Traveling for Business? How to Make the Most of It

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

I’m on a business trip right now. As I’ve prepared for this trip, and as I’ve got under way, I’ve been thinking about how to make the most of it, especially financially.

If you are traveling for business, there are ways to maximize the situation so that the financial impact is relatively small; you might even come out ahead.

Get Someone Else to Pay

There’s nothing like traveling for free. On this trip, the client is paying the expenses. I’ve traveled for clients in the past, but they have always reimbursed me. This time, though, I don’t have to pay out of pocket. The client bought my plane ticket, and reserved my hotel. I love that I don’t have to wait to be reimbursed for this trip.

Depending on the situation, you might be able to get someone else to pay. If you travel for a company, chances are that all the arrangements will be made, and you don’t have to worry about it. If you are being reimbursed, though, you need to make sure that you save all of your receipts.

Finally, consider a per diem. Many companies provide a per diem for food and other incidentals. In some cases, you might actually get to keep what you don’t spend. If this is the case, carefully planning can help you actually make money on the trip. And, of course, you should also be paid for your work time.

Rack Up the Points

If you have the chance, rack up the points that you can. While you might not be able to benefit from airline tickets charged to the company credit card, you still might be able to get frequent flyer points. If you belong to a program that will credit you for trips taken when you enter your confirmation number, you can at least get a few extra points. That’s what I’m doing on this trip. The client gets the credit card reward points, but since my name isn’t connected to their frequent flyer account, I get the frequent flyer miles.

If you are going to be reimbursed for your expenses, use your rewards credit card to make your purchases. From airfare to hotel reservations to rental car reservations to food, use your rewards card. Rack up the points or cash back, and save your receipts. Once you are reimbursed, use the money to pay off the credit card. You get to keep the points, and you didn’t have to pay for the business trip.

Tax Deduction

Finally, if you travel for business but you aren’t reimbursed, you can take a tax deduction. While I am being reimbursed for expenses on this trip, I’m not being reimbursed for mileage on my car, and the IRS allows a deduction for mileage. So, I’m keeping track of the mileage it takes to get to and from the airport, and I’ll get a tax deduction.

If you aren’t being reimbursed for airfare or hotel, or other similar expenses, you can claim a deduction. It’s also possible to claim a deduction for a portion of meals that’s not reimbursed.

Before you travel for business, consider your situation. You might be surprised to find that there are ways to make the most of your travel.

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