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Making Your Travel Budget Go Miles Further

Travel is a vital component of a startup's life, yet it can be a hefty expense if you don't use some smart tactics. To squeeze more out of your travel budget (however loose the term "budget" may be), try these straightforward methods:

1. Choose preferred brands: While jumping around for the lowest price is tempting, stick to one airline or hotel chain to build equity with them through your repeat business. You'll also be able to negotiate corporate rates, often from day one.

2. Leverage partner perks: Several business (and personal) credit cards offer travel perks that can help improve your travel experience and save you a ton of cash over the year. Everything from ride-share credit, airline fee credit, Global Entry/Clear credit, preferential miles/points conversion, and complimentary upgrades. For example, American Express Business.

3. Book travel early: Thinking ahead and booking your travel as early as possible gets you a wider selection of options and often means cheaper tickets. Alternatively, look at apps like Hotel Tonight (a personal favorite of mine) for great deals on hotel rooms at a fraction of the cost of other sites/apps. Also, travel on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday, if possible. These days tend to be cheaper and go for off-peak flight times to save further.

4. Use technology: Utilize apps (like Uber, Lyft, Kayak) and online services to compare prices and track spending. Use apps like Wanderlog for a simple (and free) way to make it less of a pain to track expenses.

5. Take stock and adapt: When the dust has settled from your trip, review your expenses to identify areas of expenditure to help with future travel planning (i.e., areas where you need to adjust budget allocation). Keep reviewing and tweaking until you get it down to a fine art; you'll see your money go much further.

6. Bank that cash and go virtual: Always ask if that meeting has to be in person. If you can conduct it via Zoom, Teams, or Google Meet, you can save considerably on both time and money.

Remember, shrewd travel planning means more money in the bank to grow your core business.