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Getting the Most Out of Business Travel

10.22.12

Author: Isabelle Leichtman

Between airlines, hotels, transportation and food, traveling can quickly turn expensive (whether it be personal or business-related).  On top of initial prices, travel taxes have recently increased in various cities in order to raise necessary local funds.  Here are some tips on how to get the most for your money when it comes to traveling:

Be aware of travel taxes in your destination:  Whether you’re paying out of pocket or for your employees, it helps to know exactly where you can save money while still getting everything you need.  In a recent study, the Global Business Travel Association reported that travelers typically pay 57% more taxes than when they pay standard general sales tax.  Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal reports that the city with the highest travel taxes is Chicago, IL with an average of $40.31 in taxes for lodging, rental cars and meals.  Following closely behind is New York, Boston, Kansas City and then Seattle.  If you are going to one of the cities listed, Bruce Schoenfeld of Travel  + Leisure suggests booking as far in advance as possible.

Airline Tickets: Knowing the tricks to when and how to find the best deal on an airline ticket will yield the best results for avoiding higher taxes.  Check out our previous blog post which gives a number of tips on finding the best deal on airline tickets.  Schoenfeld also says that booking with the same airline and/or using a credit card associated with an airline to obtain elite status will help with discounts and perks.

Transportation: While rental car companies had notably fought local tax increases, they unfortunately lost and are their business are now suffering as a result: rental cars are the first thing travelers cut-out when trying to limit expenses.  In addition Schoenfeld points out that auto-sales have recently risen, causing manufacturers to charge rental car companies more for smaller cars (great options to save on gas money) resulting in larger SUV’s which are hard to maneuver and use pricier gas.  This forces rental car companies to keep older cars for longer, charging customers more to cover the price of upkeep.   Renting a car from a non-airport location will most likely give you a better price, but, as McCartney points out, the discount will be minimal when paired with the inconvenience.  Public transportation, walking, or car-pooling with a co-worker are the better option, but only if possible.

Written by Trey Jones

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