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Business travel expenses can be a big drain on your wallet, no matter what size your business is.

As a small business owner, you’re always going to have to think about finances. With Divvy Travel, we’ve made it our business to help you save. From travel to hotels, and eating out while entertaining potential clients, here are some tips on how you can save on business travel expenses.

1. Save on airlines

Right out of the gate, you’re probably looking to save on airfare. Flights are tricky, because there’s no set equation on when you should purchase your tickets. The farther out, the better, but you should also see if you can be flexible with your dates. It may be worth it to fly a day or two early if it’s going to save you a few hundred dollars.

Try to buy your flights on a Tuesday to get a Wednesday or Thursday flight. These are the universal days when airlines display their cheapest flights. If you’re feeling extremely frugal, look for red-eyes, early morning flights, or flights with some of the less popular airlines.

2. Make budgets realistic

If you’re going to be out on business for a week, you’re not going to budget $100 for meals. You’ve got to be realistic about the budget you create. You or your employees will need an allowance during travel. Look at creating a travel policy that sets an overall meal allowance per day, giving your employees a per diem that they need to follow. Divvy’s budgeting makes it easy to track per diem expenses and monitor your allowances.

Make lunch your main meal. Many restaurants have cheaper prices during lunch and identical menus. If you have to make an exception for a 5-star restaurant with your highest-profile client, adjust the budget accordingly.

The biggest way to save is to take advantage of any free breakfasts offered by the hotel you’re staying at. Eating small snacks throughout the day will be a cheaper option and help tide you over until your bigger meals.

Most importantly, plan ahead. Check out restaurants in the area and see which ones will fit the needs of you and your clients, as well as your budget.

3. Booking better

Decide now what your business travel policy will be when booking hotels. Will the employee book their own room? Will corporate travel be handled by HR or a travel manager? When you’re booking a room, imagine you’re footing the bill. This mindset will help you make an effort to book budget-friendly hotels. Divvy’s Travel service gets you access to amazing deals on your hotel rooms.In fact, Divvy beats many of the top third-party booking sites by as much as 50%. That’s a lot of money saved.

If you’re looking to upgrade your room, checking in later in the day may give you more options for rooms that opened up last minute. You might also want to wait to book during a hotel’s cancellation period. These 24- to 48-hour windows have rooms open up last minute and become available at a lower rate to trim your travel cost.

There are plenty of ways to save on hotel bookings, so let Divvy help you find all the ways to maintain your budget.

4. Smarter transportation

When it comes to business travel, transportation is often an overlooked business expense. Whether you’re in a big city or headed to a smaller town, you need to have ways to get around, especially as you entertain clients.

With the growing popularity of Lyft and Uber, getting around is easier than ever, but you still have to be careful about spending too much on car rides. Sometimes, it can be cheaper to rent a car for the duration of your stay than forking out payments (including tips) to your own personal driver. Don’t forget about electric scooters, bicycles, or other short-term rentals to help you get around small geographical areas. 

Look for the best deals on transportation that are in line with your travel policies for the company.

5. Avoid T&E Fraud

The most recent Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse said that T&E frauds alone account for 14.5 percent. This number is increasing as employees find it easier and easier to slip in personal perks with their corporate card without notice and without an expense report.

You can help minimize the losses of T&E fraud by establishing a strong T&E policy, monitoring travel expense reports, and ditching the forms of expense reporting and reimbursements where employees can fabricate receipts. 

6. Use business travel services & expense management

Divvy Travel, Divvy’s business travel service, is designed to help you save on all aspects of your business travel expenses. Divvy gives you travel management you need and access to great deals when booking hotels, flights, and even car rentals and it’s all accessible from our easy-to-use platform.

You’ll also be able to manage employee travel spending as it happens, giving you more power over your travel budgets. Do yourself a favor and save money by not using expensive travel agencies. Instead, let Divvy unlock the best deals for you and save like never before as you track your budget in real time.

Travel with confidence

These are just a few, simple ways to help you make the most of your travel budget. Each company is unique, making each budget unique. In the end, making a plan and sticking to it is the best way to save money on a business trip.

Be sure to check out our free business travel webinar with TravelPerk, and sign up for Divvy when you’re ready to take control of your business spend. 

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