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How to Get the Most Out of Business Travel Costs

Business travel is still a very big business.

Yes, COVID absolutely took a bite out of companies’ appetite (and ability) to send their people on the road. However, the Global Business Travel Association expects 2023’s travel spending to hit $1.2 trillion in 2023 — still shy of the $1.4 trillion annual spend prior to COVID, but a big number nonetheless, and 24% better than 2022’s figure.

While one typically associates business travel with larger companies, small businesses can (and sometimes must) send their employees across the country or around the globe.

Naturally, startups and other small firms must be a little more mindful of their business travel costs since budgets are often tight. But small business employees can both travel thriftily and travel well.

The following are several ways you and your employees can get the most out of your small business travel costs.

How to Save on Flights

We’ll start with a few tips that will help you reduce the costs of flying:

  • Compare third-party flight costs: It doesn’t pay to be faithful to any one flight-booking site, be it Expedia, Priceline, Google or any of their competitors. Whenever it’s time to fly, shop around.
  • Look at airlines’ websites, too: While third-party booking sites typically offer the best deals, once in a while, airline sites will actually offer the lowest price.
  • Subscribe to travel discount newsletters/email lists: It might also be worth signing up for sites like Jack’s Flight Club or Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). Yes, businesses travel to where they need to travel — not where the deals are — but it’s possible a deal might line up with a necessary trip.
  • Book midweek: If you can swing it, try to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, which on average boast cheaper fares than the other days of the week.
  • Try to avoid baggage costs: Keep a close eye on the rules and costs for checked baggage before you book. That doesn’t just include whether an airline charges for a checked bag, but how much they charge for additional checked bags, weight limits on said checked bags, and rules on sizing for carry-on (because if you exceed their dimensions, you’ll be paying to have that luggage checked, too).

How to Save on Lodging

We also have some advice on how to spare yourself a few bucks on boarding:

  • Join a hotel rewards program: If you don’t sign up for a hotel rewards program, you’re leaving money on the table. Hotel rewards not only allow you to accumulate points for free rooms, but depending on the program, you might also enjoy free perks such as bottles of water, snacks, premium Wi-Fi and more.
  • Don’t book at the last minute: Typically, the farther ahead you book (to a point), the lower room rates will be.
  • Consider amenities: Sometimes, the room rate isn’t the final price you’ll end up paying. For instance, if Hotel A and Hotel B both charge $200 per night, but only Hotel A includes free Wi-Fi and a hot breakfast, you’ll end up paying even more at Hotel B.
  • Consider transportation: A slightly more expensive hotel closer to your business destination might make more sense than a cheaper one farther away depending on potential transportation costs. If you’re saving $10 each day in booking fees but spending an additional $30 in Uber rides, you’re shortchanging yourself.
  • Avoid resort fees if you can: In hotels’ endless quest to scrape as much money as they can from travelers, many have started tossing in “resort fees” that pay for amenities travelers used to get for free. Find out if the hotel you’re considering charges these fees, and whether you can get the same perks without a resort fee elsewhere.

How to Save on Your Taxes

Another way you can save on business travel costs is knowing a little bit about the U.S. tax code.

Many travel costs are among deductible business expenses. Just a few examples of expenses you can deduct include:

  • Airplane, train, bus or car fares to and from a business destination
  • Fares for taxis, ride-sharing, subways and other transportation from a travel hub (think airports and train stations) to a hotel, or from a hotel to a business location.
  • Lodging on business trips
  • Meals on business trips
  • Tips related to all of the above

Do you currently (or expect to) spend a meaningful sum on business travel? A tax expert can help you maximize your ability to deduct many of these and other expenses.

McManamon & Co. serves small- and midsize businesses in many ways. For instance, our tax services include compliance support for businesses, individuals, estates and trusts, but we can also tackle payroll taxes, project upcoming tax liabilities and make recommendations to help you deduct many of your small business travel expenses.

If you’d like to know more about what we can do for you, call us at 440.892.8900 or contact us online today.

Tags:  , , , , , | Posted in McManamon & Co., small business, Small business finances, small business taxes