Q&A: Business travel on the cheap

November 21, 2008

I travel every few months for conferences and other professional development gatherings. Do you have any tips that could help me stretch my travel dollars?

Q: I travel every few months for conferences and other professional development gatherings. Do you have any tips that could help me stretch my travel dollars?

A: Though fuel and airline costs have dipped a bit recently, that doesn't mean traveling will come cheaply. Consequently, smart travelers will always look for ways to ease the financial strain of business trips. First, try booking your trip using websites like http://www.sidestep.com, http://www.kayak.com, and http://www.mobissimo.com, which search hundreds of other travel sites to find the cheapest available prices. It also helps to be as flexible as possible in your flight dates and times, as well as the airports you use. Instead of staying at the usually high-priced hotels near the convention site, find one that's a little further away, particularly in cities with good public transit options. Food costs tend to eat up a lot of your budget at professional development gatherings, so don't feel like you have to go to a steakhouse every night. Rather than holding meetings with colleagues over lunch or dinner, grab inexpensive meals on your own and talk business over coffee.