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Business on budget

On a return trip to Maine after a Mideast vacation, a last-minute business opportunity created a financial detour.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2010 01:13 IST

On a return trip to Maine after a Mideast vacation, a last-minute business opportunity created a financial detour. But we had to pay for the new travel arrangements. By maximising hotel amenities after extending our stay and travelling light, we were able to make things happen with minimal financial disruption.

Stay on-budget with this multi-step plan for affordable business travel.

Maximise amenities: Think outside the hot tub box for free hotel perks during a business trip. Free shuttle service to and from the airport represents a huge cost savings over a rental car or taxi cab. Complimentary transportation also reduces logistical stress. (Don’t forget to tip.) Some hotel business centres provide free printing and fax services, which save you a trip to the copy store. In addition to free WiFi and high-value breakfasts, the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Maine, for example, offers fireside conversational seating suitable for informal business meetings. The gourmet tea and coffee bar is gratis as well.

Streamline: Travelling light translates into fewer baggage fees and porter tips. Use online document storage to reduce bag weight and create more room for necessities such as laptop computers, additional clothing and smart phones. Make the most of your time and money by scheduling multiple meetings and events during your trip.

Track receipts: Stay grounded when you travel by carefully tracking out-of-pocket expenses, including tips, business meals and related expenses. Excellent records will help you document business expenses that could be tax deductible or covered by a corporate reimbursement plan. Review your company’s travel policy, and verify the per rupee allowances for meals, entertainment and other business expenses. If you’re self-employed, review IRS regulations about business travel with your accountant, financial planner or other experts.

Mobilise: Pack a portable office, with easy access to contact information, work calendars, deadlines and files. Take inventory of supplies you will need while travelling, including laptops, smart phones, cables and other necessary items that are expensive to replace while travelling. Include a multi-plug adapter to make the most out of electrical access at airports.