Here are a few ideas that could help you cut down on travel expenses and save money for your department:
How to save when planning the trip…
- Research trip options. Do you really need to travel? Would a video or Web conference meet your needs instead?
- Do a preliminary budget of all your anticipated expenses (air, hotel, transportation, meals, entertainment). Estimate how much you will spend and try to stay within or below that budget.
- Use the university’s preferred travel agencies. There’s power and negotiation leverage in numbers, so our travel agencies are your best bet for cutting costs.
- Think twice before buying Internet airfares. Internet fares aren’t always the most economical. Internet fares tend to be very restrictive. A few cancellations or changes can eat up any savings you may have thought you were gaining. As a traveler, when buying an Internet fare, you lose the guarantees that you get through your contracted travel agencies. Also, travelers that use a non-approved ticketing method cannot be assisted in the event of enroute trouble.
- Be flexible with your departure and return flight times. Sometimes, three hours can make more than $200 of a difference. Consider including a Saturday night stay or leaving the day before your meeting to take advantage of lower airfares. You can be reimbursed for additional hotel and meal expenses if the overall cost is lower.
- Double-check. Confirm all trip details, such as dates, times, services, etc., before ticketing. Avoid making ticket changes.
- Consider alternative airports and low-fare carriers. They are not necessarily less convenient.
- Re-evaluate the need for ground transportation. Can you use one rental car together with other passengers? Can you take a multi-passenger shuttle or taxi? These types of transportation might be cheaper and faster. Also, consider having someone drive you to the airport rather than taking a car service.
- Be flexible with your hotel preferences. Use negotiated properties and mid-range hotels rather than first-tier hotels.
How to save while traveling…
- Ask the hotel clerk if there is a lower rate available. Often times, they may lower the rate if the hotel is at low occupancy.
- Avoid using room service. Many cities have dine-around or order-in programs from outside restaurants. Check with the concierge for additional information. The meals are usually better and less expensive than room service.
- Always check your bill (hotel, restaurant, transportation etc.). Dispute any items that should not be on the bill. You can dispute before and after you pay so don’t just assume that since you have paid for it, you are stuck with the expense.
- Take advantage of hotel courtesies. Use the “freebies” provided as part of your stay, such as health club facilities, continental breakfast, newspapers etc.