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Reports suggest that within the United States 445 million business trips take place each year, creating a $251 billion travel industry. Recent trends indicate that travel costs are also on the rise.

The good news is there are ways to cut expenses, and they don’t require a great deal of effort.

Here are a few of the best strategies to lower your business travel expenses.

Flight Path

Seasoned business travelers realize that the earlier you begin searching for tickets, the more chances you have to save money.

Thankfully several airline tickets are made available 330 days prior to departure. Best practices show the optimal time to buy is 60 days in advance. Despite a few last-minute business trips that are unavoidable, it is clear that even a smaller advanced purchase window can deliver savings.

Case in point: Concur, a popular travel management company, found that by purchasing flights at least eight days before departure, businesses can save an average of $148 per ticket.

Are you preparing to fly through a different airport or traveling to a new client’s operation? FlightStats.com can help you plan a smooth trip by advising you on the best time of day to fly from a specific airport and which terminals to avoid for connecting flights.

Using the site’s home page you can select ‘Tools’ from the top menu to view live updates of flight delays and more. The group also makes it easy for travelers to sign up for free e-mail and phone alerts.

Pro tip: Saturday is one of the three most economical days to fly, along with Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thursdays follow closely. Mondays, Fridays, and the day before a holiday are frequently more expensive. Purchase wisely.

Redemption

Are you getting rewarded for your frequent flyer status or using a credit card that rewards airline miles? The challenge: how can you effectively keep track of different loyalty programs? The group at WebFlyer.com can help.

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This clever site allows you to see how your miles convert between programs, learn about changes to your frequent-flier program and discover how to maximize the value of your mileage awards when you redeem them for merchandise or services.

A Home Away From Home

Earlier this month, American Express Global Business Travel partnership with Airbnb, the global room sharing leader.

For every business traveler who wants to actually experience the cities and neighborhoods they visit or is working on a project that dictates an extended amount of time, Airbnb can save a great deal of money on hotel costs.

Check this out! Tips & Technology to Help You Travel More Effectively

Escaping the Office

Inviting clients to a great lunch or a nice breakfast (for morning people) is generally more cost effective than a big dinner. In many cases a restaurant that you can’t afford for dinner is within budget at lunchtime. When the bill arrives, remember to use a recognized cashback credit card.

Although getting 1-2% back may not sound like much, the savings will add up as you complete your annual business travel commitments.

Adventures

Visit.org is an online marketplace for tours and activities that benefit communities. Visitors add immersive local experiences to their existing travel itineraries. Social organizations raise awareness and revenue for their causes.

Visit.org is a social impact business for travelers interested in a different view of the neighborhood or city they are visiting.

Adaptability & Productivity

Although certain face-to-face meetings are critical, it’s easier and more cost effective than ever to have a teleconference with clients or colleagues in different locations.

Today’s virtual meetings can be as simple as signing on to Skype for Business or other software applications such as WebEx, GoTo Meetings and several others candidates PC Magazine has reviewed.

In regards to cost, research indicates that typically virtual meetings are 1/10 of the cost of a face-to-face meeting. So where a live meeting will cost $2,200-3,000 per attendee, a virtual meeting will cost $220-300 per attendee.

Next Steps

Do you have a favorite tip that has helped you save money on business travel?

If you do, take a moment to share your thoughts with our community by adding a comment below. Here’s to safe and economical travels ahead.

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