaches that can come with it. You’ve got to plan an itinerary, pack appropriately, arrange accommodations – there’s so much to think about that it’s easy to overlook some of the finer points.
In many small-to-mid-sized businesses, a business traveler may have no one to help make arrangements, which means employees must look out for their own best interests. If you fit this profile, know that the single most important thing you can do is to arrange for insurance to cover you when traveling abroad. A sudden illness or injury could cause serious financial consequences, if you’re not adequately protected.
Following are some tips to help you prepare for your business trip abroad.
Lowering flight costs
Overseas flights are no small expense, but you can use a few tricks to get the lowest prices possible. Look into flying during the middle of the week – departing and returning on a Tuesday or Wednesday is ideal – to get cheaper deals than what you’ll find closer to the end of the work week.
Similarly, you can sometimes get cheaper flights if you take a red-eye flight that departs your home city late at night. Since you’re traveling overseas and cross multiple time zones in the process, a red-eye can be a convenient way to travel while you sleep – provided you can get good rest in an airplane. Both of these tricks should help you get the most affordable flights available.
Staying on the cheap
After flying, lodging is often one of the most significant costs you’ll incur in the course of your business travels. Cutting corners on hotel costs can come in many forms, so you should explore all of your options. Some hotels, for example, will offer small discounts to members of certain organizations, or to business travelers – especially if you are staying in one location for an extended period of time.
You can also use various hotel deals websites to try and secure last-minute lodging at a much-reduced rate, although there can be some anxiety that comes with this strategy – especially if you’re in an unfamiliar setting.
Stretching your food budget
It’s not glamorous, but the best way to cut down on food costs is to make dining out the exception, rather than the rule. If you can find accommodations with a kitchenette, stock up on the basics at a local grocery store and don’t treat yourself to fancy dinners unless you need to make a good impression on a business associate.
Investing in insurance coverage
One thing to remember when traveling overseas is that your health insurance coverage doesn’t necessarily carry over. On top of that, you have a lot of money invested into hotel bookings, flight reservations and other expenses, all of which can easily be derailed by travel delays or unexpected emergencies.
International medical insurance can be found at a reasonable cost, and it will cover you in all of these instances, greatly reducing your liability when embarking on expensive trips.
If you can demonstrate to your employer that you’re a responsible traveler with good financial instincts, it could open up more opportunities for travel and responsibility in your organization. Always remember that your travel spending allotment isn’t an all-access pass. Your employers will still be reviewing expense reports, and even if they don’t say it, they’ll be judging you based on how you conduct yourself out of their sight.