I know some people hate it, but I actually don’t mind traveling for work. It’s a free trip! What’s not to like?! In my many years of work travel I’ve come up with some tips to get the most bang for my buck:
1. Use your own credit card–If your company gives you a travel card, this is obviously the more convenient option; however, using your personal card is also a good idea. I like to use reward cards for booking work trips because you earn points on everything you book: flights, hotel, food, ground transportation will all add up over the course of your trip. You’ll get the points and still get reimbursed from your job! #winwin
2. Collect points– As I reserve my airfare and hotel, I always make sure to use my reward/member number on the reservation. This allows you to get credit for the flights and rooms the same way you would for personal travel. Even if HR is booking the trip for you, you can always add your reward numbers online or at check-in.
3. Ask for a double-When booking the hotel, I always ask for a double occupancy room just in case I want to bring someone with me. Same concept as above, its free! I brought Andy on a work trip to Salt Lake City and we had a great time! As long as the person you bring along doesn’t mind not spending every second with you, this works out nicely. You can explore the city the same way you would on a vacation.
4. Save your per diem for dinner-I’ve only attended one conference where a continental breakfast and/or snacks were not provided. Sometimes they even provide lunch! If you don’t use your daily allowance during the day, you can treat yourself to a nicer, more expensive meal for dinner. I use yelp to check out local restaurants and their menus beforehand, and then map out where I’m going to eat each day. I also look for happy hours that offer small bites (sliders, salads, etc.)-these are cheap, and depending on what you buy, you can replace a regular dinner meal with them.
5. Take an extra day-Maybe its because I’m a mom…but when offered the opportunity to come a day earlier or stay a day later, I always take it! In the spirit of treating the trip like a vacation, a day where there aren’t any workshops to attend is perfect for sightseeing. This also just gives you extra time to relax and take it all in: check out the hotel pool or gym during this time. An additional day also means you don’t have to arrive and unpack before heading to the first workshop or take your suticase to the closing ceremony because your rushing to the airport afterward.