Being a business professional, you are bound to travel quite a lot for work. You are expected to make visits within your city, to other cities and, in some cases, even to another country. As a business traveler, it is essential to keep track of the costs that you incur during corporate travel.
Hidden costs are lurking everywhere, and it often seems impossible to avoid them. Whether it’s your airline ticket, your hotel reservation, or even your black car service, you have probably paid hidden costs that you never knew about. Remember to take your time when making corporate travel or vacation arrangements and always read the fine print.
Common Fees That Cut Into Your Corporate Travel Budget
Keep an eye out for some of these common travel fees. By simply noticing these details, you’re halfway to cutting them out of your budget!
1) Booking Fees
Airline booking fees account for a big chunk of your corporate travel expenses. If you have a travel agent with whom you book your tickets, you will be surprised by how much commission they charge in addition to your ticket price. Another problem is the hidden cost associated with flexible tickets. Even if your ticket says flexible, you may be charged for the change of travel dates.
Furthermore, when you are booking a ticket, it is crucial that you read the information in the fine print. Companies hide additional charges that you only find out about during check out. Many companies offer the option of holding your ticket at the same price if you are not certain about your travel dates.
Solution: If you’re not obligated to book from your company’s travel agent, then you should book directly with your airline. Booking a ticket directly saves time and money, which is great because both are essential to you and your company.
In addition, you may even find promotional tickets and bundle deals that complement your travel plans. If you can find a good promotional ticket, then you will further reduce your air travel expenses.
2) Checked Bag Fees
These are probably the most easily avoidable travel fees. You may find many fantastic deals on the internet for your ticket, but often those tickets are without checked luggage. This additional cost ranges anywhere from $20-$100 per bag, depending on the airline rules.
Although checking your bag may seem convenient, you have to think about what it really entails. It’s nice to be able to board the plane and go straight to your seat without having to shove your bag into the overhead space. However, finding your luggage after landing can take much more time.
Solution: The best advice is to travel light and avoid carrying any extra bags. Avoiding checking in luggage will help you save time and extra money. Try to pack only what you need and stick to a single carry-on.
For longer trips or for those who cannot fit everything in one bag, look for airlines that allow a personal item on board in addition to your carry-on bag. If you absolutely have to carry a larger bag, then look at the charges before you check in and avoid any surprises.
3) Hotel Room Charges
Hotels around the world are becoming increasingly aggressive about room charges. Watch out for amenities that aren’t inclusive in the price of the room. For example, just because your hotel has Wi-Fi doesn’t mean that it’s free to access.
Furthermore, be sure to check the disclaimer on your welcome basket. If you find your room stocked with snacks and drinks when you arrive, look to make sure that it’s not accompanied by a price list. Popping the cap on that refreshing bottle of water may have added another charge, billed directly to your room.
Solution: Look for hotels and suites with complimentary services, like breakfast and internet access. Extended-stay suites often cater to traveling business professionals, so they are more likely to have well-equipped business centers, exercise centers, and even conference rooms.
For more of a luxury trip, looks for all-inclusive access. Most importantly, be sure to read the details about what is included in the cost of your accommodations. If you’re not sure, call the front desk before using any items or services.
4) Currency Conversion and Foreign Transactions
If you’re an international traveler, converting currency can be a real headache. However, it is necessary to keep you from paying outrageous charges later. Buying items with your cards in a foreign country puts you in a position to incur multiple types of charges.
One of these is a currency conversion fee. This is when retailers use Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) to allow you the option to see your purchase in dollars rather than the local currency at checkout. The second type of charge is a foreign transaction fee. Your credit card company may charge you simply for using your card outside of your home country. Furthermore, you may incur both of these charges on the same transaction.
Solution: Say no to DCC. Retailers are required to ask you first before converting your bill using DCC. If you say no, you will see the charge in the local currency. You can then convert the charge for your records using a currency conversion app on your smartphone. Your credit card company may still charge you for currency conversion, but this rate will be much lower than the DCC charge.
In addition, frequent international travelers may benefit from opening a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. However, what’s better than paying with plastic is converting actual cash to the local currency. You can do this before you depart or after you enter your host country, but it’s best to do it beforehand at a bank. Bank exchange rates will be better than what you’ll find at the airport and may be better than what you find abroad.
5) Unpredictable Transportation Costs
Luxury ground transportation doesn’t have to be expensive, but hidden fees rack up quickly if you aren’t careful. Cab fares consist of base fees, variable mileage rates, and other sneaky charges. Being a tourist, you may even be charged higher. Airport shuttles and other business event transportation for your corporate travel can be excessively costly if you haven’t chosen the right service provider.
However, driving yourself isn’t any better. Rental cars are expensive and carry lots of hidden fees. Some rental companies even require you to cover their car on your own insurance policy. Moreover, driving in a foreign country can be dangerous if you aren’t fully aware of local laws and customs.
Solution: It is essential that you know how much you will be paying for your entire journey. Try to book as much of your business event transportation as possible with a reliable private transportation provider. This protects you from price gouging as well as ensures that you travel safely on every leg of your journey. You’ll also know ahead of time how much you’ll pay and when your ride will arrive.
A1A Airport and Limo Service provides affordable limousine service and black car service worldwide, so you’ll never have to settle for anything less than the best. Our diverse fleet features Town Cars and sedans for solo travelers as well as larger limousine and party bus rental options for large groups.